A unique approach to making a full-function work center
As a young carpenter living in an apartment and specializing in residential remodeling, I have to wear a lot of hats—and make them all fit into a truck and small trailer. That is why I always look for tools and techniques that combine multiple tasks into smaller packages, especially when it comes to table saws and table saw stands. To start with, I’ve always wanted one that would fit in my truck, but that’s just for starters.
For several years, I’ve considered buying a Rousseau table saw stand, after all, they get good grades from finish carpenters for being versatile and flexible, and I’ve heard from several remodelers that they can take a beating on a framing job, too. But other needs stopped me from taking the plunge.
As my career and skills have grown, I’ve found myself doing more and more quality built-ins, furniture and cabinetry. Not only do I use a table saw a lot on jobsites—for ripping stiles and rails, plywood and lumber, but for much of that joinery, I also use a Kreg pocket hole jig and their line of pocket hole accessories—which requires a decent-sized worktable. Plus, for the work I’ve been doing, I need a router table, too, something portable and easy to setup, for beading edges, rabbets, and dadoes.
Too many tables
Anyone with similar experience can see where I’m heading—that’s too many tables for a pickup truck. Ultimately, I’ve found the answer in a Rousseau table saw stand modified to incorporate a number of Kreg and Rousseau brand accessories, including Kreg Klamp Traks, Kreg Bench Klamps, and Rousseau’s new router plate and router fence.
The heart of my workstation is the Rousseau 2745 table saw stand. [photo 20] This stand was designed specifically to accommodate the DeWalt 745 table saw, which I chose due to its lightweight, portability and cutting performance. The stand itself is welded and powder coated steel—it’s durable and folds flat, making it easy to carry and store in my truck. I also use the Rousseau outfeed table—a critical accessory which hooks onto the rear tube of the stand, and provides an additional 45”of out feed support. I found that the out feed table also provides additional work surface when assembling frames. In a nutshell, this stand allows me to combine the mobility of a bench top table saw with a stable workstation and table-saw fence system that rivals most contractor-style saws.
Lessons learned the hard way
I experimented building several iterations of this workstation and learned many valuable lessons. No doubt you’ll notice that I’m working with different materials in some of the photos. Let’s just call that ‘experimentation.’ In this article, I’ll try to share the lessons I learned.
One of the first mistakes I made was to mount my t-track too far from the router plate, which meant my feather boards were mounted too far away to press narrow stock against the router fence. I recommend you first determine where you will locate your router plate, from there locate your t-track so your feather boards will reach the center of the router plate.
I also found that while the Kreg Klamp Traks have proven themselves to be an invaluable part of the setup, they are also by far the most tedious and labor-intensive part of the assembly process. The Kreg Klamp Traks attach to the extension table surface with an endless number of 1/4” hex bolts, spaced roughly 2” on center. The close spacing is troublesome but necessary: spaced too widely apart, the pressure exerted by the Kreg Bench Klamps will cause even the heavy-duty Klamp Traks to flex.
Because the bolts do not slide very well through the Klamp Trak, it’s also important to drill the holes for the bolts in a perfectly straight line, so that the bolts are positioned in the Klamp Trak when you drop it down. Otherwise, it’s difficult to fine-tune the position of the Trak on the table surface.
Another trick I discovered with the Trak was to hold them back slightly from the table saw side. This allows the user to insert Bench Klamps from either side, speeding some applications. Also, if you want to incorporate a T-track into your table surface make sure to leave a space in the Klamp Traks so you can slide accessories into the T-track.
If the Rousseau table saw stand is the skeleton of my workstation, then the Kreg Bench Klamps and Klamp Traks are the muscles.
Obviously, the two parallel Kreg Klamp Traks make it easy to secure and adjust a router fence, too. I use this technique frequently because it’s fast and doesn’t require extra parts or equipment.
