One too many things to consider

Having decided to reorganize my workshop, I drew up some plans for cabinets that would run across the back of garage.  This would provide solutions to two issues: first, it gives me more storage space and secondly, it provides a work surface (a.k.a. a work bench).  I figured this would be a great time to design a workbench and storage solution that would not only give me a great work place, but also integrate my tools in such a way that I don’t just have tools on my workbench, but rather integrated for least impact when not in use.  I got cracking in Visio and designed what I felt to be the best option for my new workbench and cabinets.

Back Wall diagram

From left to right, I added two 36″ wide base cabinets at 36″ high.  These are followed by a shorter cabinet.  This one is 17″ wide.  It sits 3.75″ shorter than the standard 36″ tall cabinet because this one holds the compound miter saw.  The deck of the saw is 3.75″ high, which taking the shortened hight of the cabinet into account sets the deck of the saw flush with the rest of the counter.  This is followed by a third standard 36″ cabinet. 

After the first four cabinets, there is a gap.  The width of this gap is the width of my table saw deck.  I’ve also built a new rolling stand for my table saw that places the table surface of the saw at 36″.  When the saw is rolled into the gap, the saw deck, again, sits flush with the counter.  Another 36″ wide base cabinet sits to the right.  One 18″ wide cabinet will be created  to sit in the far right corner.  If my math is correct, there will be a gap between these last two that are wide enough for my garbage can to tuck between the cabinets and under the counter.

The counter top material is 3/4″ MDF sitting on 3/4″ pine strips that run the depth of the cabinets.  The face of the MDF is a 2×4 cut down to a final dimension of 1.5″ deep by 2″ high and attached by biscuts.  I haven’t yet decided if I’ll route a round-over across the top edge or if I’ll keep it square.

The first four cabinets are complete and in place.  I was excited to move the tablesaw in place.  I then picked up my compound miter saw and dropped it onto the short cabinet.  Yes, the deck of the saw perfectly matches the height of the MDF countertop, but I didn’t take the required depth of the saw into account.  The saw has a good deal of structure behind the cutting deck’s fence, which pushes the saw out from the way a great deal.  Furthermore, the saw is a sliding model, which requries 9 more inches to get the blade all the way back.  Now looking at the setup, the saw would have to hang off the front of the counter in order to get the blade all of the way back.  In doing so, the deck no longer is supported by the countertop on either side.

How disheartening.  At least it looked good on paper.  It would have been a great setup if it had worked, but I can’t keep it this way.  The compound miter saw is completely unuseable in this space.  I expect that I’ll end up doing another pull out solution like I did with my table saw. 

My wife suggested that the roll-out stand that I build for the compound miter saw should have a pair of fold-out arms to support wide pieces while cutting (to make up for the fact that I can’t use the counters anymore.  She is so smart.  I knew there was a reason I love her.

Sometimes it isn’t worth going overboard when trying to get every last piece to integrate perfectly.  Some things have too many variables.  As a woodworker, I hate to admit that third dimension is too many for me to handle, but in this case that is where I went wrong.  I’ll chalk it up to learning.


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