One of the best elements of the cabinet design is the top. I was never satisfied with the prospect of having two levels – one for the miter saw and planer and a terrace above the miter fence. It made things too complicated and it eliminated valuable work space. After consulting an extensive Google Image search on miter benches, I came up with the following:
It’s a length of T-track embedded into the surface, allowing uninterrupted use of the planer without having to move it. The T-track should not affect the planer’s use at all, and the only consideration for the miter saw will be the spot where the planer is. I’ll be using a stop block and a length of adhesive measuring tape along the length of the track. This will give me the repeatable results I desire with the miter saw. The lack of a fence will ensure that I use the saw’s fence, where the blade is squared up and not have to worry about getting the auxiliary fence spot-on. I am considering having the planer slightly below the surface, and bring up the planing surface with a sheet of MDF or plywood. I can either continue the miter track in this insert, or the planer can be level with the cabinet and I can use an auxiliary, longer stop block that will give me the measurement I need. And since the Ryobi and Dewalt have the exact same deck height, whichever way I choose will work long term.
The Ryobi will certainly fit in the center section, and I can even reduce the width a bit because the Dewalt is only 20.5″ wide in the planing direction (the Ryobi is 14″ without the tables). Doing this, I could increase the width of the miter saw section and improve the clearance when it goes to 50 degrees. I would ideally like to get this section to at least 25″ wide, for future-proofing, but I’m not sure I’ll squeeze that much out. I may have to move the sander to a different spot, but I’m not worried: if I swap it to a different box, the storage I had planned for there will easily move to where the sander is projected now.
I have a full 4′ section of T-track waiting in reserve, and I’ll purchase another one and that should be plenty for the cabinet surface. Once I get the lower cabinets sorted out I can work on making the upper portion of the wall usable.
Speaking of the upper wall…well, next time.