The Kreg Bench Klamps are available in two different sizes. The smaller size works well on my small extension table, but if I had a larger workstation I would get a pair of the 9-in. clamps, too. Kreg recently updated their line of pocket-hole face clamps and bench clamps with a number of desirable improvements. All of the Kreg clamps are now available with comfortable rubberized grips, and the Bench Klamps have replaced the rear-mounted knurled thumb screw with a small rotating handle. This small handle is a great feature, as it allows the user to make rapid changes for different materials and fine tune clamping pressure. To set the clamping pressure, I push the clamp down to the work surface, turn the handle until tight, then release the clamp, and tighten another one quarter or one half turn, which is usually just enough pressure to secure the work without damaging the clamp or the track.
Building the Workstation
Here’s another lesson learned the hard way. For my initial prototype, I used screws to connect the finished top to the sub-base of the extension table.
A big mistake. Trust me. It’s better to use glue or contact cement, so when you’re cutting the hole for the router plate, you don’t hit a screw.
Kreg Klamp Trak
I experimented with a variety of methods for cutting the Kreg Klamp Trak., including a jigsaw fitted with a non-ferrous metal blade, and a cross cutting sled on a table saw. I found the easiest method that produced the cleanest cuts was using my Kapex miter saw fitted with an aluminum cutting blade. While not delivering 100% effectiveness, the dust extraction on the Kapex was a welcome feature when cutting the aluminum, collecting the majority of the aluminum shavings and easing cleanup. I took several safety precautions, including using the fast-acting hold-down clamp, keeping my fingers well clear of the blade, reducing the saw’s speed to the “3” setting, and of course wearing hearing and eye protection! I found it safest to cross-cut pieces longer than twelve inches. Trying to shave a little off aluminum is not possible. I made sure to have the full width of the blade in contact with the work, with a little extra on the waste side.
To rout grooves for the 3/4” T-tracks in the finished top, I used a router and guiderail, which made it easy to cut a straight, accurate dado and adjust the width and depth precisely.
To mount my router in the extension table, I used a Rousseau router plate. Rousseau offers a installation kit, which greatly simplifies the whole process. The kit includes a template and a two-piece guide bushing, with the end-user supplying a 1/2” router bit to match the corner radius of the router plate.
To adjust the router plate perfectly flush with the table, Rousseau supplies several threaded brass sleeves that mount into the lip. While this procedure was very quick and easy, I think it is better suited to a router table that lives in a shop, rather than one that’s going to bang around the back of a truck or van. Due to the thickness of my table, the plastic leveling screws had to be countersunk into the underside of the table, which is difficult given the proximity of the holes to the edge of the lip. Also, the corner snuggers supplied with the router plate seem nice, but I was looking for something that would give me a rock-solid installation for transportation, too.
After some research, I decided to use Kreg’s Router Insert Plate Levelers. These plastic plates are screwed to the underside of your router table, and feature a threaded post that allows precise adjustment for flushing the router plate to the table surface, as well as a threaded insert for fastening the router plate to the Leveler with a machine screw.
To accommodate the Kreg Levelers, I had to adjust the router plate opening so the screw holes of the plate and levelers would align. For this task, the Rousseau template wouldn’t work. Instead, I used Festool’s MFS template guide kit, with one template guide for the lip, and another for underside lip. In order to allow the tapped screw holes in the Kreg Levelers to align with the corresponding countersunk mounting holes in the router plate, I had to make the through-hole opening larger than the hole routed with the Rousseau template. Using the Festool MFS for this purpose was a little more tedious than using the Rousseau template, mostly because of the math involved in transferring imperial measurements to metric.
To make the conversion easier, I used a FastCap tape measure with dual scales on the blade. In addition to enlarging the through-hole, I routed a lip on the underside of the table to allow the leveling screws to reach the underside of the router plate.
The dust collection provided by the Festool router and template guide kept my work area clean, even while routing MDF. The template mounted securely using either Festool screw clamps or Kreg’s face clamps. As you’ll notice, I decided to center the router plate in the extension table.
Mounting the router
The Rousseau router plate did not come with holes predrilled for a router, which is nice because otherwise plates can end up looking like Swiss cheese.
