Monday, February 15, 2016

Miter Saw Cart

Recently I have been renovating my workshop in an effort to make it more organized and spacious.  I had 4 worktables like this:

I wound up taking one of my tables apart to give middle shelves to two other work tables...

...and pieces of 2x4 lumber to make a new addition onto another table for my new table saw.

The table I took apart was my dedicated chop station table.

The reason I took this table apart was because a good friend of mine gave me a new miter saw.

I could have revised the existing table for this saw, but I had a better idea.  Recently I also built a small tool storage cabinet.

This thing is great!  It utilizes some drawers I had, plus it's small, has wheels and thus easy to move around in my crowded workshop.  So I want to make something similar, but dedicated for my chop saw.  I also have a few extra drawers that I want to use as well. 

So I designed a similarly sized cart in SketchUp which will have "arms" that fold up and down on each side.  These arms will be level with the saw's table thus making a long area for supporting large pieces of wood.

Each arm will also have a diagonal piece of wood underneath to support the weight of the material I will be cutting.

And most of this build can come out of one piece of 4'x8' plywood.

I had the people at the hardware store cut the plywood board for me at the store.  That makes things easier.

The peg board will be for the back.  Most of the other smaller pine boards will be for the face frame of the whole cart and parts of the arms.

At the time I started this project it was getting pretty late, so I simply measures and marked the pieces of  plywood.

After all my markings I called it a night.

The next day I started by cutting the plywood to size.  I set up my table saw and used a clamping ruler as a fence.

Then I cut all the plywood to size.

Next I began drilling pocket holes into the shelves and the top of the sides.

Since the space between the shelves will be too small to fit my driver in once assembled, I began by attaching the sides to the top first....

...and then attaching the shelves.

Before long the carcass of this cart was done.

I placed my miter saw on top to make sure it fits well, as well as the 2 drawers I'll be using.  Thankfully everything looks good.

Next I began cutting down the wood for the face frame.

I attached the face frame to the carcass using glue and nails.

While I had the whole thing on my work bench, I decided to attach casters to the bottom.

Then I put it upright and made sure it moved around well (which it did).  The drawers also slide in and out nicely.

Next I'll begin adding the arms.  To do this I'll need to reinforce the edges of the top, so I cut more wood and glue/nailed it to the top edge on both sides.

Next I centered the miter saw on top and mounted it.  

Knowing where the exact location of the saw is crucial to aligning the arms correctly.  Using my sliding ruler/guide I marked the location of the saw fence onto the sides of the cart top. 

Then I took off the miter saw and placed the cart upside-down on my work table.  Then I lined up the arms I cut earlier with the marks I made.  I was about to attach some hinges when I realized that the hings were higher than the edge I added on.

To correct this I simply cut more wood to size...

...and angled the front.

Then I glued and nailed the new piece in place.

After letting that dry I attached the hinges to the cart and the arm.

I repeated the process on the other side.

Now both arms swing can fold up (fold down when not upside-down on a table).

Next I cut the wood which will be the supports for the arms.  At the ends of each support I did a compound 45 degree cut.

This allows the support to rest firmly against both the side of the cart and the bottom of the arm.

Next I cut some wood which will be the stop blocks for the supports.

These stop blocks were glued and nailed to the cart and arms at the ends of each support.

Once the cart was right side-up, the 2 arms were perfectly level and quite sturdy thanks to the supports.

Then I remounted the saw.

Next I made all the cuts for the saw table extensions for the arms.

First I dealt with the fences.  These will be screwed to the arms, so I drilled some holes into each fence.

Then, using clamps, I screwed each fence in.

Thanks to my careful measurements earlier, the 2 fences are perfectly aligned with the miter saw fence.

Now it's time to make the new tables.  Back to cutting more wood on the table saw...

...and miter saw.  Below you can see that I used a clamp as a stop block to make sure all the pieces cut were the same size.  I'll have to make a new stop block for this whole thing.

I placed all the new pieces on the arms, against the fences to make sure they align correctly.

