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Pro's and Con's of 2x4 frame vs plywood miter saw station / work bench

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Forum topic by RichBolduc posted 02-02-2018 05:45 PM 4283 views 1 time favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RichBolduc

468 posts in 288 days


02-02-2018 05:45 PM

Good afternoon,

I’m in to process of designing a miter saw station and I see a lot of people make them out of plywood and a lot out of a 2×4 frame. Could anyone tell me the pro’s/con’s of each? It seems to me that the 2×4 frame would be stronger. I was planning on doing mine from 2×4’s then sheathing the unit with 1/2” plywood. The top would be 3/4” ply with a 3/4” MDF on top of that so that I could replace the MDF as needed. I’m a total newbie at all this, but considering I spend 50+ hours a week doing CAD work, getting a chance to to work with my hands is relaxing and I’m enjoying the learning process.

Rich


26 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1240 posts in 2167 days


#1 posted 02-02-2018 06:01 PM

If you build a cabinet out of plywood correctly it can be strong. If yoi build out of lumber incorrectly, it can be weak. I usually go 2×4, with plywood top. You can see .y flip top planer stand in my projects for an example.

I think it is really your preference in this case.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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LesB

1838 posts in 3615 days


#2 posted 02-02-2018 06:33 PM

I have done exactly what you describe for several of my “work benches”. Two by four frame with plywood and MDF top and plywood sids.
For my main work bench I used 1 1/8” sub-floor plywood topped with 3/4 MDF. You could park a dump truck on top of it. It serves the dual purpose as an out feed table for my table saw. I have a 4’x6’ bench that has an adjustable height top and wheels so I can roll it around, built with the same general construction method. I do put a sealer on the MDF tops so they don’t get dirty as quickly.
They are not fancy like those beautiful laminated maple work benches but they serve me well, did not cost a small fortune (money better spent on tools) and I don’t worry about damaging them.

-- Les B, Oregon

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RichBolduc

468 posts in 288 days


#3 posted 02-02-2018 06:39 PM

Thanks for the replies you two.

Brian, that’s pretty much what I was thinking, minus that flip top. I figure doing a bunch of cross supports with the 2×4’s would also make it similar to a torsion top. The Miter Station will also only have 4 sides on it essentially also, as I plan on storing things under it that can be wheeled in and out from under it (compressor, planer, shop vac/dust collector).

Les, glad to know this will work. My reasoning for the MDF top was it’s sturdy and flat. But by sandwiching it with screws I could replace it fairly easy once it gets damaged as it would only be screwed in from underneath to the plywood. What did you use as a sealant? It seems most used a regular shellac.

Rich

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Woodknack

12398 posts in 2552 days


#4 posted 02-02-2018 06:53 PM

Plywood cabinets will be strong enough if built properly. The cool thing about boxes is the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts. 2×4s will make it heavier and more expensive, but simpler to build.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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WimP

15 posts in 818 days


#5 posted 02-03-2018 04:07 AM

Depending on where you are in your learning woodworking journey, as well as how ambitious you feel, 2×4 construction is a far less demanding application when it comes to needed precision. I’ve built cabinetry a bit before with decent results and feel confident about doing so again, but it just so happens that I’m about to build a miter station and I’ve found the one I’m going to base mine on. It’s built with 2×4s.

The one I’m basing mine on is Bob Claggett of I Like To Make Stuff’s recent station build video on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKsWGZrVeg0
He also has an “improvements” video as well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_tTy1fnVsQ

It’s straightforward, solid, functional and leaves future mods up to the user as you and I figure out how what we do with it in reality, differs what we thought we’d do before we built it. ;) Much like you stated above, I intend to make rolling thingy holders for underneath.

-- An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions ~Robert A. Humphrey

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Hermit

209 posts in 1497 days


#6 posted 02-03-2018 04:38 AM

To do it over again, unless you’re going to use kiln dried 2×4s, I would drop the miter saw down and use self leveling feet on the miter saw. As the 2×4s dry, shrink, etc… you’ll have simple adjustments to level it up perfectly with your tables and then anchor it.

