Miter Saw Station



A miter saw does not work too well without a system to support the stock that is being cut. Once a miter saw was added to the tool inventory, it became apparent that a miter saw table would be necessary. But the only ones available were very costly and made of some type of metal tubing or were not something that would lend themselves to semi-permanent mounting. After a lengthy search, plans for a miter saw station were discovered in ShopNotes, Issue Number 31 (January, 1997). The back issue was ordered and materials collected. The basic design was good but there were several improvements made to the original design.


January 15, 2010

I have received several emails telling me that ShopNotes Issue Number 31 is no longer available. I appreciate the time you have taken to send me email. After repeated contacts with August Home Publishing, I was finally put in contact with Craig Stille. In an effort to makes the plans to this project available to the woodworking community, Craig worked to see that these plans were brought out of the archives and posted on PlansNow.com where, for a nominal fee, we may download a PDF copy of the plans. It's a great deal so please click here to view PlansNow.com for the Miter Saw Station plans. Special thank to Craig Stille, Gordon Gaippe and all those in the chain of events at August Home Publishing Company that led to the plans for this project being brought out of the archives and posted for download. Thank you!

Plans Available At:

Plans Now


Miter Saw Station, front view with wings extended With a total wing span in excess of eight feet, this miter saw station supports stock on both the left and right of the miter saw. It is made from birch plywood and oak. Hinged wings are held up by hinged wing supports making the supports collapsible. Original plans called for raw plywood edges in the final product but the necessary time was taken to trim the edges in solid oak. Wheels were added to the cabinet to make it movable.
Miter Saw Station, front left view with wings extended The supports on both sides of the saw have tape measures that read to zero at the edge of the saw blade. Both wooden fences are notched at the end closest to the saw. This allows the aluminum saw fences to be slid out to the sides when making beveled cuts with the saw.
Miter Saw Station, front view of cabinet and scrap box A small shelf is available just under the cabinet's table top for stock that is being cut. That means the operator does not need to lay the pieces around on the table top where they might be damaged or create a hazard. Below the shelf is a box for scrap wood. After all, there is plenty of scrap wood created at a miter saw station. The scrap box was made with 3/4" birch plywood on all four sides with a 1/2" plywood bottom. Handles were cut in the front and back of the box for easy transport to the fireplace. Also, notches were cut in the front and back so that pitching scraps of wood in the box would be easier.
Miter Saw Station, bottom view of extended wing Another enhancement to the original plan was to make the supports adjustable. With this design enhancement, the supports can be moved toward the front and back of the cabinet in addition to moving inline with the stock. Setting the alignment of the wooden fences was made easier by doing this because it can all be done without removing the supports to adjust the support mounting plates. This picture shows the bottom side of one of the hinged wings. The slots for the front-to-back adjustment are visible in the bottom of the wing.
Miter Saw Station, adjustable stop detail view An aluminium track was installed in the top of the wooden fence. This track accommodates a stop against which stock is measured for "repeatable" length cuts. The stop is secured in the aluminum track with the black knob on the top of the stop. To move the stop a simple twist of the black knob allows the stop to be slid from side to side to achieve the correct setting. An extension (not shown) may be added to the stop for shorter cuts. The extension is secured into the stop with the wing nut.
Miter Saw Station, adjustable stop flipped up detail view You would expect the stop to flip up for cuts in longer material without having to readjust the stop along the ruler. As expected, this stop flips up and out of the way too. The dust relief chamfer on the bottom of the stop is clearly visible in this picture.
Miter Saw Station, front view with wings folded for storage The wings can be folded down for storage. This is one of the main advantages of this design.
Miter Saw Station, side view with wings folded for storage This picture shows how the wings and supports nest together when folded for storage.
Miter Saw Station, nested wing support detail view With the wings and supports folded up the bolt that makes contact on the bottom of the wing is visible. A carriage bolt threaded into a brass threaded insert is held at the appropriate height with a wing nut. This bolt is used to provide the up-down adjustment of each wing.
Miter Saw Station, wing support level adjustment detail view A close-up picture of the adjustment is visible in this picture. It is attached to a block secured to the wing support. Nested conveniently out of the way, it is ready for storage.
Miter Saw Station, front view with wings extended and saw set for folded compound miter cut The table is configured for a compound miter cut with the right fence of the saw slid to the right into the notch provided in the wooden fence. This movement allows room for the saw to cut a bevel without hitting the saw's fence.

The convenience of a miter saw in the shop cannot be overstated. There are not too many plans around for a miter saw station but this design is a clear leader even though it is several years old.

As I receive questions, I'll post the questions and answers here. I have not been doing that up to this point but decided it might be a good idea from here on out.

First and foremost, thanks for having the energy to share your woodworking projects for other folks. I also have to agree with you, I believe this miter station is the best design out there. I took your advice and purchased the plans, however if you are willing to anwer some questions before I get started it would be of great help.

(1) You stated the following and I am not sure what the wing nut support towards the back does? "Another enhancement to the original plan was to make the supports adjustable. With this design enhancement, the supports can be moved toward the front and back of the cabinet in addition to moving inline with the stock. Setting the alignment of the wooden fences was made easier by doing this because it can all be done without removing the supports to adjust the support mounting plates. This picture shows the bottom side of one of the hinged wings. The slots for the front-to-back adjustment are visible in the bottom of the wing.

(2) I also noticed the top where the miter saw sits is higher than the original plans. Any comments?

(3) I also noticed you did not use any screws, or at least any that are visible. Did you biscuit join the joints or just glue and rabbit.

