Tool Talk #15: My Miter Saw Station

I get a lot of questions in regards to my miter saw station. Hopefully this video and article clears up some of those common questions. Plans are available here.

  1. The dust collection was designed with simplicity in mind and primarily to only focus on the small dust that you breathe. With a 4″ dust collection port in the back of the dust box it creates an air draft that sucks the fine dust out of the air where you are working. The majority of the larger sawdust hits the back of the dust box and is either sucked up or naturally creates a funnel of dust behind the saw. Leaving dust back there is fine because it is just the larger stuff that you wouldn’t breathe anyway. How much dust goes to the side and front of the saw is dependent upon the saw model you are using as well as the blade on the saw.
  2. Jay, I have a usage question about your miter saw station. It really is about using your measured stop for consistent cut lengths. I wonder about using the length of the bed created to the left of the saw and that being where your stop is. If I want to use an 8 foot piece of lumber and cut multiple 18 inch pieces off of that, it seems backwards to me. To the left of the blade is where you have a bed to handle the full length of the board. If you’re using the stop at 18 inches, then the bulk of the board needs to be to the RIGHT of the blade. There is no support there. Just curious how you handle this. Maybe I’m over-thinking this and you don’t come across this, but I want to build a station very similar to yours and want to address this in my head before I start down this path. Miter saws force you to be right-handed in use. So with that said, I would make a mark on the board and put an x on the side where I want the blade to be. If my right hand is on the handle of the saw I would want my length mark to be on the left side of the X and therefore the final length piece will be cut off on the left of the blade. Because my final length piece will always be on the left I want the stop block to be on the left. The cabinet to the right of the blade is 48″ and there is a distance of about 16″ from the blade to that cabinet. So there is approximately 64″ of material support to the right of the blade. Considering the fact that only slightly more than 50% of a boards length needs to be supported to prevent it from tipping over you could actually place a 10′ board 100% to the right of the blade and it will not tip over.
  3. Blakelgurr – Do you wish you could make it longer if possible for 10ft pieces or longer on the left side? This is a common question. See the explanation for #2.
  4. Ericschwoerer – Would you do anything different with the space above the drawers? The cubbies on top are for quick access stuff. I wouldn’t change anything with them. I haven’t found a need for the height to be any higher and they work well for commonly accessed items.
  5. Joemelfi6610 – Could you explain how your stop block works? I’m curious as to how you measure your cuts as the block is further back than the aluminum piece you use to measure. I want to build a stop block fence for my miter saw station too so this would help tremendously. The stop block is a block of wood with a dado and spline glued in the back side. The spline is fit into the t-track to ride left and right. It is elevated off the surface of the station to prevent dust from causing problems with travel. The adjustable aluminum piece allows you to dial in the cut length 100% to the board that is cut. Because it is sticking out by about 3/4″ to the right of the stop block the tape measure needs to be advanced by a similar amount before installation. Then the aluminum piece can be adjusted to really dial it in. It’s a simple setup that has worked perfect for me. It’s been close to two years since making my miter saw station and I have not adjusted the stop block since I first installed it and it’s still accurate. You can see exactly how I made it in this video.
  6. Elmromro – Rough cost of it all? That is a loaded question as there are too many variables. I used 3/4″ birch plywood for everything and each sheet is $50. You can reduce a LOT of the cost by using pine plywood, 1/2″ plywood in areas like the drawer construction, or even sheets of OSB. But the material cost for my station as it sits is a tad under $1000 if I recall correctly.
  7. Mikemccleary5 – would you have done a mobile base if you were to build it again? No. Attaching the cabinets to the walls make it really sturdy. It’s just too large to make it mobile.
  8. Gbjones54 – Drawers vs cabinets vs cubbies, your thought what works best. I’m a big fan of drawers in almost every situation. Full extension drawer slides allow you to use the entire drawer and adding sliding trays to the insides also increases usable space. I don’t like shelves with drawers because you typically bury the items in back and either forget about them or simply not use those items because it’s not convenient. The cubbies on top are really useful for keeping first order of retrieval items readily available and accessible.
  9. Pullinswoodworks – how are the bed of the saw and the wings perfectly aligned? and how to fix it if they’re not? The design incorporates homemade leveling feet. Step one is to make sure the left and right sections are coplanar before connecting them. At that point The height of the miter saw table is the distance you need the lower the miter saw platform on the station. It’s probably a good idea to reduce the height by 1/4″ or more so that way you can shim the saw to the exact height you want and then bolt it down. If you install the center section and it’s too tall the only fix is to lower it.
  10. Did you use drawer slides on all those drawers. Yes.
  11. Do you feel that full extension slides are necessary for the smaller drawers compared to using cleats or dados? Maybe the top right drawer bank and the middle bottom drawer bank could be used without metal drawer slides but in my opinion the full extension slides are totally worth it. The ease of use and convenience are great.
  12. Ericschwoerer – Would you change any of the drawer sizes? The sizes have worked out great. A lot of the sizing during the planning stages was focused around maximizing material use of the plywood while also not covering up some electrical stuff on my wall.
  13. Did you use the drawers exactly like you planned? Yes, except the pull out tray for the planer. My exact planer is just too heavy. If I had a lighter planer I don’t think it would be an issue.
  14. Brock Wright – Have you found the drawer knobs/pulls to get in the way? No.
  15. Jeff Berry – You mentioned moving it to the other wall previously. How easy is it to move for shop changes and updates? It wouldn’t be easy. But considering that you can remove each drawer and then unscrew the modular units I think moving it to another wall could be completed in a long day of work.
  16. Jason Parker – What’s the maximum depth the of the saw that this design can accept and is the measurement from the fence of the saw to the back of the saw slides when pushed all the way back? The design allows for 27″ from the front of the fence to the back of the wall. I recommend sliding the saw about 1/2″ forward of the station fence. To see if your saw will work just put it close against a wall positioned so that you can use it as necessary. Then measure from the miter saw fence backwards to the wall and if it is 27-1/2″ or less you should be fine.
  17. Jason Parker – If there was something you would change about this station what would it be and why? It looks great but do you feel you overlooked anything in the design? The only thing I would change is to make two more drawers instead of the planer tray. But that’s because my planer is ridiculously heavy. If I had a lighter planer I think it would be fine. Other than that the station is working out just as I hoped it would. I casually designed it over the course of about 6 months so there is a lot of thought put into everything.
  18. Tony Baggett – If you switched saws to say a twelve inch Bosch or Hitachi or the Festool Kapex, all of which don’t require so much rear clearance. Would you still be able to use this without major modifications? No modifications would be required for a smaller saw. The saw I used is the largest miter saw I’ve ever seen.
  19. Brett Loucks – What’s the finish on the table top? Water based Varathane polyurethane made for floors. It works great and I’m very pleased with how well it has held up.
  20. Aaron Wheeler – what does your miter saw station and Chuck Norris have in common? I’m not sure but I’d love to hear what anyone can come up with :)

