Introduction: Modular Miter Saw Station - Ultimate Shop Storage
This miter saw station is designed to fit on an existing workbench. The upper units could easily be scaled and be used as base units as well if you don't have a workbench to build it off of.
Each unit is 3' wide and can be added or subtracted depending on how much room you want to the left and right of your miter saw.The drawers are made to be fully interchangeable in 3 sizes (small, medium, large) as well as a work station drawer.
With the set-up I chose, I can cut 7' to the left of the saw and 4 feet to the right of the saw using the stop block & ruler system. The saw unit fits my 12" sliding compound miter saw.
A story of 4 acts:
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- 1/4" plywood (4 sheets)
- 3/4" plywood (7 sheets)
- Hardwood for stop block slider
- Clear plexi-glass sheet for stop block
- Carriage bolt & nut for stop block (1)
- Drawer pulls (1 per drawer + 1 for stop block)
- Hinge for work station drawer (1) - http://amzn.to/2edFEkk
- Hook and eye for work station drawer (1) - http://amzn.to/2elwwxF
- Left to right read ruler - http://amzn.to/2edFsS2
- Right to left read ruler - http://amzn.to/2eI9Aoa
- T-tracks (3) - http://amzn.to/2evHvnZ
- Screws for assembly
- Screws for stop block
- Kaizen foam http://amzn.to/2zfqtCY
- Table saw http://amzn.to/2j4bvVU
- Circular saw http://amzn.to/2pindD0
- Drill & driver http://amzn.to/2wy5wSZ
- Miter saw http://amzn.to/2j614UM
- Palm router http://amzn.to/2obmZeX
- Stapler http://amzn.to/2zfp27y
- Jig saw http://amzn.to/2iQTfzL
- Glubot http://amzn.to/2iUJ1SV
- Bandsaw http://amzn.to/2j4auNu
- Router table http://amzn.to/2pY0lFs
- F-clamps http://amzn.to/2k4EvjT
- Chisels http://amzn.to/2iDRapV
Step 2: Sizing the Materials and Assembling the Lower Boxes
This whole build is made from 3/4" plywood with 1/4" plywood used as backs on the cabinets and also bottoms on the drawers. It takes a total of 7 sheets of 3/4" and 4 sheets of 1/4", but I ended up mixing in some reclaimed pine that I had laying around to save some plywood. I start the process by ripping the sheets down to width on the table saw.
I use a drywall t-square to mark each of the pieces out and then cut the long pieces of plywood down to length by hand with my circular saw.
The bottom boxes are assembled first. This is done with a simple butt joint and glue/screws to hold it together. I use a screw clamp to help hold the side straight up in the air and screw the top into it and then flip it over and do the same for the bottom piece.
I make a total of 3 of the tall boxes and one shorter box. The difference in the dimensions of these boxes is simply the height of the table of my miter saw. I move them all over to the existing workbench that was in the space when I moved in and I attach the 4 boxes to each other and then screw them down to the table. These will be multi-purpose, both for storage with a drawer in each of them and also the front half will function as a work table with the back half holding more cabinets.
Step 3: Assembling the Upper Boxes
Now I have a miter saw station (kind of)! I temporarily move my miter saw into place and then I use it to cut the thinner plywood rips down to length that will become the storage cabinets that will sit on top of the boxes.
The upper boxes are assembled the same way as the lower ones, with glue and screws. These ones will receive a back panel though to add some structure and hold them square. I use a rabbeting bit in my palm router to create a rabbet that the back panel will fit in to.
I cut the 1/4" plywood down to size with my circular saw and square off the cut in the back of the cabinet with a chisel so I can complete the assembly. With all the pieces in place, I can then move the pieces into place and fasten the back in place with some staples. :)
Step 4: Installing Boxes and Fence
I repeat the same with the other 3 upper cabinet boxes and then bring them over to the lower units. Each of the 4 are screwed to each other to create one big upper cabinet unit much the same as if you were installing them up on the wall.
Then I can slide these upper cabinet back into place and fasten them down into the lower boxes with some screws.
The fence for the saw is installed in the 3 upper units to either side of the saw. This will space the drawers up above my work pieces, but also this will give me a surface to attach a stop block and ruler system to. This also gives me a nice hidden compartment behind the fence and below the lowest drawer to hide my Jimmy Diresta shrine away from prying eyes ;)
Step 5: Fitting the Miter Saw
One final thing left before I can start installing the storage drawers is putting the miter saw in place. The box that surrounds the miter saw is made from 4 solid sides, so I move the miter saw in place and mark out where the feet are so I can remove this section of the box to make the miter saw sit flush with the lower box.
Moving this box unit out by unscewing it and sliding it forward, I use a drill to cut out the corners and then connect the lines with a jig saw. I can then slide it back into place and screw it down again. The miter saw is moved into place now that it can sit flat, and it is also screwed into place so it won't move.
Now that's starting to look like a thing! For my drawer slides I decided to go with a simple wood slide system to avoid having to buy any drawer slides (since these upper units aren't super deep) and also to allow for adaptability that you'll be able to see better later. The slides are crated by just installing a bunch of strips of 3/4" plywood by screwing them to each side of the boxes with a gap between them that is just over 1/4".
Step 6: Building the Small Drawers
To save from using another sheet of plywood I decided to make these drawers out of some reclaimed 3/4" pine panels that I had laying around. I rip them down first on the table saw and then cut the pieces to length (on my miter saw!). These are glued and screwed together with simple butt joints just like the cabinet boxes.
To complete the drawer assembly, I glue some 1/4" plywood down to form the drawer bottom and then staple it in place. Notice how the plywood bottom extends past the ends, these will function as the drawer slides for the drawers. I make these drawers in varying heights to fit different things until I've filled up all of the upper cabinets.
You can see here better how the drawer slides function. It's super simple and you just need to hold onto the drawer when you open it which is totally worth saving a couple hundred bucks on metal slides. Plus this gives me the adaptability to move drawers around to any spot and resize if I need to down the road.
Step 7: Building the Large Drawers
For the lower drawers I build them a little different. I use the same reclaimed pine for this, but since the drawers are much deeper I use some 3/8" thick plywood for the bottom of them. I cut the drawer sides to place and then cut a groove in the bottom of them to accept the drawer bottom.
Then it's time to assemble these big drawers. I glue and screw the sides together once I fit them around the drawer bottom. I can then install them in place in the lower drawers. These don't have drawer slides either and just sit in the bottom of the cabinet.
I flip the drawers upside down just to rub on some paste wax to reduce the friction on the sides and bottom of the drawers.
Step 8: Drawer Faces and Pulls
With the last bits of plywood, I cut some drawer fronts down to size for each of the drawers. These act as drawer stops when the drawers are closed and also it blends the drawers in with the rest of the cabinet. I install screws in the center of each drawer face as temporary drawer pulls.
For the real drawer pulls, I brand a cut-off of the plywood a bunch of times and then cut these disks out on the band saw and sand down the edges until they are flush with the circle on the brand.
To make these really easy to grab on to I move them all over to the router table and carve out the back edge of them with a chamfer bit very carefully with a push stick in hand.
I pre-drill through the front of each of the drawers and then fasten the drawer pulls into place.
Step 9: Sharpener Drawer
One of the drawer faces that was a little different is the grinder/sharpener storage drawer. This is a very shallow drawer that functions as an extra little work space to sharpen my tool. I notch out the drawer front to install some hinges so that the drawer front is actually able to be lowered down to access the inside of the drawer.
There is a hole drilled out of the back of the cabinet so I can run an extension cord in and plug in both the grinder and the sharpener. When I want to use either of them I just slide the drawer open and collapse the drawer front down by releasing the latches. Then to collapse it and hide it away, it's just the opposite process.
Step 10: Stop Block
Now it's time to dive into the details that makes this thing special! I glue up a square block from 2 layers of 3/4" plywood just a little bit under the dimension of the height of the fence. To act as a marker against the ruler I'm installing, I cut a piece of plexi-glass to fit on top of the stop block.
I drill out a hole on each side of it to hold it in place and I make these slots to give me the ability to micro adjust the measurement showing on the ruler until it's right on the money. I use a square and sharp knife to score one side of the plexi.
Then I use a black permanent marker and draw along the score mark that I just made. I quickly rub the excess off with my finger to remove the mark on the shiny surface of the plexi outside of the score mark. This worked even better than expected, giving me a really fine line to reference against the ruler.
I screw the plexi in place on top of the stop block and test it out, pretty cool! Now I just need to add the ruler and a way to slide the stop block back and forth.
Step 11: T-track and Ruler
The 3 fence pieces are taken off of the cabinet by simple unscrewing them and then I cut a dado out of the center of them the size of my aluminum t-track insert. To hold these in place I just mix up some 2-part epoxy and clamp the tracks into place.
While that cures, I add the details to the stop block. I cut a dado out of the back of it where the t-track is located and glue in a piece of mahogany to act as a slider. I drill out the center of it where the t-bolt will go.
Once the epoxy cures, I unclamp the pieces and screw the fences back in place on the cabinet. The ruler is just an adhesive backed metal ruler that I temporarily hold in place with tape while I remove the backing to stick it in place. It's surprisingly sticky!
For the t-bolt I just take a carriage bolt and grinder the head off of 2 sides of it, leaving just enough to grab in the t-track. I decide to use one of the drawer pulls for the locking knob, because why not, so I drill out a hole in the back just smaller than the size of the nut and then cut out the corners and hammer it in place.
Then the knob can be threaded on and this thing slides back and forth and locks in place like a charm!
Step 12: Foam Organization
One last piece of organization is kaizen foam! I get some of the thick stuff to store a bunch of my small hand held tools. I cut it down to size on the table saw just over size of the dimension of the small drawers.
With the pieces just slightly over size, the fit in place in the drawer perfectly with a friction fit. I layout and organize all of my most used tools into different categories in the different small drawers.
Once I'm satisfied with the layout I use a long nose marker to mark the location of them all out on the foam and then use a knife set to the thickness of each tool to cut their shape out to the right depth. I use my propane torch to heat up the knife slightly and it cut through the foam literally like a hot knife through butter. It also melts the surface when it cuts it so it leaves behind a nice finished surface.
It's so satisfying to install all of the hand tools in place in the drawers. Now I'll be able to see when a tool is missing and make sure I put it back in place in its empty hole, too bad I can't do that with my soul...
Then the final added detail is a couple of wings on either side of the miter saw to help collect the dust inside that unit. I also take advantage of these by attaching a couple of blocks with holes in them to hold pencils and then on the other side of the saw I install some screws to hold tape measures. There are 2 things that walk away in the shop when you set them down: pencils & tape measures. Now I won't have to fight that battle!!
Step 13: Glamour Shots!
Thanks for checking out the build! This beast was a big investment, but it's going to be such a time saver with everything having a home that it has already been worth it 10 times over. I've made a set of video on my YouTube channel covering the full construction of this unit, so definitely head over there and check that out to get the full details and experience of the build!
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