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View RichBolduc's profile

Pro's and Con's of 2x4 frame vs plywood miter saw station / work bench

by RichBolduc
posted 02-02-2018 05:45 PM


29 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1243 posts in 2538 days


#1 posted 02-02-2018 06:01 PM

If you build a cabinet out of plywood correctly it can be strong. If yoi build out of lumber incorrectly, it can be weak. I usually go 2×4, with plywood top. You can see .y flip top planer stand in my projects for an example.

I think it is really your preference in this case.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2223 posts in 3986 days


#2 posted 02-02-2018 06:33 PM

I have done exactly what you describe for several of my “work benches”. Two by four frame with plywood and MDF top and plywood sids.
For my main work bench I used 1 1/8” sub-floor plywood topped with 3/4 MDF. You could park a dump truck on top of it. It serves the dual purpose as an out feed table for my table saw. I have a 4’x6’ bench that has an adjustable height top and wheels so I can roll it around, built with the same general construction method. I do put a sealer on the MDF tops so they don’t get dirty as quickly.
They are not fancy like those beautiful laminated maple work benches but they serve me well, did not cost a small fortune (money better spent on tools) and I don’t worry about damaging them.

-- Les B, Oregon

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

1185 posts in 660 days


#3 posted 02-02-2018 06:39 PM

Thanks for the replies you two.

Brian, that’s pretty much what I was thinking, minus that flip top. I figure doing a bunch of cross supports with the 2×4’s would also make it similar to a torsion top. The Miter Station will also only have 4 sides on it essentially also, as I plan on storing things under it that can be wheeled in and out from under it (compressor, planer, shop vac/dust collector).

Les, glad to know this will work. My reasoning for the MDF top was it’s sturdy and flat. But by sandwiching it with screws I could replace it fairly easy once it gets damaged as it would only be screwed in from underneath to the plywood. What did you use as a sealant? It seems most used a regular shellac.

Rich

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12929 posts in 2923 days


#4 posted 02-02-2018 06:53 PM

Plywood cabinets will be strong enough if built properly. The cool thing about boxes is the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts. 2×4s will make it heavier and more expensive, but simpler to build.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View WimP's profile

WimP

16 posts in 1190 days


#5 posted 02-03-2018 04:07 AM

Depending on where you are in your learning woodworking journey, as well as how ambitious you feel, 2×4 construction is a far less demanding application when it comes to needed precision. I’ve built cabinetry a bit before with decent results and feel confident about doing so again, but it just so happens that I’m about to build a miter station and I’ve found the one I’m going to base mine on. It’s built with 2×4s.

The one I’m basing mine on is Bob Claggett of I Like To Make Stuff’s recent station build video on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKsWGZrVeg0
He also has an “improvements” video as well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_tTy1fnVsQ

It’s straightforward, solid, functional and leaves future mods up to the user as you and I figure out how what we do with it in reality, differs what we thought we’d do before we built it. ;) Much like you stated above, I intend to make rolling thingy holders for underneath.

-- An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions ~Robert A. Humphrey

View Hermit's profile

Hermit

238 posts in 1868 days


#6 posted 02-03-2018 04:38 AM

To do it over again, unless you’re going to use kiln dried 2×4s, I would drop the miter saw down and use self leveling feet on the miter saw. As the 2×4s dry, shrink, etc… you’ll have simple adjustments to level it up perfectly with your tables and then anchor it.

-- I'm like the farmer's duck. If it don't rain, I'll walk.

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

1185 posts in 660 days


#7 posted 02-03-2018 12:21 PM



Depending on where you are in your learning woodworking journey, as well as how ambitious you feel, 2×4 construction is a far less demanding application when it comes to needed precision. I ve built cabinetry a bit before with decent results and feel confident about doing so again, but it just so happens that I m about to build a miter station and I ve found the one I m going to base mine on. It s built with 2×4s.

The one I m basing mine on is Bob Claggett of I Like To Make Stuff s recent station build video on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKsWGZrVeg0
He also has an “improvements” video as well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_tTy1fnVsQ

It s straightforward, solid, functional and leaves future mods up to the user as you and I figure out how what we do with it in reality, differs what we thought we d do before we built it. ;) Much like you stated above, I intend to make rolling thingy holders for underneath.

- WimP

His is actually one of the many I watched videos on. He has a lot of features on his that I like.

Rich

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

1185 posts in 660 days


#8 posted 02-03-2018 12:23 PM



To do it over again, unless you re going to use kiln dried 2×4s, I would drop the miter saw down and use self leveling feet on the miter saw. As the 2×4s dry, shrink, etc… you ll have simple adjustments to level it up perfectly with your tables and then anchor it.

