So regular visitors to this site probably remember that not too long ago, I acquired a new bandsaw. https://sawdusting.com/2021/06/11/breathe-in-that-new-tool-smell/ Once unpacked, I set it up on my outfeed table to be sure it all worked (it did) but that was in the way. I moved it to my mobile table, but that too was in the way. It needed a proper home – something that was mobile and also at a height I thought would be comfortable to work at. My first thought was simply to purchase the open metal stand that is available for the saw and add a mobile base to it. I pondered ways to add some storage by retrofitting some shelves or something to the metal frame, but in the end, I ditched that option and decided to just make my own. That way I could better adjust the height, and add plenty of storage for my collection of bandsaw blades. Speaking of that, are 2 blades considered a collection, or do I need to purchase more? Does it matter than one is on the saw, so I am only storing one extra? On the plus side, if I do get more (if, really? when I get more….) blades, I have a place to keep them.
Like most woodworking projects, this one started off by pondering. They never show this part on youtube. Who would ever watch someone standing around thinking? That said, rolling various ideas around in your head before starting is an important step, for me anyway. Should the base be flared like the metal stand that Rikon sells, how tall should it be, what kind of casters will I use, drawers or shelves (open or behind doors)? Does it need a frame, with a cabinet inset, or simply a cabinet on wheels? You get the idea. I decided to make it as a plywood box, known as a cabinet carcase, that would have an open side for the drawers rather than shelves. No extra frame needed. 3/4″ plywood should be more than strong enough here. I decided to go with simple locking casters like I have used elsewhere in my shop. The height of the top of the mobile base would be 32″. This is somewhat arbitrary, but it felt like a good height for me to stand at the bandsaw to cut a curve, but was also low enough that the top of the saw would not hit any of the HVAC ductwork or other things hanging from the ceiling of my basement. I was a bit intimidated by the angles to make it flared from top to bottom like the metal stand, so I went with square – it is about 22″ wide, and 21″ deep. With the overhang of the top surface, it is about 24″ wide.
First up was breaking down some plywood. I did this with my “track like” saw as well as on the table saw with the outfeed table I recently finished. https://sawdusting.com/portfolio/outfeed-assembly-table/ To assemble the carcase, I simply used butt joints with wood glue, and then after predrilling with a pilot/countersink bit, I screwed them together. It’s shop furniture, so I don’t mind seeing the fasteners and since they are all on the side, you can’t see them when you use it anyway. After assembling the top, bottom, and two sides, it was time to put on the back. Again, I used 3/4″ plywood for the extra stability, though it is probably overkill. I thought about cutting a rabbet to allow me to recess the back panel – but since it was after I had assembled it, the table saw could not be used. A router could work, but I don’t have a rabbeting bit set, so I decided to just glue and screw it to the back. Only later did I remember that on a recent trip to my father’s shop, he gave me a rabbeting bit set that he never uses. It was right there in the drawer of my outfeed table. Next time…. Anyway, once everything was assembled, I cleaned up a few edges with a flush trim bit and then it was good to go.
So with the carcase all assembled, it was time to build the drawers. This entailed more pondering. How many drawers? All the same size? Skinny? Deep? Inset drawer fronts or overlay? I settled on two shallower drawers and two deep drawers. I was concerned about making them too deep and losing stuff on the bottom, or simply getting things tangled and messy in them. I went with overlay drawer fronts, meaning the drawer front would overlap the edges of the plywood on the cabinet, hiding that from view. I also tried to work out the math so that the 2 top and 2 bottom drawers would be the same size, even though the very top and very bottom drawers would have to cover the plywood edge. Since I do not know how to use SketchUp or Fusion 360, I did it on a piece of paper. In the end, the math worked, but I used the wrong spacers on two of them, so it is off by 1/8″. You can guess in the comments where the extra space ended up.
Anyway, back to the construction. The drawers are built the same as on my outfeed table. The false fronts and the backs are pocket screwed to the sides, covered by the drawer-front on one end, and hidden inside the carcase on the other. My younger daughter helped with this part – she likes drilling pocket holes. Well, she liked drilling some, and then she left the rest for me. The drawer bottoms were glued and screwed on, and then trimmed with a flush trim bit. Like my other drawers, all the edges got a small roundover, and were sanded smooth.
At this point work in the shop ceased. I came around the corner of the outfeed table and noticed all the water on the floor. The remnants of Hurricane Henri had arrived. A number of the tools in my shop are plugged in to the same circuits as my sump pumps. I need to stop using the tools before they start cycling on to avoid tripping the circuit. A project that future me will have to address someday. So long as the sump pumps (yes, there are two of them) are working, I just get puddles on the floor. Everything in the basement is raised up on something so nothing gets damaged. Sawdust gets swept up each time I use the shop to be sure it doesn’t get washed in to the pump, or just turn into a soggy mess. Thankfully the floor usually dries in a day or so and then I can get back to business. One bonus, while I was on hiatus from the shop, the drawer slides arrived from Rockler (https://www.rockler.com/centerlinereg-lifetime-series-757-100-lb-over-travel-drawer-slides-black-drawer-slides). These are the same ones I used on the outfeed table and I am very pleased with them.
