Building the Swing

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Start by building the swing arm. Doing it first makes it available for use in laying out and building the support assembly.

1. Cut the two layers to size. To make the arm as stiff as possible, you form it from two layers of birch plywood. One is '/j inch, the other % inch. Cut the two pieces to the dimensions specified by the Cutting List.

2. Rout the opening for the router. In the completed arm, the router sets into a h-inch-deep recess and is bolted to the remaining material of die arm. The easiest way to create the recess is to cut completely through the thicker plywood layer before the two layers are glued together.

Since I used a Porter-Cable 690 router, which has a round base, cutting the opening was a simple matter of routing with a router and the Trammel Baseplate on page 39. Lay out the pivot point from the drawing Swing Ann Layout, and drill a pilot hole for the trammers pivot. To keep the waste disk from shifting as the router bit breaks through the workpiece, use carpet tape to bond the area to be routed to waste backup.

If you use a router with a flat edge, trace the base on the workpiece. Then clamp a straightedge to the workpiece to guide the router as you rout the flat segment of the recess. 'I"hcn switch to the trammel and rout the curvcd segment.

3. Glue up the plies. This is a glue-up that requires a lot of clamps. I used 12 medium-sized hand screws, spacing them fairly evenly around the periphery of the assembly.Adjust the clamps beforehand, so they are ready to apply without a lot of fumbling.

Examine the two pieces of plywood. They should be flat, but if either piece or both pieces are bowed, orient the convex face(s) in.

Use yellow glue, applying beads to the mating faces of both pltes. Use a brush or serapwood spreader to spread this glue out. so the entire surface has a thin coating of it. Lay one piece atop the other, and slide them around a bit to get a good, suctiony bond.Then align the edges and start applying the clamps. In my experience, if you get the edges clamped well, the interior of the glue-up, where it's difficult to apply any clamping pressure, will take care of itself.

4. Apply the plastic laminate. You need to cover both sides of the swing arm with plastic laminate. Cut two pieces of laminate so they slightly overhang the edges of the swing arm blank.

In a well-ventilated area, brush a thin layer of contact cement on one side of the swing arm blank and on one of the pieces of laminate. When the cement is dry (read the label for proper drying times), carefully lay the plastic lam inate over the swing ami.You get only one chance at this— the two surfaces stick tight once they make contact. When the laminate is down, burnish the surface vigorously with a J-roller.

Repeat the process on the opposite side.

Trim the laminate flush with the edges of the blank using a router and flush-trimming bit. To open up the recess for the router, drill a hole through the Laminate, somewhere in the middle of the recess. Set the router over the hole, with the bit extending through it. Switch on the router and feed toward the perimeter of the recess, until the l>earing catches the edge.Then just rout around the inner edge of the recess.

5. Rout the adjustment slot. This is another router-and-trammcl operation, but the trammel baseplate doesn't have the range for this job. You'll just have to work a little job-specific magic, which is what I did.

To l)egin. you need to lay out the pivot hole. While you are at it, lay out the beginning and end points of the curvcd adjustment slot, as shown in the drawing Swing Arm Layout. Drill the pivot using a bit matched to the pivot of your trammel. In my case, this was ^ inch (the final size of the hole).

Set up your trammel,and swing it from the ami's pivot, as noted. The ami blank should be clamped atop some scrap that will back up the cut and provide protection for the bench top. Begin routing the slot by plunge-boring a hole at each end of the slot. (If you have to work with a fixed-base router, drill these holes.) Now rout the slot.

6. Cut the arm to shape. The first step in this process follows naturally from the previous operation. Reset the trammel for a longer-radius are. Using the same pivot point, rout the arc on the front edge of the arm.

(If need be, you can now drill the pivot hole to the required Vinch-diamctcr size.)

Now lay out and cut the arm's angled bottom edge. To me, the best approach is to clamp a straight-edge to the arm. and rout off the waste. I'm going to use the router to round the arm's sharp corners next, so I may as well use it for this cut. too.

I used comer-rounding templates to shape the corners. (See the chapter "Boring Templates" on page 6.) 'ITiough two of the comers arc way off square, you can get all four corners done neatly with the templates. Select the template with the appropriate radius, and align it on the workpiece. Then trim the ami flush using a router and either a pattern bit or a flush-trimming bit.

When the shaping is all done, chuck a bevel-trimming bit in your router and run it around the edges—both faces—of the ami. You'll find that square-cut plastic laminate edges are terribly sharp; bevel-trimming them takes that edge off and just may save you an annoying cut.

7. Drill holes for the router-mounting screws. This Ls easy enough. Drop the router's baseplate into the recess, and use it as a guide to drill the mounting-screw holes. T\im the arm over and countersink the holes.

Now set the arm aside, and turn to the rest of the assembly.

Now set the arm aside, and turn to the rest of the assembly.

Building the Support Assembly

This stage involves laying out and building the support panel, gluing the spacer to it, then bolting the assembly to your table saw. This is the stage at which the unit really takes form.