Until I had my router mounted in the table, I’d never used the upper table adjustments. I was disappointed to learn that the small handle supplied with the router takes over thirty revolutions to go from the lowest position to the uppermost position. Not an acceptable long-term system. To make coarse adjustments, I purchased a “speed wrench” from a local auto parts store and attached a 10mm hex drive socket to the end. Now I use the small knob just for fine-tuning the bit depth and for locking the spindle.
Safety and craftsmanship go hand in hand. When routing, I make every effort to work safely. I use feather boards whenever possible; I use a bit guard; and I use a quality push stick.
One of the greatest selling points of the Rousseau table saw stand is its portability. I added a cubby slot to the drawers in my truck which accommodates the stand, but sometimes when I fill that space with other gear, it’s easy to tuck the stand behind the bench seat of my truck—a space otherwise wasted.
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Please don’t try anything you see in THISisCarpentry, or anywhere else for that matter, unless you’re completely certain that you can do it safely.
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Tom Gensmer lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota and has been a carpenter for nine years. He’s in the process of being certified by NARI as a Certified Lead Carpenter and is emplyed by Roncor Custom Rebuilders, where he works as a Lead Carpenter. Tom lives with his wife Beth and spends a great deal of his free time researching his craft through workshops, trade shows, online articles and forums.
Please feel free to leave comments!
Gary, how CAN I GET WORKING DRAWINGS ON THIS PROJECT CUSTOM
TABLE SAW . GREAT ARTICLE. WES
Sorry Wes, we never did real drawings for that story. Just a quick sketch. You’ll have to figure it out the hard way!
Nice article – I have that stand also, and have been putting off doing the router table mod-a thorough guide through the process – Thanks!!!
I like the multi-purpose table idea. Rousseau does not have a distributor in Canada as far as I can tell at this time. But their out feed idea is fantastic and wish there was one that would just fit on the back of the Bosch.
I am assuming that the router table was put on the side to keep the out-feed table free or is there a stability issue with the out-feed?
Good article. I have the same Rousseau table and extension, and have made similar modifications to accept my Dewalt Router, although I use the Rousseau fence (with a 3/4″x6″ tall wood face) for my router to eliminate the need for a second fence. The Rousseau Fence will work on both the front and rear sides of the table, so if you apply a stick down measuring tape on the back rail you can flip the fence over to the back rail for router use. I also built two removable plywood side skirts that hold a host of other attachments including tools, a vice, another home-made folding table extension, and an attachment that holds a door on end for planning. The Rousseau table is the heart of my portable workstation too. I’ve found it to be very durable and modifiable for custom on-site woodworking.
Hey Tom! Great article! It’s nice to see you are keeping yourself busy. I see you are still up to your same modifying and customizing tricks. I can tell you have put a lot of time and thought into this project. You have put together a very useful and versitile workstation. You’ve done a great job making a portable system, that works as good as a stationary one in a shop. I hope to build a nice portable workstation sometime, and will definately be using some of your ideas and techniques. Keep up the great work!!
Hi fellas, thanks so much for your time and kind words! The addition of the router table to the Rousseau stand really does expand the utility of the stand, and I highly recommend experimenting with the various clamping products that Kreg offers. Mr. Tuttle, I mounted the router table to the one side simply as a space issue, and I swap the outfeed table to either side depending on whether I’m sawing or routing. Mr. Hackett, I like your idea for clamping a door to the Rousseau stand, do you have any pictures? Tahzeeb, it’s great to hear from you! I hope you’re doing well and staying busy, I hope you stay in touch.
Best wishes to you all, stay busy and stay safe!
I am trying to find the past or present owners of the Sawhelper/ Ultrafence. I have had one for years and have a lot of contractor friends that would like one.
Thanks in advance
I’ve used a Rousseau saw stand with their extension table for almost 20 years. I modified the top to accept a drop-in router and use the fence for the saw and the router. I have the same setup on my shop saw. Works very well and provides lots of options. The only way to go.
great arcticle guys! this was a nice change of pace from the regular how-to columns. i would love to see an expansion of this article, or others similar to it. i have a lot of friends and aquaitances who are very talented in their craft, but when it comes to basics, like how to get on and off a job, i see very few of them with a system that works. most simply toss their tools in the truck or van, then hunt for them when they need them again.
