Full-Service Mitersaw Station

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This article is from Issue 31 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Build a stand that supports the workpiece and catches the dust.

Builder: Chuck Hedlund

A mitersaw ranks as one of the hardest-working machines in most workshops; unfortunately, it’s also one of the messiest. This custom mitersaw stand not only helps you make the most of your saw but also keeps sawdust under control.

Starting with an easy-to-build plywood box, we’ve added folding extension tables with integral sliding stops to make long cuts more manageable and accurate. We’ve also designed an innovative metal dust hood with a vacuum port to catch sawdust as it’s thrown by the saw. (With some simple modifications, this pivoting hood can be retrofitted onto most saw stands. To outfit your stand with the hood, jump ahead to page 24.) Locking casters allow you to roll out your saw when and where it’s needed and then store it against the wall when it’s not. Last but not least, the large plastic bin collects cutoffs for your next woodworking project or for use in your woodstove.

Note: See the Convenience-Plus Buying Guide on page 25 for a complete list of the materials used to build this project.

Clamp the slot-cutting jig to the side and rout the height-adjustment slots for the extension tables. The jig’s runner fits into the side groove.

Use clamps and corner brackets to hold the plywood panels in place as you fasten the parts with glue and screws.

Make the case

1 Using your table saw, or circular saw and straightedge guide, cut the top and bottom (A), sides (B), and back (C) to the sizes in the Cut List.

2 Set up your table saw with a 3/4" dado set and sacrificial fence. Now cut the 3/4"-wide × 3/8"-deep rabbets along the ends and one edge of the sides (B) and the ends of the back (C) where shown on Figure 1.

3 Adjust the rip fence 6" away from the inside edge of the dado blade to cut the 3/8"-deep grooves on the outside faces of the sides (B) for the runners (D) used to guide the extension tables.

4 To cut the adjustment slots in the sides (B) for the extension tables, build the slot-cutting jig to fit your router (Figure 2). Outfit your plunge router with a 3/8" diameter straight bit and a 1" O.D. guide bushing. Test the jig on scrap. Then rout the slots on both sides (B) as shown in Photo A.

5 Cut the guide runners (D) to size as listed in the Cut List, and then glue and clamp them in the side (B) grooves.

6 Drill countersunk pilot holes through the sides (B) and back (C) where shown in Figure 1. To assemble the case, start by attaching a side (B) to the back (C). Use the clamps and brackets to attach the opposite side and bottom (A), as shown in Photo B. Screw the top (A) in the rabbets in the sides and back.

7 Wipe off any excess glue with a damp rag and then put the case temporarily aside.

Make the extension tables

1 Cut the pieces for supports (E) about 1/2" larger than the dimensions given in the Cut List. Apply a thin, even coat of glue to the mating faces and clamp each pair together. Let the glue dry and trim to size on your table saw to create clean-edged laminations.

2 Outfit your table saw with a 3/4"-wide dado set, locate the rip fence 6" from the inside face, and cut a 3/8"-deep groove along the case-facing side of the supports (E) to fit the guide runners (D) where shown in Figures 1 and 3.

3 Cut the extension tables (F), fences (G), and miter channel supports (H) to the sizes in the Cut List.

4 Position your mitersaw on the top of the case. Measure the distance from the front edge of the case to the front face of the saw’s fence. (Swing the saw to cut a 45o miter to double-check the clearance.) Use this dimension to groove the extension tables (F) for the fences (G). Set your table saw’s rip fence and cut a 3/8"-deep groove to fit the fence (G).

5 Referring to Figure 3, cut the groove in the back of the fences (G) to fit the miter channel supports (H).

6 Using a table-mounted router and 1/2" straight bit, rout a 1/2"- wide × 1/16"-deep groove along the top edge of the fences (G) to fit the self-adhesive tape rule.

7 To create a sawdust-relief kerf along the bottom front face of the fences (G), where shown in Figure 3, test-fit both fences into the grooves in the extensions (F) and make a pencil line where the top of the extension table intersects the fence. Install a saw blade on your table saw, adjust the blade height to 1/8", and cut a kerf on both fences.

8 Assemble the extension (F), fence (G), and miter channel supports (H) using glue and screws. Finally, attach the channel to the supports with the screws provided.

Attach the extensions to the case

1 Turn the case upside down. Mark and drill the pilot holes for the casters and then attach them with #14 × 3/4" panhead screws.

