August 6, 2021
Do you spend time designing your miter saw station because you don’t want to buy an expensive one? Well, if such is the case, I would say you are like me several years ago when I first bought my miter saw. Of course, the miter saw that I purchased did not come with a station, though it was expensive. So, I needed to improvise and build my miter saw station to cut on my expenses.
Based on my experience, building a miter saw station can bring out the best in a woodworker. It will provide you with good practice on making an excellent woodworking plan and executing that plan to perfection. Besides, you can save money along the way as you make the most versatile station for your cutting needs.
Things You Must Know Before Building Your Miter Saw Station
If you are cutting long stock, you will find the cutting process challenging, especially if your miter saw shakes because the platform you set it is unstable. So, you will quickly realize how a stable platform is essential to excellent cuts. Thus, when building a miter saw station, you need to ensure that you create something that can keep your miter saw stable and firmly in place.
It should be capable of supporting longboards. It should also have a fence that you can equip with stops for repetitive cuts. Moreover, it should make your saw immovable while you cut. It should also have built-in cubbyholes for storing the small items and tools that you often use.
The sizes of miter saw stations vary from one another. The only non-varying factor is the size of the miter saw, which is fairly consistent. Yet, even miter saw sizes vary. Thus, when deciding about the dimensions of the miter saw station, you need to take note of its swing and arm radius.
It will also help to consider how high the table should be. For example, if the saw arm swings beyond your saw base, allow for some elbow room for a full swing. You should also consider the head tilt. So, before making your miter saw station, position your table saw on your workbench. Then swing it to its maximum swing.
Measure it and use the measurement as your basis for the length and width of the miter saw station. You should also measure the deepest and broadest dimensions necessary to house your miter saw. Plus, try to measure the ideal height for your miter saw station.
What are the Ideal Dimensions for a Miter Saw Station?
When it comes to miter saw station dimensions, you only need to consider how deep, tall, and wide the miter saw station should be. This means you need to determine the ideal depth, height, and width of the prospective miter saw station:
You may settle for a miter saw station whose height you can adjust. Such an adjustable height may be perfect for many users of the miter saw. But if you are the only one using the miter saw, it will be best to have its height fixed according to what is comfortable to you. If you are 6-foot tall, for example, then you can make your miter saw station at least around 4 feet tall or less. It all depends on what height is comfortable for you. So, it will be best to figure out the most comfortable height for you before making your miter saw station.
One significant factor you need to consider when determining the depth of your miter saw station is the dust control system. The dust collection system is usually located at the rear of the miter saw station, so you need to factor it in determining the depth. The opinions on depth vary from one woodworker expert to another. Some would suggest that 14-inch depth is already perfect, while others would contend that 30-inch depth is ideal.
Width is the most variable dimension of miter saw stations. If you got much space in your workshop, you could extend the width according to your whim and fancy. Yet, if you have a cramped shop, extending the width would surely not be advisable. Extended width, of course, will be excellent when you are working with lengthy crown molding.
Other Important Factors to Consider When Making a Miter Saw Station
Aside from knowing the abovementioned tips when making a miter saw station, it will also help to consider the following factors when building your miter saw station:
Available Space in Your Workshop
You need to consider how much space you have in your shop to allot for your miter saw station. If you have a large shop, you will surely not need to make so much fuss about the workspace. With enough space, you can extend the miter saw station sideways to accommodate longer stocks. You can set, for example, surfaces that have the same height as your miter saw station for such extension. In this way, you can use the other platforms in tandem with your miter saw station.
Another factor to consider is the wings or extensions. You can increase the workspace by having extensions or wings that can be easily folded down. You can have a fixed-wing and another section that folds down. The fold-down segment, of course, should be of the exact height as the miter saw station.
You can also make use of movable tables or cabinets that have wheels. Make sure that they are of the same sizes to ensure that you can maximize their usage.
Machines on Your Bench
Another factor to consider is the machines that you would have on your bench. Many woodworkers with small shops compensate for their cramped spaces by installing multiple machines on a single workbench. Hence, sometimes, if you visit some small shops, you will see miter saws and table saws on the same workbench. Besides, you may find a router on the same bench.
But such an arrangement may be counterproductive because the miter saw, for example, may get in the way of the miter saw. Nevertheless, there are tools that you can linearly mount on a workbench, such as a router and a miter saw.
The miter saw will generate billows of sawdust which may be harmful to your health. Hence, you need a dust collection system that will collect the sawdust generated by the miter saw. Of course, you may wear your mask while working with a miter saw, and such gear can help protect your lungs from damages due to dust.
However, the sawdust, if uncollected or unmitigated, may also cause damage to your other tools. Moreover, you need to clean the dust afterward, which will further enervate you. Thus, when making a miter saw station, you should ensure that you have provision for a dust collection system. Besides, you should allow your vacuum system to be connected to the miter saw dust collection ports.
When it comes to power, miter saws come with different motors. Some motors are more powerful than others. However, it will be good to choose something that can power your miter saw. The larger motors, of course, will be more powerful. So, make sure that you have provision for a miter saw with a larger motor when you build your miter saw station. Moreover, you should ensure that you position the station near a power outlet.
When making a miter saw station, you need to consider in your design the storage aspect. You would want your station to have drawers and cabinets to store the accessories and tools you would use with the miter saw.
These cabinets should have doors to prevent dust from lodging into these cabinets. You can go for standard adjustable shelves, for example, instead of pull-out ones. You don’t want your miter saw station to tip over when you pull a drawer out.
Mobile or Fixed
Another worthwhile consideration is whether to make a fixed station or a mobile station. Each option comes with its upsides and downsides. For example, if it is mobile, you can get enough flexibility in moving the miter saw station from one place to another in your workshop. Moreover, if you can pull the miter saw away from the wall, you can easily add additional surfaces for your needs.
On the other hand, if you got a fixed station, you may find it hard to experiment with your setup. But a fixed station may tend to be more stable and immovable, giving you better and more accurate cuts.
Since everything is created twice: first in mind; then, in reality, you also need to make a good design for your miter saw station before you even start cutting materials to make your miter saw station. With a great design, you can save time and effort when building the station because you will be more deliberate in every cut and move you will make. It pays well if you have carefully thought of your design.
But before you can make a workable and excellent design, you need to consider the abovementioned tips and factors when making a miter saw station. These factors and tips can help you figure out the most suitable design for your needs.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.