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Miter Saw Workbench

author-gravatar ppruente Aug 13, 2017

I recently upgraded to a much larger workshop, and decided it was time to build some seriously stout workbenches. My goals were simple: I wanted my miter saw in the middle with generous infeed/outfeed space, the benches had to be made in sections no larger than 8 ft so they could be reconfigured if my shop downsized, and I wanted to have a backboard on each bench so I could hang tools up (my workshop is a metal building and you can't hang anything from the walls). I thought about a Miter Saw station similar to Jay Bates, but ultimately I wanted more shelf space rather than drawer space.

I  spent a few weeks pondering what to build, and settled on a frame made mostly of 1/8" thick 1.5" square tubing. The center section has a few shelves made of 1" square tubing, but ultimately I found it a lot easier to use only 1.5" tubing and 1.5" angle iron for the left and right side benches. The welding was done with a Millermatic 210 that I purchased second hand on craigslist, and the priming/painting of the metal benches was done with a Harbor Freight HVLP gun ($9.99) and Rustoleum Professional paints from the big box store. I added leveling feet for easy adjustment, and built the bottom shelves high enough off the ground to fit my pallet jack underneath so I can move them if the need ever arises.

When it came to the benchtops, I chose to use a laminated 2x4 benchtop. The materials are readily available, the resulting tops are both strong and heavy (helps dampen vibrations), and the thickness allows for T-tracks to be added without any loss of strength. The shelves are 1/2" and 3/4" ply, and the backboards are all 3/4" ply. I chose to finish them using General Finishes Enduro Clear Poly (water based). I was able to source gallons of the poly online for around $64 each shipped. The reason I chose this type of poly was because of it's durability, ease of application, and quick drying time. I sprayed this poly through the WoodRiver HVLP gun from Woodcraft. This is the easiest finish to apply, and dries tack free in under 20 minutes. Because of this quick drying time, it is possible to apply 3-4 coats to BOTH sides of the plywood in roughly 1.5 hours. This greatly sped up the build time as I was able to cut the plywood sections and finish them all in a single afternoon. 

The finished benches were easy to level, and the addition of the T track to the tops allows for miter saw stops as well as tool hold downs for my disc sander, oscillating spindle/belt sander, scroll saw, mortiser, sharpening station, etc. When I need to use the miter saw, those tools all push back far enough out of the way for me to cut any length of board I need without needing to put the tools completely away or relocate them off the workbench. I've really enjoyed getting a ton of good use out of these benches, and have continually begun adding more and more hanging items every week. Before I made these benches, all my tools had to be stored in drawers or on low shelves, so having them easily reachable makes life a ton easier. Having the extra ~24ft of horizontal bench space helps a ton as well with being able to work on several items at a time and not feeling too cluttered. Finally, I installed dedicated electrical outlets to each bench, as well as dust collection for the Miter Saw. I now use my miter saw daily, which is a striking comparison to before when I simply had it on a small rolling cart with no infeed/outfeed which made it fairly unwieldy to use solo.

I hope you enjoy looking at the build photos, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to leave me a comment and I'll try to get right back to you.

Starting the frame for the first bench (center bench, which will house the miter saw)

The frame continues to take shape. I kept checking and rechecking for square as I welded.

Left side of center bench complete, right side in progress

Right side of center bench in progress. Welding magnets are very useful, but cannot always be trusted for square. I tacked, ground, and re-tacked these several times (first time welding in a while).

I connected the two sides of the center bench with the platform that will hold the Miter saw

Added extra support pieces in the back to attach the plywood to.

Tarping the workshop and prepping for primer

This bench I sprayed the primer from spray paint cans. It took a long time, and took several cans. 

Primer complete

Painted black - for the black paint I bought the Harbor Freight HVLP gun and used it with my compressor. Much faster, and much easier to get even coverage

Beginning to cut the wood for the benchtops

Glue up in 12" sections for easier jointing and planing (max jointer capacity is 12")   

Gluing sections together with biscuits for alignment

Test fit of miter saw height compared to benchtops

Benchtops glued and ready for finish

Spraying finish outside 

Semi-gloss General Finishes Enduro Clear Poly (Water based)

Completed benchtop

Benchtops and shelves attached

Backboard added, electrical boxes roughed in.

T-Track added (these fit any 1/4-20 bolt)

Electrical outlets complete

Miter Saw attached

Side view, these benches are roughly 30" deep

Overhead shot

I skipped taking photos while welding the next bench, but here it is after being fully welded.

Second bench primered

Painted black and moved inside

Gluing up 6 more sections for the remaining two benchtops

3 of 6 complete

6 of 6 complete (1 still in clamps not pictured)

Second bench taking shape, lower shelves added.

First 8' workbench top completely glued

Sanded, gaps filled, and dado routed for T-track

Finish complete and T-Track added

I really like the water based finish because it does not yellow the pine

Second benchtop attached

Backboard added to second bench

Added dust collection to miter saw. Hindsight being 20/20 I would have cut these holes before I attached the plywood

Dust shroud/box added as wel

Two benches complete! I began adding hanging tools including a hanging drill organizer made from Mesquite and Maple

Final workbench begun, I started by welding the back side

Adding more cross braces for strength

More braces

Adding shelves and front legs

Side view of welding progress, nearly complete

I skipped photos of primer, this is after painting it black

Workbench moved inside to dry (it began to rain)

Bench moved into position and worktop added

Lower shelves and backboard plywood added

This is a current day shot (I've been using these benches for roughly 2 months now). You can see I've added some hardware bins and other hanging tools.

Right hand workbench. Houses my mortiser, nailguns, and my sharpening station. I plan to also add a hanging sandpaper storage and use this bench as a dedicated ROS sanding station.

Center workbench. I've got my hanging drill organizer, hardware bins, disk sander and miter saw permanently living on this section. The tools below all clamp down into the T-track when I use them

Left workbench, this is primarily going to be hand tools. I threw together some makeshift shelves for the planes, but I plan to make a Plane Till as time allows. I still need to attach a larger base to my dovetail jig as well so that it can clamp into the T-track

Overall shot of the workbenches as of August 2017, with tools pulled out and ready for use. All tools can be pushed back far enough to clear the bench enough to allow for full miter saw use without putting the tools away.

Sharpening station (nothing fancy)

Scroll saw (attached to workbench via threaded inserts in back)

Miter stop

Disc Sander

1 comment

Wow, that's super nice! I love how you used metal tubing for the frame. It looks great!

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