Step 8: Cut Out Recess for Miter Saw
It would probably be easier to cut these pieces ahead of time and assemble a pieced-together top surface instead of one entire continuous sheet that then needs to be cut apart in place, but this is just how it worked out for me. You can absolutely plan ahead for this and make these cuts on the table saw and box out the recess for the miter saw before you screw down your top panel.
The dimensions of your recess are dictated by the height of the bed on your miter saw and the room that the saw needs as it swings through it's entire range of motion and miter. My 12" sliding compound miter saw needs almost 3 full feet to move freely, so that's the size section that I cut out from the work surface.
Cuts were made with a circular saw and then cleaned up with a hand saw and jig saw to get into the hard to reach places.
Take care to measure the exact recess that your saw will need from your top work surface so that the saw bed is exactly flush with the height of your side supports. OR, don't worry about it too much and make sure that you cut DEEPER than your saw bed and prop up the saw on some shims later. I went this route, planing down stock to the exact height that my saw would need to be perfectly flush with my top work surface. I think this is the way to go rather than trying to make precision cuts with a circular saw.
Once the cuts are made, box out the sides of the recess and screw in a bottom. The bottom I used was part of an old desktop. It's very heavy and solid, and what's more, has a nicely curved front edge which was perfect for me since it nicely mimics the arc that the saw makes when it's adjusted to make miter cuts.
I supported the bottom of the recess with a single cleat in the back that was cut with that same 8 degree bevel since it's mounted onto the angled vertical panel support. The front of the recess bottom panel is screwed directly onto the front vertical panel of the station that it rests upon.