I agree! I like to see more articles on Jobsite Setup, too! Why don’t YOU write one!
Great article. I agree with Alex’s comment concerning getting on and off the job site. I find myself in a similar situation, I live in an apartment and use a storage locker, but can’t leave tools in the truck over night. Have been tinkering around trying to find a way to arrange my tools in the bed of the truck for efficient on/off loading. The last picture (the bed of your truck) captured my attention. Would be interested in seeing additional pictures/info on the storage system you built. Specifically, the challenge for me has been coming up with a design that organizes tools, but also can be removed for materials, etc., while at the same time not breaking my back to disassemble/remove it.
That is a fantastic Idea. I would love to see more job site set up as well. I have the same saw as in the article but I do not have the cash to buy the items mentioned. I would love to hear from anyone that has built their own systems similar to this one. Lets face it these days cash is tight for a lot of tradesmen so making something would be more cost effective for a lot of us.
Great ideas, but where are the manufacturers in this discussion? What I’m the most surprised by is that less than a handful of companies who produce “job site” tools produce any useful add on components or create workable “systems”. I love my Rousseau table with it’s optional outfeed table, wheels and extensions, but it could have easily been a “system” that offered so much more. The featured Rouseau table has been in production now for well over a decade, where is the follow through product development? Why does it take someone like Tom to partner Rousseau with Kreg, those two companies should have figured that one out years ago and produced the product that Tom built. I wonder if the product designers at Rousseau have even read this article? Again, I don’t mean to pick on Rousseau as they produce the better products in their category, but it could be so much more. Gary we need you here. You’re the perfect person to be our spokesperson and give companies like Rousseau and Kreg a call.
Were it so easy! From my experience, every time a manufacturer (at least most ever time), sees an idea made by another manufacturer that fits with their product, they start thinking about how they could make something similar themselves. And then someone in their organization–an engineer, I believed they’re called–tries to come up with a way to make it for less money. And then some one else in the company–an accountant or someone trying to maximize profitability–pushes to make it even cheaper. Or maybe they decide its best not to make it cheaper, but they find ways to ‘improve’ it (if you know what I mean). The results aren’t always satisfying, for us or them, but still, that’s the way it seems to always happen. I’ll never forget the airless nail gun with the little compressor on top! I wish I still had one, just to show as an example of poor engineering.
I believe it’s up to us to invent new ways of using these tools. Tom did a nice job. I’d love to hear from more of you. Shoot some pictures. Write something about your workbench/jobsite setup!
Its like the problem that I have experienced with tool belt/nail bags. They are made by manufactures of tool belts/nail bags. They are not made by the people who wear them! I find that I always have to “fix” them before I can even make use of them. Even the most basic, tape measure on the left side, pencil on the right cuz when I’m gonna cut something…. thats what I need. Seems like most bags come with the tape measure compartment on the right hand side. I can visualize a designer thinking he has this tool thing under control. “Most people are right handed so I’ll put the tape measure right here on the right hip!” Wrong!
I too owned a Rouseau table saw stand with an out feed extension table. It was given to me by my mentor when he upgraded to a 10″ makita table saw. I also owned the table saw stand made by Skil which is far superior to the Rouseau. The legs have a bar which locks them into position angling slightly left and right away perpendicular to the blade, a wider stance makes for a more stable platform. Additionally it has opposing adjustable feet so that weight can be evenly distributed. The Skil stand uses the same 2″ square bar stock to run the fence on so I gave the Rouseau to a fellow craftsman and kept the outfeed extension, which I promptly modified. I removed the skimpy little 20″x 20″ melamine top that it came stock with and replaced it with a piece of 3/4″ plywood (25″x 48″) the same size as the top of the saw stand(they stacked nicely in my truck that way). I glued a simple trim edge to the plywood, then stained the whole thing so it wouldn’t warp. I cut the bracket so that i could mount the arms which held the 2″ square bar at one end of that new table and attached the remainder of that rouseau tooling (legs) to the other end. Now I have over 32sq ft of working surface for assembly, sanding, what have you. And the saw capacity was amazing. I was able to accurately rip 1 1/8″ plywood by myself when I fabricated my 16′ cut table…. but thats a story for another day.
