Miter saws can be used in a woodworking shop as a permanently installed tool or on the jobsite as a portable or semi-portable unit. I will discuss the construction of miter saw tables appropriate to both types of installations. The purpose of a miter saw table is two-fold: (1) to elevate the saw to a comfortable working height for the operator and (2) to provide a surface to the left and/or right of the saw for the extension of the fence and to provide support for long materials while being cut. If you have ever tried to cut a 45-degree miter at one end of a 2 x 6 x 12, you know why a miter saw table or roller stand is absolutely required.
Very often, miter saws are used to make repetitive cuts of the same length. Some sort of saw stop comes in handy and greatly speeds production time for this sort of application. A saw stop must mount to something to hold it in place, usually a fence. You can make your own fence out of a very straight piece of wood or metal or you can do as I did and purchase a commercially available moveable stop that slides along an aluminum track that includes a stick-on measuring tape.
PERMANENT SAW TABLE FOR SHOP USE
Since I buy lumber in lengths up to 14 feet long, I decided to build a very long miter saw table in my woodworking shop. You may not have the physical space for this in your shop so you may have to reduce my measurements accordingly. The longer you can build it, the better off it will be for you but any length of saw table is better than no table at all. My miter saw table measures 8 Feet to the left of the saw blade and another 8 feet to the right of the saw blade. This way, I can support the full length of a sheet of plywood on either side.
The saw table is constructed over 2 x 4 framing and contains multiple storage drawers below the table which I use to store small tools and supplies. If you prefer, the space underneath the saw table can be left open for shelf space or lumber storage. I suggest that the top surface be 3/4″ Melamine or Formica over 3/4″ particle board. If you can use the entire 4-foot width of the Melamine or particle board, by all means do so, especially if your miter saw is of the “sliding compound miter” type. As for overall table height, I would suggest that you build the miter saw table so that the top of the table comes to your belt line when standing. This will give you a comfortable working height and still allow you to bend over the table.
There should be a gap cut through saw table top in the area where the saw is to be mounted. This gap must be exactly as wide as the top of your miter saw and must be open to the front of the table. The gap should close behind the top of the miter saw. The saw must be mounted in this gap so that the top of the miter saw table is flush with the top of the saw table. The miter handle must be free to move its full travel in both directions, left to right.