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Forum topic by ynathans posted 11-18-2013 08:42 PM 1046 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ynathans

55 posts in 1183 days


11-18-2013 08:42 PM

Hi there Lumberjocks,

I am a beginner woodworker and have had a little bit of success with some small projects and am now planning to take on a new project: a mitre saw station (gulp).

The station will be about 30 inches wide, and about the same deep (need to still take final measurements). It will have several drawers. The tools i have available are tablesaw, router table, mitre saw, hand drill, band saw, planer and benchtop joiner.

I was hoping, since this will be my first project of this magnitude, that I could lay out my rough plans for the project and solicit both feedback and general ‘look out fors’.

Here are some details about the project.

  • planning to use 3/4” ply for the bottom, top and sides. Not sure yet on the drawers—would love some thoughts on what material to use for the drawers.
  • Planning to cut dados where the sides meet the bottom. I bought some undersized plywood router bits and was going to do this on the router table. Any tips for trying to make sure everything is sized and laid out right? Should I screw in too? I see on youtube some people seem to screw and others just glue.

*The mitresaw is going to be positioned next to a platform/kreg fence system and therefore has to be precisely the right level. I was thinking about meeting that challenge by getting a set of threaded casters like these: http://www.rockler.com/bench-dog-locking-casters#product-tabs
and that way I could lower and raise to meet the platform as needed.

  • For the back I was going to use 1/4” ply. Should I cut out a rabbet for the play to sit in or just pin nail and glue it in?
  • For the tops and bottoms i am planning to double up 3/4” ply for stability. Should I just screw in the top? Do something else?

Lots of questions here, really appreciate any insight you might offer as I go here.

Thanks!

Nathan


7 replies so far

View Ltwud's profile

Ltwud

24 posts in 1409 days


#1 posted 11-18-2013 10:21 PM

Nathan,

Good luck on your adventurous project! I thought I could address some of your questions from my perspective, but probably every LJ user would do it differently. I think your idea 3/4” material for sides top are a good idea. If you could get a hold of some 1/2” Baltic birch plywood its affordable and makes great drawers. If you could get some 1/4 plywood for the back and bottom of drawers that can be ideal in many situations as well. I don’t think you need to double the bottom if you can insert it into a glued datto but if you double the top you can glue and screw from underneath or use a pin nailer.

figuring out how to rabbit the back will make you a better woodworker so even though its probably not required here I would go for it as the long term benefits.

Glue and screw is strong, but glue and pin nail is almost as strong and is more refined if you have access to a pin nailer. My biggest recommendation is those Rocker wheels were really nice, but for you could get acceptable wheels at harbor freight for $4-7 per wheel and use shims unless your project will require ongoing adjustments.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3079 days


#2 posted 11-19-2013 12:10 PM

+1 on the HF casters… $53 apiece!! Is Rockler f’in’ nuts?

I don’t think you can use the screws in these casters to level the table anyway. You will probably need something like these. You could mount casters and leveling feet for less than those Rockler casters.

3/4” plywood, dadoed, glued and pin-nailed makes some of the strongest cabinetry you can get. Add a 1/2” plywood back rabbeted into the carcass to keep it from racking and it will last forever. I’ve been using tite-bond III for extra moisture resistance.

As for making sure everything is sized and laid out right, there is only one way to get good at that – practice! A few general tips:
1. relative accuracy is more important than absolute accuracy. I usually don’t care so much exactly how tall a piece is, but it is vitally important to make sure that opposite sides are exactly the same length or you will never get it square! Setup once and cut all pieces that must be identical. Then change the setup for the next set of pieces that must be identical. Run them all at once.
2. It is a cliche, but it is true – measure twice, cut once. You will still f’ it up once in a while!
3. Clamps! You must have clamps! I cut up and dry fit every project, held together only by clamps, to resolve any problems before gluing. Later, during gluing, the clamps will keep everything from moving until you get some nails in it.
4. Remember, the glue does the work! Nails or screws should only hold the pieces together until the glue sets. Provide plenty of surface for gluing every joint. Don’t depend on the fasteners.

Good luck. Have fun!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View ynathans's profile

ynathans

55 posts in 1183 days


#3 posted 11-19-2013 01:52 PM

Awesome—thank you both for your detailed and informative replies.