1. Cut the support panel. The support is cut from SA-inch birch plywood. To economize without sacrificing structurally, you can use HB-grade fir plywood. BB-grade has a smooth, finished veneer on both sides but doesn't necessarily look good.

In some situations, you may want to change the length of the support panel to match the height of your saw. My shop floor is concrete—a typical basement situation—so I ean't fasten the panel to the shop floor. I designed the panel to end about 1 inch short of the floor. It is poised on two vfe-inch carriage bolts,threaded intoT-nuts in the panel's bottom edge, which serve as lcvelcrs.

Measure your saw, assess your shop situation, and cut the panel.

2. Lay out and drill the locking-knob holes.

Study the drawing Support Panel Layout, and note the locations of holes for the pivot and locking-knob T-nuts. The most accurate way to lay out these holes is to transfer them from the swing arm. You ought to drill the counterbores first, and they are on the panel's back.

With a Forstner bit. drill the 1 '/fc-inch-diamcter X y^z-inch-dccp countcrborcs for the T-nut flanges at these spots, as shown in the drawing. Then drill the /ift-inch-diameter holes for the T-nut barrels, centering the holes using the marks left by the Forstner bit's center spur.

Tap the T-nuts into place.

Basic tricks used in routing the arm's shape include trammel-guided, fence-guided, and template-guided cuts. Routing the arced edge involves the use of a trammel (top). To cut the angled bottom edge (middle), clamp a straight fence to the arm and feed a router along it. Complete the arm's shape by rounding the corners, using a template (bottom).

Mark the bolt-hole locations on the support panel. Line up the arm on the back of the support panel. Insert a &-inch bolt in the pivot hole and tap it with a hammer. The bolt will mark the panel. Insert the bolt in the adjustment slot at the top. and tap it again. Then work out the location of the second locking knob along the slot, insert the bolt there, and tap it.

support panel layout



21 Vi"

21 Vi"

I '/&"-dia. X 3/j2"-deep counterbore for T-nut flange

3. Lay out and rout the slot for the slide. The location can be taken from the layout drawing.

Use a plunge router and a Vi-inch straight bit to rout the slot. Set up the router. Determine the distance a guide fence must be offset from the slot's centerline (generally that would be the radius of the baseplate). Clamp a straightedge to the panel, parallel to the centerline of the slot, and offset the necessary distance.

Begin routing by plunge-boring through the panel at the beginning and end of the slot.Then rout out the waste between the two holes.

4. Install the T-nuts for the levelers. The lcvcicrs, as noted already, arc carriage bolts that thread into T-nuts. The locations arc shown in the drawing Support Panel Layout. Bore the clearance holes for Vinch T-nuts. drilling deep enough for the bolt shanks.

Orient the T-nuts carefully before you drive them into place. It'll be obvious that the flanges are a good bit larger than the plywood is thick. I oriented die T-nuts so two of the spurs would bite into the wood, and that has proven satisfactory.

5. Cut the spacer. The spacer should be made from a hardwood like cherry, oak, or maple. Joint and plane the stock to the specified width and thickness, making sure the laces arc parallel to each other and square to the edges. Crosscut it to the length specified by the Cutting List.

T-nut for swing-arm clamp knob


Support panel

W X I Vi" carriage bolt

6. Locate the mounting bolt holes. As shown in the drawing Assembly Detail, the support assembly is attached to the table saw with bolts that pass through holes in the saw table and thread into T-nuts in the spacer. Since the particulars of saw tables vary from brand to brand, you will have to determine the best spots for the mounting bolts.

My Rockwell/Delta contractor's saw has stamped-stccl extension wings, each of which has three oblong, '/¿-inch-wide mounting-bolt holes in its rims. I used two of these holes, but not the third, since it is dead-center, right where the router bit does its work. (Obviously, you must be cognizant of the ultimate location of the router bit; don't put a bolt where the bit will hit it the first time you use the equipment. That would dampen your enthusiasm, wouldn't it?)

In some cases, you may need to drill holes for the bolts through the rim of your saw table. Take a cue from the Delta design, and make the holes bigger than the bohs.That will help you adjust the support assembly flush with the saw table during installation.

In any event, transfer the hole locations from the saw table to the spacer. Clamp it to the saw table rim. Reach through the holes with a pencil, marking the bolt-hole locations on the spacer. IJnclamp the spacer.

7. Bore and counterbore the spacer. As with the holes for the T-nuts in the support panel, the counterbore should be drilled first, then the shank holes. Again, use a assembly detail

Plastic laminate

Screw (fastens support panel to spacer)

Plastic laminate

Table-saw extension wing

W X 2" hex-head bolt Washer

Table-saw extension wing

W X 2" hex-head bolt Washer

Support panel

Forstner bit to drill the counterborcs. Make these counter-bores '/< inch deep. Then drill the ^-inch-diameter bolt holes through the spacers.

Insert iheT-nuts in the counterborcs, and seat them. To do this, you can thread a bolt into thcT-nut, then tap the bolt with a hammer to drive the prongs of the flange into the wood.

