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Friday, September 30, 2011

Make a miter sled for your table saw

I didn't have time to work on a project last weekend but spent a lot of time this week figuring out what I wanted to make this weekend. I think I'm going to make a bed tray for a laptop computer. Basically, a breakfast-in-bed kind of tray. I had a viewer ask me about such a tray a while ago, so I decided to make it.

As I played with the design, I realized I would need to make mitered corners. Every time I think about making miters, I cringe. Especially since this tray is going to be made with oak. I have a notoriously difficult time making decent miters in oak using my miter saw.

So this morning I decided to finally make a miter saw sled for my table saw. It's a project I've been meaning to make for years.

This was the fastest project and video I ever put together. I prowled through my wood and started building this around 11:00 this morning. I built it, shot the video and finished editing it by 4:00! Woohoo!

And it's one the the most useful jigs I have ever made. It is incredibly simple to build, yet extremely accurate. There are a lot of different kinds of miter sleds, but mostly I just need to cut 45 degree angles. So if making picture frames drives you crazy, give this sled a shot.


  1. Hey Steve. I can't find those WWMM certified miter sled weight blocks. Are those special ordered?

  2. GReat video and very timely....I will be making one tomorrow!

    Thanks Steve!

  3. If your miter gauge is that sloppy you should either fix it, or get a better after market one. It has to be adversly affecting you in more ways than just doing mitered corners. Another thing forget those marks on the gauge, just go to an art supply store and get a plastic 45 triangle and use it when you set your miter on your saw. It works for both 45 and 90 settings. A good 8" plastic 45 triangle should set you back maybe $3. Just remember when you butt the triangle on the saw blade to make sure it isn't resting on a tooth. No biggie really but I figured I'd mention it.

    I'm not even going to get into how those wooden guide rails you made would never work here with the humidity variations we enjoy. Oh wait, I guess I just did!

    Anyohw it looked like a great jig build for you but it also exposed other areas you should address. It wasn't quite vise week but at least it was a nice jig episode I suppose ...

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  5. Just a little tip... I use UHMV plastic for table saw jig runners.... that I find in the form of plastic cutting boards! Once you get it to size and epoxy it into place, it'll give you Matthias Wandel-esque accuracy every time no matter the humidity.

  6. I have used aluminum stock for my runners. The are really nice. I spend $12.00 for enough runners to build a mitre sled, cross cut sled and a panel cutting jig. I agree with Paul about the drafting square. It's much more accurate than my Empire combo square. I would also suggest adding a back fence. It helps keep the sled sturdy, but more importantly, it keeps your hands far away from the blade. Just my two cents...

  7. BTW, I want to thank Steve for putting this stuff out. It really gives me confidence to try new things after watching Steve do them.

  8. Thanks for the post! I always cringed when I needed to make these cuts in the past. I've got a project next that is going to require a ton of them so this was a gem of a find! Much appreciated!

  9. Hi, thanks for the video. In my humble opinion the step of adjusting the second top piece for a perfect 90° angle could be eliminated. Instead of using two separate pieces of wood, just use one, with an easy to make 90°, then cut through it. I.e. take a square piece, make an L-shape out of it, mount it at roughly 45°, then cut through the L. I guess now the hardest part is putting the L in a place where the blade will hit it at the right spot ;-).

  10. Thanks for a great video.
    I too are interested in table saws and you can review some of them at www.besttablesaw.net