The new MSS concept

(Part of the Working in 144 series)

The whole point of this series is to figure out how best to work in my shop, and the miter saw station plays a big role in that. Why? It’s a great place to store things underneath the surface. It’s one of the reasons I have been so against having a mobile cart with wings. Unfortunately with the size of my shop and all my floor model machines, I couldn’t make it as big as I really would have liked.

I had to meet some criteria for design here. It had to be able to store and enclose a section for my vacuum, depending on overall shop layout. That section would also hold my socket and wrench set on a drawer (one of my favorite things about my current shop layout). The main section of the cabinet would of course hold the miter saw at a bit of a height difference to account for the table of the saw. It had to be wide enough to allow for full swing of the motor, and deep enough to clear the back of the arm and give good support for the stock.

I also wanted to have some storage for my burgeoning Festool collection. Or soon to be burgeoning. Between the depth needed for stock support and the depth of the Festool systainers, I settled on 28″ depth for the entire unit. Depending on the size of the systainers I need, I could get up to 10 in one cabinet. If I get more than that I’ll have to do some jobs to pay for the new shop.

I’m not set on the height of the unit overall. Since it will be at least a month or two before I can get started on it, I can afford to think on it further. It will be at least 36″ high, or perhaps a hair under. This would allow me an extra 28″ or so of clearance for the table saw should I have it oriented behind it. I could build it higher to about 40″ or so if I still wanted to park the lathe next to it. However, the front of the saw where the stock would be should clear the front of the lathe since there is a bit of a depth difference. So perhaps 36″ tall is a good decision after all.

The most important aspect of the construction is to make it modular. I’ve learned my lesson in making very big singular construction pieces – to make a change you have to significantly weaken the structure or ditch it completely. I want more flexibility this time around to swap the ends or change the middle if for some reason I change my saw or need to address dust collection.

With all of that said, a picture can tell a thousand words. Up to this point I’m only at about 500.

As you can see, I think my design meets all my criteria. I have quite a good bit of room for the systainers in one module, and the vac and my sockets will do just fine in the other. The miter saw module has a large open section for storage. In the render the saw sits on a shelf for fine-tuning the height, but I’d like to keep as much height as I can underneath the saw. I’ll be explaining what it’s for in the final part of this series.

Everything will sit on plastic adjustable feet, and I will be building these in a kitchen cabinet method. This will give me good practice for my eventual kitchen remodel. The backs will be inset 1/2″ from the back of the cabinet to accept mounting strips on the back. I don’t know what my top will be, but I’m considering laminated hardwood to class the joint up.

There will be some manner of dust collection for the saw as well. With a hose hooked up to the saw I seem to get 80% of the dust or so, which is about as good as I can expect. I have a hose that comes up from the table surface in my current setup that I will most likely duplicate. Depending on clearance I may have to offset the hose hole slightly, but no big deal. I think I will use a smaller diameter hose this time to create better velocity and not get too much in the way of the saw. This hose can be detached from the saw to suck up any dust on the table.

In the penultimate part of this series I will show at least two potential layout options using the exact same components.

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