Mobile Mitersaw Stand

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This article is from Issue 54 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Mobile mitersaw stand

Multiple features make this project a welcome shop addition.

Benefits abound with this shop-friendly workhorse. Designed for popular 10" and 12" compound mitersaws, the sturdy open plywood cabinet offers enough interior space for a shop vacuum and cutoff tub. Its 48"-high back and sides contain spraying sawdust, allowing for a cleaner work area. Its fixed shelf provides storage for a wrench, measuring tape, and extra blade. To reduce the cabinet’s footprint when not in use, simply lower the drop-down wings and roll the stand against the wall.

(Note, however, that at least one wing must be raised and locked in place for all but the shortest of cuts. See the inset photo, right.)

For adjustability and precision cutting, use the hardware components to easily level and fine-tune the saw shelf and wings and to align the fence with your saw’s fence. There’s even a hardware adjustment for an uneven shop floor. Finally, a pair of quick-lock fence stops lets you make repeatable cuts.

Mobile mitersaw stand

With a block against the dado set, mark its location on the fence. Use the mark to locate the stop

Cut the plywood parts

1 For ease of handling, cut the right and left sides (A), back (B), bottom (C), fixed shelf (D), adjustable shelf (E), wing supports (G), and wings (H) slightly oversized, using a straightedge and circular saw with a plywood blade. To reduce waste and for grain orientation, refer to the Plywood Cutting Diagram on page 39. Now, at the tablesaw, cut the parts to finished overall size. (In later steps, you’ll trim the sides, fixed shelf, wing supports, and wings to final shape.)

2 Install a dado set that is the same width as the plywood’s thickness. Raise the blade to 3⁄8". Make a test dado in scrap plywood, and check its width using a mating plywood part; adjust the dado set width if needed. To make the stopped dado in the sides (A), where shown in Figure 1, cut the dado in both sides (A) on their opposing inside faces. To do this, make a reference mark on the saw fence where the blade starts to make contact with the piece to be cut. I’ll call this “point X.” From that mark measure back 151⁄2", and place a stop on your saw fence at this location. Now, adjust the fence 163⁄4" from the blade. With the inside face of the right side (A) down, and with its top edge against the fence, move the part forward to make the dado cut, stopping at the stop. Turn off the saw and remove the part. Set the piece aside.

3 Adjust the saw fence to 301⁄4", and make the stopped dado on the inside face of the left side (A), placing the bottom end against the rip fence. Remove the stop, but do not change blade height; you’ll use it in the following steps.

4 Clamp an auxiliary fence to your saw fence, and slide it over to the blade. Using the same dado set height, cut the rabbets, where shown in Figure 1, in the sides (A) and back (B). (Make a test cut on scrap to check the cut.) Leave the blade height and fence setting for the next step.

5 To make the shoulder cuts on the fixed shelf (D), place a “point X” mark on your auxiliary fence as in Step 2 and Photo A. Clamp a stop 21⁄4" back from that mark.

Mobile mitersaw stand

With a featherboard and guide rail to keep the shelf upright and snug to the fence, cut the notch up to the stop. Turn off the saw.

6 Stand the fixed shelf on one end with the back corner of the shelf toward the blade and the shelf’s face against the fence. Clamp a guide rail to the shelf so it rides on the fence top edge. This, along with the featherboard, allows for more control during the cut and keeps the shelf from tipping into the dado blade. Now make the notch cut, as shown in Photo B. Cut the notch at the other back corner the same way. Remove the auxiliary fence, and replace the dado set with a standard blade.

7 Using a 1⁄8" round-over bit in a table-mounted router, round over the back edges of the shelves (D) and (E). (Doing this keeps the vacuum hose from getting hung up when adjusting the mitersaw cutting angle back and forth.)

8 Rip a 1⁄4" strip of maple from 3⁄4" stock for the adjustable shelf edge (F). Cut it just over in length, and glue and clamp it to the front edge of adjustable shelf (E). When the glue has dried, sand it flush with the shelf and break the edges.

