I arranged the rollers in two staggered rows on the top of a T-shaped mount. This arrangement packs the balls closer together and gives you more support when feeding narrow workpieces.
Rout a long slot down the center of the post that supports the roller head. When mounted in the base, a carriage bolt extends through the post slot and the back of the guide. A star knob and a fender washer secure the post in the guide. To adjust the height of the stand, loosen the knob.
As drawn, the support stand adjusts from 30″ to 46-1/2″ high — just a little lower and a little higher than the tools in my shop. If it doesn’t work for your shop, you can change the height range by varying the length of the guide, post and slot.
Extension table • The table is just a 1/2″-thick piece of plywood. I mounted the plywood to 3/4″ frame members to stiffen it and covered the top with plastic laminate to prevent the surface from wearing.
One end of the extension table is attached to the roller head with a piano hinge. Screw the hinge to the table first, then position it on the roller head. Have a grandkid hold the table out horizontal while you move the hinge until the tops of the roller bearing are 1/16 ” above the top of the table. Clamp the hinge to the roller head and secure it with screws.
The other end of the table hooks to a ledger. This is a one-by with a few holes in it. Bolt the ledger to the side of the machine or bench where you want to attach the support stand. The top face of the ledger should be precisely 3/4″ below the work surface. Install L-hooks in the end of the table, spaced the same as the holes in the ledger. The hooks fit in the ledger, securing the table. You can fine-tune the height of the table by bending the hooks.
I’ve made several ledgers and attached them to the tools where I use the support stand. I’ve attached two ledgers to my table saw — one for ripping and one for crosscutting. This lets me move the stand wherever it’s needed.
Cut a slot in the table to serve as a handhold to carry the stand around the shop. To keep the table from flipping up when you do this, install a hook-and-eye in the underside of the roller head and the extension table.
Microadjustment jack • The jack is just a carriage bolt that turns in a T-nut. The T-nut rests in a small base that’s slightly wider than the post and thinner than the dadoes in the guide. This lets you slide it in and out of the dadoes whenever you must readjust the height of the stand. The head of the carriage bolt is imbedded in a wooden knob with several tabs around the circumference. These tabs not only help you turn the knob, they allow you to calculate precisely how much you’re raising or lowering the roller head and extension table.
The carriage bolt is 3/8″ x 16 threads — which is 16 threads per inch. Turn it just one revolution and you raise or lower the stand 1/16″. One-quarter turn (one tab) moves the stands 1/64″.
The top of the carriage bolt butts against a small wooden “finger” that is glued to face of the post, flush with the bottom. I drilled a shallow countersink in the bottom of this finger. The domed head of the carriage bolt rests in this countersink. This, in turn, keeps the bolt from wandering or wobbling as you turn the knob. PW
Nick Engler is a contributing editor for Popular Woodworking.