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Friday, February 22, 2013

Make a table saw miter sled

Many of you may remember a miter sled video I made a while back. Although the sled worked, I always thought that it was an unnecessarily complicated way to build it.

Since I seem to be getting backlogged on pictures that need framing, I built a new miter sled this week. It is much easier to make than the old one. And you'll get perfect mitered corners every time!

Plans:








Bonus video!

I experimented with making a plywood picture frame for a print I've been wanting to complement with something unusual. I like the notion of embracing the plywood's edges and featuring them. I also experimented with using kitchen food coloring as a wood dye. Worked out fine!


26 comments:

  1. Two really great projects! Love how the frame came out and the reason for it.
    I use food coloring all the time to dye my pens on the lathe. I am going to have try a couple of these plywood frames to frame up things very similar for that for the playroom.

    CtL

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  2. wow the frame itself is a work of art, you should make a frame to put that frame in lol

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  3. Uhhh...

    It's kinda late for someone to mention it now... but...

    If you were going to make a second miter sled anyway... why not make the second sled for 22.5 deg miters so it would be useful instead of redundant?

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    1. Because its new and improved. Its nicer, cleaner and works better. Its like asking why do people still make cars, tv's and computers.

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  4. It's simply impressive how you can turn a wood working video into a story! You've made some great videos, but this one was really impressive!! It shows much more of your talent that isn't wood working related. Great Video, Great Music, Great Story!...and a Great Frame.

    Bob aka TripleB
    www.scroll-saw-forum.com

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  5. Alright Steve, I know how long it takes to make a "normal" video. A pictures frame would probably take about maybe 30-60 minutes to make. How long did it take you to shoot/build the frame? It looks awesome by the way and goes great with picture.

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  6. Are you sure it doesn't matter if the fences aren't exactly 45 degrees to the blade? I realize that as long as you use a good framing square, the two pieces will total to 90 degrees, but couldn't they also be like 43 and 47 or 44 and 46 if the fence isn't exactly 45 to the blade? If so, then wouldn't you see the difference in the mitered joint? Seems like the cut sides would be different lengths. Then again, it's been a long time since I took geometry, so I may well be wrong.

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    1. I too am interested in the answer to this one. Maybe Mr. Ramsey meant it wasn't necessary for an "exact" 45 to the blade and such a small difference wouldn't show up in the corners as much, but still ...

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    2. You are correct... in precise theoretical terms.

      Assuming you make a frame out of pieces of equal width on the top and the side to be joined at the miter, then a miter joint that totals to 90 deg but is not made of two 45 deg cuts MIGHT possibly show an imperfection. Assuming the woodworker measures the inside lengths when cutting each piece to length, then the outside corner of the miter may not meet exactly at the corner, even though the joint will produce a perfect 90 angle.

      In practical terms, Steve is correct, because he did use his triangle to mark off a 45. He mounted that first miter fence pretty close to 45 from the blade. Within a degree or two. As long as the total joint adds to 90, the margin of error that Steve might get by being off a degree or two of that 45 will not be noticable unless the frame is built out of crazy wide stock, like making a frame out of board a foot wide or so. The wider the frame material the more pronounced any errors can become.

      For wooodworkers that need more perfect precision or are simply anal retentive:

      If someone desires to mount the fences nearly perfectly, the best way would be to use your table saw with its rip fence to cut a 6" (or so) square piece of wood. The exact size isn't important as long as the block of wood is perfectly square and the entire square fits on the sled when placed diagonally on the sled's blade curf cut and does not extend beyond the apex point where the two fences should meet, or beyond the back of the sled curf cut. Obviously the square should be as large as is convenient to make as long as it still fits on the sled as described.

      Once you have that perfectly square piece of wood, place it on the sled diagonally. Align it absolutely perfectly such that two opposite corners of the square align exactly on the very edge of the saw curf cut in the sled base. Temporarily screw that square in place on the sled, making certain it stays aligned perfectly. (You could also use hot glue, or double sided tape to temporarily secure the wooden square.) Then attach your miter sled fences abutting them to the edges of the square. After your fences are secure, remove the wood square.

      Using this technique you can get a 90 deg joint accurate within a fraction of a degree as well as a 45 deg miter within a fraction of a degree.



      I could draw a picture that would describe this technique a lot better than my long winded explanation, but I'm too lazy to post a pic.

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  7. My theory with the 45 degree angle is that if it is slightly off (I used a pencil line which had a thickness - a scribed line would be tighter) it isn't enough to be perceptible on a picture frame. But whatever that angle is, it will add up to 90 as long as you use both fences.

