Shopping for a Chopsaw Stand
If you've been working with your saw on the floor and your work propped up on 2x4 blocks, it may be time to get off your knees.
Synopsis: This tool survey compares the specifications and features of 17 chopsaw stands, which range in price from $40 to $650. The author provides a brief overview of each stand that focuses on its ease of assembly, quality, and portability.
For years I cobbled up a chopsaw stand for every job I worked on. I’d use different combinations of plywood and 2x’s on top of sawhorses. When sliding compound-miter saws came out, I got a manufactured stand. But last year, a week before Christmas, my truck was stolen along with every tool I owned, including my chopsaw stand. I didn’t mind losing the truck, but the tools.
I bought the same kind of truck that I had before. But I wasn’t as sure about the saw stand. The market had expanded since my first purchase, and I had a lot of choices. I wanted something lightweight, strong and durable. I thought I wanted long extension tables. And I didn’t want to spend all day setting up my workstation. With these criteria, I went to see what was out there.
When I wrote this article, I did my best to round up every saw stand on the market. But since I finished the article, others have surfaced, too late to be included, and I fear that there are more out there that I haven’t even heard of. I hope this discussion of the various aspects of saw stands will be a guide toward making educated assessments of stands that might have escaped my attention.
Sorting out the differences between saw stands
If this article had been a review of, say, circular saws, I could have sorted the tools by blade size and amp rating. However, the more I looked at these saw stands, the more I realized how many different stands there were and how most had their own assortment of options. For the sake of organization and my sanity, I had to create categories and then try to squeeze each stand into one of them. I came up with these categories: folding stands on legs, nonfolding stands on wheels, folding stands on wheels.
Aside from wheels vs. legs and folding vs. nonfolding, one of the biggest differences between chopsaw stands is the system they use to support work. Most of the stands I reviewed come with a roller support system or with extension tables. With a roller system, work is supported at a single point away from the stand, and longer boards either droop between the stand and the roller, or they flop over beyond the roller. Boards also tend to skate around on the rollers, so taking measurements can be a challenge. On the upside, however, stands with roller systems tend to be lighter and more compact.
Extension tables, or wings, not only provide continuous support of work but also allow quicker and more accurate cutting. Measuring and marking the length of a board is much easier with extension tables, and many extension tables come in handy as makeshift workbenches.
Most stands with extension tables also have adjustable-stop systems. Adjustable stops come in many forms, but they all let you make multiple cuts at the same length with just a single measurement. Many stop systems are calibrated with built-in tape measures on the tables. However, stands with continuous extension tables with stop systems do come at a price. In addition to costing more money, they weigh more, and they need more storage space.
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