Do I really need a miter saw stand? Can I place it on the ground and use it?
The short answer is yes. But I highly recommend you get a sturdy miter saw stand or at least build one by yourself.
Let me explain why:
I have used my miter saw on the ground and on a normal workbench for few years. But after getting a manufactured miter saw stand, I wonder why I didn’t buy one earlier.
The main purpose of a miter saw is to make accurate miter cuts quickly and efficiently. However, that is easier said than done. Using a miter saw on the ground or on a regular table can be somewhat tricky especially for cutting long lumber. In addition to that, working long hours on a saw that is not set to the correct height will take its toll on your back.
Thankfully, there are miter saw stands, which make life easier for both amateurs and professionals alike. A solid miter saw stand set-up properly will not only improve the quality of your work but will help you work faster, increase your productivity and will keep you away from back pain.
In short, you need a miter saw stand because it offers:
- Ease of cutting longer work piece
- Increased productivity
- And better health.
Miter Saw Stand Buying Guide
Before I purchased the saw stand, I did a thorough research asking my friends and colleagues, searching on the internet and referring woodworking magazine. In this article, I will share with you what I learned. What are the different types of miter stands available, the various advantages of using a stand, as well as what to look for when buying one.
Types of stands
Much like with saws, stands come in a variety of models, each with their own distinct advantages.
As the name suggests, these kinds of stands are the most basic ones available on the market. They are cheap and reliable. But, they don’t come with any sort of extras, so they cannot be folded easily nor do they come with any sort of extras like wheels to make transporting them easier. Still, if you are just looking for a basic miter saw stand, traditional models are the best option.
Folding Miter Saw Stand
A folding miter saw stand has a horizontal rail base and four foldable legs. This is the most popular type of stand.
Folding miter saw stands can be easily folded, stored, and then unfolded very quickly. This makes these stands ideal for people who either transport their stand often from place to place, or for those who have very little storage space and need to be able to fit their stand into cramped stances.
Once you pull out the folding legs, they open wide providing a stable set-up. You then mount your miter saw on the base with the help of spring loaded brackets. You can clamp the saw at different positions on the base.
The work support arms on both sides are sliding. You can adjust these telescoping supports according to the length of the piece to be cut. Before you pull out the sliding support, make sure that the support height is adjusted to the same plane of the miter saw bed.
Most of the foldable miter saw stands from reputed brands also have stoppers on the sliding support. This is a small but very helpful feature when you have to cut a lot of identical pieces. You only need to measure the first piece and set the stopper. From then onwards you just to push your workpiece against the stopper and keep cutting without worrying about measuring each piece.
Rolling Miter Saw Stand
Rolling stands differ from other stands in one key way; they come equipped with a pair of wheels for easy short range transportation. This type of stand has a base where you will fix the saw, foldable legs and telescoping supports. On one side they have a wide foot and on the other side two locked wheels, which you can roll to move the saw.
As you can imagine the miter saw stand with wheels is extremely portable and hence incredibly useful if you have to move around a lot. Once you release the catch, the legs will fold and you can bring the stand into an upright position. Then you can hold it in one hand with wheels on the ground and easily pull it.
In case you are working on a large job site and you don’t think you have the patience to constantly move a regular stand around and then reassemble it, then a rolling miter saw stand with wheels is the way to go.
Table Top Stand
These are similar to rail stand but without long foldable legs. The major difference is that in case of a tabletop stand the saw must be bolted and fixed. In other words, you have less portability compared to folding and rolling stand.
Homemade DIY Miter Saw Stands
There are stands out there that you can build yourself. These often take up a lot of space in your shop than professionally built saw stands, but they do have the advantage of not requiring you to spend as much money. You can easily build a very simple homemade miter saw stand with the scrap wood lying around.
See the above sketch for a DIY miter saw stand plan, that my friend built by himself. This miter saw table has raised supports on both sides and racks/shelves below. If you have a fairly spacious workshop, then build something similar. It will not only hold your saw sturdy but will also keep your tools organized.
The two supports on either side of the stand can also work as the miter saw fence extensions. I would recommend a DIY stand if you are either on a strict budget.
What to look for when buying
You need a stand that can hold your miter saw stable. While a larger stand designed for a 12-inch saw may be overkill for your small 8 inch miter saw, think of your future plans too. Are you planning to upgrade your miter saw to a bigger one?
Getting a stand with the ability to clamp pieces of wood is essential if you are cutting long lumber. Not all stands carry this feature, but I recommend going out of your way to find one that does. It really does make your life significantly easier.
How easy it is to use
Another important consideration is how easy the stand is to use. This will largely depend on you and your own skill levels. If the stand comes with a bunch of features which you are never going to use, then it’s a waste of your money. A lot of stands have features that are really only going to be useful for professionals and it makes no sense for interested amateurs to pay extra for a professional stand.
If you are a beginner or a hobbyist, it may be a good idea to invest in a cheaper, but a stable stand.
Of course, an important thing to consider is how often you will be moving your stand from place to place. If you rarely move your stand, then save yourself some money and don’t buy a stand that has wheels or that is meant to be moved around. Instead, just buy a basic stand. If, however, you do foresee yourself moving your stand around often, then I really do suggest that you invest the extra money into an easily moveable stand.
After reading this guide, you should be able to purchase a miter saw stand that works well for you. If you have even more questions, make sure to consult experts at your local hardware store, they will be able to give you personalized advice that can point you in the right direction.
Answers to frequently asked questions related to miter saw stands.
What are the advantages of using a miter saw stand?
There are various advantages to using a miter saw stand. Don’t think that these advantages are just for amateurs either; even those who have used miter saws for years can benefit from using a miter saw stand.
The first main advantage that I want to mention is versatility. For those of you familiar with miter saws, you will know that one of the main issues with regular miter saws is that they struggle to cut longer pieces of lumber. Your average miter saw can easily cut lumber that is 6 to 8 inches, but any longer, and you will struggle to cut with the same precision.
You need proper support to rest the long timber. A miter saw stand allows you to cut a larger variety of woods.
Workbenches and tables occupy a lot of space. The same is not true of a miter saw stand. They are extremely compact and easy to move from place to place. Most models can be folded up in a matter of minutes and stored in almost any location. They are light to carry as well, so you should not have any issue whatsoever moving them from job site to job site.
Normal miter saws can be moved from place to place, but it is generally a bit of a hassle. And if you have a more advanced miter saw, like say a sliding compound miter saw, then it becomes even more difficult to move it from place to place. If you get a rolling stand, it makes your life much easier.
You can go for models that are heavier and less portable if you aren’t the kind of person who takes their tools to different job sites. But personally, I always like having the ability to easily pack up and move my stand, even if it is just moving it to different places within the workshop.
Another major benefit of using a miter saw stand is how it enables you to make more accurate cuts much quicker than usual. A good miter saw stand will offer proper support to your saw as well as to your work-piece. The stoppers help you to make accurate cuts repeatedly.
Likewise, miter saw stands provide a greater measure of stability. If you have the unfortunate luck of working in a space that does not have even ground or if you find that your cuts are often ruined by slips of the hand or unintended shaking, then a miter saw stand will be of great help. Stands help provide a stable base for you to work off, which will, in turn, lead to more accurate cuts.