Mobile mitersaw stand

With the back edge of the side panel against the saw fence, move the side panel forward until you reach the stop. Turn off the saw.

9 Lay out the inside corners on the cabinet’s right and left sides (A). Plan to use both sides of the tablesaw fence and table to cut out the corners, as well as a handsaw. With the blade raised 21⁄2", make blade entry reference “point X” marks–this time on both sides of the saw fence. (I raised the blade to this height to reduce the arc at the cut’s end.) Now, place a stop 107⁄8" back from the mark on one fence side. Move the fence 103⁄8" to the right of the blade for the cabinet’s right side. Now, with the inside face down, crosscut into the right side panel. After reaching the stop, turn off the saw and remove the part. Repeat for the left panel, working from the other side of the blade.

10 Adjust the fence 157⁄8" to the right of the blade, and relocate the stop to 103⁄8" from “point X.” Now, ripcut the right side panel, as shown in Photo C with the inside face down. Note the waste piece will still be attached to the panel at the inside corner. Set the right panel aside. Lower the blade, and slide the fence to the left side of it. Repeat the blade height and measurements for setting the fence, and stop and ripcut the left side panel (A).

Mobile mitersaw stand

With a side clamped to the bench and the waste piece clamped to the side, handsaw out the waste.

11 Using a handsaw, complete the cuts in the corner, as shown in Photo D.

Mobile mitersaw stand

With the cabinet on its side, outside face up, cut the biscuit slots in the plywood using the 1⁄4" spacer.

Assemble the case and add the trim

  1. On a flat surface, glue, clamp, drill, and drive screws to assemble the cabinet plywood parts. I used a 9⁄64" countersinking bit for #8 × 11⁄2" flathead wood screws. Drill the holes 11" apart, keeping them at least 2" from the ends. Start by attaching the back (B) to the bottom (C). Then add the right side (A), followed by the left side (A). Next, apply glue and slide the notched fixed shelf (D) into the dadoes, keeping its front edge flush with the sides (A). Clamp and secure the shelf with screws. Sand the joints smooth.
  2. Mark the biscuit locations for #10 biscuits for all plywood cabinet parts receiving trim, and then cut the slots. Note that I offset the side trim pieces by 1⁄4" from the outside plywood faces. (See the Side Trim Detail in Figure 1.) Start by adjusting the biscuit cutter fence for slots centered 5⁄8" in depth. Next, cut and adhere a 1⁄4"-thick spacer (I used 1⁄4" MDF) on the biscuit cutter’s fence with double-faced tape. (Doing this simplifies cutting the biscuit slots by having just one fence depth adjustment for two different cuts in the trim and plywood–flush and 1⁄4" offset.) On all plywood cuts use the attached spacer, as shown in Photo E. Use Figure 1 as a general guide for the number of biscuits per edge.
  3.  Next, from 3⁄4"-thick maple, cut enough linear feet of 11⁄2"- and 21⁄2"-wide trim material for the cabinet and wings (I, J, K, L), referencing the Cut List. Allow a little for waste. Starting with the long front edges of the sides (A), work your way up to the back, cutting miters on the trim pieces as you go. Mark the location for the biscuits from the plywood reference marks, and then cut the slots without the spacer. Glue and clamp the trim in place, making sure you maintain a 1⁄4" overhang on the sides. When both sides are done, add the 11⁄2"-wide back top trim (J), and the 21⁄2"-wide center and bottom rails (K), cutting the parts to exact lengths. The center rail will extend 1⁄4" above the top edge of the fixed shelf (D) and be slotted without the 1⁄4" spacer, and the top back (J) and bottom rail (K) will be flush with the cabinet back (B) and bottom (C), respectively. Both are slotted with the 1⁄4" spacer. To secure the rail joints, drill countersunk shank holes and pilot holes for #8 × 3" flathead wood screws. Sand the trim flush as needed.
  4. Cut off the front inside corners of the wings (H), where shown in Figure 1. Then, add the wing trim (L) to the wings using the spacer. Sand the trim flush to the wings.
  5. To mount the hinges for the wings, cut the hinge mounting strips (M) for the cabinet sides (A) (see Figure 1). Glue and clamp the strips in place, flush with top face of the horizontal side trim (I) and 1⁄2" from the front face of the trimmed cabinet front. Next drill holes 21⁄4" in from each end with the countersink bit, and drive #8 × 11⁄2" flathead wood screws to secure the strips. Sand the mating surfaces smooth.
  6. To keep the cabinet close to the floor and the mitersaw at a workable height, add a pair of outrigger-like wheel supports (N) to the cabinet sides (A) (see Figure 1). (I used 8/4 [2"-thick] maple but you could laminate two pieces of 4/4 [1"-thick] maple.) Cut the wheel supports to size. Then, using the caster plates as a template on the outside corners of the bottom faces of the supports, mark the holes for the 5⁄16 × 11⁄4" lag screws. Drill 1⁄4" pilot holes, 11⁄4" deep, at these locations.
  7. Measure up from the bottom edge of the sides (A) 31⁄4", and strike an alignment line for the bottom face of the wheel supports (N). Now spread glue and clamp a wheel support in place. On the inside measure up again 31⁄4", and mark the locations for the #8 × 2" flathead wood screws. Use the countersinking drill bit to drill the pilot holes and drive the screws. Remove the clamps and repeat for the other wheel support.
  8. Finish-sand the cabinet and wing parts, and then apply two coats of finish. (I used a water-based satin polyurethane.)

