As the first chapter closed, I was preparing to rip one plywood sheet into 4″ and 5″ wide strips to make the framework and legs of the outfeed table. Following that, I cut the pieces for the support frame, and assembled it with pocket screws.
For the record, pocket screws are boring. Of course, that’s because they’re so drop-dead easy to use! The tedium arose from the fact that I didn’t buy one of Kreg’s ViseGrip-type clamps to hold the little Jr. jig in place, and so had to clamp with an F-clamp instead. Before my next project, I WILL get one of their clamps. That aside, once the holes were bored, installation went quicker than I imagined. Pocket screw joints themselves aren’t that secure. They are, after all, butt joints. But, when attached to a supporting surface such as a face-frame to a cabinet, or a set of stiffening rails to a tabletop, they are more than adequate, and certainly the equal of biscuits. In this case, they made attachment of the frame to the top a simple matter of a few minutes work driving screws. Don’t forget – the top is plywood, not solid wood.
As you can see above, the frame has an unusual shape. As I mentioned in the first part, the frame needed to clear the motor mounts for my saw, and the recess allows the motor to clear in its highest position. I could have made the gap narrower, but I wanted to be sure that my miter gauge grooves wouldn’t intersect any of the screws. I didn’t think a router bit hitting metal was a good idea. The holes to attach the frame to the top are clearly visible. Once this was done, I attached the top and trimmed it to size. This was a good point to call it a night, and attack the legs next.
Two days later, when I returned I had a problem – the top had warped. I had used a BC exterior plywood, since I planned to cover it with hardboard, and didn’t want to pay for a sheet of cabinet-grade birch. Big mistake. In other applications, this bowing wouldn’t be a problem, as you’re attaching it to a truly solid structure. However, with a frame made of plywood strips, the forces of nature win every time. As you can see, the deflection is almost 3/4″ in the middle – far more than acceptable in an application such as this. The only thing to do is remove the frame before it takes a permanent set and go get a sheet of the good stuff.
(sigh) Off to the lumberyard.