Saturday, May 29, 2010

Disappearing Miter Saw Stand

No, no, no, I haven't been robbed.  But I used to have my miter saw on a mobile stand and would wheel it away into the confines of my third-car bay.  Then the shop grew and, you know, free space was occupied.  It became a chore to get the saw out.  I sold the stand to the cheapest contractor on the face of the Earth (and whose gigantic pickup leaked oil on my driveway, thank you...) and made a stand for it that is dual use.

The initial idea was motivated by a mobile stand presented in Small-Shop Solutions.  Rather than flip to move one of two tools into operating position, mine flips the saw up or a work table up.

EDIT: Since I posted this, I've had a few questions about it.  Rather than add many more photos to this entry, I decided to run a short video demonstrating the table and going over the various build details.   The rest of this entry still has the original photos and text, but if you want video, here it is:

Voil√†, the table in "work table" position.  The table top is coplanar with my MFT-1080 just to the left.  Underneath, besides various accessories I don't know where to store, is the miter saw.

Here you can see how the table top is coplanar with the MFT-1080 (on my stand; more in another posting later).

The table's position is locked with a cotterless pin on both sides of the rotating top.

Here's an action shot of rotating the saw into position.  All that's needed is to pull the pins slightly and the table, by the weight imbalance, will pivot up slightly.  Just grab the saw by the carrying handle to complete the move.

The resulting work position.  Note how the saw sits lower than the work space that was on the other side.  This is due to the offset position of the pivot point on the tabletop.  The result is that the deck of the saw is coplanar to the MFT-1080 allowing me to use that table to hold stock to the left.

The base itself is on a Jet mobile base since occasionally I get really long stock that needs to be cut in the driveway.  An enhancement I plan to make soon is to use feather keys to lock a spacer into the side of the MFT-1080 and a cam-lock on the miter stand to fix the position of the saw relative to the MFT-1080.  With that in place, I can clamp stop blocks trivially to the MFT.

I'm soon planning on getting a couple MDF sheets drilled in the same pattern as the MFT top, including the MDF under the saw.  With that done, I can clamp boards to the deck by using the clamps used for the MFT rather than trying to clamp to the corrugated underside of the saw deck.

I get asked often enough about how to compute where the pivot point is on the swinging table and how to compute its thickness.  Not very difficult so here it is:

Build the stand with the sides getting maybe a couple inches below the bench height. Plan on where you'll put the pivot point (mine's in the middle of the rail).

Measure from the middle of the pivot point to the bench surface.  Let's call that B so this sounds technical.

Measure the height of your saw deck... from the surface it sits on to the deck.  Call that M (as in miter saw).

The overall thickness of the pivoting box is then B+B-M; it would be B+B for two surfaces that happen to be equal to the bench height but we want to lower one by the height of the saw deck hence the -M.

Make the pivot hole in the swinging box 'B' away from the side that is just a work surface.

The higher the sides of the overall stand are, the smaller B becomes making the swinging box thinner.  I wanted this thickness because I wanted to be able to easily reach in for the star knobs used to bolt the saw to the table.


  • HalfInchShy said...

    While it doesn't belong in the posting per-se, I thought it interesting to mention how I built the stand. I ripped and crosscut all the pieces to the point where they just needed Domino mortises and glue-up. I was streaming that day and someone asked how much faster the Domino was to, say, using a router.

    I'm really good with a Domino (and there is a learning curve to get the most out of it) and even better with those narrow-stock spacers I blogged about long ago.

    I mortised, glued and fully assembled this stand in 27 minutes. I timed it. Not a single pencil mark to denote alignment ; all done with the spacers.

  • Dan Castle said...

    I'd love to get some plans for this. I'm a beginning wood worker but need this badly

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi, Dan... I don't have plans for it. Just measured what I needed to measure then did the calculation for where to put the pivot point. I rarely have detailed plans, which is good and bad.

  • Kneepit said...

    Just saw the video, what a great stand. Do you have a parts list?


  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi, Scott... No I don't have any plans or parts lists. The video explains the way to figure out the placement of the pivot point. From there, it's just a 1/4"-20 bolt on both sides as a pivot and a pair of Cotter pins on the front to lock it into position.