Unfortunately my new tops are a bit too high.

So I measured the difference in height and re-cut the wood underneath...

...until it was perfectly level.

Then I drilled pocket holes...

...and attached the table supports with pocket screws.

Then I attached the table tops with screws.

I should note here that I purposely did not use any glue when attaching all the pieces that make up the extension fences and tables.  I did this in the event that I need to take it apart for some reason (such as using a different saw on this stand).  After a little while messing with the extension tables, they were all perfectly level with the miter saw.

Then I removed the supports for the arms and drilled a hole near the top... that they can hang on the sides of the cart when not in use.

Now to get started with that stop block.  I clamped 3 pieces of wood together that sandwiched around the fences.

I went out and bought a tightening knob to use with it.

I drilled holes in the 3 pieces of wood for the knob to go through, however the length of the bolt that was attached to the knob was not long enough to pass through all 3 pieces of wood.

So instead I screwed the 3 pieces together...

...then drilled a hole for the knob on the back.

Now this stop block can slide back and forth on the fences.  When I turn the knob it tightens against the fence and won't budge.  

Having this stop block is crucial in making multiple cuts the same size.

Lastly I cut the peg board back to size...

...and attached it with screws.

I added a peg on the peg board to hold my extra saw blades.

And I'm done!!!

I am so excited about this cart!  It came out better than I hoped!

I still have to better organize the drawers, but for the time being the top drawer holds the stop block, clamps and other measuring tools.

The second drawer holds my riveter set and some files.

The 2 shelves beneath hold various clamps and miter boxes.

When not in use, the arms fold down and the whole thing can fit nicely in between my work tables.

This project took me 2 days to build and I seriously can not wait to start using it!

Thanks for reading!

Update:  About a month after making this wonderful stand I had a project coming up that required me to cut some long pieces of wood at the same length.

For a previous job that required some cuts that were longer than the extension arms I made,  I positioned my stand and used my belt sander on another table as a stop block.  I do not want to do things that way.

So I found a piece of scrap plywood that would work as an extension.

I'll make this new piece attach to one of the table extensions with hinges.  This will allow the new extension to fold up when not in use.

I don't currently have any hinges on hand, so I'll pick them up the next time I'm out.  But for the time being I'll work on a way of keeping the new extension folded up when not in use.  I thought a small piece of thin plywood would do the trick.

I glued and nailed it to the end of the new extension.

When the arm is folded down, the plywood will keep the new extension from falling out, as the hinges are at the bottom.

Then I cut, drilled and attached a new riser to support the new extension.

As I tested the riser I realized that the thin plywood I glued and nailed on won't work.  It blocks the space for wood to lie on.  So I removed it.

I don't need to make a fence for this new extension, as the existing fence on the arm will keep the piece straight.  Also, since the new plywood extension is the same thickness as the existing fence, I can use my stop block horizontally on it.

I still had to figure out a better way of making this work.  Thinking about it over some lunch I realized that small hinges would not be overly strong - especially on the side of plywood.  Plus attaching a latch of some sort may be difficult.  Then a good idea came to me.  One that didn't need hinges or latches.  A friction-fitted table extension.

I cut a piece of wood to fit snugly in between the 2 risers.

Then I drilled holes with countersinks on the new extension table...

...and the old table.

Then I clamped all the pieces together..

...and screwed it together.

Now this new support is strong with no wobbles.

It easily can support the length and weight of an 8-foot long 2x4 stud.

The fit is so tight that it doesn't need those screws.  When not in use the extension simply slides out.

And with a hole drilled at one end of the new extension...

...I can hang it on the back of the cart when not in use.

And that's it folks!

I didn't think I could make this very awesome miter saw cart any better, but this new extension proves me wrong.  With the extension arms I originally built I get 34" between the blade and the end of the table.  With my new extension I get 57" - that's almost 5-feet!

A few months later I took it a step further and built drawers for the bottom 2 spaces and then stained it.

Staining wasn't necessary, but the drawers are a huge help.
Thanks for reading!

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