A while ago, I realized that my workflow would be more efficient if I had the means to cut long planks into manageable pieces. Longer planks ensure that wood graphics are consistent in the woods used in a particular furniture piece. The shorter pieces would, in turn, be processed on a jointer and thickness planer. In the case of highly figured tearout-prone woods, I would use a series of hand planes to achieve the desired board thickness.Until this time, I would crosscut large planks using a hand-held circular saw. If any precision was necessary at all, the circular saw left something to be desired. So enter the miter saw. I purchased a sliding miter saw and designed and built a stand for it. The criteria for the stand were that it be portable so I could move it around the shop if necessary. It was also important that it be designed to be folded up after use and placed along a wall. The intention was to have the miter saw available occasionally for cutting large planks down to size. I only ever work with one or two planks for a particular piece of furniture, so the miter saw could be put away between use. A few wide boards I use in my furniture can be seen against the wall at left.
I designed and built this miter stand for my particular miter saw, a Dewalt 10 in. model. The miter saw itself can easily be detached from the stand and the table surface folded onto the metal sawhorses below. Since this would be a custom build, I could make the miter stand as long as I like. I decided on a length of over 7 feet. The left and right tables each have a fence system aligned with the miter saw fence. The largest width of planks I could process is approximately 10 inches. This is as wide as most, if not all of the planks I ever use in my work. Anything wider I can either rip an edge off or find alternative means to cross-cut it.
Each fence has its own track system with both shop-made wood stops and retail metal stops. I uses the torsion box principle to build the left and right tables. Even with the utmost design in mind, it was necessary to make changes. When wide miter cuts were necessary on large wood pieces, it would be convenient to use the miter saw. This hold more true if the cuts are repeatable as when working with multiples. Swinging the saw completely to the left or right was an issue. Hence the re-designed mitered corners in both the left and right tables. I can set the saw to extreme miter angles now, greater than I would normally use in my work. So after replacing the corner of either table with hardwood cherry blocks and trimming, the mitered corners can be seen below.
I have been using this miter saw and stand setup for a long while now. I never did fold and put it away. It is so convenient that I prefer it to remain set up. Soon after using it for the first few times, I realized dust control would be necessary. A dust port adapter was set up to connect the exhaust port to a dedicated shop vacuum. Still debating whether I need to make a dust shroud for it, but it works well as is and I like that the miter saw isn’t hidden in a shroud. Overall, a fun, exciting build and at times challenging!
Norman Pirollo, successful founder of White Mountain Design, White Mountain Toolworks, WoodSkills, Refined Edge Design and Pirollo Design, chronicles his fascinating journey from full-time employment to being self-employed at woodworking. Follow the riveting story of how his hi-tech career gradually evolved into a woodworking career. Read how Norman overcame obstacles and through determination and perseverance, finally attained his goal of self-employment at woodworking. Discover how Norman acquired the skills and techniques to be able to craft heirloom furniture today. Author Norman Pirollo shares his creative journey from childhood through adulthood. Perseverance, fate and critical decisions all combined to map out the direction he followed in life.
Looking back at his early youth, it can be seen that creativity was always his strong point. As the journey progressed, he often sought creative outlets and challenges in life. Woodworking ultimately became his creative outlet. Norman faced many obstacles throughout the journey and financial support was often at the forefront. He enjoys where he is today in life, having accumulated considerable experience and expertise at several woodworking businesses. He is also indebted to his former hi-tech career, which provided him fulfillment for a number of years. There were many false starts in transitioning from full time employment to being self-employed at woodworking. The opportunity to work at something he truly enjoys has ultimately brought solace and independence to his life.
Delving into and studying the history of furniture design has provided him the language and background to develop his own contemporary styled furniture. Read how he immersed himself into the contemporary furniture world to develop a style and voice of his own. Find out how, through twists and turns, Norman acquired the expertise and proficiency to become an award-winning furniture maker. Norman never looks back at missed opportunities. It is also important to view any setbacks as valuable experience in your own journey. The time and effort invested in following your own dream will be well worth it.
Norman also maintains a blog of ongoing projects in his studio at: pirollodesign.com as well as having recently written and published three books. Books and magazines featuring the authors furniture, work methods and philosophy:
From Hi-Tech to Lo-Tech: A Woodworker’s Journey (New Art Press)
Start Your Own Woodworking Business (New Art Press)
Rooted: Contemporary Studio Furniture (Schiffer Publishing)
IDS15 (Studio North)
IDS14 (Studio North)
Canadian Woodworking magazine Jan. 2015
Our Homes magazine Fall 2014 IDS14 (Studio North)
NICHE Magazine Winter 2013
Fine Woodworking magazine
Wood Art Today 2 (Schiffer Books)
500 Cabinets ( Lark Books)
Studio Furniture: Today’s Leading Woodworkers (Schiffer Books)
Fine Woodworking Shopmade Jigs 2009 2012
Canadian Interiors Design Source Guide
Ottawa Life magazine
Panoram Italia magazine
Our Homes magazine
“Norman, I just finished your book!!! What a journey you have traveled to arrive at your present creative self. Your art speaks for itself but I really identified with your business approach to developing your brand. A really good read” Carole Malcolm, fine artist at www.carolemalcolm.com
230 Pages, Non-fiction, Softcover.
Digital version available ($12) at WoodSkills
Print version of book $19 available directly at Amazon