Mitre saw station
For this blog entry I have chosen to show you the setup in my shop to get the most out of my mitre saw. Until recently I had a 10″ sliding mitre saw. I liked it a lot but it was showing a major flaw which is common to all sliding saws and that is the amount of space required behind the saw due to the sliding tubes. I already had in mind to replace it with the Bosch articulated arm gliding saw introduce on the market somewhat 3 years ago but was waiting for the perfect occasion. This opportunity showed up when a colleague at work told me he was on the lookout for a sliding mitre saw for upcoming works on his home. He was craving for a decent quality saw but without the hefty price tag. I offered him my saw at a reasonable price that he accepted. I knew at that time that I could have an awesome offer on the Bosch. Planets were all perfectly lined up so no way I was going to miss that one. I said farewell to my old saw and welcome to the new 12″ gliding saw from Bosch. I would have prefer the 10″ version but it only showed up 6 months later and nearly boasting the same price tag as the 12″ so I made a good move with that one.
Why this model rather any other else would you ask me? Well because the articulated arm on this model instead of the sliding tubes doesn’t need any room behind. You can put the saw right against the wall. That was the selling point for me. I could also have opted for the Kapex from Festool but my credit card was already crying just viewing the price tag which is nearly twice as much the one for the Bosch. Let’s forget about it! My shop is small and space is at a premium and I was often restrained from using my other saw because I had to clear some room to set it up to be able to use it, do the job at hand, clean up et store it back before going on with the next task. Let say I had a seldom used tool while it should have been more useful. It was time to change that all over.
With the new Bosch saw I had in mind to build a dedicated workstation. So I took a few weeks to study all the possibilities and come up with a design that could fit in my shop while meeting some goals:
- Host the saw. This one is trivial…
- Being able to have at least an 8 foot long table on the left hand side of the saw.
- To have a guide system including stops and measuring tape on each side of the saw
- Being able to store some tools partly or completely beneath the tables
- Grant a space for my wood cart somewhere in the design, either as is or a modified version of the cart.
- Lastly, if possible, to integrate my mortiser in the long table to free up some space in the shop
As you can tell, the upcoming challenge would be a tough one. While juggling with all those constraints, it became clear in my mind that it would be possible. I would first have to rework my wood storage cart so it would be lower in order to fit underneath one section of the left hand side table. My mortiser would lost its legs to find a new home in the table. The guide with the stops and measuring system would be removable and placed in front of the mortiser so I could quickly and easily take it away to use the mortiser. My small planer hidden in its own mobile base could find a spot under one of the tables as well as my shop vacuum and my jointer. It started with what you can see on the next 2 pictures where we can see the wall that would receive the workstation (the one below the cabinets):
From there I moved on to the results showing on the 4 next pictures:
On the first one we can see the far most left table underneath my wood storage cart takes place. This 5′ section is removable so I can access sheet goods as plywood behind. It’s held in place using only 4 lockbolts as the one visible on the front of the saw on pictures 3 and 4. We can also see the guide with the stop and measuring tape on the first picture. The guide is fixed on the table using star knobs that threads into inserts mounted flush to the table surface. It is easy to take off and put back on. On the second picture we can see the same table section along with the one that hosts my Powermatic mortiser. This section is fixed in place. The wooden box below the mortiser is my planer hideout… The third picture shows up the shelf on which the saw is actually sitting as well as the right hand side table which partly hides my jointer. This section is removable using the same principle as the leftmost section and also includes a guide with rail, stop and measuring tape. The rail has been added after the photo was shot because I was missing this section of rail. You will also notice that my shop vacuum now lies under the saw. The shelf for the saw is mounted on full extension drawer slides so I can easily take it off if I need the saw out of the shop. The last picture shows the box that surrounds the saw to help collect the dust created while cutting. It is fitted with a port on one side so my shop vacuum can be hooked up. It is plugged into an iVac switch as well as the saw so it starts up automatically when the saw is fired up and stops a few seconds after the saw.
The tables are made out of 2 plywood layers 5/8″ thick and are covered on both faces with plastic laminate and then edged with pieces of birch I had on hand. It’s strong, impact resistant, not too heavy and pieces move easily over the table surface. Everything is resting on supports that goes down to the ground while being bolted to the concrete wall behind.
I think I can definitely say “Mission accomplished” on that project. My design managed to take into account all the objectives I had before starting without compromising the basic function which is to get the most out of my mitre saw. Now as soon as I have a cut to be made it is obvious that I turn over to my mitre saw. It is always ready to use and the guide system is so accurate. In fact, all the face frame pieces and the mouldings on my entertainment center project were cut on this workstation. Also, mortises on the doors of the same project were made using the mortiser in its new configuration. After spending many months using it, I must admit that it’s performing even better that I could have expected!
Bosch GCM12SD gliding mitre saw
Powermatic PM710 Mortiser
Rockler Double T-Track fence cap (Available through special order)
Rockler fence flip stop (Available through special order)
Rockler T-Track tape measures (Available in left-to-right and right-to-left versions through special order)