-- I'm like the farmer's duck. If it don't rain, I'll walk.

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RichBolduc

468 posts in 288 days


#7 posted 02-03-2018 12:21 PM



Depending on where you are in your learning woodworking journey, as well as how ambitious you feel, 2×4 construction is a far less demanding application when it comes to needed precision. I ve built cabinetry a bit before with decent results and feel confident about doing so again, but it just so happens that I m about to build a miter station and I ve found the one I m going to base mine on. It s built with 2×4s.

The one I m basing mine on is Bob Claggett of I Like To Make Stuff s recent station build video on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKsWGZrVeg0
He also has an “improvements” video as well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_tTy1fnVsQ

It s straightforward, solid, functional and leaves future mods up to the user as you and I figure out how what we do with it in reality, differs what we thought we d do before we built it. ;) Much like you stated above, I intend to make rolling thingy holders for underneath.

- WimP

His is actually one of the many I watched videos on. He has a lot of features on his that I like.

Rich

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RichBolduc

468 posts in 288 days


#8 posted 02-03-2018 12:23 PM



To do it over again, unless you re going to use kiln dried 2×4s, I would drop the miter saw down and use self leveling feet on the miter saw. As the 2×4s dry, shrink, etc… you ll have simple adjustments to level it up perfectly with your tables and then anchor it.

- Hermit

Hi Hermit,

I was going to do mine in 3 sections. Left, right and miter section. Each section will have self leveling feet to adjust as needed.

Rich

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woodbutcherbynight

5594 posts in 2581 days


#9 posted 02-03-2018 09:51 PM

As well as how you are going to construct your station consider all of the space available for storage. Unless you have a 10,000 sq ft shop every inch counts. Built mine a few years ago and used the space underneath the miter and behind it for more storage.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5130 posts in 3415 days


#10 posted 02-04-2018 06:30 PM

I think plywood would be the best way to go. Use 3/4” plywood with a rabbeted joint and reinforce the inside corners with a glued in triangular cross section strip, 3/4×3/4. A cabinet made so will be more sturdy than using 2×4’s which would be held together with nails, screws or bolts which would be more flexible.

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HollywoodGT

11 posts in 283 days


#11 posted 02-04-2018 07:11 PM

Wow that is one beautiful work shop !!

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

942 posts in 611 days


#12 posted 02-04-2018 07:49 PM

I just recently finished building a mobile mitre saw station. I built it using plywood. If you are interested, I would share some pictures. Let me know.
Mike

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

468 posts in 288 days


#13 posted 02-04-2018 08:03 PM



I just recently finished building a mobile mitre saw station. I built it using plywood. If you are interested, I would share some pictures. Let me know.
Mike

- BlasterStumps

Hi Mike,

I’m always interested in pictures to get ideas.

Rich

View msinc's profile

msinc

556 posts in 676 days


#14 posted 02-04-2018 09:32 PM



I just recently finished building a mobile mitre saw station. I built it using plywood. If you are interested, I would share some pictures. Let me know.
Mike

- BlasterStumps

Could you please post them??? Very interested in them as well as this thread…need to very soon build a miter box station and would like ot explore as many ideas as possible before I have to make one.

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BlasterStumps

942 posts in 611 days


#15 posted 02-04-2018 09:41 PM

Rich, msinc, I started with a box frame then added the vertical mounted housings each side, then the casters, a bottom sliding shelf, drawer, and places each side of drawer for the two fence pieces, then I mounted the wings with flush hinges and added the supports for the wings. The wings fold flush with the sides when not in use. I don’t like the supports. I think a regular knee or kick brace would be simpler and easier to use. I may change them out. Otherwise, it gives me a place for either my hand tool mitre box or power mitre box. The wings with the fences mounted give extra support for longer stock and the sliding stops. The pictures don’t show it but I have since added t-track metals into the fences for the stops. I have a small shop so nesting my tools is a must when I am not using them thus the reason I went for the mobile style cabinet.
I found this set of plans in ShopNotes. It is called a dual-tool station. A google search should bring it up.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

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