My aim with DIY projects around the home is to look for innovative space-saving ideas and save costs on materials by recycling.
This is not intended as a definitive template for mitre saw platforms, but an example of lateral thinking which can be adapted to suit your own requirements.
I recently acquired a large multi-purpose sliding mitre saw to replace my old, and smaller, mitre saw. The only problem is that whereas my old mitre saw fitted comfortably on my workbenches, the new one doesn’t.
I could buy a stand, but apart from the expense, I don’t really have the space for one. Therefore I opted to design and build a platform from scrap wood that would allow me to use my new mitre saw safely on my benches.
The problem with the new sliding mitre saw is that because of its depth the front of the saw overhangs the bench, so that when the saw arm is pulled forward it becomes top heavy.
Therefore the primary purpose of the platform is to be able to secure the saw to the platform which is in turn secured to the bench, allowing the front edge of the platform, and thus the saw, to safely overhang the bench.
One option would be to make it a permanent fitting, but that would restrict me to making straight cuts of 7ft or less, and severely restrict angled cuts. Therefore I wanted a design that could be easily and quickly disassembled to allow me to take the mitre saw to our picnic table on the patio just outside of my workshop for making larger cuts e.g. for when I need to replace any of our decking.
I could also optionally bolt the saw to the platform, and just worry about securing the platform to the worktop in a way that allows quick and easy detachment, for when I wanted to move the saw; but that would just add weight to what is already a heavy saw, so I wanted a design that would allow me to easily detach the saw from the platform as well as the platform from the workbench.
Another consideration is that next to where I wanted to place the saw is metal vice, therefore the platform would need to add sufficient height so that the saw’s table top would be above the height of my metal vice.
Having decided what I wanted to achieve, the solutions I chose to meet my design criteria were:-
- Create a platform, from scrap wood to sit the saw on.
- Drill four holes in the platform (one in each corner) to align with the bolt holes on the base of the saw.
- Find four suitable bolts that would drop into place, but not bolted down, to prevent the saw sliding on the platform. Not bolted down, so that when I want to move the saw I just need to quickly pull the four bolts out.
- Screw the platform to thick blocks of scrap wood, to raise the height of the platform, and the saw, so the saw’s table top is higher than the metal vice on my workbench.
- Use small clamps to clamp the saw to the platform, and the platform to the workbench. Using clamps secures the saw and platform in place, yet allows for quick and easy disassembling when I want to move the saw.
Also, in order for the saw and platform to fit on my workbench and function properly required modifying the shelving unit on the back wall, and relocating the metal vice.
Recycling and Repurposing Scrap Wood
For this project all the wood used for making the saw platform and in raising the back wall shelf unit was just five bits of recycled wood; and as it happened, all the scrap wood I used were virtually the right size, so I only needed to make two cuts.
The pieces of wood I used in this project:
- A piece of 18mm (¾ inch) exterior plywood for an additional shelf, that was the desired width, and only needed cutting to length.
- A couple of stubby bed ends (originally from a bunk bed); a perfect size for repurposing as legs to raise the height of the shelving unit.
- A top of a computer workstation, repurposed as the platform for the saw; perfect size, so didn’t need any cutting down to size.
- Piece of salvaged timber for the underside of the wooden platform, which only needed to be cut in half, for a perfect fit; leaving the desire lip all round for clamping.
Making the Mitre Saw Platform
The materials used:-
- Salvaged computer workstation table top, made from veneered chipboard.
- Salvaged timber 2” x 5”
- 4 x salvaged bolts
The steps in making the platform:-
- Place the saw on the veneered chipboard.
- Mark the chipboard at the four points where the bolt holes are in the saw’s base.
- Remove the saw, and at the four marked points on the chipboard, drill holes a fraction wider than the thickness of the bolts.
- Cut the timber to length to fit underneath the chipboard top, leaving a lip all away around.
- Screw and glue the timber to the underside of the chipboard top.
The purpose of using the bolts is top stop the saw from sliding about on the chipboard surface. Making the bolt holes a little larger than the bolts allows you to drop the bolts in place and remove them easily when you want to disassemble the unit. If you find there is too much friction when trying to assemble or disassemble the saw from the platform then make the holes a little bigger.
The purpose of the overhang is to allow for clamping the saw to the chipboard top as and when appropriate.
Securing Saw and Platform to Workbench
If you want it has a permanent fitting then you would simple bolt the saw to the platform and bolt the platform to the workbench.
However, I wanted an arrangement whereby I can easily and quickly move the saw e.g. to use it on our patio picnic table just outside my workshop where there’s ample space for cutting extra-long pieces of wood, such as when replacing any of the decking.
Therefore, for securing the saw to the platform, and in turn the platform to my workbench, I used clamps; simple, easy, quick, and secure.
The problem with the shelving unit is that the lower shelf would prevent the saw’s rear sliding carriage from extending fully back. Therefore, in order to be able to use my new mitre saw on the workbench I would need to raise the height of the shelving unit by a few inches.
My solution was to use scrap wood to make a couple of end supports and a lower shelf.
Modifying the Shelving Unit
The back wall shelving unit needed to be raised a few inches so that the lower shelf didn’t get in the way of the saw’s rear sliding carriage. I also took the opportunity of creating additional storage space by adding a shelf to the base of the original shelving unit.
The materials used:-
- Two Salvaged bed-end posts
- 18mm (¾ inch) salvaged exterior structural plywood
The steps in raising the shelving unit:-
- Cut the plywood to size for the new shelf.
- Cut and trim the old bed post to size for repurposing as support legs for raising the height of the shelving unit.
I found a piece of suitable scrap plywood in my wood store, which by chance happened to be the correct width; so all I needed to do was mark and measure it with a tape measure, square and pencil, and cut it to length.
And incredibly, the two bed ends I found in my stock of salvaged wood just so happen to be the perfect size for the job; so I didn’t have to do anything with them, other than put them in place under the shelving unit.
After sliding the two bed ends in place, I then slid the new plywood shelve in place, on top, and using long screws, screwed the base of the shelving unit through the plywood shelf into the bed ends to create a stable base so that the unit isn’t at risk of toppling over – Finishing with a simple shake test to satisfy myself that the unit is stable e.g. gentle pulling on the top of the unit to feel what resistance it has to toppling forward. If it did in any way feel unstable I could have easily fixed it to the wall for added stability, rather than just being free standing.
I’d previously had my metal vice bolted towards the middle of the front of my secondary workbench, but in order to fit my new mitre saw on the bench I would need to relocate my vice further towards the end of the bench.
Below is a simple step-by-step process of how I built the platform for my new mitre saw and modified the shelving unit using scrap wood, and relocated the metal vice to make space for the new saw.
Relocating Metal Vice
The vice was bolted to the worktop with three bolts, so it was just a simple case of:
- Undoing all the bolts.
- Carefully measuring and marking for the three holes in its new location.
- Drilling the holes the same size at the bolts.
- Pushing the bolts through the vice, and
- Tightening all the bolts.
Saw Platform In Situ
Using New or Salvaged Wood?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Arthur Russ