Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Festool cutting table

A couple of years ago, I got a look at a cutting table over on the Festool Owner's Group message board, and I thought it was really cool. I bought a bunch of plywood to build a version of my own, but I stopped short. I looked around and realized that what I really wanted was the space, not more stuff, and so I shelved the idea, until now. The main difference between what I had planned to build then, and what I actually built today, is that this is just a work surface, not a full table. We have a 4x8 assembly table/plywood cart in the shop already, and eventually I realized that I could simply make an MDF top, and put that surface away in the plywood rack when it wasn't being used.

The idea is simple: the Festool track registers against two points, that hold it square to a fence that's equipped with a production stop and a ruler. So, rather than measure and lay out every piece, and clamp the fence down for every one, I can set the stop and make the cut. Done. And because the MDF is supporting the underside of the sheet, the veneer doesn't get ripped up so badly.

The reason to make this is simple, for me. I have a lot of 8' long pieces of plywood that are too wide to fit in my cross cutting sled. They're destined to be cabinet parts and shelves, but they need to be cut to length, and that with efficiency. Given the half a day that I lost throwing this together, the efficiency part may not be in evidence on this particular project, but I suspect that future projects will vindicate my decision.

For the average woodworker with a 'normal' circ saw, this is still something that can be approximated. There are clamp-on guide fences that can be used instead of the Festool track to do basically the same job. If you use a lot of sheet goods for production jobs, this might just save you some time, and make things easier on your back...

Cutting table Part I
Cutting table Part II
Cutting table Part III

No comments: