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Wooden Miter Saw Stand

I am a cabinet maker. I own and operate a small shop. I do it all, from making the sale to installing the pulls. Crown molding is standard on all my cabinets, unless the client wants something different. So on 99% of my installs there is crown molding involved. I used to use a small 10-in. single bevel miter saw that worked just fine for most of the crown I needed to install. Occasionally, I would run into something that was too big for my saw to cut, but I was always able to find a way to “make do.” Sound familiar?

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A miter saw is probably the key tool for any good carpenter. While other tools may or may not be in a carpenter’s arsenal, one thing you can count on is that everyone has a miter saw. One very important element to the miter saw is the stand on which it rests. If the saw does not have a good stable place to rest, operating the saw will be tedious and frustrating.

On various job sites, I have seen “carpenters” using miter saws which were set up on the ground, on top of saw horses, and precariously perched on all variety of stuff.

I remember seeing some guys with a miter saw set up on a couple saw horses, with no extension wings, cutting crown molding for a coffered ceiling. The guy was using the palm of his hand to hold the crown against the fence while the other fifteen feet of crown was hanging off the saw and drooping on the ground across the driveway. I thought “Man, that has got to be a pain.”

I used to have a saw set up on a small adjustable height scaffold, like the ones you get from the big box stores. I made some extension wings out of plywood. The plywood had dowels set into the end which would slip down into corresponding holes which were drilled into a block of wood that was bolted to the side of the miter saw.

This setup worked fine for a while, until I started doing more work for this one particular builder, who would hire me to do more than just build and install his cabinets. On one particular job, he wanted some small shelves, built on-site, to hang on a wall. These shelves were made from 1 x 8 materials, and had to have an angle cut on them to fit the 45o corner on which they were to be installed. Well, my little 10-in. saw was not able to make the angled cut for these two shelves, so I had to “make do.” The cut was not perfect and I was frustrated.

It was then that I vowed to upgrade my saw at the next opportunity. Especially if I was to continue to work with this contractor.

I came across an individual selling a brand new 12-in. slider for a great price, so I jumped on the deal. I quickly realized that the old setup I used for my 10-in. saw was entirely too small to accommodate this beast. This new saw was back-heavy and would try and tip off of the back of my skinny scaffold. Even if I clamped the front down it would try and tip the whole set up over.

Thus began the search for the perfect miter saw stand.

Reading a lot of articles and forum posts about stands led me to one of the more popular stands among carpenters, made from steel with extruded aluminum wings. Unfortunately, the company I was looking at no longer builds those stands, and they were cost prohibitive. But I liked the design, and, being the self-respecting woodworker that I am, decided that anything built from metal could also be built from wood.

I wanted the stand to be high enough for me. I am not exceedingly tall, but with most of the portable stands I see at the retail stores, I would have to bend over too far to see what I was doing. Then again, it may just be these old eyes don’t see as well as they used to. I also wanted a solid extension wing, not just a roller stuck out two or three feet to the side, because I often use the wings as a work top.

I like to think of myself as the type of person who can learn from other people’s mistakes. So, during my research, I tried to find out what people liked and didn’t like about their stands—the idea being to take a little bit of wisdom from a lot of different people. Thanks to the countless years of experience from other carpenters (who are far more skilled than I am), I came up with this current model of miter saw stand.

I knew that, first and foremost, I needed the saw to be stable. Using 2 x 4s for legs was out of the question, due to bulk. Being a cabinet maker, I have a lot of 3/4-in. thick lumber laying around the shop. I happened to have some Hickory leftover from a recent cabinet job. I knew the Hickory would be strong and heavy enough to provide a good base for my 65-lb. miter saw. I thought about using 3/4-in. plywood for the top, but figured 1/2-in. would work fine, especially after edging it with solid wood.

During the assembly of the legs, I realized that I had to weave them together before I could close each complete set, which is a little troublesome (see below). If I were to build another stand, I would probably build the legs so that one set fit inside the other set.

I used simple door hinges to attach the top to the legs (see below). I rounded the edges of the legs to get rid of any potential splinters, being careful to leave square all areas of intersection. Pre-drilling the screw holes was absolutely necessary, because that Hickory is h-a-r-d hard!!

On my previous setup, the wings were attached to the saw. On my new stand, I attached the wings separately, which I like a lot more. I made a little tab to slip the hinge pin through to make pulling the pin easier. I also filed down the raised/knurled portion of the pin near the head so it would not stick in the barrel as much.

The wing design is pretty much a carry-over from my old setup, as it worked just fine. It’s important that the weight of the wing bear on the leg and not the hinge. I also made sure that when in the “open” position the leg would be angled outward a little and not straight up-and-down.

