Last weekend’s time in the workshop felt very similar to the weekend before, where I basically made a table enclosure, in to which a chest freezer could be tucked safely away. This time though, it was all about preparing myself for another workshop project that’s just over the horizon – for which, I’ll need to safely support and cut down some sheets of 18mm plywood…
It all started with with these scraps of ex. 7x2in treated pine; left overs from the ceiling joists I installed earlier this year. And, just like the Saturday before, most of my time was spent cutting notches out on my sliding compound mitre saw.
Whenever you’re producing multiples of identical components, it can help to temporarily clamp or cramp them together while you do the marking out. At least, in a situation where the length of each piece far exceeds the length-stop capacities of your work stations… I actually went with three of these longer beams, each one cut to a length of 2m. There are also four shorter cross rails that fit in to the notches and would support the 1220mm/4ft width of a standard MDF or plywood sheet.
As before, I found that working with the saw in this manner covers any nearby surface in a thick coating of sawdust. As surprising as it is just how quickly the fitted dust bag does fill up, I can’t help but think that there’s more I could do to improve this situation – more on that in a future blog post!.
My mitre saw stations is also in need of some attention:
Since I made some minor changes to the design of the support tables (so that they became ‘fixed’, without having to fold and interfere with nearby objects), the left-hand side has begun to sag quite significantly, making it highly inadequate to support a length of anything much more than 600mm/2ft! That’s why those blocks are currently in place; wedged on top of my router table. Something else that will need some attention, during the winter months…
If you’re still not sure of how this works or, exactly what it is used for then, hopefully, this next photo will help:
It’s slightly narrower than the width of my sawhorses, so that it rests on top. Then, on top of that, I can place one or more sheets, ready to be cut with a circular saw. Of course, you could also use this to support long lenghts of timber, table tops and even for performing other operations besides cutting, such as routing and sanding. I’ve made mine about 70mm/2¾in deep, which means that, even with the saw cuts it is likely to take, there’s plenty of depth and strength left in the timber. At first, I was thinking that I may also need to notch-out the tops of my saw horses but, this new support frame seems to hold its own under the force of its own weight and nothing more is required.
A notched construction makes it quick and easy for me to assemble the unit and, equally, to disassemble it when no required. Then, the individual lengths can be stored together on a wood rack, in the corner of your workshop, maybe with your stock of sheet materials or, as in my case, up in the roof space. I did find that the joints were a bit too tight at first but, by skimming one set of rails (either long or short) through your thicknesser, you can fix that with ease.
Also, if you find that the shorter rails are proud of the long ones (as in the photo above), you can also use your thicknesser (or planer) to reduce their widths until the top edges are flush. I have consider ‘lipping’ these top edges with disposable MDF or similar, so that the timber is not worn away with cuts through from your circular saw or plunge saw. But, as I said a little earlier, I do not feel that is entirely necessary, given the depth I have available, here. Also, it may complicate or interfere with the fitting of these notches. Although, it would be a way of making use of timber that is smaller in section, perhaps only 2in square (though, I wouldn’t make a frame any thinner than that, personally).
This is something so simple and yet, effective, that only takes a few hours to build. It doesn’t have to be pretty, the joints don’t need to be tight and, you can make one from almost any scrap wood you have lying around. The only real challenge I faced was trying to find the space to feed 2m lengths through my thicknesser, as the average thickness of this timber (before I started) varied by a good 3mm (1/8in)!
Thanks for reading.