Workshop tip: Collapsible cutting frame makes it easy to break down large parts

The genesis of this tip was my desire for a safe, inexpensive surface for breaking down sheet goods and long boards. Moving big pieces over my cabinet saw is more difficult than cutting them with a track saw or circular saw. This folding frame provides the sacrificial surface I was looking for, and also turns out to be a great place for drilling, routing, cutting with a jigsaw, etc.

parts of the collapsible cutting frame

Made from a few lengths of solid wood or plywood, joined with common hinges, the frame folds out to sit securely on sawhorses, placing its top surface at an ergonomic height for all sorts of handheld power tools.

using a collapsible cutting frame

storing the collapsible cutting frame

At 72 in. by 30 in., fully extended, it’s large enough to support a full sheet of plywood or MDF, and the ends can be folded in to collapse the frame for smaller workpieces (or collapse it completely for storage). Whether the frame is partly collapsed or fully extended, optional 2x2s drop into notches along the top to support cutoffs. Folded flat, it hangs on a wall in my shop and is very easy to transport.

Sized to match the height of your tablesaw, this cutting frame could double as a foldaway outfeed table in a small shop.

—ROBERT KIRKENDALL, West Linn, Ore.

Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From Fine Woodworking issue #295

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