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( Less Than ) Ultimate Miter Saw Station #1: Building the Box and Shelf

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Blog entry by pintodeluxe posted 05-05-2014 05:46 PM 1790 reads 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of ( Less Than ) Ultimate Miter Saw Station series Part 2: Dust Collection Bag »

Well, after wrestling with boards at my miter saw on my last project I decided I needed some improvements. This is what I came up with. It is the “Less Than Ultimate” Miter Station.

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It was inspired by the Ultimate Miter Saw Station in the June 2010 issue of Woodworkers Journal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LmSVvOnxsI
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I built a plywood base to support the tables, and topped it with a Melamine shelf. I made the plywood box 5” tall, so it would have some beam strength. I have seen versions with oval cutouts in the box, however I didn’t want to compromise the strength. I did leave the box open at both ends for offcut storage.

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Threaded inserts are installed in the shelf.

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I cut some lengths of threaded rod, and installed a sliding shelf for the miter saw.

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This way the whole saw can be moved forward for making compound cuts. Basically the miter saw fence needs to slide to the left to make room for the tilted blade. The saw would hit the T-track fence, so it needs to be able to slide forward. You could omit this step by spacing the T-track fence further away on the left side of the saw.

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The sliding shelf is sized to fit the base of the saw.

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The ends of the plywood base are left open for storing offcuts.

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Setting the tables flat is just like setting up a jointer. I used a .010” feeler gauge to check the tables for flatness and making sure the two tables are coplanar. I think this is one of the biggest pitfalls of most miter saw systems. If the whole thing isn’t flat, it will prevent you from making square cuts. No matter what system you decide on, I would leave yourself room to shim the tables flat. I used hardwood shims between the tables and the support blocks. That way if there is any sag over time, I can adjust for it.

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This T-track is a defunct Rockler item that is no longer sold. It is similar to the Kreg track kit, but the rails are one piece. It offers 4’ support on the left, and 2’ on the right. Anything longer would surely be overkill. I never understood why Kreg sells their kit in 2’ lengths. Unless you only need 2’ of support on each side of the saw, you will have seams in the miter track. At any rate, this type of support system can easily be built from Melamine shelving and some scrap plywood. The fence has a dado which receives the table board. If you wanted to get fancy, you could cut a little dust relief slot in the fence.

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Plug your shop vac into the I-socket and it is automatically activated each time you make a cut.
The final step will be a nylon hoop behind the saw for passive dust collection.

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Overall I am quite happy with the upgrade. Supporting long boards to make accurate cuts is suddenly easy.
Mine is mounted to a mobile cart with locking casters, but you could just as easily mount it on a pair of base cabinets. The best thing about it is this… you can’t stack or store anything in the way. The dedicated tables ensure that you can make your next cut with ease.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush



16 comments so far

View Jero's profile

Jero

75 posts in 1642 days


#1 posted 05-05-2014 05:52 PM

Looks really nice! I also have been struggling with mine for a few years now, but just haven’t gotten to the point of building a dedicated table. Someday!

-- Jeremy - Marshfield, WI

View stefang's profile

stefang

13044 posts in 1990 days


#2 posted 05-05-2014 06:50 PM

Looks very good and well thought through and some good tips for getting a good result too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

553 posts in 304 days


#3 posted 05-05-2014 07:30 PM

Nicely done Willie. Your projects and blogs are such an inspiration. Another favorite!

-- I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

3249 posts in 663 days


#4 posted 05-05-2014 07:46 PM

Looks nice but I gotta ask … How “tipsy” is it? Looks like the 4’ over hang on the left side would tip pretty easily if someone leans or unknowingly sets something heavy on it.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3363 posts in 1469 days


#5 posted 05-05-2014 07:59 PM

Joe,
Great question. If you notice, the heavy 12” miter saw is offset to the right. That acts as a counterweight for the long tables on the left. You can cut long, heavy oak planks on it and it feels stable. The metal cart is actually 3’ wide so it works well. Once you have the unit built, you could use it wherever you like. It would work on sawhorses, base cabinets, or on wall mounted supports. Where my saw sits gives me access to stacks of lumber on either side of the saw. For me, base cabinets would actually be in the way.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View goggy's profile

goggy

64 posts in 2072 days


#6 posted 05-05-2014 08:26 PM

You’ll wonder why you didn’t build one sooner.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

1323 posts in 913 days


#7 posted 05-06-2014 12:49 AM

I wondered what you have been up to. Ya gotta be lovin it!

