Have you ever waited a really long time — years, even — to buy something or do something that you knew would make your life easier, and then once you bought or did that thing, you wondered why in the world you waited so long? Yep. That. That’s exactly what I’m feeling right now because after years of thinking to myself, “It would make my life so much easier if I built a dedicated rolling cart for my miter saw with expandable wings for support,” I finally did it. And now I could kick myself for waiting so long.
For years now, I’ve been dragging my miter saw all over the place, setting up a folding table or working on the front porch or even working with the saw sitting right on the ground. I’ve been lugging that thing all over the place, and then setting up makeshift supports with chairs, ladders, or stacks of wood when I needed the added support for cutting really long pieces of lumber or trim. All of those years of frustration could have been avoided had I just built this rolling cart a long time ago.
But as they say, better late than never. And I finally have my rolling cart, dedicated specifically for my miter saw, with expandable wings to offer support when I need to cut long pieces. Here’s how it turned out…
For the most part, this is a pretty simple build. I did the whole thing myself, but there is one small part that would have been so much easier with an assistant. But somehow I managed on my own.
So let me show you how I built this. I used a total of about 2.5 sheets of 3/4″ plywood for the whole thing, and I didn’t use the fancy stuff since it’s just a utilitarian cart that didn’t need to be pretty.
I started by cutting the pieces for the actual table top that the miter saw would sit on. I cut these pieces to 30 inches wide by 27.25 inches deep, but you may need to adjust depending on the size of your miter saw. I cut two pieces of plywood to those same measurements, and to the first piece, I added lots of wood glue…
And then I placed the second piece on top, pressed it down as tightly as I could to the glue, and then used 1-inch 18-gauge nails to secure the two pieces together.
Next I cut the two pieces for the sides of the cart. I cut those to 28 inches tall and 28 inches deep. I placed one of the side pieces flat on my work surface, and then cut a strip of plywood to 2.75 inches by 27.25 inches. The purpose of this piece is to create the support for the miter saw table top, and it needed to be attached to the inside of the side piece so that it was flush on the front edge and top edge and had a 3/4″ space on the back edge.
The way that I arrived at the 2.75″ height for that piece was to measure the height of my miter saw from the table to the area where the wood sits while cutting. That gave me a measurement of 3.5 inches high, and then I subtracted 3/4 inch to leave room for trim that would be added later.
Next I cut another piece of plywood that was 11 inches high and 27.25 inches wide, and attached it to the inside of the side piece as well, leaving a 1.5 inch space between the two support pieces…
This completed one side, so I repeated that process on the other side of the cart.
At this point I had a table top made up of two layers of 3/4-inch plywood, and two side pieces that had a slot where the table top would slide in and be secured.
Placing the left side piece with the front edge down on the ground, I inserted the edge of the table top into the slot, and secured it with wood glue and 2.5-inch 16-gauge nails that were shot through the outside of the side piece and into the edge of the table top.
Then I attached the other side in the same way.
You can see above that the table top and the inside supports were cut to leave a 3/4″ space along the back. This was done so that I could attach a back support piece that would be flush with the back edges of the side pieces once attached.
So next, I measured and cut a piece of plywood to fit right the width of the back, and the height of those inside support pieces. I secured it with wood glue…
…and then more 2.5-inch 16-gauge nails…
With the back secured, I flipped the whole thing upside down…
…and then measured and cut a piece of plywood to fit onto the bottom of the cart. I attached this piece with wood glue and the same 2.5-inch 16-gauge nails.
The view in the photo just above is how the cart looked at this point from the back (and upside down), and this is how it looked from the front…
With the basic structure of the cart finished, and while it was still upside down, I marked the placement of the casters, drilled the holes, and attached them with 2-inch 5/16-inch bolts, nuts, and lock washers. Obviously I didn’t need four locking casters, but Home Depot didn’t have the matching non-locking casters, so I just used four locking casters.
And with the casters secured into place, I flipped the cart upright, and tested the miter saw for fit. Everything looked great at this point!
While the saw was up there, I also measured for placement and then marked where the holes needed to be drilled for the bolts that will later secure the saw to the cart.
But before I actually bolted the saw down, I needed to finish trimming out the cart. I started by cutting a piece of 1″ x 2″ lumber to fit along the back top edge of the cart, and glued and nailed that into place.