Mobile mitersaw stand

Use a guide on your drill to bore the shelf-adjustment holes. The filler and backer prevent tear-out.

Add the wheel supports and adjustable shelf

  1. Provide added strength to the wheel supports (N) by attaching 3" corner braces, where shown in Figure 1, using the screws provided. (I bought the braces at local home center.) Now, screw on two non-locking, non-swiveling casters at the back and two double-locking, swiveling casters at the front. To level the cabinet on an uneven floor, apply the heavy-duty lifting levelers 3" from each front corner with the screws provided. (I removed the threaded leveler studs and added locking wing nuts [metric M10-1.5] purchased at a local hardware store for ease of locking. Do this to all four levelers for the cabinet and wing supports [G]).
  2. Next, attach the adjustable shelf (F). Start by measuring and marking 2" from each corner. To make clean, vertical 1⁄2" holes for the 1⁄2 × 6" carriage bolts, you’ll need a 1⁄4" filler strip placed between the fixed shelf (D) and the adjustable shelf, as well as a 3⁄4"-thick backer strip clamped to the bottom of the fixed shelf. (I used these to reduce tear- out.) Now, drill perfectly vertical and aligned 1⁄2" holes, as shown in Photo F.(I used the General AccuDrill, but you could use a 11⁄2"-thick wood block with a 1⁄2" hole that you pre-bore at the drill press.)
  3. Place a carriage bolt in each of the fixed shelf (D) holes, followed by a washer and a nut. (See the Shelf-Adjustment Hardware Detail in Figure 1.) Tighten each nut with a wrench. Place another nut on each bolt, followed by a washer. (I placed the second nut and washer 31⁄2" up from the fixed shelf, a height that worked for my saw. Your saw may require a different height.) Cut a scrap block equal in width to the nut height to use as a spacer. Now, place the adjustable shelf (E) over the bolts, followed by a washer and nut. Adjust the shelf so it rests flat on the spacer. Finger-tighten the nuts for now. You’ll adjust them to the exact height later when fine-tuning your saw to the stand.
  4. Place your mitersaw on the adjustable shelf (E), and center it side to side. Set it back so the saw’s front feet measure 3⁄4" from the shelf’s front edge. Clamp the saw in position. Now, transfer the hole locations in your saw’s feet onto the shelf with a pencil or awl. (My mitersaw has 1⁄4" holes in the feet for fastening the saw to the shelf.) Remove the saw to drill the four pilot holes for #14 × 2" sheet metal screws. Return the saw and fasten it in place, double-checking its location.
Mobile mitersaw stand

With the wing support piano hinge taped in place, drill the screw pilot holes using a Vix bit.

