One of the first questions that a beginner woodworker asks after getting their very first miter saw (aka chop saw or mitre saw outside the United States) is what surfaces can it be used on?
Unlike a table saw, which is a stationary device that is mounted under a special workbench, the miter saw is a portable tool that is used to make cross cuts, bevel, compound, and miter cuts. Being a high precision tool, it will make trimming and angular cutting so much easier and more convenient for you.
Another difference between the two power tools is that in case of a table saw the rotating blade is fixed, and you will move stock against it to make the cut. Now when it comes to a miter saw, it is the stock that is fixed on a surface and then the blade is brought down onto the wood to make the cut.
Can You Use A Miter Saw On A Table?
With that being said, let’s get back to our initial question. Can you use a miter saw on a table?
The short answer is yes, you can, as it is a portable tool. For that matter, you can also use it on the floor if you prefer so.
But don’t close this page just yet, as here’s why you would probably want something more convenient than a simple table.
Image Source The Home Depot
Do I Need A Dedicated Miter Saw Stand?
While it may seem that for a portable tool like a miter saw one wouldn’t normally need a dedicated stand, experience proves that having a miter saw station can improve your workflow and increase the efficiency of your work. Here’s why.
First, the possibility of bolting your chop saw down. Although generally the miter saw is quite stable, it is still possible that the surface you place it on is not even or unstable, which would put pose a small safety risk and could lead to quality issues and you having to redo things multiple times.
Another thing which may happen without a dedicated work space is unbalanced wood placement, which again, is more likely to cause inaccurate cuts and safety risks. To prevent this, you can bolt your chop saw to a dedicated stand (and unbolt it any time you need).
Then you have to take into account your work space. Another thing that is so good about miter saw stands is the ability to accommodate long pieces. While a miter saw itself doesn’t take up a lot of real estate, this comes at the cost of having to find ways to square, support, and feed pieces of wood, which can extend quite a bit.
The right chop saw station will take all the stress out of this by providing you with enough space to effectively carry out your work, as well as rollers, fences, and adjustable stops.
Image Source Woodsmith Plans
The final benefit of a miter saw stand comes with space saving considerations in mind. If you’re anything like me and have limited space in your shop, as most of us work in our basements or garages, you will relate to this deeply.
As I said above, miter saws aren’t any bigger than most of your woodworking power tools, but you do need a lot of length to support longer pieces you want to run. Now, if you’re using a regular table here, you’ll have to take a really long one.
On the contrary, a good chop saw station comes with fold-down extension wings that extend six, ten, or more feet when you need them and fold down when you don’t.
Of course, if each time you’re about to use a miter saw you have to brush cobwebs off it, you probably don’t need a dedicated station for it. If, on the other hand, you consider your miter saw to be an important tool in your woodworking arsenal, then you should definitely consider using a dedicated miter saw table with it.
By getting yourself a good chop saw table you will be able to work safer, faster, and with more precision than ever before, making running those precision miter cuts and bevel cuts a piece of cake.
Yes, you can use a miter saw on a table or on the floor. However, if you’re planning to use your miter saw more often than a few times a year, getting a dedicated miter saw station will greatly benefit and improve your workflow. You can also make it by yourself, as there are some pretty good DIY guides on how to build a miter saw table out there.
If you prefer to buy one, however, there are plenty of commercial options available in the market suitable for any taste and pocket.
Either way, getting a dedicated miter saw bench is essential for making the most out of your miter saw and will let you focus on making cuts faster, safer, and with greater precision.
So what's your plan? Are you going to buy a miter saw stand or make it yourself? Let me know in the comments section below!
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