This has truly inspired me to do some mods to my Rousseau setup. I have a separate Rousseau router table that I think will now combine into the table saw setup. I wish the Rousseau router extention had the T-trac but I like the idea of adding in the clamp down for the Kreg. Too much to do now. Great article.
Thank you for writing a great article! I know that this is a little bit off topic, but I was just wondering if Tom could tell us about his tool rig… I’ve been looking for the perfect pouch for a while now and his looks extremely practical and comfortable… More info please…
Hi there Joel! The belt set I’m wearing in the photos is a Occidental Leather 8098 set. I’ve been extremely pleased with is. The literature describes it as being well suited to framing and form work, but I’ve found it works well for just about everything I’ve thrown at it. I’ve had great luck with the set and would recommend them in a heartbeat. Thanks for reading the article, I’m excited every time Gary posts a new write-up!
I’m thinking of doing a similar project but I want to source the table in Canada does anyone know about this.
nice article! I particularly like reading the evolutionary steps. the speed wrench just kills me though. you gotta put that thing away….
weld a socket to the drive bolt, then use a socket driver in your cordless for coarse adjustment, and whatever you like for fine adjustment (socket driver handle that comes with the centrotec installer kit you’ve been wanting, -would be a really nice choice ;) )
nice job and great ideas, thanks
Great modification to the table. I too am preparing to update my tops and reprint the frame. Before I start, do you have any other newer modifications you have discovered. I love my table but am tried of changing tops every couple of seasons. I” m trying marine plywood this time. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
One other thing. What kind of tool belt is that? I like the support in the front and the notebook holder. Where did you find this.
By the way. I bought the rousseau table back 20 years ago with a Makita 2702 8″ table saw. then I bought a Hitachi Ctfs10 miter saw. I had the extension for the table to be able to rip 4×8 material alone. I added a few years later the routerlift kit, customised the fence with 3- 3/4 laminate fences that slid on tracks and were adjustable for the router and were also at the height of the Hitachi miter saw base to act also as the miter box table. I use a roller stand on the right. If I want to do multiple cuts and jigs on the miter saw I use a minimum of an 8″ flat material and a 2″ nose. From there you can do anything.
You didn’t invent this. I’ll send you a pic. My car and tools were just recently stolen and all that is gone. it will stand out. I built a new outfeed top and made a new table top that made it one piece with the extension. I also made the outfeed table 24″ wide which is still less than the width of a 2745 table.
you need to get fully immersed in festool , then get a bigger van and a killer theme song!
Hello, my name is Nick Powley, I’ve been a user of Festools for a long time and have worked with Rockler Hardware to invent, design, and commercialize new tools. I’m really interested in meeting you. Perhaps you can visit our shop/lab in Saint Paul, MN. I’d love to visit yours… Have a great holiday season!
Hey. Nice set up. I was wondering which Dewalt TS you are using with this stand. I have a makita right now, but it’s not cutting it, and I want to go Dewalt.
I just started getting more into building my own furniture. A friend of mine gave me a Dewalt DW745, and one of the issues that I’ve got is not being able to rip anything larger than 18″. After many hours of searching the internet, I found this, which looks like it will be very useful for me as well. I’ve got a small garage, and I can’t use a full size table saw.
Now to save some $$$!
Tom, it’s Jake from Wisconsin. We use to work together at Plekkenpol Builders for Joe. Great story! I was wondering how long it would be until I saw you on here. Keep up the good work. Looks like you still have the same Tundra.
This is the ultimate guide for building a customized table saw. Really loved this great piece of content. The way you have shown the process step by step is commendable. I can understand the quality of this content and I have learned so many new things about the table saw. thank you so much.
Hey Tom, Thanks for sharing the ultimate guideline step by step. I have learned my things, such as how to build and customize table saw. I will try at my workstation.