The legs for the wings also had to be adjustable. I put a threaded bolt with a knob on the lower section, with a dowel inserted above it to guide it up and down through the slot in the upper section.

Overall, I am happy with the setup. I like that it folds up flat and tucks away on one wall of my van. I don’t always work around a lot of different trades—mostly home owners, who are as impressed with my stand as they are with my cabinets. Also, one contractor I do work for has a few guys that ohh and ahh over it. That makes me smile.

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THISisSafety

Please don’t try anything you see in THISisCarpentry, or anywhere else for that matter, unless you’re completely certain that you can do it safely.

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Comments/Discussion

17 Responses to “Wooden Miter Saw Stand”

  1. al

    Lamar,

    I have been getting by for years with a miter saw
    and have experienced the same issues of getting by with
    a miter saw.
    I would love to know how much of a difference
    having a sliding type saw has made in your work.

    thank for sharing

    Al
    from Southern Cal

    Reply
    • Lamar

      It has made a big difference. I am able to do more complex work in less time and I am no longer stressed as to how to make a long cut.

      Reply
      • Kevin

        Don’t you get frustrated when cutting long lengths of bendy mouldings WITHOUT a continuous fence on your Miter saw extensions?

        Reply
  2. David Tuttle

    Well, I said on JCL that it was a nice set up and with the video’s I’m convinced that I’m no longer worried about Saw Helper being out of business. Thanks for all the pointers and making such a great set up.

    Reply
  3. Joseph

    love your table set-up. i also recently acquired that saw.if i hadn’t had the stand i would of loved to build one like yours . though i used well aged[recycled materials] my out feeds warped some . The kreg stop will be a worth while addition,really worth doing . unless you make your own . not having to pull my tape out every cut is a real time saver.
    thanks for sharing .That saw is very heavy.

    Reply
  4. Jesse Wright

    Great article! We have been using home built extension wing setups like that for 15 years or more…The ingenuity and design of yours is much better than the ones we made. I really like the design as its really simular to the Saw Helper. We have 2 SH setups as well as 2 home made ones…I think I may remake mine to something more like yours.

    You did bring up the issue of not having a saw large enough to cut some crown. Perhaps cutting on the flat will be a great techique to learn. Its very easy to do and you only have to setup the angles once! You can then get that really LIGHT 7.5in Makita miter saw which makes cutting large crown really fun!

    Great design thanks for sharing it!

    Reply
  5. Mike

    I am a finish carpenter/cabinetmaker and I have made a few miter saw stands and bought a few, I was never happy with any of them until I made one very similar to yours. I made my legs/table frame out of metal square tube, I am now happy, very portable along with the rest of my “portable shop”. I made my extentions as long as the bed of my pick-up, I have over 9ft of support each side of center. Kreg stop is worth every penny. I love the look of your hickory legs, they need some oil to really get oohs and ahhhs.

    Reply
  6. Lynxsg

    Well done Lamar. That stand is well-thought out, and professionally built.

    steve

    Reply
  7. EnglishMajor turned Carpenter

    Awesome stand, Lamar. Regrettably, the THISisCarpentry team should have pointed out that the phrase is “make do”, rather than “make due”. I’m due to go make yer stand now.

    Reply
  8. Lamar

    Thanks for all the comments, I had fun building it and writing the article. A special thanks to Gary and the guys at TIC for publishing it.

    Marty, English is something else I had to make “due” in.

    Mike, when I get a round tuit I get some oil on the legs, but for now my tuit is square.

    Reply
  9. Ray Menard

    “…and there we go”. Elegant simplicity Lamar. The little drawer & its contents made me laugh and nod with respect. Nicely done!

    Reply
  10. robert robillard

    Great looking miter stand. I have an old beat up version and you’ve motivated me to update.

    I really like the adhustment at the bottom of the leg as opposed to the top.

    Reply
  11. Chad Kramer

    Love the idea of using a regular door hinge and having the hinge pin act as the quick lock, quick release setup! Also I am going to borrow your idea of the adjustable legs for my mobile kreg foreman stand in the shop! Great stuff. I lucked out and found a used sawhelper setup on CL for $150. I love it, but ditched the stand base and opted for the small portable dewalt DWX725B saw stand instead-(still using the sawhelper’s wings)

    Reply
  12. Mark Day

    Lamar, Love the setup, appears very well made. Would you consider sending dimensions for the fold up stand that holds the saw? It seems those angles and dimensions are critical for stability.
    Thanks,
    Mark

    Reply
  13. Andrew Armstrong

    Lamar,
    Fantastic design. I enjoyed your video and can see the thought you put into the project. Little things, like the way the legs automatically fold together.
    I want to build one for my Kapex and another for my son’s saw. Do you have a plan you could email me.

    Thanks
    Andrew

    Reply

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