In Jesper Cook’s recent article, “Miter Angles and Miter Saws,” Cook points out that miter saws aren’t designed for finish carpenters. I believe the same can be said for miter saw stands.
There have been countless articles, reviews and tips written and videoed on the ideal miter saw stand (for example: Lamar Horton’s “Wooden Miter Saw Stand” and Gary Katz’s “Make a Miter Saw Work Station“). And while not everyone agrees on what’s “perfect,” most trim carpenters would agree that continuous material support is critical.
Continuous support provides needed stability to long runs of molding, makes material easier to handle, acts as a clamping surface for other tasks such as coping, and, most importantly, allows for more accurate cuts. I’ve botched too many cuts on trim that wasn’t seated quite right. Cutting trim that’s not flush to the base and table, or out of square to the fence, can cause joints to be way off.
In addition to continuous support, a must-have for me is mobility. I need to be able to move my equipment around my worksite without having to break everything down and put it back together again. I also can’t stand making unnecessary trips hauling equipment around when a more efficient way to transport and set up is readily available—it’s inefficient, aggravating, and costs me time and money.
I’ve looked at pretty much every commercially made miter saw stand on the market, and with the exception of Festool’s UG-Kapex wheeled stand, which is designed to fit the Kapex (see photo, right), I’ve never found a wheeled stand with true continuous material support. In fact, the only non-wheeled stand currently produced with continuous support that will fit the saws I own is FastCap’s Best Fence.
Of all the wheeled stands out there, Bosch’s T4B has always stood out to me. It’s simple, doesn’t take much to break down, and works with most SCMS saws.
A few months ago, I got a Bosch T4B for free with the purchase of a Bosch 5312 SCMS. The 5312 is nearly identical to Bosch’s now-discontinued 5412, minus the adjustable handle. (Replacing the stock blade with a Forrest Chopmaster has really yielded some nice results.)
After mounting the saw to the T4B, I really liked the ease of set up, the tool-less expansion rail adjustments for material support, and the fact that it was mobile. One nice thing about the T4B is that there are no legs for the extensions. This allows you to move the entire stand around with the supports extended.
Just like it is, this stand is perfect for cutting dimensional lumber. However, without continuous support, it’s virtually useless for trim work…at least pleasant trim work.
The 5312 and other Bosch saws have on-board base extensions used to support work pieces near the saw’s base. When pushed all the way in, the tops of the extensions rest on ledges machined into the base. The extensions move in and out on rods running under the saw on rails. The extensions are locked in position with clamping levers.
To add continuous support to the T4B, I built wings out of 3/4-in. birch plywood and wrapped the edges in 3/4-in. maple. I made each wing 11 1/2 in. wide and 58 in. long, giving me over 11 feet of support. I used the ledges of the base as a place to rest the wing, the same ledge that the extension base slides over. To do this, I had to completely remove the sliding base extensions. I secured the wings to the base using the rods from the extension base. They were easily removed by loosening some set screws.
To join the rods to the wings, I nailed and glued two pieces of plywood together and pocket-hole screwed them to the underside of the wings.
|I then drilled two holes through the doubled-up plywood as a place to run the rods through.|
|As a grip to move the rods in and out of the rails, I made some wooden knobs, drilled them to accept the rods, and placed a set screw through each knob to hold the rods to the knobs.|
|I use the saw’s clamping levers to lock the rods to the base. It makes for a really secure connection.|
The far ends of the wings rest on the T4B’s work height support.
|To secure it, I ran a carriage bolt through the wing and work height support,…|
|…and I used a 4 1/4-in. tapered jig knob from Rockler to hold it down. (In hindsight, I should have used threaded inserts rather than carriage bolts, which would have allowed me to avoid having to drill through the wings.)|
This also makes it easy to put together and take apart. Taking the wings apart and putting them back takes about 30 seconds.
It’s very simple, doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, and works great for my needs.
|It also makes for a nice worktable. Even with the wings on, I can still move the saw around when needed. And when I need extra support for coping or planing, I use a FastCap Upperhand underneath one of the wings.|
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Chris Knighton‘s interest in carpentry started as a young boy, working with his father building fences, gates, and sheds at their family home. Years later, Chris spent some time working with a seasoned carpenter, learning to build porches and decks. His real interest is in finish work, but that didn’t come until being forced to renovate his own home.
Though not currently in the profession, Chris’ passion for finish work has fueled a constant study and learning process. Recently, Chris has learned to design built-ins, mantlepieces, and other projects using SketchUp.
Chris, his wife, and their four children live in Northwest Louisiana.