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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

This month:

Plugging The Holes

End-Of-Day Strategies For Greater Workshop Efficiency

Killin' Time

Off The Cutting Room Floor

Plugging The Holes

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

Some astute watchers of the SawStop Outfeed Table video series asked about dust potentially accumulating in the access holes for the top leveling adjustment screws. A plug that sits on the surface of the table could interfere with the smooth movement of boards and possibly get in the way while doing glue-ups. I'll bet someone has already come up with a great preventive idea, but here is what I did.

Figure 1 - Parts to make one "stopper" 

You will need the following hardware, which should be available at any reasonably well-stocked big-box or hardware store:

  • 4 - #6-32 X 1/2" Thumb Screws
  • 4 - 3/16" ID X 7/16" OD Rubber Grommets
  • 8 - #6-32 Hex Nuts
  • 8 - #6 Flat Washers

Thread one nut onto a thumbscrew and take it all the way down to the end. Add a washer, then the rubber grommet, another washer, and then thread on another nut and tighten it down slightly (hand tight without tools is about right).

Figure 2 - Thread the first nut onto the thumbscrew 
Figure 3 - Assemble the rest of the parts as described 
Figure 4 - The assembled "plug" 

The two nuts tightening down on the grommet flatten it slightly, thereby expanding its diameter. The assembly will then fit snugly into the access hole (see photos). Push it down until the "thumb" part of the thumbscrew is below the surface of the table. To remove the "dust plug" simply use a pair of needle nose pliers. If you need a slightly tighter fit, crank down on the nut another half-turn causing the grommet to flatten and expand further.

Figure 5 - Push the plug down until it is
just below the surface of the table 
Figure 6 - The plug is easy to remove
with a pair of needle-nose pliers 
Figure 7 - A simple but effective way to keep dust out of
the top leveling adjustment access holes 

This arrangement will keep dust out of the holes. Most times a quick vacuuming will remove any dust that accumulates on top of the plug. Whenever an adjustment to the torsion box top leveling system is needed, simply remove the "plugs."

Did you have a better idea? Let us know and we will be sure to share it!

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