Attach the wing supports and wings

1 To attach the wing supports (G), cut two piano hinges to 32" long with a hacksaw. File the burrs from the cut ends. Also, cut two 10"-long piano hinges for the wings (H).

2 Lay out each side of the cabinet for the hinges, locating them 203⁄8" from the back edge to the edge of the hinge. Tape the hinges (cut edge down) in place and 3⁄16" below the hinge mounting strips (M). Then drill pilot holes for the hinge screws. I used a 7⁄64" self-centering Vix bit, as shown in Photo G.

3 Remove the piano hinges from the cabinet, and mount them on the wing supports (G), flushing them at the top corner. (Remember that you will have a left hinge and a right hinge.) The hinge barrel should be flush with the back edge of the wing support. Now, mount the wing supports to the sides (A) with screws in the pilot holes drilled earlier.

Mobile mitersaw stand

Clamp the wing in place inserting 1⁄8" spacers where shown; then mark the hinge hole locations.

4 With the wing supports (G) folded against the cabinet, measure 17" over from the inside corner, and mount the lifting levelers with the screws provided.

5 Mount the 10" piano hinges on the side faces of the hinge mounting strips (M), with the barrel of the hinges facing up. Using the Vix bit, drill the pilot holes and drive just two of the end screws into each hinge. (You’ll take them off after locating the wings [H] in the next step.)

6 Next, attach the wings (H) to the mating piano hinges. To do this, position a wing support (G) so the wing rests on it. Using clamps and a pair of 1⁄8" spacers placed between the saw’s table and the vertical trim (I) and wing, clamp the wing in position and mark the underside where the screws will go, as shown in Photo H, guiding off the hinge holes. Mark the center location of the leveler foot on the bottom face of the wing.

Mobile mitersaw stand

Use the drill guide and cordless drill to bore the vertical hole for the threaded brass insert.

7 Now, remove the clamps, and place the wing (H) bottom side up. Using a pencil, mark the orientation of the attached hinge on a scrap of masking tape and stick it to the hinge. That way, you will be able to reattach the hinge at that exact location later. Next, remove the hinge and place it on the wing aligned with the marked holes. Use a square to see if the hinge is square with the edge of the wing. (It must be square for the table to fold down properly.) Drill the holes with the Vix bit, and drive the screws. Repeat for the other wing.

8 On the bottom face of the wings (H), drill 13⁄4" recesses, 1⁄4" deep, for the leveler feet, where shown in Figure 1. They should be directly above the leveler feet when the wing supports are at a right angle to the cabinet sides.

9 Open the hinge of a wing (H), and position it against the hinge mounting strip (M). Remove the orientation tape, and align the hinge holes with the screw holes drilled earlier. Drive all of the screws in place. Repeat for the other side.

10 To make the wings (H) more rigid and stable, add a four-arm knob with a 11⁄2" stud that goes through each wing and into the horizontal trim (I) on sides (A). (See Figure 1.) To do this, rest the wing on the wing support (G). Then, measuring from the center of the vertical trim (I) at the side’s inside corner, make a mark 21⁄8" in on the top face of the wing. (The mark must also be centered on the horizontal side trim beneath the wing.) Now, outfit the drill guide or shop-made guide block and drill with a 5⁄16" brad-point bit, and set the guide’s stop to bore 3⁄4" deep. Fit the guide against the vertical trim and centered on the marked line. Drill the hole. The bit should make a center point on the horizontal trim beneath the wing.

