Replacing a Miter Saw with a Sled


TomInNC
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I currently have a Dewalt 780 on the Dewalt stand. While I used the miter capability quite a bit when I was building stuff for my backyard, these days I use the saw almost exclusively for making quick cross cuts to get boards to rough length. My shop space is roughly 1.5 stalls of a 3 car garage, so the relative footprint of the miter saw is huge, especially because of the clearance required to let the saw slide.

I was listening to an old Woodtalk episode during my commute the other day, and there was a discussion about replacing the miter saw in the shop with a crosscut sled. Have any of you done this? If so, any regrets? I was thinking of moving the 780 out of the shop area and putting an Incra 5000 on the table saw. The only possible downside I can see at this point is that with the lift of the sled and limited height of the TS blade, cutting thick pieces like 4x4 legs to length would have to be done in 2 passes. 

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I got rid of my miter say some time ago, and don't miss it. I agree that fine miter cuts are generally BETTER with a TS sled, but the space requirement is really dependent on the material, not the tool. If you regularly make square or angled cross cuts on long boards, you may find the miter saw / station much more suitable.

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On 12/6/2022 at 1:56 PM, TomInNC said:

So how do you break down rough stock? Jigsaw?

That's how I rough break down stock. Jigsaw with a speed square if I need to make sure it's close to straight.

I have a miter saw (10" slider) and it takes up way too much space in my 12"x13" shop to be always set up. I'll pull the saw out if I'm going to need it for a lot of cuts.

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No miter saw in my shop so I realy don't know if I would miss it.  I have a cheap old delta miter saw but use it only for hose maintainence items like wood flooring.

I break sown l ong pieces with a jig saw in the garage and pieces up to about 6" long on the table saw with or without a sled.

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On 12/6/2022 at 12:34 PM, TomInNC said:

I currently have a Dewalt 780 on the Dewalt stand. While I used the miter capability quite a bit when I was building stuff for my backyard, these days I use the saw almost exclusively for making quick cross cuts to get boards to rough length. My shop space is roughly 1.5 stalls of a 3 car garage, so the relative footprint of the miter saw is huge, especially because of the clearance required to let the saw slide.

I was listening to an old Woodtalk episode during my commute the other day, and there was a discussion about replacing the miter saw in the shop with a crosscut sled. Have any of you done this? If so, any regrets? I was thinking of moving the 780 out of the shop area and putting an Incra 5000 on the table saw. The only possible downside I can see at this point is that with the lift of the sled and limited height of the TS blade, cutting thick pieces like 4x4 legs to length would have to be done in 2 passes. 

Can you not rotate  the handle to clear space when not in use?

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Rotating the handle buys me a couple of inches. The real issue is that the only place the miter saw fits is so close to my workbench (which also has nowhere else to go), that one side of the bench is unusable unless I back the car out of the other side of the garage and drag the miter saw over there. It's my wife's car, and she has made it clear she will not be parking outside. 

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On 12/6/2022 at 10:56 AM, TomInNC said:

So how do you break down rough stock? Jigsaw?

Yea, I use a jigsaw, by far the safest way to break down rough lumber.  I don't think I would even consider breaking down with a miter saw, especially if it was any kind of wonky. 

With or with out the Incra 5000 I don't think you could cut anything on your table saw that is four inches thick.  Mine just makes 3 inches...unless you have a 12 in table saw.

I do like my Incra 5000, its a good way to go.

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For the 4 inch thick cut, I meant relative to the miter saw. I made 4x4 legs for my bench, and I had no problem with that on the miter saw. If I wanted to cut the same legs on the table saw, I would have to take one pass, flip, then take a pass again. Have you done this on the 5000? My expectation is that the accuracy for this two cut approach will depend a lot on that stop actually remaining fixed during the cut. 

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I have a delta chop saw, an incra  5000 and 12"radial arm saw which  is may main tool for breaking down lumber. I can cross cut 16". The 5000 is for cross cuts that need accuracy and reliably repeatable. Not for breaking down material. I don't use the chop saw much these days.

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I use my SCM on almost every project, but I'm not doing the same kind of projects, and my saw is more accurate than most.

Where the miter saw fits in for me is to cut off very square blocks from very big stock.  I frequently max out the saw cutting 17/4 boards that may be 12" wide x 5' long.  Then squaring up the cutoff.   Not your usual furniture operation, but something that would be too difficult to do on a TS.  

So here's a thought.  Take down your miter saw, but keep it.  See what opperations come along where it is the tool of choice, and either set the miter saw up temporarily (driveway?), or try the cut on the TS.  After a while you'll know if it's destined for Craig's List.

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On 12/7/2022 at 9:04 AM, Mark J said:

I use my SCM on almost every project, but I'm not doing the same kind of projects, and my saw is more accurate than most.

Where the miter saw fits in for me is to cut off very square blocks from very big stock.  I frequently max out the saw cutting 17/4 boards that may be 12" wide x 5' long.  Then squaring up the cutoff.   Not your usual furniture operation, but something that would be too difficult to do on a TS.  

