Lee Valley & Veritas
Woodworking Newsletter
  Volume 9, Issue 6 - July 2015    
Simple Mobile Saw Till
Blade guard
The author's blade guard is two strips laminated with a kerf in the middle. Two rare earth magnets are glued flush on the kerf wall to hold the guard to the blade.
When I received my first pair of panel saws as a gift, I wanted them to be well cared for. So, I made wooden blade guards for them to protect the teeth and prevent the weight of the blade from bending the saw plate. I also hung them by the handle. The ideal home for large saws, however, is in some form of a saw till.

In building my own till, I kept these design criteria in mind:
  • It had to be simple to build so that it could be completed in half a day or so
  • The saws had to be easy to remove and replace
  • It was to be hung on the wall by a corner, the only free spot in my shop
  • The saws needed to be within reach while I was at the workbench
Saw till   Saw till
The finished saw till.
The last two criteria seemed to be incompatible, as my workbench is nowhere near the free spot. The solution I came up with was to build a saw till that could be hung on the wall in the far corner but could also be brought to the workbench. This was achieved by building a lightweight saw till and using a French cleat mounting system.
Diagram showing the measurements of the saw till.
The above measurements accept my panel saws, as well as those borrowed from a very generous friend. If the measurements of your saws are much different from those shown here, you may need to make some minor changes.

When building jigs or shop accessories, I prefer to use scraps. This practice is economical and, more important, recovers some shop space. I had some 3/4" veneered plywood offcuts and 1" dia. dowels lying around, and they were put to good use for this project.
Cutting the kerfs
Raise the saw blade to 2-1/2" high and cut the kerfs with the help of the mitre gauge.
To be efficient in the shop, I try to finish all cuts that are to be done on one tool before moving to a different machine or tool. I began by cutting out all the parts from the plywood sheet on the table saw. This included the back, two sides, saw holder, cleats (back and wall) and spacer. I also cut the dowel to length. While still at the table saw, I laid out the saw kerfs 1-1/2" apart on the saw holder and cut them. You can change the number of kerfs slightly (and thereby the number of saws that can be stored) by adjusting the distance between the kerfs. I then sanded off the front corners.
Draw two parallel lines
If you haven't tried it, when using the bandsaw or jigsaw, draw two parallel lines (about 1/16" apart) and follow the gap to make your cuts. Not only will you cut accurately, you will also avoid cutting on the wrong side.
After laying out the shape of the top on the back, I used a jigsaw to cut out the profile. The scraps for the sides were already in the desired shape; otherwise, I would also cut out that shape before putting away the jigsaw. At the drill press, I located the center-points for the blind holes (1" in dia.) and drilled them to 3/8" deep on the sides.
Blind holes   Using the Domino® joiner
The blind holes are 1" in diameter and 3/8" deep, drilled 1-1/2" from both the leading and bottom edges.   When using the Domino® joiner to make butt joints, keep the same fence height setting for cutting the mortise slots on the end grain and face grain.
The simplest way of attaching the components such as the sides and saw holder to the back is to use screws and glue. I had my Domino® joiner already hooked up for another project and, therefore, chose tenons as the joinery method out of convenience. See below for some shop tips if you are a new Domino joiner user.
Tips on Using a Domino Joiner
  • Before you start, group all the workpieces according to their required mortise depths or board thicknesses. Finish all the mortise slots for one group before changing the depth or thickness setting for other cuts.

  • When joining two workpieces of different thicknesses, always set the mortise depth for the thinner board and cut those mortise slots first. This way, you won't cut through a board by mistake. On the other hand, if you undercut a mortise slot, you can easily reset the mortise depth and cut the slot deeper.

  • If you cut slots with the mortise dial in the standard-width position and encounter an alignment issue during the assembly stage, you can fix the misalignment without difficulty. Either re-cut one or more of the slots in the greater width setting, or use a chisel or sandpaper to make the tenons slightly narrower.
  Assembling the project
  Make sure the dowel is in place before permanently gluing the sides to the back.
Before assembling the project, I sanded all sharp edges. After dry fitting all parts, I glued and clamped the saw till and let it cure overnight. Now, whether the saw till is mounted on the wall or placed by the workbench, my favorite saws are always kept in a safe home and are easily accessible.

Text and photos by Charles Mak

Charles Mak is a businessperson and enthusiastic hobby woodworker, teacher, writer and tipster. He works part-time at his local Lee Valley Tools store.
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