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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin


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Design Criteria

When designing anything, particularly a utilitarian piece, it is critical to establish the basic criteria for the design...functionality, dimensions, etc. So here is my design wish list:

  1. Mobile but solid... The stand for the miter saw must have positive locking wheels. I would like the unit to be heavy, but also able to be broken down into component parts should the need ever arise. An upper component, where the miter saw will be mounted, that could in a pinch be moved to a job site would be great.
  2. Storage...In a small shop every inch counts, so the base of the miter saw stand should include lots of storage. The next question is, drawers, doors, or open shelves?
  3. A long worktable...Many boards I work with are 8 feet long, or longer. I need support, at least at one end, for these longer boards.
  4. Ability to make repetitive cuts without measuring each board...With a long table, I would also like a way to quickly and accurately place stops that will allow me to cut identical-length multiple parts.
  5. And speaking of the table...A "longish" work surface on either side of the saw might also make a good additional shop work surface when horizontal space is at a premium, like when assembling multiple drawers. The work surface will have to be and stay flat, and it needs to be able to be cleared easily of fences or other obstructions.
  6. Future proof...My new miter saw is good...in fact, very good...but is it really top-of-the-line? Who knows? I do know it is not a Festool, and unless I win the lottery, it's not likely to soon be a Festool. But someday, right? One can always dream. And engineering progress marches on. Who knows? The next generation of miter saws may be even more rigidly accurate. I would like the design to be able to accommodate a different miter saw in the future without starting over from scratch.
  7. Dust mitigation...Catching the dust from a miter saw (or a radial arm saw for that matter) is, at best, a sketchy proposition. I would like to design-in dust collection in order to keep the air in my shop as clean as possible.
  8. Overall footprint...Obviously there would be little point in this entire exercise if the footprint is not less than that of the combined space now occupied by my RAS and miter saw.

With these things in mind, I am gradually noodling out a design, but could use your help. Have you designed and built a miter saw workstation? If so, send me your pictures and/or description. You can email me at: downtoearthwoodworks@me.com

I will then promptly steal, uh, borrow, any great and innovative ideas for my own design. Of course I will give you credit and maybe even include a picture of your design in an upcoming article. That, coupled with just $1.99, will buy you a cup of coffee at the local doughnut shop, so send in those ideas!


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