Since my shop is also a full-time garage, I need to keep my tools mobile and as compact as possible. So when I came across the plans for the table saw cabinet on PlansNow, I knew it would help. This has been a long project. So long, in fact, that I don't remember when I started. It was probably sometime in June. This cabinet makes it much easier to move the saw around, gives me more storage, and raises the saw about an inch. It was also good experience - I learned a lot!
The case is made from 3/4" red oak plywood that I picked up a Lowes. I chose it because it looked decent and I got a good price. The drawers and trim are made from poplar. I chose that because it was the cheapest wood at the hardwood store. The drawer pulls are cheap, stamped aluminum from Lowes. In case you can't tell, I didn't want to spend much money on this project.
The cabinet went together fairly easily with rabbets and dados. I picked up a generic (i.e. cheap) stacked dado blade on eBay that worked fine for this project. It doesn't leave flat bottom dados, but it was good enough. A bunch of glue and screws later and the cabinet case was there. Then came the drawers.
I had recently acquired a planer, so I was eager to plane the 13/16" poplar to 1/2" for the drawer sides and backs. This resulted in quite the pile of shavings on the garage floor. Made me think again about dust collection. The 8 drawers are two different sizes: the top two on each side are about 3+" tall and the bottom two are about 5+" tall (easier to see in the next photo). Again, simple rabbets and dados were used on the drawers (no fancy lock joints or dovetails). I even was lazy and just nailed them together without any glue. If they loosen up over time, I'll have to deal with it then. I was having trouble getting the drawers to slide smoothly and thought I would have to do more sanding. But, rubbing some parafin wax on the drawers and their runners made a world of difference. No more sanding needed.
From the photo above you can see part of my modification to the standard plan. The plans call for a dust bag hung on a rectangular frame underneath the saw. For some reason I didn't like the sound of that - mainly because I hope to have some kind of dust collection some day. So I created a "saw dust slide". This is just a piece of scrap ply wood angled to make the saw dust slide out the back of the cabinet. You can't see the back, but I also left the center section open. For now, the sawdust will collect on the floor behind the cabinet. Later I may close it up and add a dust collection port. For the front of the center section, I will probably build a cabinet door and just pile junk inside.
For finishing, I sanded to 220 and then applied 2 coats of tung oil. This was my first time using tung oil and I really like it. It dries clean and smooth and you can feel the wood even though it gives hard protection. Since this was just a garage project, I wasn't worried about the fininsh too much, but did want something that would resist most dirt and be easy to sweep off the sawdust.
Since this was such a success and it made the table saw easier to use, I am eager to start on the next project! (that will be either an outfeed table for the saw, or a cherry apothecary cabinet - stay tuned)