Jigs fixtures

How To Make Fishing Lures by Vlad Evanoff

How To Make Fishing Lures Ebooks

Get Instant Access

After trying one of these miter sleds, the miter gauge that came with your table sa may end up just'gathering dust.

A Two sets of holes on this miter sled allow you to position the miter bar to use the sled on either side of the blade. The aluminum fence can also be repositioned.

A steel pin serves as a stop for the fence. By moving the pin to different hole locations, you can set the fence to commonly-used angles.

A Two sets of holes on this miter sled allow you to position the miter bar to use the sled on either side of the blade. The aluminum fence can also be repositioned.

Open any woodworking catalog and you'll find all sorts of gadgets and devices that promise to improve the accuracy of your table saw — as well as your woodworking. One of these accessories is a miter sled.

A miter sled is kind of a cross between a miter gauge and a sliding cutoff table. It can do just about everything that most of the fancy, aftermarket miter gauges can do. But it can also do some things that a miter gauge can't. Like crosscut a wide panel. In order to get a better sense of whether or not a miter sled might be valuable in your shop, let's take a closer look at what they do.

COMMON FEATURES. I took a look at three different miter sleds — the Dubby sled by In-Line Industries, the Woodhaven Deluxe Sled, and the Delta Sliding Miter fig. (See page 49 for sources.) All three have some basic features in common.

To start with, they all have an MDF base. And attached to that base, is a miter bar that allows the sled to travel in the miter gauge slot. This isn't much different than a crosscut sled you could make in your own shop. But what really makes a miter sled useful is the fence.

The sleds I looked at all feature an extruded aluminum fence that

A steel pin serves as a stop for the fence. By moving the pin to different hole locations, you can set the fence to commonly-used angles.

pivots to allow you to cut any angle of miter. Depending on the brand of sled, you set the fence by lining it up with an angle scale on the base of the jig or by using one of several preset stops. In all cases, a simple knob or clamp locks the fence in place.

DEAD-ON MITERS

Although these sleds can do many things, frankly, cutting miters is where they really shine. Once you have the fence squared up with the blade, it's a simple matter to set the fence to the angle you want and cut perfect miters every time.

I think the thing that makes these sleds work so well is the fact that the workpiece rides on top of the sled, rather than on top of the saw table. With an ordinary miter gauge, if s too easy for the workpiece to shift along the face of the miter gauge as you push the workpiece forward, throwing off the accuracy of the cut.

But with a sled, the workpiece and fence remain fixed while the sled base slides across the top of the saw. The only thing you have to worry about is holding the workpiece against the fence during the cut And all of these sleds have a T-slot along the top of the fence. So you can add a hold-down clamp to eliminate any concerns of the workpiece moving.

ZERO CLEARANCE. Before you use the sled for the first time, youH need to trim the edge on your table saw, as shown in the photo below. What this does is provide a perfect fit between the saw blade and the edge of the sled. So the bottom of the workpiece is supported by the sled all the way up to the blade. This prevents splintering and tearout in your workpiece.

There is one downside to this, however. With most of these miter sleds, once you trim the sled to fit your saw, you can't use it on a different saw (unless the distance between the blade and the miter gauge slot is the same).

Some of the sleds allow you to reposition the miter bar on the base of the sled to use it in either the left-hand or right-hand miter gauge slot of the saw. But with at least one brand of sled, you have to specify which side of the blade you'll be using the sled when you place your order.

A Before using the sled for the first time, you'll need to trim the edge. This creates a zero-clearance fit between the blade and sled to prevent chipout.

BACK-UP SUPPORT. As I

mentioned, one of the stand-out features of these miter sleds is the aluminum fence. The fences on all the sleds are moveable, so no matter what angle you are cutting, you can slide the fence right up to the blade to back up your workpiece.

One of the sleds even features a replaceable wood extension on the end of the fence to give your workpiece support on both sides of the blade. (It would be pretty simple to add an auxiliary wood face to the fences of the other sleds.)

PANELS. One thing that a miter sled will allow you to do that a miter gauge won't is crosscut panels. On a typical table saw, your crosscut capacity with a miter gauge is limited to around 12" in width. With a miter sled, you can cut about double that. That's because the sled supports the workpiece even if it's pulled back partially out of the miter gauge slot.

ADJUSTABILITY. As with any jig that has moving parts, being able to periodically re-calibrate the jig for accuracy is important.

To position the fence on this sled, simply loosen the knob and line up the cursor with the desired angle on the scale.

Fortunately, all these sleds allow you to adjust the scales and stops for the fence. Some of them even let you adjust the fit of the miter bar.

OTHER FEATURES. Of course, there are also other features that you'd expect to find on a crosscut sled — things like hold-down clamps, flip-up stops, and fence extensions. You can see some of these in the box below.

PRICE. The price of these sleds may seem steep at first — they range from about $135 to $170. But when you consider all they can do, and if you cut a lot of miters, a miter sled is definitely worth the money. And what about the miter gauge that came with your table saw? Well, it makes a great paperweight. 01

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment