The radial arm saw is the perfect tool for cutting long pieces of stock to manage able lengths. But the problem is, the tables on most radial arm saws are too short. It becomes a real balancing act to cut a 2-foot length from an 8-foot board.
To solve this problem. I replaced the particleboard table that came on my saw with a new, longer table. (Besides, the old table had gotten pretty chewed up over the years.)
SOLID-CORK DOOR. I found the perfect replacement table at the local home center. It's a solid-core door that measures 30" wide and 80" long. (Slightly blemished, these doors are often available for about $25.)
These doors are usually lW thick with a solid core of particle-board. They're heavy and stable —good for saw tables. The faces of solid-core doors are typically hardwood veneer. And even if the face is blemished, it still works fine for a saw table.
Note: Instead of using a solid-core door you could build up two layers of plywood for a replacement table.
protective si jrface. Another thing that's always bothered me about working on the radial arm saw is the way the table gets chewed up with repeated cutting. As the kerfs in the table get wider, sawdust builds up in the kerfs. And the workpiece can chip out on the bottom side since there's no support where the blade exits.
To help keep the new table in good shape, I screwed down a protective surface of V4" Ma-sonite to the top of the table, with a replaceable middle section, see drawing above. Now, when the Masonite becomes too cut up, I replace the middle section and start fresh with a smooth surface.
spacers. As a further precaution against sawdust build-up, I added another feature to the new table. This is simply a row of spacers attached between the fence and the front section of the table, see drawing.
These spacers produce a series of gaps between the fence and the cutting surface of the table. The gaps allow sawdust to fall through the table rather than accumulate on top of the table and keep a workpiece from butting tight against the fence.
I cut the spacers out ofW Masonite to a length of 2". The width of the spacers is determined by the combined thick ness of your table and any protective surface. Position the spacers at 7" to 8" intervals, and glue them to the inside edge of the front section of the table. Shop Note: Hot melt glue works best for this.
SUPPORT. Finally, if you position the longer table very far off-center Oeft-to-right on the base) you may want to support the heavy end with a cabinet, or simply a 2x4 brace. This keeps the table more stable when you're cutting a long piece of heavy stock.
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