Let me be frank: Circular saws scare the bejeezus out of me. Always have. Rotating blades of doom ready to swallow a finger in barely a heart beat, technology be damned (very very cool technology).
As we are in the midst of a remodel where the goal is to recycle as much as possible, it was high time for me to get over this silly fear and get a damned chop saw.
One of our goals is to recycle whatever we can. In particular, recycling he kitchen cabinetry and turn them into cabinets in the garage.
Now, garage floors slope. And garages typically have a 4″ to 6″ sill of concrete on the outside walls. Both of which would require cutting various 2x4s to the right sizes/lengths to build new legs for the cabinets to have them be both level and flush with the wall.
And there is about a zillion other little projects around the house that will require custom bits of framing. Shelves. A cover for our atrium. Repairing the Big Green Egg table.
So, I picked up a basic Craftsman Compound Miter Saw. But it required a table. Initial use indicated that screwing it down to a plank on top of a kitchen cabinet works great, so why not turn one of the recycled kitchen cabinets into a roll-around saw table with built in storage?
Easy enough. That is exactly what I did. Better yet, only the 24″x48″ work surface is new. Everything else is recycled.
The kitchen cabinets I started with are relatively robust, though they are designed to be hung on a wall or otherwise sit stationary.
Thus, the first task was to reinforce the cabinets. I cut bits of 2×4″ framing material that had been ripped out of the house down to size and lined pretty much the entire outside edge of the cabinet with 2x4s along the base.
The 2x4s are held in with both wood glue and 3″ decking screws. Pretty much every piece of wood next to a 2×4 has one or two (or more) screws. The front of the cabinet has 2 2x4s where a kick plate would normally go. Solid. Very very solid.
The 2x4s are also used to attach the casters in the four corners. We had quite the adventure at Home Depot with these casters. Found one. They showed 4 in stock and the final three were only found by crawling under some shelves. Go Go Gadget Inventory Systems!
Not all four needed to be locking, but that was all that was available that were the same height.
The key is to use casters that are at least 2″ in diameter. They seem to lock better and that little bit of additional height makes for a much easier time of rolling the saw out into the driveway.
In any case, with the casters firmly anchored to the base, it was time to attach the work surface.
If you saw what the average kitchen counter is attached to, you’d be scared of every rolling out dough or otherwise working on the surface again…
Seriously. These cabinets wee largely fiber board sides with solid wood front and back.
Thus, to mount the work surface, I cut some 2×4 chunks to go in each corner. It required a bit of Dremel work to fit the blocks over the drawer slides.
The work surface — a 24″ x 48″ piece of birch plywood — was then screwed to these blocks. The chop saw, itself, is screwed into the plywood, centered in the table.
When I get the chance, I’ll remove the saw, sand the surface down, and then coat it with varathane to produce a durable, easily cleaned, work surface.
Trivia: Varathane is known as DiamondPlate in the pinball industry and is used to coat playfields. Tough stuff, given how well it survives getting pummeled by a steel ball!