- Hermit

Hi Hermit,

I was going to do mine in 3 sections. Left, right and miter section. Each section will have self leveling feet to adjust as needed.

Rich

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5974 posts in 2952 days


#9 posted 02-03-2018 09:51 PM

As well as how you are going to construct your station consider all of the space available for storage. Unless you have a 10,000 sq ft shop every inch counts. Built mine a few years ago and used the space underneath the miter and behind it for more storage.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5772 posts in 3786 days


#10 posted 02-04-2018 06:30 PM

I think plywood would be the best way to go. Use 3/4” plywood with a rabbeted joint and reinforce the inside corners with a glued in triangular cross section strip, 3/4×3/4. A cabinet made so will be more sturdy than using 2×4’s which would be held together with nails, screws or bolts which would be more flexible.

View HollywoodGT's profile

HollywoodGT

11 posts in 654 days


#11 posted 02-04-2018 07:11 PM

Wow that is one beautiful work shop !!

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1468 posts in 983 days


#12 posted 02-04-2018 07:49 PM

I just recently finished building a mobile mitre saw station. I built it using plywood. If you are interested, I would share some pictures. Let me know.
Mike

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

1185 posts in 660 days


#13 posted 02-04-2018 08:03 PM



I just recently finished building a mobile mitre saw station. I built it using plywood. If you are interested, I would share some pictures. Let me know.
Mike

- BlasterStumps

Hi Mike,

I’m always interested in pictures to get ideas.

Rich

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 1047 days


#14 posted 02-04-2018 09:32 PM



I just recently finished building a mobile mitre saw station. I built it using plywood. If you are interested, I would share some pictures. Let me know.
Mike

- BlasterStumps

Could you please post them??? Very interested in them as well as this thread…need to very soon build a miter box station and would like ot explore as many ideas as possible before I have to make one.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1468 posts in 983 days


#15 posted 02-04-2018 09:41 PM

Rich, msinc, I started with a box frame then added the vertical mounted housings each side, then the casters, a bottom sliding shelf, drawer, and places each side of drawer for the two fence pieces, then I mounted the wings with flush hinges and added the supports for the wings. The wings fold flush with the sides when not in use. I don’t like the supports. I think a regular knee or kick brace would be simpler and easier to use. I may change them out. Otherwise, it gives me a place for either my hand tool mitre box or power mitre box. The wings with the fences mounted give extra support for longer stock and the sliding stops. The pictures don’t show it but I have since added t-track metals into the fences for the stops. I have a small shop so nesting my tools is a must when I am not using them thus the reason I went for the mobile style cabinet.
I found this set of plans in ShopNotes. It is called a dual-tool station. A google search should bring it up.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1468 posts in 983 days


#16 posted 02-04-2018 10:33 PM

I might mention too that the dual-tool station provides storage for either a mitre box or planer or possibly other large tools when they are not being used.
Also, the wings are not very long so I made a roller to sit on top of a rolling file cabinet that will support longer stock. Once the mitre saw station is set up, I simply roll the file out and put the roller on it and it is ready to go. Everything nests away when not being used.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View tmasondarnell's profile

tmasondarnell

116 posts in 2332 days


#17 posted 02-04-2018 11:38 PM

I built mine out of plywood based on the Ultimate Miter Saw Stand from Woodworker’s Journal. The thing is a tank.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1468 posts in 983 days


#18 posted 02-05-2018 01:41 AM

I like that one. Once it is built, doesn’t look like you have to do any setup to use it. I would have done mine like that had I of had the room for it.


I built mine out of plywood based on the Ultimate Miter Saw Stand from Woodworker s Journal. The thing is a tank.

- tmasondarnell


-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

1185 posts in 660 days


#19 posted 02-05-2018 01:44 AM

Mines going to be 16’ long overall if that matters. 10’ to one side of the blade, 6 to the other. Another reason I was leaning towards 2×4’s

Rich

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5772 posts in 3786 days


#20 posted 02-05-2018 06:17 PM


I think plywood would be the best way to go. Use 3/4” plywood with a rabbeted joint and reinforce the inside corners with a glued in triangular cross section strip, 3/4×3/4. A cabinet made so will be more sturdy than using 2×4 s which would be held together with nails, screws or bolts which would be more flexible.

- MrRon


Although I advocated building a bench with plywood, that assumed the miter saw station would be mobile. The miter saw in my shop is wall mounted along side my RAS so they can both share the same fence. In this case, I used 2×4’s for it’s construction. I wanted everything to be as close as possible to the wall. That and my cabinet saw are the only tools that are stationary. All other tools are mobile.