You’ll notice that I didn’t bother with miter cuts on this trim. I wanted trim because I don’t like raw edges of plywood (too many splinters), but it’s still just a utilitarian cart and not a fine piece of furniture. 🙂
Next I measured, cut and attached the same trim to the front edges of the sides of the cart…
Then I did the same for the two horizontal pieces…
And finally, I attached the trim to the top edges of the sides.
Keep in mind that 1″ lumber is actually only 3/4″ thick, so this is where the 3/4″ difference came into play. If you’ll remember, I cut those initial top plywood support pieces to the height of my table saw minus 3/4″. This is why I did that. Once that trim was added, that made up for the other 3/4″ to make the sides level with the miter saw.
So at this point, the sides of the cart sat at the same height as my miter saw…
That completed the build of the main cart, so then I was ready to turn my attention to the wings.
For these, I cut four pieces of plywood (two per wing) that measured the height of the plywood side of the cart minus three inches. Now with the plywood bottom and the top trim attached, that gave me a side height measurement of 29.5 inches (not including the height of the casters). So for my wings, I cut the plywood to 26.5 inches wide. I also wanted my wings to be a total of 12 inches deep, so I cut the plywood to 10.5 inches. Then I glued and nailed two pieces of plywood together for each wing, just like I did for the cart table top.
I forgot to take a picture of the next step, but I cut and added trim around the edges of the wings to cover the raw plywood edges just like I did on the cart. Again, I didn’t bother with mitered corners.
And with that, the two wings were ready to be attached to the cart. I turned the cart over on its side, and attached the wing using a continuous hinge (i.e., piano hinge), making sure that the top of the expanded wing was flush with the top edge of the side of the cart.
And I repeated that process on the other side. Then I sat the cart upright, and here’s how it looked…
But those wings are pretty much useless without something to hold them up, right?
So to do that, I created a support that folds out like an accordion. It’s made of three pieces of plywood, with each piece cut to 25 inches high and 8.5 inches wide, and then one piece of 1″ x 2″ lumber cut to 25 inches high. I secured all of those pieces together using continuous hinges so that they would fold up accordion-style when closed.
And on the very last plywood piece, I screwed in a little wooden knob into the top edge of the plywood. This knob could be screwed in and out for fine adjustments of the wings.
And now this was the challenging part where I sure could have used a helper. I attached the accordion-style support just behind the wing by gluing and nailing the 1″ x 2″ strip of wood to the side of the cart.
But to do this, the wing had to be lifted and the accordion support had to be extended. I used my shoulder, my head, and my knee to hold everything in place. I’m sure I looked like a circus act, but I got it done.
Here’s the view from the top…
And of course, I repeated that same thing on the other side, keeping in mind that the accordion support needed to be assembled in just the opposite manner for the opposite side of the cart.
To keep everything secure while the wings aren’t being used, I attached neodymium magnets to secure the wings to the sides of the cart. I attached them with super glue and just surface-mounted them.
I also used the same magnets on the wing supports, but for these, I used my 1/2-inch spade bit to drill shallow holes so that the magnet would be recessed into the support pieces and not hinder the accordion fold of the supports.
That way everything stays secure and tucked away on the sides when the wings aren’t in use. This is especially handy when the cart is being moved so that the supports aren’t expanding and flopping about when trying to position the cart or move it through doorways.
And there it is! My finished rolling miter saw cart that I should have built ten years ago! 😀
And maybe you can see in the picture above how those little wood knobs can be used to screw them in or out for fine adjustments of the wings.
And here it is with the wings down and everything all compact.
For now I’ll be using the lower shelf for my air compressor, but I eventually want to built a separate cart for it with a retractable hose reel. But that’s way down on the priority list for now, so for now it has a home right there. When I do eventually build that air compressor cart, I can add drawers or other storage compartments in this lower section to house specific tools.
I’m so excited to have this now! And I used the largest casters I could find so that it can hopefully be rolled across grass and dirt. That would be so helpful for those times I need to roll it into the front yard to work on projects there.
And here’s one last view from the back…
It’s finally done. It may be 10 years later than I should have done it, but at least I did it. 🙂