For those who are interested, click here for plans.

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9 Comments

  1. john Thompson

    Interesting.I swear some people lay in bed of a night thinking of strange questions. #2 about the stop block did not make any sense at all,unless it was from someone that has never done any kind of woodworking.You could cut 2″ of a 10′ board and it would not tip over the edge of the right side.But at least you still explained it LOL

    1. Ken

      I think I get what the question is asking. So, the way it is set up, and the way Jay describes it, the good piece is always to the left of the blade. So, regardless of the length of board, or any issue with tipping, if you are making repeated cuts, you are essentially feeding in from the right. I can see how, if you are making small cuts, that might be a bit more cumbersome, as it is set up.

      The alternative, or addition if you like, would be to have some sort of stop block system on the right of the blade, so that you can feed in from the left, but the portion on the right of the blade is your desired piece, and the left is the off-cut.

      At the end of the day, to me, it is six of one, half dozen of the other, but I do think I understand where the question is coming from.

      1. James

        I am in the middle of building the miter station. With my shop I have to reverse/mirror this design. I also understand the point in #2. I will have the 48″ cabinet to the left and the 8′ worktop to the right of my blade. I worried about this for a while, but agree with Jay, that for repetitive cuts, putting the track and stop block to my right allows me to repetitively feed my long stock in from the left and make my good lengths to the right. Alas, I will be installing tracks and blocks both left and right of my saw for either situation. I have a door to my left so I can extend extra long boards out open French doors when needed. Probably use a roller stand for those feed-ins. Glad to see this design is getting a lot of press. It’s impressive. I have exact saw as Jay, so what a great opportunity!

  2. Jim Davis

    As for having the keeper piece on the right side of the cut, it’s easy enough to put a scale and stop block on that side too that registers on the right side of the blade.

  3. Craig

    Maybe a dumb question. On the upper right of the video what is that “thingy” called hanging up behind the ear muffs? I’ve seen this before and can’t recall its name or use. I know, weird things bug me. LOL

  4. Pat Cavanaugh

    I purchased the plans and built the miter saw station this past summer. It was part of a complete shop makeover to included whole shop dust collection. The plans were clear and easy to follow. I used the Pure Bond Maple Ply from HD and my cost was right around $1,000, maybe slightly more. It has made me so much more efficient because of the storage and dust “management”. Without a doubt the best thing I’ve built for myself.

  5. Marc

    Well who would of thought, it’s not only a great work shopping space but it’s not a gym too…to much bending isn’t good as well as reaching to high for larger objects…big no nos…make things easy for yourself and think carefully of your body movements, this all helps you in the future…
    Another great video Jay, cheers mate 👍🏼😊

  6. Jake

    Hey Jay,

    I built the miter saw station from your plans. And I use the tray as a paint drawer. It holds all my extra cans of house paint. It’s great.

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