How to Build a Miter Saw Table From Scratch

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A miter saw table

For safety, quality, and longevity, it’s a good idea to fasten your miter saw to a table. We’re not talking about just fastening your saw to a tabletop, although you can do that, too. We’re talking about building a table for your saw that permits you to cut long pieces of wood without anything hanging over.

Simple by design

Simple by design

Image credit: Tom Sayles, Flickr

A simple design requires just a few basic components and a few pieces of wood. Once you have the basic design built, you can feel free to add extras to it, like drawers to hold components or places to put accessories so they are handy. The other benefit of this simple design is that it’s easy to take with you wherever you need your miter saw. There’s no need to remove it and transport it separately.

The table you’ll be building is basically three sections: a recessed center where your saw will sit, and a wing to either side that’s tall enough to stand flush with the cutting deck. The general idea is to create a flat surface that extends beyond the edges of the saw deck to provide stability to whatever you’re cutting.

Materials needed

Materials needed

Image credit: Erick S. Holmes, U.S. Department of Defense

Building a miter saw table is simple and doesn’t require any complicated materials. For the table itself, you’ll need a piece of plywood. For our purposes here, we’ll say a 4×6 piece that is 1/4” thick. This will provide both the bottom of the table and the tops of the two wings. You’ll also want 10 feet of 2×4. If you carry it off perfectly, you can squeeze by with eight, but plan on two extra feet to accommodate a screw-up. You’ll need a bunch of three-inch screws, and hanger screws to fasten the saw to the table.

You’ll need a tape measure, a cordless drill, and a table saw or hand saw to cut all the wood. You’ll also want safety equipment like goggles, because there will be sawdust involved. A mask will protect you from breathing the sawdust, too.

Prep work

prep work

Image credit: Tara A. Williamson, Kadena Air Base

The first step towards success in anything is preparing to do the work. In this case, it means taking precise measurements. Get the basic dimensions of your miter saw, especially its width and depth. Also, get a precise height from the bottom of the saw’s feet to the top of its cutting deck. We’d advise that you write everything down, because you’re definitely not going to want to go from memory.

Next, you’ll want to cut your wood to size. First, cut the plywood to the depth of your miter saw. Most miter saws run slightly less than two feet deep, which is why we called for plywood that’s four feet wide. You’ll want two pieces of plywood that are the same width. One is going to be the base of the table. The other will be the top of the table.

You’ll want to do a little math in addressing those 2x4s. Those will probably be pretty close to as tall as what you measured from the bottom of the feet to the top of the deck. You’ll need to shave off another quarter inch to accommodate the plywood tabletop. You want the top of the two wings to be flush with the top of the cutting deck. Rip that plywood to the appropriate height, and then cut it to as long as your miter saw is deep.

Assembly

Assembly

Image credit: Rioncm, Flickr

Once you have all the wood cut to size, it’s decision time. You can build a miter saw table with the saw in the middle. Most people prefer an asymmetrical design, with the saw a little off-center and one wing longer than the other.

Whichever you prefer, mark a location where you want your saw on the plywood. Make sure the braces for the tabletops, which you cut from the 2x4s, will leave only a butter knife’s worth of space between the table and the cutting deck. You want to be able to unmount your saw if needed and get it back in pretty easily. So, you want space, but only as much as is necessary.

Place the braces where they need to go, and set the plywood on top of them. Screw them together with three-inch wood screws. Flip the frame over with the braces screwed on, and fasten in the saw.

Take the remaining piece of plywood and cut it into two pieces, each long enough to cover both uncovered tables. Make sure they both rest flush with the top of the cutting deck. If they do, screw those into place with the other three-inch wood screws.

Customize

Customize

Image credit: Nottingham Hackspace, Flickr

This is a table that is perfect for putting on the ground or on top of an existing table. If you want to make it a standalone table, you can add another layer of plywood to the bottom for better strength and stability, and either set that on sawhorses or build its own legs. You can also take the open space on both wings and set in drawers for storage, or turn it into a place to put your power cord. It’s your table.

Conclusion

Building a table to use with your miter saw is a simple, affordable project. With just a piece of plywood and a length of 2×4, you can put one together in a short time with just a little bit of hardware. The other great thing is that once you have the basic design down, you can customize it and even build new tables for different situations.


Top image credit: Mitch Barrie, Flickr