Google Your SEO optimized title page contents

November 1, 2014

How to Build a Table Saw Miter Sled

How to Build a Table Saw Miter Sled

Table saw miter sled with 90 degree fenceHas there ever been a time that you’ve struggled to cut a perfect miter joint? Believe me, there’s no need to feel alone. All of us have had our challenges with the miter joint at one time or another. This woodworking article and video show how to make a precision crosscut known as the table saw miter sled.

So, let’s say that we want to build a woodworking project like a picture frame and we are looking to create four dead on miters joints. What’s going to be the woodworking tool of choice? We could use a table saw miter gauge  or a miter saw for cutting our joinery. We could use a fine handsaw and block plane. I think you’ll agree that they are a number of ways that a woodworker can cut miter joints for our wood projects. However, what’s the best method for getting outstanding results? Have you ever considered the dedicated table saw miter sled?

Table Saw Miter Sled measured with a Wixey Digital ProtractorFor my money I’ll use the table saw miter sled with a quality saw blade any day because an accurate miter sled gives the woodworker a greater amount of control over the material being cut. The centralized miter fence needs to be accurately set to 90 degrees when the the miter sled is being constructed. Since you’ll be making both a left miter cut and a right miter cut, you are guaranteed a joint that will add up to 90 degrees every time. This is provided that the material is properly secured and and also provided that there is no sawdust or debris between the material and the fence that it rest against. The perfect miter joints are predictable and duplicatable when a woodworker uses the table saw miter sled.

Cutting perfect miters with the Table Saw Miter SledPerhaps you already have a miter sled. If you do not have one, it’s not a problem because they are simple to build just like other cross cut sleds. Just take your time and enjoy the process. Before long you too will be cutting miters for your wood projects efficiently and confidently every single time. You will quickly notice an increased quality to your woodworking when you make a decision to build this saw sled. A dedicated table saw miter sled provides the woodworker with a tremendous advantage. This advantage is called accuracy.This woodworking tutorial walks you through all the steps of building the table saw sled.

Your materials on hand may differ from mine and that’s OK. Use what you have available.

(The following are the materials that were used to build my table saw miter sled.)

1/2″ Baltic birch plywood is used as the miter sled base. The runners and handles are of hard maple. Paraffin wax is applied to the bottom of the miter sled to allow for a better sliding action.

Cutting perfect miters on the table saw miter sledThe table saw miter sled can also be used as a cross cut sled by leaving space between interior miter fences and the fence closest to the woodworker. A SketchUp model for the dedicated table saw miter sled has been created for your convenience. Access Google’s 3D Warehouse for the miter sled plan. (Google offers a free acount if you do not already have one.)

Let me know how the dedicated table saw miter sled works out for you. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how to build a better miter sled, then I’d love to hear about it. If you have any pictures of your miter sled that you’d like to send just click “Contact“.

This episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

Recommended Videos:

Mastering the Miter Joint
Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled

Article:

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

Request a Free Woodcraft Catalog

Table Saw Accessories

Jigs & Fixtures

Dust Collectors

Picture Framing Books

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Comments

  1. Bob,

    I really enjoyed watching you make this jig and the subsequent video on making the picture frame. I’m new to woodworking so I can learn a lot from videos like this.

    I have a question about accuracy. I understand that this miter sled will be dead on accurate. I have an Incra 1000SE miter guage and the miter express sled. Do you believe I can be just as accurate with this setup given that after I’ve made all my ‘rights’ I have to adjust my guage to the opposing 45 for all my ‘lefts’?

    Thanks.

  2. Brad,
    First of all, thanks for taking the time to watch the videos and for taking the time to post your question. It’s a great question that you ask.

    Accuracy is something that we as woodworkers are always are striving to improve upon. Whether it be a mitre sled that we build or a commercial mitre sled the common denominator that we strive for is always accuracy. While I have heard very good reports on the Incra mitre guage and the mitre express sled I must tell you that I have not used them. With that being said, the key is for the angle of the mitre joint to add up to 90 degrees…and all four of the mitre joints to add up to 360 degrees.

