Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Table Saw Base Rails (PK200)

Earlier this week, I spent a lot of money (£120!) on two lengths of aluminium extrusion for my Elektra Beckum PK200 table saw. They’re sold as a base attachment rails and really are essential for anyone, like me, who only has the basic saw cabinet. Before adding any of the accessories (sliding table, right-hand extension, outfeed table), you must have these two rails fitted. It’s only a shame I didn’t buy these several months ago when they were only £80. I guess the deepening global economic crisis is responsible for the 50% rise in costs but, I only have myself to blame for procrastinating… Once again!

A long rectangular box, almost 4ft in length, arrived complete with all the necessary fittings and an illustrated set of instructions (no written instructions) and a parts list.

Fitting the two rails proved to be quite simple, as the saw’s cabinet is already pre-drilled. Even without checking or ‘trying’ to, I seem have fitted both rails (front and back) to be parallel and level with one another in almost no time at all. 😎

There’s what I can only currently describe as a ‘brace’ that joins to two rails below their right-hand ends. I’d assume that this is merely to keep the two ends aligned but then, you can slide it along the length of the rails, if you so wish. I guess it might also provide some support for the right-hand table extensionIf I was prepared to part with another £120!!

There are two of these ‘stops’ that apparently need to be fitted in the track on the underside of each rail, at a precise 180mm from the left-hand ends, according to the illustration. My assumption is that this allows clearance for the sliding table which can be fitted to the left of the saw blade. Whatever they’re for, the distance from the left of the saw blade to the ends of these rails now measures quite an impressive 400mm. On the other side, I now have a good 760mm, which should be more than enough to allow a 4ft/1220mm wide sheet of MDF of ply to be split down the middle!

Both rails are 1180mm long, in case you’re interested.

At this point, I had a saw that was extended in its capacities but still, lacking in support…

Now, I very nearly cancelled my order for these rails, as soon as I realised that the price had increased by 50% in recent months. So, as you can probably imagine, I had no intention of then spending another £120 on the extension table! What I want is a table saw/router table station cabinet, which would allow me to integrate my router table as a right-hand extension table on this saw and, hopefully, save a little floor space… That’s where I’m heading now! To put some of my ideas in to action though, before committing to cutting the real thing, I spent this morning coming up with my own width supports, made from scraps of softwood and 120mm widths of 18mm MDF.

In order to set my side extensions at the correct height (perfectly level with the existing aluminium table), I first made up these blocks to fit in the channel on the inside face of each aluminium extrusion. It’s a pinned and glued construction, with an M8 coach bolt and a scrap of 4mm thick acrylic to slide in the track (there’s a wing nut and washer on the other side). There are four of these in total (two for each support) and they sit perfectly flush with the top edge of the aluminium.

On top of this sits a near-torsion-box construction 16mm thick pine battens with an 18mm MDF top skin. Without any further fettling or fine-tuning required, I was amazed to find that each finishes perfectly flush with the top surface of my table saw – and yet, in the past, I’ve moaned about the fact that my thicknesser’s bed isn’t perfectly parallel with the cutter block…! 😉

Something with a Formica/plastic-laminate finish would have been even better but, in the mean time at least, this will allow me to rip to greater capacities than ever before! There’s room for invention on the left-hand side, too. Instead of paying £180 for the sliding table, I could instead make a sliding table (Norm-style) 600mm wide (if not more) and it would be fully supported by the MDF extension I’ve fitted today. I’d still prefer to have my router on the right though plus, it doesn’t necessarily resolve the issue of supporting long lengths behind the saw blade.

Who knows; perhaps I’ll even use this to cut some of the plywood to size for then new cabinet station… 😉

Before I can rip any wide boards or sheet though, I need to look in to sourcing a couple of short lengths of this aluminium channel so that I can fit my fence to each of my new width supports. I’m sure I can find something suitable for a very minimal cost, though. I can’t see how I’m going to get the scale to continue though, unless I can incorporate something in to the edge of my router table, perhaps. From the photos I’ve seen, there doesn’t appear to be a solution for this on the complete PK200 package, either.

Thanks for reading.

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One response to “Table Saw Base Rails (PK200)

  1. Bongo 01/11/2011 at 10:27

    Looks useful! I am forever being surprised at how darn expensive simple aluminium extrusion is!

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