8. Assemble the spacer and the support panel.

The panel is glued and screwed to the spacer. Spread glue and clanip the pans together. While the clamps arc still ■curing the parts, drill and countersink pilot holes for 2-inch-long drywall screws. Use about a half-dozen screws, evenly spaced across the panel. Just be sure to avoid the center section, where the bit will be cutting.

After the clamps are off, sand the top edge of the panel and the top of the spacers smooth and Hush. Cement plastic laminate across this surface, and trim it flush all around.

9. Mount the assembly on the saw table. Thread two hex nuts on each of the two "lcvelcr" carriage bolts, spinning them up to the head. Thread the bolts into thcT-nuts in the panel's bottom edge.

Prop the assembly against the edge of the saw table. Fit 1 washer and a split washer on each mounting bolt. Insert the mounting bolts through the holes in the table's rim. and thread them into theT-nuts. As you tighten the bolls, try to bring the top surface of the support assembly flush with the saw table surface.

Adjust the levelers as necessary to push the assembly into proper alignment with the saw table. When the assembly is aligned, turn the first hex nut on each leveler against theT-nut,and jam the second against it. locking the leveler's position.

10. Cut and fit the shelf. The face of the support panel must be perpendicular to the surface of the saw table.

The shelf, while handy for table-saw accessories, is really an alignment device. It keeps the support panel from getting pushed in toward the saw housing or pulled away from it.

With a framing square, line up the panel. Measure from the panel's inner face to the side of the saw housing at the level you want to place the shelf. (As you can see from the photos, my saw's stand is a bit wider than the saw housing, so there's a ledge on which the shelf rests. That ledge dictated where the shelf would be.)

Cut the shell'from /i-inch plywood. The shelf will interfere with the movement of the slide, so you'll have to notch it. Hold the shelf in position, and mark the width and depth of the notch. Cut it on the table saw, on the band saw, or with a saber saw.

The support panel alignment is critical. The panel's face must be perpendicular to the saw table, and the surface of the spacer must be flush with the saw table. Monitor these alignments with a framing square as you adjust the levelers and position the panel to measure for the shelf.

11. Install the shelf and square the assembly.

To hold the shelf in position while you drill pilots and drive the mounting screws, clamp two hand screws to the panel and rest the shelf on them. Fasten the panel to the shelf.

Although the shelf appears to be supported by the saw stand, it is fastened to the saw with screws. Three is plenty. Drill clcarancc holes through the saw housing for the screws, and drive them through the housing into the shelf's edge.

Making the Slide

The slide Is installed in the slot routed into the support panel. It provides fine adjustment of the swing arm position by way of a special piece of hardware called a jackscrew.

After roughly setting the arm position, you loosen the locking knob on the slide and move it up the slot until it contacts the edge of the arm. lighten the knob. Then loosen the three knobs securing the arm. Raise the arm in measured fractions by turning the jackscrew.The jackscrew has 16 threads per inch, so turning its knurled nut a single revolution will move the arm '/i6 inch. A quarter-turn moves die arm Vm inch. That's fine adjustment. Anyway, when you've got just the setting you waait, tighten the knobs on the swing ami.

Here's how to make the slide.

1. Cut the slide body. Because the two pieces forming the slide are small, it's a sound idea to do the heavy machining on a single (relatively) large piece, then separate the pans and trim them to final size. Regardless of what the

Cutting Ust specifics for these parts, I'd rccommcnd starting with a single piece of hardwood 1 Vi inches square and 8 inches long.

2. Cut the rabbets that form the tongues. Since you are working with a single workpiece, you need to form only one tongue. It is easiest to do this on the table saw. Set the blade height to lA inch, and position the rip fence to cut the sides of the tongue. Then crank up the blade to W inch, and reposition the rip fence. Cut so the waste falls to the outside of the blade, thus avoiding having these wafers kicked back at you.

3. Drill the holes for the jackscrew and the locking bolt. Do the ~ Winch-diamctcr hole for the jackscrew first. Bore into one end of the slide blank, penetrating just over 2 inches, as shown in the Slide Detail

Now cut the blank into two pieces. One piece should be 4'A inches long; this is die slide top.The slide bottom will betaken from the remainder. But drill a '/t-inch-diamctcr hole for the locking bolt next. Set up a fence and stop block on the drill press when you drill these holes, so the two pans will align when bolted together. Drill a hole in the slide top and one in the slide bottom, as shown in the Slide Detail.

4. Complete and install the slide. With a hacksaw, cut a Ya X 2'/t-inch knob clcarancc notch in the slide top. as shown in the Slide Detail Then trim the slide bottom to final length.


Reid #AJS-500 jackscrew


6 T-nut TOP VIEW

Hole for shank of jackscrew

Va" X 2" carriage bolt

Reid #AJS-500 jackscrew


6 T-nut TOP VIEW

slide detail

BOTTOM VIEW Reid #DK-59 knob


Va" X 2" carriage bolt


Hole for shank of jackscrew

Tap a T-nut into its hole, and turn the jackscrcw into place. Push the carriage bolt through the slide bottom, and assemble the slide in its slot in the support.

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Wood Working 101

Wood Working 101

Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.

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