When I got back in the shop it was time to mount all the drawer slides. Using my piece of paper with my rudimentary math on it as a guide, I worked out the spacing for them. I cut some spacers to hold the slides in place in the cabinet so I could screw them in. I started at the top and mounted that pair of slides first. Then I cut the spacers the right amount shorter, and mounted the next. I continued working my way down the cabinet until all four pair of slides were in place. All things considered, this part was smoother than I expected.
Now that the slides were in place, it was time to connect them to the drawers. Again using spacers, I raised the bottom drawer off the very bottom by a bit, and then extended the slides. I clamped them to a stop on the front, so they stayed in position, and added a screw to each side. Then I extended the drawer a bit further out, and added another pair of screws. This continued until both sides were secure. Another benefit of full extension or over-travel slides is you can mount the drawers in them without separating them to get to the back screws.
Next up, making the drawer fronts. These were cut on the table saw from more of the same 3/4″ plywood. I added a roundover to the edges, front and back, all the way around, and sanded them smooth. Once again, I tried using Total Boat Halcyon Clear in gloss, only this time after the first coat, I gave it a day, sanded it, and then applied the next coat of gloss, and a final coat of satin as per the directions. This worked out better than my experience on the outfeed table. Still not as smooth as, say, wipe-on poly, but it looks nice and it is smooth enough. Then it was on to attaching the drawer fronts. I also attached the casters at this point. Now all that was left was some kind of handle to open the drawers, and an additional piece of 3/4″ ply for the top that would extend over the sides a bit, as well as over the depth of the drawer fronts as well, keeping the sawdust out of the drawers.
Now, drawer pulls. I wanted a handle, rather than a round knob. I also don’t know how to turn something on a lathe, so sticking with handles. Once again I wanted to use a bit of walnut, just because. My father had provided some scraps, so I set out to come up with a design. I didn’t want to repeat what I had done on the outfeed table as those collect sawdust in them. I could have just left off the chamfer on top, but I was looking to try something different. More pondering led me to a cross piece of walnut, with some plywood at each end. The plywood would be small squares with a dado in them to receive the walnut, that would serve as the standoffs to create space for fingers, and a mounting point, to attach them to the drawers. Once assembled, I wasn’t thrilled. It felt like I should be using the bandsaw to make the drawer pulls – they should be curved in some fashion.
I decided to resaw some scrap into thinner pieces. This is a great task for the bandsaw and it was surprisingly easy to do. I even used the bandsaw to make a quick little push stick. They weren’t quite even when I was done, but dragging out the planer (future me needs to make a base for that too) was more effort than I wanted to put in, so I made a quick little holder with a piece of plywood and some scrap hardboard and CA glue, that allowed me to simply hold my resawn boards up to a sanding belt and get them to about the right size. They didn’t need to be perfect.
This time I started with a gradual curve on the side away from the drawer, and to create space for fingers, I added another curve on the inside, but of a narrower diameter. The bigger curve I traced on to the walnut using a takeout food container, then rough cut it on the band saw (four times). Then I taped the four pieces back together and refined the curve on the sander until it was right up to the line. Then using the spindle end of the sander, I simply sanded the curve in to the drawer side until it looked right. I continued to use the sander to gently round over all the edges and pointy parts, and then moved on to the random orbital sander working up the grits, and finally a sanding by hand. Lastly I cut some grooves into some walnut to receive the curvy bits I made, and then cut them down on the cross cut sled (still haven’t settled on a name, Sleddrick? Sledward? Sledwig?) into one inch squares. I assembled them using a 1-2-3 block as a spacer and secured them with wood glue for strength, and a bit of CA glue and accelerator to serve as the clamp while the wood glue dried. I was much happier with these.
The homestretch….. I applied 3 coats of wipe on poly to the walnut handles and once dry, mounted them to the drawers. Then I cut a final piece of plywood to be the top. There is an inch of overhang on the left and right sides in case I need to clamp something on. There is 3/4″ overhang on the front to cover the tops of the drawer fronts. It is flush in the back in case is wish to push it up against a wall. I rounded the corners, sanded it and then applied white primer. That was followed up with three coats of blue paint. It was left over from the scoreboards I made, and it matches the Rikon blue so well, I couldn’t resist. I will probably regret it later when it gets all banged up, but for now, I think it looks great. Once the paint was dry, I attached the top with wood screws drilled and countersunk from below. Finally, I placed the saw on top and marked the holes to mount it. I removed the saw, drilled them out, and then replaced the saw. I secured it to the base with 1/4″ by 2 1/2″ hex bolts and lock nuts. I placed my single bandsaw blade in the top drawer and then it was complete.
So far, the only issue I have discovered is when I roll it about the basement, the floor is so bumpy and uneven that sometimes the drawers slide open on their own. Need to ponder some more about that. I hope that you enjoyed reading about it. If you have any suggestions for improvements to my mobile base (I do have more to make), or questions about the project, please comment below. As always, thank you for reading along.
2 thoughts on “Mobile Base for my Bandsaw”
Excellent choice on the rounded walnut handles. And curious to know, where did the take-out model come from? 😉
Thanks! Don’t remember which restaurant, I have quite the bin full of takeout containers. It was an easy way to find a nice curve.