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Thread: Role of the miter saw in a furniture shop?

  1. #1

    Role of the miter saw in a furniture shop?

    My shop is 17íx30′ and I am seriously debating the merits of having a miter saw/chop saw in there. The end walls are curved (the shop is in a quonset style barn), so space along the straight walls is at a premium, and Iím just not certain the miter saw earns its keep. I notice that Becksvoort, and Tessolin donít regularly use miter saws for furniture making, but it seems that many other ďmakersĒ and folks on YouTube have a designated miter saw station. I have a great table saw and a nice Incra 1000HD and plan to build a crosscut sled for cutting stock to length. What are your thoughts on having a miter saw for a furniture shop? Iíd keep one around for doing trim and stuff in the house, but Iím not sure I need a Bosch Glide that I donít want to lug into the house taking up room in my shop.

    Rather than use the miter saw to roughly dimension lumber, I would use a jigsaw instead to cross cut things to length.

    Thank you for your thoughts and experiences!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    The old pueblo in el norte.
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    Personally, I just use a handsaw (I'm done before I could go pull out any of my power tools, and extension cord). However, a jigsaw is as good as anything, you could also do crosscut breakdowns with a skillsaw just as readily (and pretty much as accurately as a miter saw).
    ~mike

    scope creep

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    1,025
    Due to space, my miter saw does not have a dedicated location. If I need to use it, for multiple cuts, that are longer than my table saws capacity, I lift it up off the floor and place it on my table saw or workbench. I made a removable fence, for use with it, and a support block that goes on the opposite side of the blade to the fence.

    For one off's, cutting a piece off a long length, I used my jig saw also.






    I hang it up when not in use.


  4. #4
    Okay, that's clever!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wenatchee. Wa
    Posts
    361
    The thought of having to use the table saw every time I want to cut or trim a piece of wood would ruin my day. Of course it could be made to work but convenience is worth a lot to me. I built an island in my shop that incorporates the table saw, miter saw, planer and router table. With DC to each machine coming down from the ceiling. Great for a home shop but if you are doing production work perhaps not. Bottom line for me is I would would be a frustrated woodworker if I did not have easy access to a miter saw.

  6. #6
    Don't fret about not having a miter saw, I feel that they're optional for furniture construction. Plus they're space hogs with challenging dust collection!

    I feel that many YouTube maker types have "tool backgrounds" more in line with the DIY "let's build a deck" mentality that would put a miter saw above a table saw, or much less a knife line & handsaw. But the miter saw is already part of their equipment portfolio and workflow so there it stays.

    I have the cheap 10" Harbor Freight model (~$100) that I've used for a laminate flooring project and house/shop trimwork. But the other 99% of the time it's put away and I'll just use a jigsaw/handsaw/circular saw for breaking stuff down.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    central tx
    Posts
    388
    My shop is pretty much the same size as yours, I agree a dedicated station is not worth it. The dust collection sucks, I only use it for breakdown of rough stock or random house projects. For furniture I'm using a Stanley 150 miter box and a shooting board with hand planes for precise sizing.

    I do like this rolling cart, from fine woodworking plans.

    IMG_5685.jpeg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Lancaster, Ohio
    Posts
    550
    I prefer a radial arm saw built into the bench. Probably gets used more than table saw. Both miter saws are stowed away.
    Ron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Central Michigan
    Posts
    1,435
    No comment on if needed but there are lots of portable stands for miter saws that work great . Also not sure of your lay out but you can set things up without walls in the middle of the shop back to back if needed?

    We just got a portamate miter saw stand at work as we are limited with space and it works pretty good for occasional uses and then it folds up and also can be used for a work table.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlPMqD2P6Hg
    Richard Poitras
    Central, Michigan....
    01-02-2006


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Mt Pleasant SC
    Posts
    396
    Put an 80 tooth blade on your miter saw and take the time to adjust it for a perfect 90.
    With practice you will use it for boards less than 12 inches while the TS is setup for something else. If making a lot of cuts just set up a fan to blow the dust away from you that the DC does not catch. Change blades when doing rough cuts.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    54,763
    The answer to your question is going to vary be individual woodworker depending on methods they use/prefer, etc. My miter saw moved out of the "shop" and to the lumber storage area upstairs in the last year. It was never used for any kind of precision cutting...just rough cutting things to length...because of other tools I have and prefer to use for precision cross cutting. So it's now doing the same job, but outside of the "shop" where it's not taking up room that is better used for other things. But that's "me". The same may not work for "you" and others. Some folks find the miter saw to be a critical part of their workflow...you have to decide where you stand on that.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
    I hardly use my miter saw any more. I got a cordless circular saw for dusty lumber breakdown in the driveway.

    Anything requiring accuracy I do on the table saw or (if 90) hand cut and shoot.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NE Iowa
    Posts
    684
    Like you, I have a small shop with minimal wall space. My miter saw spends a lot of time in storage, and comes out into the shop only for specific projects where it is a major contributor. Mostly it gets used for carpentry. I manage crosscuts with a combination of handsaws and crosscut and miter sleds on the table saw for precise cuts on reasonable length pieces. I'm sure it costs me a bit of time compared to having a dedicated cutoff station, but I'm not doing production work, and the cumulative cost to my efforts would add up to more than a couple of hours/year. I will be expanding my shop in the Spring, but a miter saw station is not a priority for the new space.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    401
    I don't see any reason why you'd need to have a miter saw if you don't want to. I am surprised that you'd use a jigsaw for crosscutting lumber to length, my experience with them has been that they take about 10 times longer to make a cut than a circular saw, and don't cut as straight of a line. Maybe this is just because I have only had underpowered jigsaws.

  15. #15
    Myself, I wouldn't be without a miter saw of some sort, either SCMS or a simple compound miter saw, they are just too convenient and handy, and was worth the space even when my shop was 14 x 22.

    I started out with a mobile stand from a Pop Woodworking mag from about 20 years ago for my Makita SCMS. I eventually switched to a dedicated (though still movable) station for more stability, which combined a downdraft table. the router table on the right serves as a support for long boards. It is probably tied with the table saw for most used tool in the shop.

    I actually wouldn't mind getting my 10" DeWalt CMS put back on a stand, it was kind of nice to have a non-slider available as well. I do mostly furniture, about 2/3 power tool and about 1/3 hand tool. I just don't have the time to do all hand tool work.

    IMG_8009.jpg IMG_8010.jpg

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