So here's a thought.  Take down your miter saw, but keep it.  See what opperations come along where it is the tool of choice, and either set the miter saw up temporarily (driveway?), or try the cut on the TS.  After a while you'll know if it's destined for Craig's List.

Good point on not just selling it. My drill press is finally coming tomorrow, and this will force some shop reorganization. Will likely put the miter saw in the basement while I assemble the press, then try to get by without it for a while. 

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On 12/7/2022 at 11:13 AM, BillyJack said:

Sounds like you need s plan on shop setup. I would think 1 1/2 garage bays is pretty good space for a small wood shop. 

1.5 bays might be overstating the width. While I just need to fit the one car in the garage, I have to account for the car doors opening and the kids walking not so carefully around that side of the garage. 

If the miter saw wasn't on the giant stand and the saw could be placed flush against the wall, I would have room for it. I could go the Bosch/Festool route and build something smaller than the stand, but I spent all summer working on shop projects and I'm trying to focus on non-shop stuff for a while. 

 

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16 hours ago, TomInNC said:

Have you done this on the 5000?

Not with the 5000 but with other incra miter gauges. The results are going to depend on how well your saw and gauge is tuned.

That said I still have my SCMS but it's the red headed step child in my shop it only gets used begrudgingly. Most of the time that's when there is a dado stack in my table saw. Or when accuracy doesn't matter. The accuracy of SCMS is poor at best compared to a well tuned table saw. I may have gone a bit overboard with the miter gauges I have 4 and a 90 degree table saw sled. It is REALLY nice when working with odd angles to have a gauge set and just take it on and off the saw but not lose the setting and use another gauge.

The 5000 is ok good tool but big and bulky for a small shop, you have to store it after all. I have a 1000HD and miter express with the 5000 fence extrusion which is similar in size and function. I don't use it very often. I find myself just using my 1000 HDs with out the express sled. My recommendation would be to get a couple 1000s over the 5000 but that's preference. Storage for the 10000s is easier too. If you really use the sled the miter express can bridge the gap but keep the storage easier.

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On 12/7/2022 at 12:43 PM, Chestnut said:

Not with the 5000 but with other incra miter gauges. The results are going to depend on how well your saw and gauge is tuned.

That said I still have my SCMS but it's the red headed step child in my shop it only gets used begrudgingly. Most of the time that's when there is a dado stack in my table saw. Or when accuracy doesn't matter. The accuracy of SCMS is poor at best compared to a well tuned table saw. I may have gone a bit overboard with the miter gauges I have 4 and a 90 degree table saw sled. It is REALLY nice when working with odd angles to have a gauge set and just take it on and off the saw but not lose the setting and use another gauge.

The 5000 is ok good tool but big and bulky for a small shop, you have to store it after all. I have a 1000HD and miter express with the 5000 fence extrusion which is similar in size and function. I don't use it very often. I find myself just using my 1000 HDs with out the express sled. My recommendation would be to get a couple 1000s over the 5000 but that's preference. Storage for the 10000s is easier too. If you really use the sled the miter express can bridge the gap but keep the storage easier.

Thanks. I actually have the miter express with the 1000se now and use it quite a bit. I didn't realize that you can just swap the fences out to get more reach. If you have the 1000hd with the longer fence on the miter express, is the only difference between your setup and the 5000 the footprint of the MDF panels?

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1 minute ago, TomInNC said:

If you have the 1000hd with the longer fence on the miter express, is the only difference between your setup and the 5000 the footprint of the MDF panels?

I think so. I could probably replace those with bigger ones too and really close the gap.

I only got the longer fence for the stops. I found the short fence on the 1000HD just wasn't long enough quite often. I don't leave the long fence permanently mounted I just swap the fences out when needed as it keeps the small light maneuverability.

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On 12/7/2022 at 12:49 PM, Chestnut said:

I think so. I could probably replace those with bigger ones too and really close the gap.

I only got the longer fence for the stops. I found the short fence on the 1000HD just wasn't long enough quite often. I don't leave the long fence permanently mounted I just swap the fences out when needed as it keeps the small light maneuverability.

Ya, my main issue is the limited reach of the stop as well. Seems like I end up needing to make a lot of cross cuts between the 31 inch reach of the stock fence and 40 inches or so. 

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On 12/7/2022 at 12:43 PM, Chestnut said:

The 5000 is ok good tool but big and bulky for a small shop, you have to store it after all

I have a small shop. I have the 1000 incra and the 5000. I also use the 1000 more but I need the 5000. For wider and/or longer pieces the 5000 is a champ. I can make perfect 90 degree cuts as wide as 24". It is the most accurate tool in the shop for dependable repetitive square cuts. For the price nothing comes close for wide cuts. There are tools a lot better but they take up a lot of space and are expensive. I found some wall space and the 5000 lives there. If you could use a dado that would be special.

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