Folding Miter Saw Support Arms


A while back, I built a quick miter saw stand. It was all made from 2x4's and some scrap plywood. I have liked it a lot, but needed more material support, so I added some support wings that fold down out of the way when not in use. Take a look at the video:


A couple of years ago, I made a simple miter saw cart out of some 2x4's and scrap plywood. My total cost in the thing was under $55, most of which was the casters I used. I went for some good casters based on past experience. The ones I got were $9 a piece at Home Depot.

I've made do with this cart for a while, but cutting long pieces, especially hardwoods, which I do regularly, is quite a challenge to do safely. It was long overdue that I modify this cart or build another one. I chose the former. 

I wanted to add some foldable support arms to the miter saw cart, so when not in use, the support pieces could be folded out of the way, and the whole cart moved into a smaller footprint in the shop. I had seen a couple of other people build hinged "wings" for their miter saw carts, but those were quite different, since they were starting out with that design in mind. Mine had been designed not thinking about support, so it made it more difficult to adapt for the support arms. 


Miter saw -

Table saw -

Drill & driver -

Bandsaw (same model as mine, but mine is anniversary edition)-

Angle grinder -

Cutoff wheel -

Piano hinge -

Brad nailer -

Air compressor -

Brad nails -

Wood glue -


First, I drew up a quick sketch of what pieces I would need after taking a few measurements. With that, I was able to have Home Depot cut down the pine plywood I bought, so I could fit the pieces in my car. (I don't have a truck)

Then, once I got them home, I could break down the pieces further into the final sizes that I needed. And, since they were now so much more manageable in their size, it was much easier and safer for me to do. 

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This shows the simple miter saw cart I built a few years ago. I want to build some wings on either side of it that can support material off of each side. 

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I started off by ripping the support pieces I would use to secure the rest of the wings to the cart. 

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Once I ripped them to final size on the table saw, and cut them to final length on the miter saw, I glued two pieces together to provide a little more support. 

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Then, I trimmed cleaned up the edges on the table saw with my crosscut sled. 

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I used this 5 foot ruler as a straight edge. I was judging how I was on being level. So, I took a piece os paper to feel out any gaps, and I couldn't even get the paper under it anywhere. I'd say that was a pretty small gap!

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I grabbed some clamps to secure the piece to the cart and then predrilled a few holes, and sank in some screws. 

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Next, it was on to making the actual support arms. I originally thought I would just use the plywood with nothing else, but I decided to add a small strip to the under side for additional support, much like you do when making a cabinet or bookshelf that is built into a wall. 

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I marked what size I needed for my piano hinge, and then cut it out with a cutoff wheel on the angle grinder. I always love looking back at these photos and video, seeing all of the sparks fly! They look so cool!

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I used a piece of scrap plywood on top of the support piece, so I could get the piano hinge secured in the proper placement. For this, I used some 1 1/4" deck screws, since I was going into two layers of plywood. 

For the top piece, I just used the screws that came with it...I believe they're #8 5/8" screws. They strip out pretty easily, so be careful.

In order to secure the vertical pieces of the support arms, I needed to add a few pieces to the cart. I cut some scraps out of 2x4s that were 1 1/2" square, and secured them to the cart with glue and screws. That way, I could screw the piano hinge into these later. 

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For the two main vertical parts, I taped them together in a mirrored fashion, so I could cut them both out (but opposite each other) on the bandsaw. That way, each of the show faces I wanted to be seen would be cut correctly. 

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More piano hinge was added to these, so they could be added to the cart. I happened to find some piano hinge on sale...I bought two of these 3' pieces for like $5 each. That's not bad. 

Using the long straight edge on the table of the miter saw, I found where the support arms were exactly level. One quick way to find this out is to see when all of the light underneath disappears. That means you have it level all the way across it. At that point, I just used a little piece of scrap to nail underneath to act as a stop. This way, I know when I prop it up...if I just go until it stops, it will be right where it needs to be. I repeated this on the other side too. 

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Then, all that was left was to try it out. The operation is so easy, and this is about a 5' piece of 2" thick walnut...and it held it just fine with no movement. 

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One quick thing I did right at the end is to nail together a stop block. I made it very low profile so it could just tuck out of the way when not needed. To make this, I just used a square to nail a piece of plywood under another piece. That way, when I butt this up against the support arm, I know it is at 90 degrees. I can set repeatable cuts this way, and it will be very useful to have. 


This project was something that was long overdue for my shop. You know the kind of project that you just put off because "You're too busy" or "You don't really need it"? Well, this one has fit in both of those categories for a. while now, and I'm glad it is. done. I will get a ton of use out of. this and it should help me be even safer in the shop. 

Do you have any comments or questions? Leave them below. Thanks for following along and I will see you on the next project!

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Bruce A. UlrichComment