By Mark Clement
Carpenter Scott Kahle wanted a better way to work with and move his portable table saw. The result is his new rolling, collapsible Kwik-Stand.
In the open position, the unit is a wide, stable surface for ripping, including an integral outfeed that's just the right height. Collapsed, the Kwik-Stand is a low-riding, two-wheeled cart that makes moving your saw around a breeze.
Setup. Kahle designed the Kwik-Stand for the new generation of larger-capacity portable table saws. His setup instructions could be clearer, but after some trial and error, it all came together.
The saw platform is an open steel frame to which you screw planks with self-tapping screws. Next, screw or bolt your saw to these planks; the planks must be the correct thickness or set at the proper height to raise your saw deck level with the outfeed support. It took some fiddling around to get my saw set right; an adjustable outfeed bar would've made setup easier.
Ripping Good Outfeed. The best thing about the Kwik-Stand is how easily it opens and collapses. Once I mastered the technique, I rolled it into position and ripped 300 feet of 10-foot 2-by to make stops for the porch screens I was installing. The round outfeed support (it's fixed, not a roller) doubles as the pull handle when the stand is collapsed. Opened, it's spaced just far enough from the saw that none of the material wanted to tip off the front of the stand at the end of the cut. It also was close enough to the saw so that when I ripped a thin piece of cedar clapboard, the material didn't sag and jam. In fact, because the outfeed support is round, even if your setup isn't perfect, the support will catch the material and carry it over the support.
At 26 1/2 inches wide, the outfeed will support a full sheet of plywood on a 24-inch-wide rip, but ripping a full sheet of 3/4-inch birch ply is a two-man job. If I needed to do this all the time, I'd offset the saw to the right of the platform so I could get as much support under the entire sheet as possible. Also, the stand starts to tip forward at the end of the cut. I'd fit a piece of 2-by between the outfeed bar and the ground for extra support or screw a pair of skids to the legs.
Another nice feature of this stand is that it's open. If you use plywood instead of planking for your base, you can easily attach a vac or dust collector to catch sawdust; both the hose and the suction unit can be tucked out of the way under the outfeed support.
Rolling Around. Collapsing the saw is easy and rolling it around really made me wonder why I'd been carrying my saw all these years. The saw rides low, so there's little risk of tipping, even on a hill or rough terrain. And the solid-rubber 12-inch wheels make obstacles like stairs or debris easy to roll over. Setting it up anywhere outside, on a wood deck, or on the first floor is easy. The hard plastic feet may make things a little easier on the surfaces you've set up on, but I bet they'll wear out after a while, exposing a sharp metal edge. If you plan to be climbing stairs to the second floor a lot, the Kwik-Stand is tight on a 3-foot-wide stair, but still makes it.
My only complaint about the Kwik-Stand is a minor one: It's big. It's 56 inches long collapsed and takes up a lot of space in a van or truck bed because you have to lay it down. Nevertheless, at that height, it's pretty easy to pull up into your truck bed without help. I don't think its size would be a problem in most shops; when open, it's hardly bigger than a table saw on sawhorses. I left the saw set up in my small shop and it was great.
Wish List. As is, the Kwik-Stand is a winner. It's simple, tough, and makes jobsite table-saw use significantly easier. But after covering it in sawdust and moving it around for a while, I saw some things that I'd add if I could weld. First would be an adjustable infeed support for long work or for staging plywood before the cut; it also would protect the saw fence and adjustment knobs so you could store the saw upright off the wheels. I might make the outfeed support adjustable up or down, too, so I could quickly install any saw I want on there, or so I could use it with a miter saw or even a thickness planer.
There are two release hooks you need to disengage before opening up the unit from the cart position. I'd connect them with a bar, so this action becomes one swift movement. Since there are a few pinch points on the tool, I'd also add some caution stickers. And if there were locking casters on there for use in the open position, there'd be nothing this tool couldn't do for a portable table saw on site or in the shop.
Kwik-Stand, $175. 518-537-6888
Spec out Table Saws on ebuild, the Professional's Guide to Building Products(TM).
Published in TOOLS OF THE TRADE Magazine, January/February 2003