@EEengineer: Thanks for the link to the leveling mounts, I should have said that I am planning to put the station on wheels for mobility. I will look at a few options. And, you make some great points about making sure the two sides are exactly the same length and cutting in one setup, I’ll be sure to do that, and I’ve got plenty of clamps.

Two more questions if I could :)

1. How do I cut the back rabbet for the back panel? (I’ve never done one before). I’ve already got a sheet of 1/4” ply for the back panel, thinking I cut a 1/8” (or so) rabbet into the vertical end of the side panels of the stand? Do I stand it up on end and run through the router table? (hopefully that made sense). If you know of a good video that shows this operation, please let me know.

2. The final width of the station will be 26”, do I need any kind of braces in between the two sides or will the glue+rabbets do fine?

Thanks again for all the help.

Nathan

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3079 days


#4 posted 11-19-2013 02:24 PM

How do I cut the back rabbet for the back panel? (I’ve never done one before). I’ve already got a sheet of 1/4” ply for the back panel, thinking I cut a 1/8” (or so) rabbet into the vertical end of the side panels of the stand?

Go a full 1/4” – recess the entire depth of the panel. If you rabbet all the panels before assembling, you can just run one edge through the router table to create the rabbet.

The final width of the station will be 26”, do I need any kind of braces in between the two sides or will the glue+rabbets do fine?

Well, given that you are only to use 1/4” for the back, dado a shelf across the width to stiffen it up even more. As I mentioned before, your biggest failure will be racking of the sides. If you dado in a shelf halfway up the height and glue it, it will stiffen up the entire assembly a lot! Then, when you attach the back, glue the back on all four sides and glue it to the shelf also. Brads all around and into the center shelf.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View NoLongerHere's profile

NoLongerHere

893 posts in 2142 days


#5 posted 11-19-2013 02:40 PM

this sounds like one of those projects you could find the plans for online or here if you searched for it.

Sometimes it’s better to find a set of plans and follow them the first time you build a cabinet like this, then you won’t make several mistakes that inevitably happen and sometimes ruin a project because you can’t go back – so you live with it….. which will drive you crazy. if you’re a nut like me.

It sounds like you are on the right track with the construction so far. good advice above.
Question is, do you have to move it a lot? if not, I would definitely avoid wheels which will allow movement. I’d rather have the saw as stationary as possible. That’s why you are thinking about a 1 1/2” top, I imagine. For occasionally cutting long material, you could always set the saw up on horses or dolly the stand in to position.

Another idea is to have a shop vac stored underneath and hooked up to an auto switch so it turns on when you use the saw. There would still be room for a couple of drawers above. That would be cool.

Your question about the back rabbet: I never stand plywood up on a router table, instead I use a router and a clamped straight edge, or change the router bit. I use a router with a clamp guide to do all the dadoes and rabbets…. so much easier.

I’m really curious what you decide. I hope my comments help. look forward to see what you come up with.

View RockyTopScott's profile

RockyTopScott

1184 posts in 2944 days


#6 posted 11-19-2013 02:43 PM

Go lookup the Down To Earth Woodworker on YouTube.

He has a couple of videos where he builds a miter station. I like all his videos….seems like a good person.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View ynathans's profile

ynathans

55 posts in 1183 days


#7 posted 11-22-2013 12:35 AM

@eengineer:
“Well, given that you are only to use 1/4” for the back, dado a shelf across the width to stiffen it up even more. As I mentioned before, your biggest failure will be racking of the sides.”

Ahh. First I thought that I was wanting to use only drawers in the piece, and not shelves (I’ve got tons of little stuff in the shop that need a place), but then, thinking about your suggestion about using the shelf to stiffen it up, I’m thinking I can insert a “shelf” in a dado that doesn’t get used as a shelf between the drawers. Let me know if I misunderstood.

@reedwood: Thank you for your comments—they do help! I am leaning towards staying with wheels that are lockable, I think I’ll need the mobility, also because there is a support pillar right where the miter station will be which will prevent angle cuts without moving.

@RockyTopScott: That’s hilarious, I’ve watched every one of his videos on youtube and that is where the inspiration for the project came from.

Dumb question, if I could: How does the top attach to the sides of the station? Do I just glue and screw right into the top of the sides?

Thanks everyone for your help.

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