See how I built the material support shelves on each side of my mitre saw station build.
You’ll get all my tips and tricks for measuring and pitfalls to avoid, plus how I mounted each piece.
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It’s all about my mitre saw station build
Build details with pictures are below the video too.
How To Details
See close ups of each step in this mitre saw station support shelf build.
To determine height of supports, I simply inverted the build.
I placed a scrap piece of 3/4″ plywood I would be using for the top next to the saw.
Then I used a combination carpenter’s square to find the exact height of the support.
Shelf Top Length
Since the sides of my saw’s base are not straight, I had to get a little inventive with measuring for the length of my top piece.
I found enough scrap wood to make it the right height on the end and then used an L square on the end of the bench top to give a vertical line to measure from the saw to the end of my bench.
Shelf Top Width
While I had the above setup, I turned the saw blade to the furthest angle cut to see where it hit the top shelf piece.
I moved the shelf top back a bit and measured from the front of the shelf to the back rail of the saw, and then added 1/8”.
I knew that I wanted to set the back of the shelf 1/8” behind the saw’s rail.
So this gave me my total width for that side of the saw.
I repeated those measurements on the other side because the saw can actually cut a wider angle on the other side.
I ended up having to modify both the support near the saw as well as the top of the shelf to accommodate that wider angle.
Once I had my supports and shelf top cut, the next critical measurement was to check level on the dry fit.
I used a 4’ level (longer than the one shown below.)
Use the longest you have. Don’t use a short, speedo type level.
Check level on the bench first!
Don’t assume that it is level, especially on a garage floor.
Then place the center bubble of the level right where the shelf meets the saw base.
Try to rock the level by applying pressure at both ends, just to ensure it is dead flat.
Ensure that the bubble is the same as your bench level.
Measure for Backboard
Because of the irregular shape of my saw’s sides, it was easier for me to set my top shelf in line with the saw’s rail first.
Then I placed a 4’ metal ruler on the saw so that it was flat against the saw’s rail, and extended it across the shelf top.
The long, vertical, black thing you see is a metal file that has a tip 1/8” wide.
I poked that along the edge of the ruler to ensure my back board was 1/8” back of the saw rail.
Once I knew it was square to the saw down the entire length, I drew a line on the bench top so that I could place the backboard squarely again for mounting it with pocket holes.
Cut Notch for Material Clamp
If your saw has a foot to hold your material while you cut, be sure to cut a notch in the backboard so that you can swing the clamp out of the way.
You’ll want to measure the full height you normally use it. For me, that’s typically a 2×4.
And, I set the height of the backboard to be a little shorter than the top arm of the clamp to ensure it could clear too.
Hold the Backboard Steady
It’s critically important that the backboard be parallel to the saw’s rail, and to remain 1/8” back of it.
Holding the board square while screwing in the pocket hole screws is a job that would have been easier with two people, as there is no good way to clamp it.
Here’s my solution.
I laid the support boards flat, and against the backboard.
Then I used a clamp that had a deep enough throat on one end, and paint cans for the other two.
I attached the screw closest to the saw first. And of course, the other end walked a bit. But it was easy to place back on the line I had drawn and practically stand on it to hold in place while attaching the screw.
Attach the Support Boards
In my opinion, these little boards only need two points of contact – to the backboard and to the bench.
I drilled the backboard pocket hole in the center.
And then I inset the pocket hold for attaching to the bench in a couple of inches. That way it would be in the shadow of the shelf top and unseen.
Be sure to drill pocket holes on the opposite side for the support board on the end of the bench!
Otherwise, the holes are somewhat visible, depending on where you mount the support – at the end of the bench or inset a bit, as I did.
I attached the support board to the bench first, as I could put more downward force on it to hold in place.
Then, I checked square before attaching to the backboard.
It’s super important not to have that connection out of square, as you don’t want to put undue pressure on the backboard and push it out.
Attach the Top Shelf
Next I installed the top shelf board and attached with brad nails.
I set the air pressure a wee bit higher to endure the nails were driven well below the surface.
I don’t want any scratches on my material as I move it through the saw
My Ryobi brad nailer made super quick work of it!!
Line Up Brad Nails and Support Boards
To ensure I was nailing the top shelf board to the support boards, I laid a scrap piece of plywood on top of the shelf, inline with the support below, and clamped it down.
Then I just had to follow that edge to place my nails straight.
Because it is so critically important to line everything up squarely and level, I decided to wait until I had both shelves fully assembled before I sanded anything.