Again thanks

Rob
Wake Forest, NC


Rob:

(1) When I constructed the miter saw station, I designed the raised supports (attached to the top of the "wings") to be adjustable left and right--AND--front to back. I did this because I thought it would be easier to adjust the supports as opposed to mounting the saw itself in a position that aligned with the supports. (The supports have a raised "fence" on them too.) It worked out nicely. In order to make this adjustable, I merely put a screw through the wing into the bottom of the support. That required drilling a hole in the wing itself. (Actually there are two of these holes so there is adjustment on both ends of each support.) The hole I drilled in the wing is just an oversized hole (compared to the screw). Having drilled an oversized hole in the wing, I had a problem with the head of the screw pulling through the oversized hole. The solution was a large washer (commonly known as a "fender washer"). You can see the screw head and the fender washer in the picture. The fender washer sits in a recessed area around the aforementioned large hole in the wing. The recessed area was made by using a forsner bit to countersink the washer and screw head. This arrangement gives a bit of adjustment to the wood support--on top of the wing--in any direction. Loosen the screws that run through the fender washers, align the supports to the saw fence with a straight edge and tighten the screws up. Presto! Everything is aligned!

(2) You noticed the top of the stand being a little higher than called for in the plans. I did this because I wanted to cover the plywood top with solid hardwood. Because we don't have a lot of problems with seasonal movement of wood in this area, that worked fine. In addition, the added height was an asset to me because I stand 6' 7" tall. It should be noted that because of this extra thickness on the top of the stand, I had to make the supports (on top of the wings) an additional 3/4" tall to offset the increased height of the cabinet's tabletop.

I also put the whole stand on wheels so it can be "parked" when not in use. Again, the added height from the wheels was fine with me.

(3) I used both rabbets and biscuits for the joinery. There are joints in the project that lend themselves to rabbets (such as the tops of the supports that sit on the wings) and joints in which a rabbet is not a candidate. The bottom line is to make it the way you want to make it as long as the joints are strong.

You asked for other tips. Here are a couple I can think of:

  • I trimmed the edges of the plywood with thin strips of hardwood (oak, to be specific). I don't like the look of ragged plywood edges even on tool stands. It is also a good place to practice trimming plywood so that it's easier when the project really counts.

  • I used a few small strips of UHMW plastic on the inside bottom and inside sides of the stand. The UHMW plastic provides about 1/16" space between the scrap box and the case. It also provides low friction contact points on which the scrap box rides as it is pulled out and pushed in to the stand thereby avoiding the wood on wood contact of the scrap drawer and the stand.

I trust this information helps as you decide the finer points of building this project. It is a very nice miter saw stand and has served me well in the few years since I have built it.

-Mike


Mike, 

Thanks so much for your page on the Shop Notes 31 Miter Saw Workstation. I have a question about your mod to the plan, but here is some background on where I am. 

I am just getting started in woodworking and setting up a shop along one wall of my 2.5 car attached garage. I just bought a compound miter saw this weekend to use installing laminate flooring. It's a craftsman 10".

I like the fold down and mobile design of the Shop Notes plan. I'm trying to stay with mobile modular stations since I sometimes work outside on the driveway to keep sawdust cleanup down and we don't plan to be in this house for many more years. All that said I am about to undertake this workstation as my first real project. My only tools are my compound miter saw, a router with a small table, an 18v cordless drill, and my circular saw. 

Please forgive my ignorance, but I do not understand the following modification:

Another enhancement to the original plan was to make the supports adjustable. With this design enhancement, the supports can be moved toward the front and back of the cabinet in addition to moving inline with the stock. Setting the alignment of the wooden fences was made easier by doing this because it can all be done without removing the supports to adjust the support mounting plates. This picture shows the bottom side of one of the hinged wings. The slots for the front-to-back adjustment are visible in the bottom of the wing.
Can you shed some additional light on this modification?

Perhaps photos of the wings in the other positions would help me understand.

Do you have any advice given my limited tools? 

Do you have a preferred similar plan for a router table?

Thanks,
Aaron
Little Rock, AR



Hi, Aaron!

It's good to hear from you. Thanks for your comments.

You asked if I had any advice for you considering your limited tools. I have really only one comment here. I understand that tools are something that we acquire over a lifetime so few people have the bucks to drop on a whole shop worth of tools to begin. That being said, I can't imagine building this project without a table saw. You MIGHT be able to do it with a circular saw but you'd have to be a much better craftsman than I when ripping wood. So I would hope you can take your stock to a friend's house to rip so that the joints will be tight. (Loose-fitting joints will promote rickety construction.) As for a small router table, I have a small one I put in the attic because I don't use it any more. I built one from scratch using plans from Yankee Workshop. (Pictures of this router table are online at my web site; MikeFromWinton.com.) Between getting your hands on a reasonably good table saw and setting up a router table that is accurate and has a top that is large enough to handle good-sized stock, you’d be a lot farther down the road with the miter saw project.

As a matter of fact, I am not sure I would even attempt this project without a table saw. I’d probably use a couple saw horses with a board across them for a portable miter saw station until I could delve into it using tools more suited for building the project.

As for the clarification you requested, I simply made the support on the “wings” adjustable left to right and forward to back in an effort to accurately align the extended fences with the fence on the miter saw. Please refer to the comments I’ve already posted at the end of the Miter Saw Station page for more information.

Once you get this project built, you’ll love it. Good luck!

Mike
MikeFromWinton.com





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