-- Art

View johnhutchinson's profile

johnhutchinson

626 posts in 285 days


#8 posted 05-06-2014 01:24 AM

Looks ULTIMATE to me, Willie !!! As usual, great design, workmanship and presentation. You da man.

BUT, whatever happened to radial arm saws? I have a dual-motor Craftsman that I bought about 15 years ago and I love it. I recently outfitted it with a laser and now it really rocks.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3363 posts in 1469 days


#9 posted 05-06-2014 01:30 AM

Video killed the radio star.
I think portability took precedence at some point for building contractors.
They are good tools though.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View johnhutchinson's profile

johnhutchinson

626 posts in 285 days


#10 posted 05-06-2014 01:45 AM

Nice analogy, Willie. :) BUT (again) the chop saws have become such monsters that I’ll bet 99% of them never see daylight.

I love watching the Frank Howarth videos. He has about six antique radial arm saws that he’s set up for different operations.

This video … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmDAInbnPYQ&list=PL3086A7F3C5F0A1D3&feature=player_detailpage

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

878 posts in 290 days


#11 posted 05-06-2014 02:33 AM

I’m like JoeinGa… maybe add some fold down legs to prevent it from going over. They actually don’t have to touch the ground, maybe be with in 1” of the ground to avoid having to level it each time on a concrete floor. But it would keep it from going over if it id get weighted ..

But that’s just me. A spinning blade is not the time you want to find out that you were wrong.

-- Jeff NJ

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

670 posts in 329 days


#12 posted 05-06-2014 11:22 PM

Mine is just the kind you see on site, very portable and just a roughie. The pedestal base is ” Footlocker” signage from my shopfitting days. Two bags of cement make it very stable. I like the pedestal because it’s very easy to clean around the station.

-- Bill....... I listen very closely to the timber and then impose my will.

View LeeinEdmonton's profile

LeeinEdmonton

252 posts in 2237 days


#13 posted 05-07-2014 03:11 AM

That’s a lot of work for a saw of limited capabilities. There are 2 aspects to consider. (1) is the saw located permanently in your shop or (2) will the saw be hauled around to different sites ? If (1) then you need to place the saw on a cabinet with drawers to hold junk & set it between workbenches on each side. Basically what you would do if you had a versatile RAS instead. Your dust collector is then piped to a hood behind the saw with 2 inlets which draw dust from the blade guard & also lower down catching dust at the cutting level. If option (2) then there are mobile bases fitted with two wheels plus rollers at each end that can be raised to the level of the saw. Sawdust is collected in a sack. I have both an RAS & a Miter saw. The MS was a retirement gift & because space is at a premium in my shop it is mounted on a wheeled base described above so that it can be folded up to stand against the wall out of the way. If I should choose to use it I can collect the cuttings dust using my shop vac instead of the sack on the blade guard.

Lee

-- Lee

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3363 posts in 1469 days


#14 posted 05-07-2014 05:56 PM

Lee,
I’m sure everyone has different needs and uses for miter saws. I find them invaluable in the workshop, and mine never travels outside the shop. Most commercially available mobile bases offer some kind of stock support, but don’t offer tape measure tracks for repeated cuts without a tape measure and pencil.
I’m sure radial arm saws have their merits, I just don’t happen to have one. Between my miter saw and a crosscut sled on the TS I can cut any size board that has presented itself.

Jeff in NJ,
I had my boys sit on the far edge, and it didn’t budge. They weigh over 100 lbs.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Tooch's profile

Tooch

616 posts in 532 days


#15 posted 05-10-2014 02:16 PM

looks great. my favorite aspect is that nothing gets left in the way. all too often when working on something, i’ll male a cut and toss the cutoff right next to the saw. after a few cuts my pile starts getting bigger and on the way. maybe something like this will help my woodworking discipline… thanks for posting!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

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