For a while now (since June when my wife and I ripped out the powder bath vanity and put in the garage) I’ve been kicking around the idea of making a miter saw station. I had planned to put it on wheels to allow me to move it around the garage and out of the way when not in use.
Then my father-in-law gave me his router table….and the idea got a little more complicated and took a nagging position at the back of my mind for months. I kept coming back to it and kept coming up empty on how to actually make it work. It’s been a frustrating reminder that I am waaaay behind on my shop organization tasks. As such, it’s been keeping me from completing a handful of projects because I keep getting distracting thinking about this. No more!
Today, the idea had finally fermented enough that I had an idea of how exactly to proceed. I wanted to use the old vanity because by putting a back on it. I could then make it into a scrap bin as well to house all the shorter than 3′ long scrap that is right now in two piles in the garage.
Since the temperature climbed to a balmy 35 degrees this afternoon, I opened the garage doors and got busy. My first step was to flip the vanity over and use some cut-off 1/2″ plywood to cover the base.Once the base was secured, I was ready to install 4 casters I had laying around collecting dust (they had been on my telescope base but were removed when I added 10″ wheels).
You’ll notice I added some 2×4 cutoffs to give the rear wheels (the two in the foreground in this picture) and in the middle. Love using up those small pieces of scrap!
I flipped it back over and tested the wheels—solid and smooth, but the sides of the vanity were still unsupported by the open back. I added 2x4s from front to back to make cleats for more 2x4s to run lengthwise and make a suitable base for the power tools. When these two sets of 2x4s were screwed in place, the whole thing got a LOT more stable.
(note: the picture above is actually at the end of the process after I attached the back…)
I had to figure out a way to get the tools to stay on the thing though. So, when I moutned those 2x4s running lengthwise, I kept them about 12 inches apart. Also, the backing was about 4″ below the level of the 2x4s, allowing me to get my hands in under the 2×4 supports. You’ll see why in a second.
For the bases of the tools, I took the miter saw and mounted it to a slab of OSB laying around cut to fit the vanity. I crossed that with two strips of 1×4 scraps cut to length and screwed those to the OSB. Then I used some hex-head screws and washer and mounted the miter saw to the OSB/1×4 plank. Here’s the test fit:
The last step was simply to measure and cut some 3/4″ plywood I had laying around from my days before the workbench was built. It had served as the portable bench for my plastic sawhorses, but hasn’t been used since the real bench was built. So now it gets repurposed and I save some more space in the shop. Nice! The unit is not rock steady, stable, heavy, and moves like a dream. I could not be happier with the result.
But why the gaps in the 2×4 supports and the backing plywood? So I can have space to clamp the tools to the wheeled base with some heavy duty c-clamps that can just stay with the base now instead of take up space on my clamp rack (they were bought for the temporary bench as well and haven’t been used since the new bench was built). I am actually a little surprised that it all worked out this well! The clamps in the picture are hanging down below the saw to stay out of the way, but if I need to I can easily flip them.
As an added bonus, I designed this whole thing so that I can slide it up to the bench which can now serve double duty as an outfeed table! The bed of the miter saw (don’t know if that’s the right word for it) is within 1/2″ of the height of the workbench—not the exact measurement I was hoping for, but with a sloped garage and nothing but scrap, I’m darn happy with the result. Way better than what I had, which was nothing!
For the coup de grace, it’s also just the right height (with the miter saw attached) to slide against the side wall of the garage under the cabinet I mounted on the wall and under the fastener organizer as well! Right now that space is being taken up by a sloppy offcut pile which will disappear inside the mobile station.
I used up a bunch of scrap wood, cleared out space on the other side of the garage where the vanity had been languishing, organized the scrap bin, got the miter saw and router table in easily accessible locations (making me more likely to use them) and made the shop a little more organized. An awesome 3 hours!!! I love days like this…
And that’s when the dreaded “Oops” moment occurred. The way I mounted the base of the miter saw to the 1x4s, the miter saw can’t rotate to the 45* mark (either way). At most, I get about 30* of movement:It’s hard to see in the photo, but there’s a little bolt with a spring around it attached to the bottom of the miter saw. It supports the far end of the moving part of the bed (is that the right term?) and it is just barely too long to clear the 1×4.
So when I get time tomorrow, I’m going to use the coping saw to trim off the corner of the 1×4 and remove the screw holding it in place. That should give the support bolt on the miter saw plenty of space to rotate left and right the full 45*. The 1×4 is plenty large enough to support the miter saw with that corner lopped off so all should be well after a 5 minute surgery.