Adjustable Stock Support

Keep your work rolling along with this handy helper.

When I designed this portable roller stand, I decided on a sturdy tripod arrangement using maple. 

I notched the front foot to provide two points of contact with the floor at the front end and added the swing-out back foot for the third point. To make the support versatile, I incorporated an adjustable arm with a roller head that can be set to match the heights of my tablesaw, jointer, and planer and a basic locking mechanism to secure it in place. And when the work’s over, I fold the unit flat and stow it away.

Build the base and sliding arm

1 Cut the front foot (A), front leg (B), housing sides (C), housing cover (E), back leg (G), sliding arm (H), and head (I) to the sizes shown in Figure 1. 

Note also that the bottom edge of the front foot is bevel-cut at 17°.

2 Choose loose-tenon, mortise-and-tenon, or dowel joinery for the front foot/leg assembly (A, B) and the sliding arm/head assembly (H, I). Do the needed joint machining now, but hold off gluing the parts together. If going with loose tenons, rip and plane a 

12"-long piece of tenon stock to 1⁄4" thick by 11⁄2" wide. Round-over the edges and test the stock’s fit in the slot mortises. Sand, if needed, and then cut two 2"-long loose tenons. Set them aside.

3 Mark a centered hole 7⁄8" down from the top edge of head (I) on each end. Using a tall right-angle fence and clamps on the drill press to secure the workpiece, bore 1⁄4" holes 3" deep into the ends for the 1⁄4" steel rod (see Tips & Tricks on page 14 for another technique). Also, drill the 1⁄4" pivot hole through the top end of back leg (G), which includes brackets (D).

4 Mark the radii on the front foot (A), back leg (G), and head (I). Strike a line between the radii on the bottom edge of the front foot to describe the notch. Bandsaw all the radii to shape and cut out the front foot notch, cutting just outside the lines. Note that when you cut the radii on the back leg and front foot that you cut out brackets (D) and back foot (F). Sand all radii to the cutlines. Sand a radius on the top inside end of the back leg to allow it to swing out.

5 Install a dado set in your tablesaw and raise it to 13⁄4". Strike cutlines 27⁄8" in from the ends of the head (I). Now, using a sacrificial extension fence on your miter gauge, cut out the roller assembly notch.

6 Build the lock housing by first gluing and clamping the housing sides (C) to the front leg (B), flushing the sides’ edges with the back of the leg. Let dry. Temporarily clamp the housing cover (E) to the assembly, and then plane and joint the sliding arm (H) until it slides smoothly in the housing. Drill the 1" hole in the housing cover, and then glue and clamp the cover in place.

7 Glue and clamp the front foot (A) to the front leg (B) and the sliding arm (H) to the head (I). (We show loose tenon joinery.) Let dry. Center, glue, and screw the back foot (F) to the back leg (G).

8 Rout 1⁄2" stopped round-overs along the ends and top edge of front foot (A) and ends and bottom edge of head (I).

Add the roller and arm lock

1 Bandsaw 11⁄2" schedule 40 PVC pipe to 12" long (actual inside pipe diameter is 19⁄16"). Cut out the mating round head plugs (J) with a holesaw. Now hacksaw a 1⁄4" steel rod 

(Figure 1). Taper-sand the head plugs to fit them into the pipe ends. Feed the rod through the hole at one end of the head (I), the plugs, and into the opposing head hole. Rotate the pipe on the rod to ensure it spins freely, widening the plug holes if needed. Bond the plugs in the pipe and the rod ends in the head with two-part epoxy.

2 Cut out the lock block (K) and the knob (L) and assemble the sliding arm lock (Lock Section View in Figure 1). Note that when the knob is turned, the threaded rod advances through the T-nut in the lock block, pressing the dowel forward and against the arm to lock it.

3 Glue and screw the brackets (D) onto the back face of the housing assembly (A, B, C, E), spacing them to accommodate the back foot/leg assembly (F, G).

Attach the two assemblies together and set the support on the floor. Apply the 8"-long chain with screw eyes where needed to spread the legs about 20" apart.

4 Now slip the sliding arm and roller assembly (H, I, J) into the housing and test the sliding arm lock. To firmly support stock, adjust the roller to match your various tool table heights and then turn the knob to lock the arm and head assembly in place. Drill 1⁄4" holes for removable dowel pins just above the top edge of the housing cover (E) and through the sliding arm (H). Sand and finish the stand and give it a trial run. 

About This Outtake

During our coverage of Dave Arnold’s workshop in New Albany, Indiana (Issue 24, Aug/Sept 2008), we discovered this accommodating work support.

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