Making A Folding Miter Stand Homemade Machines & Jigs
A miter saw is a really handy tool. Its portability makes it great for jobs where it’s not practical to move the material to the saw – the saw goes to the material and the job, whether that’s inside or out. With this mobility, it really isn’t complete without a convenient way to set it up quickly to make cuts in a comfortable manner. That’s where a well designed miter saw stand comes in.
A lot of the better saws on the market have a stand available to buy, that is more or less custom made for that particular model. There are some generic stands as well, that will fit most of the
saws that are out there. For the most part, they aren’t giving these stands away, and they are not inexpensive. Some are better than others, as far as build and design quality goes, and some are not as compact when folded or as light-weight. Having a stand that is easy to transport (near or far) and convenient to set up and tear down, usually means it will get used a lot more.
With this project I set out to make a stand that meets my needs and my expectations for trouble-free use. It would have to fold up compact, but still be strong enough to support my saw adequately. It would have to be light, not bulky, and small enough to go in the trunk (or back seat) of the average car.
It would also have to have a simple side support table for longer stock.
Here’s a short video showing what I came up with:
To start off, I have cut some regular framing lumber down to size and planed it to a uniform thickness:
They are then cut to length, with the correct angle on the ends.
The locations for 1″ holes are laid out and drilled on the drill press:
The four legs are now complete.
1″ dowel rod connects the leg sets together, and here I’m making my own with a 1/2″ round over bit in the router table:
The first two inches is done as a test, to make sure the dowel is the right size. When I’m happy with the fit, I finish the cut.
I end up with four pieces, the shorter ones are for the pivot point between leg sets.
Buying dowels off the shelf is also possible, and for an extra sturdy stand, 3/4″ steel pipe can be used.
Some more well seasoned framing lumber is used to make the parts for the upper support arms:
Cut to size and planed smooth.
The upper support arms need notches in one end for plywood brackets. Here I’m making the cheek cut to the line I have drawn on the part:
Move the fence to cut the other side. This is the top, and the bottom will have a slight over-cut from the curve of the blade. This will not be seen and really has no effect on the strength of the part.
The shoulder cut is done with the blade up the right height, using my sliding table fence.
A miter gauge or table saw sled can be used as well.
These notches are not strictly necessary, but don’t take much time and make the parts look less bulky and more professional.
The brackets that hold the upper support arms on are drilled with a 1″ hole. The placement of these holes is critical, in that all of the hinge brackets need to be exactly the same. Using the fence and stop block on my drill press table makes this easy to do:
Four identical brackets to fit in the notches.
The hinge brackets are glued and screwed onto the upper support arms:
Now is a good time to ease the corners on the legs, and I’m giving my chamfering plane a workout:
The lower braces are marked and countersunk for wood screws.
With one of the lower braces glued and clamped, it’s checked for square prior to driving screws:
The longest dowel is for “leg set A” and that is glued in with polyurethane construction adhesive:
The joint is then secured with a screw.
“Leg set A” completely assembled.
Care needs to be taken at this point, not to get confused and orient the parts the wrong way. I got halfway through this assembly and realized that one of the legs was facing the wrong way. Fortunately, the glue I’m using has a long open time and I was able to correct the problem with no damage done.
And leg set B:
A 1″ washer (a washer made with 1/8″ thick hardboard will work too) goes between the leg sets:
The short dowels are glued in with polyurethane construction adhesive. Polyurethane construction adhesive is an excellent glue for this because it has very good gap filling qualities. If the fit of the dowel is not perfectly snug, it will fill in the space creating a very strong bond.
The excess is squeegeed in and wiped off:
The end of the dowel on the inside legs (leg set B) is not glued – this is the pivot point for the legs as they open and close.
The legs fold up with little room to spare. The idea was to make this as compact as possible, but still provide an ultra stable base for the saw.
To hold the stand in the open position, two hook blocks are cut. These are the same thickness as the other solid wood parts and have notches cut to fit around the dowel in leg set B.
I went back and forth on the best way to hold the stand open, and settled on this as probably the best, least complicated way. The stand doesn’t need to lock in position, since the nature of its design make it so it can’t fold up during normal usage.
The blocks are glued onto the ends of the upper support arms:
And hook over the dowel in leg set B.
To hold the saw in place on the stand, I didn’t want bolts holding it down. They would be too inconvenient to put in and take out, plus are not really necessary. Instead, I cut two pieces of 3/4″ thick plywood and put those on the upper supports, under the saw. I traced the outline of the base of the saw on the plywood and cut it out with the band saw:
These cleats hold the saw firmly and allow easy setup and removal.
To hold the upper support arms at the right distance apart, a crossmember is measured and attached to the underside. This will be a different length for different models of saws:
This crossmember and the cleats are just screwed in place with no glue, in case I get a different saw at some time, and want to change the stand to fit it.
To hold the stand closed when it’s folded up, I made catches from 3/4″ plywood:
These are screwed to the bottom of the hook block on the upper support arms, and latch over the brace on leg set B.
Complete and painted:
The stand still needed a side table, to support longer stock. To attach it, I made some blocks from 1/2″ plywood and attached them to the underside of the upper support arms, in line with the bed of the saw. A 1/4″ hanger bolt was driven in the centre of each:
The side table is very simple, but effective. It is adjustable for height, tilt and distance from the saw:
The foot is adjustable to sit on unlevel ground properly, and the upper support can move up or down, plus tilt to be on the same plane as the bed on the saw.
Two side tables can be made, one for each side of the saw.
A project that was long overdue, and I don’t know how many times I thought about making a stand like this. Now that I have it, I know it will be a mainstay for my out-of-shop projects.