Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Miter Saw Station

While the cat is away, the mice will play! Or to put that another way, while it is still raining outside, the workshop is the only place to be! 

I've got a nice Dewalt miter saw in my shop - the same one I've been using since about 2008, although I've been through a number of blades since then. In September last year, when I reorganized the "big" tools in my workshop and connected up the dust collection system, the miter saw ended up at the front of the main shop:

I've spent a decent amount of time working in the 'shop since then and have determined that this is a good central location where the miter saw is going to stay. So.....after all these years of use, it's finally time to build a proper miter saw station. I'm making use of some lumber I salvaged from the pallet that was used to deliver our new deck boards and, of course, more of the plywood that was "recovered" from the deck.

I can't say I designed this myself because I didn't - I copied this build on youtube. It is a very simple but strong design where each leg is made up of two sections of lumber which are glued and screwed together: 

A pair of legs can then be connected using two shorted sections of timber and several pocket screws: 

Two such assemblies can be bridged with three longer pieces and the top strengthened with several cross-braces. I am deliberating leaving the base of the structure "open" at the front because I plan to build drawers and cabinets to go in these spaces in the future.

Moved the first bench into its approx. position:

Then I made a second identical bench and constructed a platform between the two benches to hold the miter saw. The platform sits about six inches below the top of the benches. 

I used the laser level to get the benches absolutely level, and then anchored them to the cinder block wall with tapcons:

I installed plywood top panels on both benches and at the central platform. I cut the panels slightly oversize and then trimmed the excess off with the handheld router to achieve a perfect fit.

At this point the saw bed sits fractionally below the level of the benches:

I used some large washers to shim the saw bed up to the perfect height:

I had to add an outlet for the saw - it has been running of extension cords for the last few months:

The miter saw is too far away from the dust extraction system, so I will be using the shop vac to harvest dust from the saw. I also added outlets below the central platform to power the shop vac.

The final step is to build the fences. I'm using two strips of 3/4 inch plywood which are fastened together at 90 degrees:

The front plate is made from a third strip of plywood - this makes a very rigid assembly. Before adding the front plate, I cut a 1/4 inch x 3/4 inch groove for the T-track channel (blue) and a very shallow 1/2 inch wide recess for the measuring tape:

Cross-section of the final assembly: 

I used the laser to align the two fences and the saw prior to the final install. The fences were attached to the benches with wood screws and the saw was fastened to the central platform with lag bolts.

I installed the self-adhesive measuring tapes last. I have left-to-right and right-to-left tapes, so I can cut on either side of the blade. The tapes were lined up and trimmed very carefully... 

I also made some "first attempt" stop blocks. I have a couple of thoughts on how I might refine these in the future:

The finished miter saw station - it would have been much easier to build this if I already had it...

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