View AlmostRetired's profile

AlmostRetired

220 posts in 1257 days


#21 posted 02-06-2018 01:01 PM

Plywood is the way to go for longevity. I did one out of ply for a flip top and it’s ridged, with some supports, and allows pent of storage.

Roger

View Fearsome's profile

Fearsome

2 posts in 401 days


#22 posted 10-16-2018 06:31 PM

2×4s are not killed flat and straight grain that won’t twist or bend like a bamana. Unless you’re buying premium select and checking them all it can make it difficultdifficult if you want it perfect. Plywood similarly has grades but anything better than the construction stuff is solidsolid and easy to work.

Biggest downside for me and 2×4s is the dimentions. Unless you too them smaller it takes up valuable room you could use for storage. Now if you have built any construction like walls 2×4s are used with an accuracy of a eight to a quarter and it’s good. If you want it quick and open 2×4s hands down. If you want it precise and with storage then plywood is the winner.

I wouldn’t want to deal with fitting drawers in a 2×4 cabinet frame again. Did that with old stuff from the 50’s and 60’s that came with houses. It was great as long as it was made to be near on and have large clearances for drawers.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5561 posts in 2894 days


#23 posted 10-16-2018 06:47 PM

I built mine from plywood in kitchen cabinet style so that I could incorporate my drill press and I wanted a lot of storage. I don’t really think that strength is an issue with plywood, it is plenty strong enough, and if screwed to wall it is immobile.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6708 posts in 3737 days


#24 posted 10-17-2018 01:36 AM

This my miter saw station…..It is a re-do of the old miter saw station I built about 12 years ago…It had a 10” Craftsman miter saw on one end, and a Craftsman radial arm saw on the other…..Made up of 3 large cabinets, which measured over 18’ altogether….I decided I wanted a Delta 12” sliding compound saw, so I took the old tools off, slid the last two cabinets together after removing the shelf for the miter saw….Measured the width and depth for the new saw to go between the first cabinet….Set it in place, and got everything lined up flush….Next I built two fences using the Kreg system top trak and measuring tapes….Got them lined up flush with the saw fence…Built the dust box and dust “shields” behind the saw….Put three coats of BLO on everything….This is the results of my new miter saw station….Plenty of storage w/ small and large drawers….all 3/4” ply construction, and hardwood Oak for the fences…..!!!! I already had dust collection for the radial arm saw, so I ran it inside the box..

-- " Old age will sneak up on you too quickly, so stay as active as you can".

View Tony1212's profile

Tony1212

365 posts in 2278 days


#25 posted 10-17-2018 01:25 PM

Like most of us, my journey started with 2×4 shop furniture. My issues with it were adding in shelving was always an issue due to having to cut rectangles in the corners to go around the 2×4’s. Then you always had 2×4’s in the way when trying to get something that just barely fits. (that’s why I don’t do face frames, either)

Also, 2×4 structures tend to rack a lot more unless you cover one side with plywood anyway.

Besides, you know that you’re going to want to redo your kitchen anyway, so might as well get in some practice before hand.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

1185 posts in 660 days


#26 posted 10-17-2018 01:27 PM

Wow… talk about an older post.. I think this was one of my first on here… I actually went with a 4×4 & 2×4 construction with 1/2 laps on the legs. The top is 3/4” melamine. There was no needs for shelves or anything as I needed to be able to fit a 6’ long rolling tool chest under it along with a bunch of other rolling carts.

Rich

View Monty151's profile

Monty151

83 posts in 384 days


#27 posted 11-29-2018 03:20 PM

Hey Rich, Got any pics of it? I am about to start on mine, and was thinking of doing the same thing with rolling carts underneath.

Monty

View RichBolduc's profile

RichBolduc

1185 posts in 660 days


#28 posted 11-29-2018 03:40 PM

Sorry for the mess. This is what I have on my phone. I plan on a full shop clean next week and after I get my assembly / out feed table built.

That’s pretty much all 17’ of it.

Rich

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5772 posts in 3786 days


#29 posted 11-29-2018 10:32 PM

I like to build everything out of 2×4’s, I consider the lowly 2×4 to be the most basic building material there is. There is nothing that can’t be built out of 2×4’s. It can be crosscut, ripped, mitered, etc. I wouldn’t use it for furniture other than shop furniture. The second most basic of building materials is plywood. Baltic birch is best, but depending on where the plywood is to be used, any plywood will work. They are both cheap, readily available materials. There is only one other material that is cheaper than a 2×4 and that is raw wood that guys like Roy Underhill use to create rustic projects.

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