    To answer your question directly…I believe you can be just as accurate. However, the angles of mitre guage and express sled must be set up relative to the saw blade. I am a big believer in the Wixey digital protractor for setting the mitre angle to the blade. Likewise I like using the Wixey digital angle gauge to confirm that the sawblade is 90 degrees to the table of the saw. We need to be mindful and check the accuracy of the equipment we are using. Sometimes they need adjustment.

    One thing I like about the mitre sled is that the interior mitre fences are set square to one another. (90 degrees combined). For the sake of discussion let’s say that we cut all the right hand mitres and they are actually 44-1/2 degrees. Well then that means that all the left hand mitres will have an angle of 45-1/2 degrees. That’s ok because the sum total adds up to 90 degrees and as a result all of the joints will be tight.

    Keep in mind that if you ask the question about accuracy when you are new to woodworking you are then likely to carry the question of accuracy as you gain experience. As a woodworker that’s a very positive attribute. Accuracy is a process that we learn and we will always adjust to.
    Hope this helps. Great question!

  3. It does help…thank you.

  4. Bob
    Thanks for taking the time to post your videos and as always this was very helpful in that everything was relative to each other and the saw as opposed to some builds that have the sled independently assembled and then fitted to the saw. I have seen some sleds with a block attached to encase the blade as it exits the sled – that seems like a good idea and one I will add to the sled I build as after a long day in the shop mistakes are made and fingers in the wrong place.

    Again thanks for the time and the effort put forth in doing these videos.

    And by the way – nice legs.

  5. You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time to check it out. You bring up a good point about having a block on the user side of the push/pull fence to encase the blade. Obviously, safety in the woodworking shop is imperative. If one believes that attaching a block or a box to where the saw blade exits, then that’s the thing to do. Keep in mind that with sleds like these there is no need to push the sled’s fence all the way through the blade. (keep the saw blade concealed as much as possible.) Also, it’s important to have a sled fence that is secured and high enough that hands and fingers are clear of the blade. It’s good to hear that you find the woodworking videos useful…I appreciate the feedback! The legs…thanks for noticing!

  6. Great stuff Bob. Good clear images. It wud be VERY helpful if you could add narration to say what tools you are using & also to give some dimensions. Thanks for your time & effort making these videos. I’m looking forward to more of your fine videos.
    Ron

  7. Ron…
    Welcome to the blog. If you are looking for more information concerning the dedicated miter sled…check out the following postings.
    Dedicated Miter Sled…revisited

    SketchUp of the Dedicated Miter Sled for the Tablesaw

    SketchUp drawing of the dedicated miter sled (complete dimensions for the miter sled.

    Mastering the Miter Joint

    When you look around on the sight you see that various sleds are often used in the building of projects. The sleds are explained in videos and in postings. They are easy to build and can ofter precision results.
    Thanks for your feedback and support! If you ever have any questions about the videos or the postings…feel free to ask.
    Enjoy!
    Bob

  8. Hi again Bob

    After watching the video for the second time, the first being in August, and seeing you comment about 44.5 on one side of the sled and 45.5 on the other, that would imply that like dovetailing, you would have to label the pieces to get the optimum fit.

    Again thanks from all us woodworkers for you time and effort.

    Where does the motivation come from – besides the obvious to help us fledgling neophytes.

    John

  9. John…
    (I recommend watching the videos more than once. The more you watch, the more you will learn as some things are subtle.)
    You get the concept. However, there is no need for labeling. The miter is automatically “labeled” since it is either a right miter or a left miter. It is simply a matter of gluing and properly aligning the miter for fit. When clamping the miters I highly recommend using spring clamps. It will make the job a “piece of cake.” Be sure to read How to make Perfect Miter Joints

    My motivation for this blog is simply gratitude for those who taught me woodworking over many years. This blog is dedicated to my woodworking instructor, to the people over the years that hired me, and also to all the craftsmen that I worked with and shared the craft of carpentry and woodworking. My motivation also comes from people who are hungry to learn skills and techniques of woodworking. I appreciate the energy and desire of the apprentice and I also enjoy the refined skills of the journeyman no matter what their age.

    Thanks for you support,
    Bob

Speak Your Mind

*