    So I guess both angles are important, but a dead-on accurate 45 is less important. The woodworking I do doesn't demand critical tolerances.

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    Replies
    1. Clearly we need Matthias Wandel to post a response video showing "a more complicated method" of making a miter sled. Something involving lazer beams built out of wood with plans drawn up in full CAD splendor.

      I bet he has an idea for a miter sled where the fences are built out of hinged parallelograms and adjustable accurate to seconds of a degree.

      We should all go post on his videos and call him a Wimp if he doesn't come up with something.

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    2. hahaha, good idea and I"ll bet Matthias could come up with something.

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  8. I totally agree, Steve. My woodworkiong is nowhere precise enough for this to be a problem,. My question was more of a theory question than a practical one. Persoally, I am thrilled when I can get things close enough to be able to "sand to fit".

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  9. New to woodworking you have Great videos. Even a mere mortal can do this stuff. Great use of the color dye.

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  10. Awesome! I cant wait to try this, should be a nice easy project. I'm wondering how you'd put a spin on this http://youtu.be/IJjrB4SvMWg

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  11. Very nice. What video editor do you use? Would you consider posting videos on using your editor and ideas on how to make them interesting like your Alice frame? I found myself watching the scene transitions more that the woodworking because I'm getting more and more interested in video editing.

    Robert

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  12. Excellent video, and an interesting take on using plywood for the frame. Your camera work has gotten fairly sophisticated, I bet you had fun making this one.

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  13. Steve, Why do you make your runners so shallow? In all your vids when you make a sled, you shim the runners with multiple washers or pennies stacked. I can see shimming with one washer or penny high, to me it allows the runner to touch more of the slot and in turn giving less possibility of slop.
    Thanks
    Mike In Tn

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  14. Mike, what interests me more is how you guys afford all these pennies. I am from the UK and we need every penny we can get our hands on for BEER. Never any over for woodworking projects I'm afraid.
    John (a confirmed fan)

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  15. mi estimado,
    desconozco si puedes traducir, yo no se hablar ingles.
    Quiero hacerte una consulta, vi que coloco tres disco de sierra junto, ¿existe alguna tecnica especifica?, ¿se debe usar algun tipo de separador entre discos o alguna tuerca especial?, ¿ se debe tomar alguna precaucion especial?, ¿que riesgos implica si el fabricante de mi maquina solo habla de colocar un disco y yo colocaria hasta 3 juntos?.
    Puede ser muy obvia mis consultas, pero por favor considera que solo es un hobby para mi la carpinteria. Gracias amigo.

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  16. one thing i can say is, i havent done a lot of wood work, simply because i have never had any luck with mitered cuts, me and miters dont mix, but because my bussiness has been very slow i decided to make a table saw with a router mounted in it too. then i made a miter sled and my miters look real good now, so thanks steve, love your work

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  17. Jaime,
    No se debe colocar 3 hojas juntas porque los dientes son más gruesos que el centro de cada hoja. Usted necesita comprar un juego de cuchillas separado llamado "Blades dado".

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  18. Steve- First of all I want to express how much I appreciate your YouTube channel and the manner in which you carry out your craft. The quality of the videos is much better than most of the similar websites and you humor and humility make it a really enjoyable channel to watch. That said, I have a suggestion for a project similar to the miter sled video you made. As you have noted in some of your videos, miter saws are just not all that accurate, especially in the hands of a mere mortal such as myself. As a result, cutting crown molding with a miter saw can be frustrating and counter intuitive at best. Perhaps you could make a modified miter sled specifically suited for inside and outside cuts in crown molding using a size specific angled base for the molding to rest on. It could even be adjustable for 22.5 degree cuts with a locking position. I have ideas of how this could be done, but may be less that a mere mortal in bring it to fruition. What do you think? Thanks, Dirk DeJong

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  19. Hey Steve. I am making my miter sled as per your plans. I ran into a problem I don't see addressed here. When I set the right hand fence up to the left and then cut through it, the point of the right hand fence ends up just a little behind that of the left hand side. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Mine did the same thing. Don't sweat it, the miters are still perfect.

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    2. The reason for this is that when you lined up the left fence, the inside corner of the framing square was to the edge of the kerf and not in the middle….no sweat unless you are anal as I am.

      I made one mod to this design in installing t-track on the fences to be able to use stop blocks for multiple cuts.

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