Homemade Table Saw Starts With Circular Saw

How often do us tinkerers go out into our basement/garage shop and don’t have the correct tool for the job? Most would say it happens more often than they would prefer. One option would be to buy the tool, but it is always more fun to build what you need! [kadambi] was in need of a table saw and decided to build his own.

He’s using a circular saw as his starting point but this isn’t just any old circular saw. This one has a riving knife that prevents work piece kickback and human contact with the back of the spinning blade. The saw is mounted upside-down to a wooden table that is supported by a wooden box frame. The boxy frame has another function, it acts as a dust collector. A vacuum is ported into the box frame creating a low pressure condition and most of the sawdust is sucked into (and settles on) the bottom of the box. Only a small amount of dust makes its way into the vacuum, preventing otherwise inevitable filter clogs. Out front is an industrial on/off switch as well as a separate e-stop switch.

[kadambi] has done some test cuts and is happy with his saw’s performance. If you’re interested in more DIY table saws, check out this mini saw or feature-filled one.

28 thoughts on “Homemade Table Saw Starts With Circular Saw

    1. Hi,
      I saw your instructables and I liked it very much. I had seen it earlier also before i built mine, as a part of my “research” on youtube and instrutables. This time, i had seen it little more in detail and leisurely. Thanks for your feedback
      Kadambi

  1. Does it have a fence? I didn’t see one on his page.

    I wanted my school to get a riving knife for our tablesaw, but they wouldn’t because there was an incident with another school where the person using it was freecutting (like you aren’t supposed to) and got the wood bound at an angle and the wood got ejected. Supposedly it would have been less bad if there was no riving knife there, but I’m not sure I believe them.

    1. You’re right not to believe them! A riving knife is there for just that reason; to stop the wood binding on the back of the saw blade and being thrown up/back. In the UK a riving knife is a requirement as part of the ‘Safe Use of Woodworking Machinery’ regulations. If I were you, I’d insist on a riving knife.

  2. Very cool. A friend once gave me a cheesy store-bought table thing that was designed to hold a saw in that upside-down table-saw position. It was so cheaply made I was scared to use it. This one looks far more solid.

  3. I’m not sure what 10 fingers are worth. Maybe others can spare a couple. It’s nice you included a riving knife to minimize binding, but I personally would spend a bit of extra money and get a set of paws and fence guard; along with all the other advantages a well thought-out commercial table saw system delivers. Some things are just not worth cutting cost corners on – bedding you spend 1/3 of your life on, health, education, and safety – especially on things that can easily mame or kill you.

  4. Ya, this is just dangerous for the sake of being dangerous. I highly recommend not doing this. The first time you bind that circular saw up and it tries to tear itself free from your home made table, you realize why people just buy real table saws. Try harbor freight for cheap tools. Bad bad bad idea.

  5. All complaints about the riving knife and other safety features aside, one of the things that worries me about this is the air circulation in the motor. Circular saw motors pull air in from the “clean” side away from the blade, but this saw is entirely enclosed in a box of airborne sawdust (headed for vacuum/settling but airborne nonetheless) and a lot of it will be pulled through the motor by its cooling fan. I’d be very tempted to put a bit of flexible dryer hose or similar to the air intakes on the side of the motor so that clean (and likely cooler) air can be supplied.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. I have provided two 1″ holes in the front side, near the motor (unfortunately hidden in the photo by one of the push sticks) which would provide the needed ventilation and fresh airflow to the motor to keep it cool. I am a DIY and my table saw wont run for long hours but or a few minutes with intervals, so I have not encountered the accumulated heat of the motor housing nor blade itself becoming very hot.
      Kadambi

  6. No offense and nice work. For me, however, the real value of a table saw lies in the number, rigidity and accuracy of fences/supports. Unless you want to cut fuelwood …

    1. Thanks for the link I have seen that series. He is a seasoned woodworker and has high grade woodworking skills. My skills are limited and within the limitations and to maintain, accuracy of cuts, i did not tinker with the original saw base tilt and depth mechanism. I wish i would reach that level of skills before I attempt his version.
      Kadambi

  7. Nice build of what is a very very old and common “hack” my father did exactly this back in 1960 when he built his first house and built his kitchen cabinets from scratch.

    Sadly most “professional” builders today don’t have the skill to even build walls straight.

  8. Looks nice.. but hard to justify when you can buy a contractor’s table saw (basically equivalent to this, but comes with things like a fence, etc)..from Home Despot for about $99… why go through all this trouble, and I hasten to saw not much cheaper in costs when all the material is figured in.. (our time, of course, is free)..

    Seems a bit of penny wise, and pound foolish…

      1. There’s a few hack videos on YT about taking those $99 saws and making them into quite a piece. It’s a good starting point for the switches / electrical / safety / saw components.

    1. True, some low end table saw, basic models are around $100/- but I live in India and i dont get any around that price. Here we have a choice of Bosch GTS10, Mkita MLT100, Metabo TS250 and the cheapest is Makita which is around equivalent of US$500, bosch would be $600 and Metabo $680 and beyond my needs for my projects and skill levels. I get lot of happiness making my own version to suit my need is another factor

      1. You’ve made what you have work for what you need, and you now have something to be proud of. As you learn more you can add features or change existing elements to serve you better. I admire your dedication and creativity! Be safe, and learn much! (That’s all any of us can do, really). Cheers!

    1. Wandel is an expert and his skills are visible in whatever he does. It would be a long journey for me to go anywhere near his skill levels. He is still young and a long way to go. I am 64 years young, I am content in putting my existing skills to use, for create something. Thanks for the link and the feedback

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.