11 Remove the wing (H), and then install a 7⁄16" bit in the drill guide and cordless drill, again setting the stop for a 3⁄4"-deep hole. Position the bit so it is centered on the center point, and drill the hole, as shown in Photo I.

Mobile mitersaw stand

Drive the threaded inserts using a drill and socket as seen in the Inset; recess the inserts 1⁄16" below the surface.

12 To drive the 5⁄16" threaded inserts in the holes in the horizontal trim parts (I), use a 5⁄16" bolt, a pair of jam nuts, and a mating socket, as shown in the Photo J Inset. Attach the socket to an impact driver using a socket adaptor, and drive the inserts, as shown in Photo J. Now, reattach the wing assemblies (H/L), support them with the wing supports (G), and screw the four-arm knobs with 11⁄2" studs through 5⁄16" washers and into the holes. Tighten the knobs to make the wings rigid

Add the fence and stop

  1. Hacksaw two pieces of 11⁄4 × 11⁄4 aluminum angle to the length of the wings (H). File off any burrs on the cut ends. Next, lay out the 7⁄32 × 5⁄8" slots, where shown in the Fence and Stop Details. With a 7⁄32" bit, drill a hole at the end of the slots, and then cut between the holes with a coping saw. With a small file, remove the burrs. Hold off attaching the fences for now.
  2. To make the two stops, cut two blanks, one at 3⁄4 × 2 3⁄8 × 8" for the backs (O), and one at 3⁄4 × 21⁄2 × 8" for the fronts (P). (I made them this length for safe machining.)
  3. Using a dado set, cut the 11⁄8" rabbet, 3⁄32" deep on one face of the back blank, where shown in the Fence and Stop Details. Then, adjust the fence and dado set height, and cut the 1⁄4" wide rabbet, 13⁄32" deep.
  4. Switch to a standard blade and, using an auxiliary fence on your miter gauge, cut two stop backs (O) and two stop fronts (P) to 21⁄2" long from their respective blanks.
  5. Install a 3⁄4" brad-point bit in your drill press, and set up your fence at 5⁄8" from the center of the bit. Set a stop to be at exactly 11⁄4" from the bit’s center. This is important for the alignment of the two parts making up the saw stop. As shown in the Fence and Stop Details, drill a 3⁄4" hole 1⁄4" deep in the two stop backs (O). Chuck in a 5⁄16" bit, and drill the through-holes in the backs using a backer to prevent tear-out. Now, switch bits and drill the 7⁄16" holes, 9⁄16" deep, in the stop fronts (P).
  6. Insert the threaded inserts in the stop fronts (P), sinking them just below the surface by 1⁄32".
  7. Finally, place a 1⁄4" flat washer onto the stud of a ratchet-style adjustable handle, and connect the backs (O) to the fronts (P) to form two saw stops. Attach the stops to the aluminum angle fences.

Fine-Tune The Stand To Your Saw

Several fine-tuning adjustments exist in the mobile miter stand, allowing you to make precision cuts.

Adjusting the adjustable shelf: With the wings (H) held in place by the wing supports (G), place a long level on the mitersaw table and fences. Now, use a wrench to turn the nuts on the 6" bolts to raise or lower the adjustable shelf (E) front and back to make the saw table even with the wings.

Leveling the wings: With the long level still spanning the saw table and wings (H), adjust the lifting levelers on the wing supports (G) to bring the wings flush with the bottom edge of the level.

Aligning the fences: With the wings (H) and saw table even, place the straight edge of a long level against the saw’s fence and clamp it in position. Place the aluminum fences against the level and even with the outside ends of the wings. Make a center mark in each slot. Drill pilot holes in the slots, and install #12 × 3⁄4" panhead screws to secure the fences in perfect alignment with the saw fence.

About Our Designer/Builder

Westerville, Ohio, resident Chuck Hedlund began his woodworking life as a cabinetmaker. Beginning in 1993, he began serving the needs of several woodworking publications as a builder and designer. He is a regular contributor to Woodcraft Magazine.

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