RAS Bench Upgrade Completed

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Hank Knight

New User
Hank
I have a Rockwell Super 900 RAS that my father bought new back in the 1950s. It's a great saw, but my setup for it was terrible. The saw was on it's original rolling stand and I had two separate benches cobbled together on either side of it against the wall behind my workbench. The whole thing moved around like a snake and it was impossible to keep the saw aligned and square. Finally, this Summer I had enough. I ripped out the old set up and built a new RAS bench with lots of drawers and storage space for my mortiser, tenoning jig and saw blades. I modified the RAS fence so I can remove the entire left side of it to give me access to the bench top for a work surface. I finally finished all the little details yesterday.

Here's my old setup:

Picture_007_Medium_.jpg

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Here's the new bench in-progress photo:


And the finished new RAS bench:


For the first time ever, I have empty drawers in my shop to fill :). My guess is that this time tomorrow, I'll be looking for storage space.

Thanks for looking.

Hank
 

red

Papa Red
Red
Senior User
That is an awesome improvement to the old set up and it looks great!

Red
 

Hank Knight

New User
Hank
Thanks, all, for the compliments. I'm looking forward to actually using the RAS. It's been "down" during the construction. Actually, that was a good thing. I took the opportunity to have the saw motor serviced with new bearings and a new power cord. Nothing had been done to it since the 1950s; I figured it was time. It should be good for another 60 years.

Some answers:

bobby g: The drawers vary from the shallowest at 2" to the deepest at 6." Most are in the 3" to 4" range. The two large bins at the bottom center are 12 1/2" deep to accommodate routers, drills and other miscellaneous tailed hand tools. Shallow drawers have always worked best for me. Deep ones become black holes into which stuff disappears, never to be seen again.

junquecol: I'm running a 9" Forest Woodworker 1 on the saw. I didn't know there were 10" blade guards for the machine. The 9" blade has always done fine for me, and I sometimes run an 8" dado on it. I don't know that I would change if I found a 10" guard.

Thanks again for all the nice comments.

Hank
 

Mike Wilkins

Mike
Senior User
That is a sweet set-up. Hope you don't mind if I steal a few ideas for myself. By the way; what is the height with the bench top installed. Thanks.
 

Hank Knight

New User
Hank
Mike,

The RAS bench is the same height as my workbench: 34". Feel free to take as many ideas as you like. That's why I posted the photos.

Hank
 

merrill77

Master Scrap Maker
Chris
Nice setup! Feels great to get things organized and add storage space, doesn't it?!?! Not to mention a better place to work.
 

JohnW

New User
John
Thanks Hank....I'm doing the same upgrade and got several good ideas from your pictures. Can you tell me (us) a little about the fence? How is it attached to the counter top?

I was thinking about putting up a permanent fence but only about 48" long on both sides. Then routing a groove that an aux fence could set in when I needed to extend the stop out longer than 4'. The Aux fence would have pins or dowels to hold it in place when in use but could be easily removed opening up some counter space.

Anyone see any issues with this idea?

I also build all drawers and have each one full already. But all mine are 6" deep or more. Wish I had some shallow drawers like you made. Excellent workmanship...thanks again for posting.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Wow, that looks great. Trying to find something to criticize here, but coming up blank.....oh wait, the bottom drawer on the second to last bank of drawers isn't closed all the way. Sloppy work! :rolf:

Love the drawer pulls.
 

Hank Knight

New User
Hank
Thanks Hank....I'm doing the same upgrade and got several good ideas from your pictures. Can you tell me (us) a little about the fence? How is it attached to the counter top?

John,

I built my RAS fence and stop blocks years ago from an article in one of the magazines. I wish I could give you the cite, but I don't recall it. I think the design in the magazine was for a miter gauge extension with stop blocks. I just extended it and modified it for my RAS.

The top of the RAS is designed to clamp the fence between sections of the wooden top - much like a Workmate top. The sections of my fence that extend out over the bench top are held in place with brackets I made from aluminum angle. I cut 2" sections from the angle and drilled them to accept #10 pan head screws into the fence and 5/16" X 3" SS bolts through the bench top into threaded inserts in the under side of the top. There are three brackets holding the left section in place and one at the far end of the right section. There are two indexing dowels in the end of the left section that fit into corresponding holes in the end of the right section which remains clamped in the saw. These keep the two sections of the fence aligned and prevent them from twisting. The right section is primarily held in place and square by the saw table clamp; the bracket is simply to keep the far end from flexing out of alignment.

The left, long section of the fence is completely removable by unscrewing the bracket bolts. Removing the left section allows me to use the entire surface of the bench, unobstructed by the fence. If I need to crosscut long boards, the section is easy to replace and it stays aligned with the right section that remains clamped in the saw. I can also remove the right section by loosening the table clamp and removing the bolt through the bracket on the far right end. This allows me to replace my good fence with a sacrificial board fence for miter cuts and other RAS fixtures. The clamping feature of the saw table insures that these fixtures remain square to the cut line of the blade.

I'm sure this explanation is clear as mud. Here are some photos that might help understand it.

The brackets holding the left section of the fence:


Here's a photo of one of the brackets:

Here's the connection between the left and right fence sections:

The clamping feature of the saw table is probably difficut to understanad from my poor description. I don't know if this will help or not. It's a couple of photos of the saw table with the fence removed. You can see the 3/4 X 3/4 strip on the under side of the fence in the first photo. It fits in the channel behind it and is clamped in place my tightening the two chrome knobs on the front of the saw - think Workmate. This insures that the fence remains square to the cut line each time it is clamped in place.


Here is the table clamping mechanism:

A loose piece of MDF fits in the wide gap filling it in and leaving a narrow gap for the tenon on the bottom of the fence.

That's probably way more than you wanted to know, but I didn't know how else to explain it. Hope it makes sense.

Hank
 
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JohnW

New User
John
Hank, your description IS clear as mud...:gar-La; But I've had a long career working with murky turbid water so your pics and explaination are not muddy at all. I really appreciate your pics and time spent doing this. My table has a similar type of clamping system and I do plan on using your fence extension idea with indexing pins. My stops will be different so I don't need to rout the T channel. But I really like your whole concept and excecution.

Again, a BIG thank you.

John W
 
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