2 Flip the case onto one side. Position a support (E) under the case so that it’s flush at the top and front edges. Using a 3/8"-diameter drill bit, mark the location for the hanger bolts with a light mallet tap, as shown in Photo C. Repeat the tap-marking process on the opposite side.

3 Dill pilot holes where you made your tap marks and insert the hanger bolts.

4 Attach the 12" folding shelf brackets to the underside of both extension tables (F). To operate correctly, position the bracket flush with the top end and 13/8" in from the edge.

5 Lay the extension table (F) face down and open the shelf bracket. Stand the laminated support (E) on top of a scrap piece of 3/4" plywood, as shown in Photo D. Make sure the front edges of the table and support are flush and then fasten the bracket to the support as shown.

Tap a 3/8" drill bit to mark the exact location of the hanger bolts. Position the bit at the bottom end of the groove to maximize adjustability.

Lay the extension table on 3/4" plywood to provide a bracket-setting reference. Use clamps to keep the laminated support from tipping, then secure the bracket with screws.

Make the metal dust-collecting hood

1 Cut the half-round hood top and bottom (I) to the size shown in Figure 4.

2 Using a 4" holesaw or other method, cut a hole through the hood bottom (I) where shown in Figure 4.

3 Using a pair of aviation shears, cut the hood back (J) from a sheet of 30-gauge galvanized flashing. Clamp the flashing between two boards and use a mallet to bend a 1" return on one end as shown in Photo E.

4 Drill 1/8" holes every 4" in the hood back (J) to attach it to the hood assembly—top and bottom (I). Starting from the bent end, attach the flashing to the top and bottom with #6 × 1/2" panhead screws. When you are able to wrap the flashing around the hood top and bottom, mark the unbent end. Remove the screws, bend the end on your line, and reassemble the hood assembly.

5 Cut the hood support (K) to size as listed in the Cut List. Referring to Figure 4, drill a 3/8"-diameter pivot hole to attach the support to the case and a pair of countersunk holes to attach the support to the bottom of the hood bottom (I). Screw the support to the hood, and then fasten the hood assembly to the top of the case with a 3/8 × 2" carriage bolt. Leave the nut slightly loose, so that the hood can pivot freely behind the saw.

6 Screw the pipe-to-hose adaptor to the hood bottom.

Clamp the sheet metal between a pair of boards, score the bend line with an awl, and tap the edge with a mallet to bend a 1" return.

Use a straightedge to level both extension arms with the saw’s table. Secure the arm assemblies with wing nuts.

The long stop body bridges the gap between the arm and saw for making short cuts. Adjust the length to fit your saw.

Finish and assemble

1 Disassemble the mitersaw stand and remove all hardware except for the hanger bolts. Cover the hanger bolt threads with masking tape. Finish-sand all parts up to 220 grit and then apply a protective finish such as polyurethane or paint.

2 Reattach the extension supports to the case assembly. Position the dust hood on the top of the case and insert the carriage bolt through the dust hood support (K).

3 Cut the 3/4" spacer blocks (O) to suit your mitersaw. Position the spacer blocks under your saw, so that the dust hood can rotate to collect dust at any miter angle. Temporarily remove the saw and attach the spacer blocks to the top using finish nails or screws. Using a straightedge, align the saw’s fence with both fences (G). Now fasten the saw to the top (A) with screws. Next, use the straightedge to adjust the level of the extension tables (F) with the saw table (Photo F).

4 Attach the support beam (P) to the top edge of the stand, as shown in Figure 4. The support beam adds extra rigidity to the case and locks the extension arms at the correct height. (Should you choose to buy a new saw, simply remove the beam and reset the height of the extension arms.)

Make the stops and add the tape

1 Cut the slider stops (L) and short stop body (M) to size, but leave the long stop body (N) a few inches long.

2 Chuck a 1/4" drill bit into your drill press and drill holes through the slider stops (L) for the hex bolts where shown in Figure 4. Using a countersink bit, drill screw holes through the short and long stop bodies where shown. Finally glue, clamp, and screw each body to a slider stop (L).

3 Screw the miter channel hardware into the sliding stops.

4 Cut a test board to a known length and position it against one face of the blade. Slide the short stop against the outside end of the board and attach the left and right measuring tapes so that the numbers match with the edge of the stop. Attach the tape on the opposite fence so that the short stop works on both sides.

5 The long stop is designed for trimming short pieces on the left side of your mitersaw, as shown in Photo G. Using a test board, trim the stop so that the distance works out to an even number. 


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