No Fence Miter Station


The Wood Whisperer is sponsored
by Powermatic and Titebond. Well this is my miter station. And you might be thinking
that it doesn’t quite look like other miter stations you’ve seen, because there’s not a lot
of the bells and whistles you typically see. I don’t have a fence system
that goes all the way across and really all I have are cabinets. I’ve got a couple banks
of drawers, some doors, and then that’s just really
serving as support surface for where the action
happens here at the saw. Now I don’t think fences are necessary, primarily because the only
fence that really matters on a miter saw is the
one that comes with it. A lot of people assume that
having a nice, long fence is gonna help with longer work pieces and I guess, in some ways it might, but I find it to be problematic, because if the piece isn’t dead straight you may actually have
this part of the board causing changes over here and this is really where it matters, so I wanna be nice and
square near the point where I’m making the cut. Furthermore, a fence that
goes right in the middle of a tabletop surface means this surface is less useful to me, because there’s always
something in my way. Now if you’re the kind of person who takes any horizontal surface and tends to cover it with stuff you might find the fence quite useful, because it kind of prevents
you from doing that. Or if you use the space behind the fence to put additional cabinetry and storage that might be a good use for it as well, but by no means, for most
woodworkers, is a fence necessary. So think long and hard about it before you actually install one. And you might be wondering about stops, how does that work if
you don’t have a fence? Well, you could put a T-track
right into the top surface and make your own flip stop. Or buy a manufactured commercial product for something like this. But this works just fine. Now you probably noticed that
the saw is offset to one side, it is not centered. So I’ve got about eight feet
to the left of the blade and four feet to the right. We offset, because if we
put this guy in the middle I’d have six feet to the left and six feet to the right, but my total max capacity
would only be six feet. At least this way with an offset I can do as much as eight feet on one side and then a shorter
amount to the other side. So offsetting, if you
don’t have unlimited space, is a little bit more efficient and gives you more capacity. Even though the dust
collection on this saw really isn’t very effective I still have it hooked up to a dust vac that lives under here. I’ve got a little alcove
that I use for a garbage can and my off cuts and scraps go in there. The left cabinet has two doors and a bunch of slide-out trays. And on the right side
just traditional drawers with all kinds of stuff in ’em. So this is a Guild project and if you’re really interested
in all the measurements and the plans and the full set of videos you can certainly go check that out at thewoodwhispererguild.com, or you could just enjoy this
free version of the video where I give you highlights
of the entire process. Let’s get to it. This project requires six
sheets of 3/4 inch plywood and two sheets of 1/4 inch. I’m using Russian birch for
its consistency and flatness, but honestly, any
shop-grade plywood will do. I’ll start by making the cases. I cut all of my parts to
rough side on the floor and then square things up at the MFT. The rest of the cuts are at the table saw. The side pieces require
notches for the toe kicks. I like cutting these at the
bandsaw with a magnetic stop. I also cut notches where the stretchers will connect to the sides. Next, I’ll cut rabbets and
dados into the stretchers. Once all the joinery is cut the cabinets go together pretty quickly with glue and screws. Each cabinet will receive leveling feet, which will be essential for a
project like a miter station. And my shop floors are wonky, so these are gonna really help a lot. The right cabinet will get 10 drawers. The drawer boxes are
pretty straightforward, being made from the same plywood with rabbets, grooves, glue, and screws. The left cabinet will have shallow trays instead of deep drawers. I’ll simply wrap a piece of 3/4 inch ply with additional plywood strips to make a strong and sturdy tray. The tops are just a
double layup of plywood with glue and screws
bringing it all together. The screw heads will be on the bottom, so we’ll never see ’em. You just gotta make sure
they’re not in the path of one of the T-tracks
that we’ll install later. I’ll trim out the tops
with some solid wood to protect the edges
and dress it up a bit. The tops are cut to final dimension and the strips are added
with miters at the corners. Now for the hardware. Lots of full extension slides on this one. With the cabinets on their side I use spacers for a
dummy-proof installation. Now for some solid wood drawer fronts. In a previous video I showed
you how you can use screws in the handle holes to hold
the drawer fronts in place. Here’s another method
that involves shooting a couple of brads. With the drawer fronts in place we could then drive screws from the inside for a permanent connection and then drill for the handles. Next up, we need to make some doors. The doors will have solid wood
frames and plywood panels. I’ll cut the grooves
in the rails and stiles and then use the Domino for the joinery. Now to install the hinges. These are pretty standard
European cup hinges, except for the fact that
they are zero protrusion. That means that when the door is open it won’t get in the way
of the sliding trays. Now I’ll rout some grooves
for T-tracks in the tops. The T-tracks will allow me to connect various hold-downs and stops. Next up, leveling. With a laser line on the wall I’ll make sure that all three
cabinets are in the same plane and then screw the cabinets to the wall. After applying some finish, I’ll install the T-tracks. Because I might not have
the same miter saw forever I’m installing the saw section
on top of movable cleats. If I ever get a different saw it shouldn’t be too hard
to adjust the height. Now I need a few holes here and there for dust collection and power. And in comes the saw. For the flip stop I
cut a groove in a block and then drop in a strip of material that will ride in it’s E slot. I’m actually making
two stops at once here. I can then drill holes for bolts and cut the blank into two pieces. I then drill a hole all the
way through the end grain and insert a piece of threaded rod. Now I can take a small piece of aluminum, drill a hole for the rod, and round over the corners,
so that it can rotate freely. With a lock nut on the other end and a little star nob at the top I’ve got a pretty reliable flip stop. And finally, time to load up the cabinets. For the upper cabinets I went with RTA or ready to assemble. Sometimes when time is money it’s just better to buy things that you don’t feel like making yourself. And after building the miter station, as well as a whole ‘nother set of cabinets on the other side of the shop I was more than ready to get back to making my usual furniture, so RTA did the trick. The funny thing is the doors up top took another six months for
me to get around to making, but I used off cuts from
my recent hall tree project to make them. There are a lot of miter
station styles out there and it’s important to find one that best suits your work
style and storage needs. For me a system with no
fence, big work surfaces, and lots of storage fits the bill. If you want additional
detail on this project feel free to head over to
The Wood Whisperer Guild and check it out. Or take a look at the video we did on quick, high quality cabinets last year. The construction of that one is very similar to the miter station, except that we build a level platform instead of using leveling feet in order to combat the horrific sloop. Thanks for watching.

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