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June 29, 2017

Steve’s Table Saw Miter Sled

Table Saw Miter Sled – Viewer Built

 

Steve's Table Saw Miter Sled 2A table saw miter sled is one of the most useful table saw accessories that can be made by the woodworker in the workshop. In this woodworking article we will take a look at the table saw miter sled that Steve from Tropical Cairns, Australia built in his well organized woodworking shop.

(Steve learned how to make a sled for by watching and studying our free woodworking video, How to Build a Table Saw Miter Sled. He also accessed our free woodworking plans for the table saw miter sled.)

Notice that Steve is using a very flat plywood as the base for his table saw miter sled. Both the front and rear fences of the miter sled are of straight grained material. This is especially important for the tall fence closest to the woodworker as this section of the table saw sled serves as a cross cut sled. So, it is imperative that this fence is straight across when material is placed along it to be cross cut.

(Based upon the photo it looks like Steve is able to cross cut a board that is 4- 6 inches wide. So, essentially this table saw miter sled design also has the additional capacity of serving as a cross cut sled.)

Steve's Table Saw Miter Sled 1The interior fence system for Steve’s table saw miter sled is comprised of 3/4″ straight grained material that form a balanced 90 degree angle at the saw blade kerf. Theoretically, we want a 45 degree angle to both the left and right sides of the fence. More importantly, we want to ensure miter fence has a perfect right angle so that the sum total of our miter joint equals 90 degrees.

It is also worth noting that Steve has used a sealer for his table saw miter sled. By doing so, Steve who lives in the humid tropics has helped ensure that his miter sled for his 10 inch table saw will remain flat and true.

Note: When using a table saw miter sled for cutting miter joints or making a cross cut, do not be tempted to switch table saw blades.  It is recommended to use the the same type table saw blade as the original blade that was used to cut the sleds zero clearance saw kerf. The zero clearance saw kerf ensures against any wood tear out.

When cutting miter joints what methods do you prefer?

Do you prefer to a miter joint with a miter saw or table saw?

Many woodworkers cut miters with a table saw miter gauge. What is your preference?

 

More Miter Sled Videos:

Mastering the Miter Joint

Let’s Make Spline Miter Joints

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Tablesaw Miter Sled

Miter Sled Article:

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

 

Let us know how it your table saw sleds out for you. If you have sled photos that you’d like to share, feel free to contact me.

 

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


How to Make a Picture Frame – Top Woodworking Tips

Wooden Picture Frame - How to Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking TipsHow to make a picture frame: There are probably as many woodworking methods and techniques on how to make a picture frame as there are woodworkers. With that said, this woodworking video and article will focus on a process that simply works very well in my woodworking shop. I think you will enjoy and find these top woodworking tips useful for your woodworking. You will notice that the written article has a step by step approach for how to make a picture frame. As you study the top woodworking tips featured in this woodworking article, you will see that there are also time sequences relating to the video. These times will help you to better understand the events in the video and article. If you are new to woodworking, I encourage you to study this video and article time and time again. There is a lot of basic woodworking techniques used in this process that will help to advance your woodworking skills to a higher level.

Top Woodworking Tips

We are demonstrating: 1.) How to rip our material safely on the tablesaw.  2.) How to make a picture frame moulding detail on the router table. 3.) How to use a dado blade set to create a rabbet and plough on the picture frame moulding. 4.) How to cut our picture frame moulding to a rough length using the crosscut sled on the table saw. 5.) How to make a picture frame with perfect miter joints. We use a miter sled on the tablesaw for this operation. 6.) How to secure our picture frame miter joints accurately and efficiently by using Ulmia spring clamps.

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Note: This article and woodworking video is part of a series. The other videos will focus on how to make splines miter joints,  how to create shop-made wood inlay bandings, and how to cut and fit decorative wood inlay banding to the picture frames.

Preparation to Make a Picture Frame

Material Preparation: We determine how many picture frames that are to be created. This in turn dictates how much material we need for our job. In order to make a picture frame we need to work with dimensioned material. 1.) We start with rough mahogany boards that need to be dimensioned. 2.) Surface one side of the mahogany on the jointer. 3.) Run our material through the planer to achieve a 3/4″ uniform thickness.  4.) Joint an edge on each board so that it is straight and square along its length.

How to Make a Picture Frame

The woodworking video begins

Ripping on the Tablesaw

1.) (0:00) Set the width of the desired cut by adjusting the tablesaw fence to the saw blade. 2.) Adjust the saw blade height so that the saw teeth are about 1/4″ or so above the material being ripped. For safety’s sake there is really no need to have the blade any higher. The less the sawblade exposure the better.

Notice:

1.) There is a sharp 10″ table saw blade installed for the cuts to be performed.

2.) The table saw blade is accurately set to 90 degrees by using a Wixey Digital Angle Gauge. Wixey Digital Angle Gauge - How to Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking Tips

3.) A zero clearance insert with a splitter is installed on the tablesaw to avoid the possibility of kickback. (0:18) In the video watch how the splitter keeps the saw kerf open. We want an open saw kerf . If the saw kerf closes this could lead to the material binding on the blade causing a potential dangerous situation called kickback.

4.) Eye protection and hearing protection is used by the woodworker while working with the machinery. The dust collector is also on during the machinery stages.

5.) (0:28) An outfeed table for the tablesaw is utilized. The outfeed table allows for ease of working as well as an element of safety.  The woodworker can confidently push the material through the sawblade without the need to reach across either the tablesaw and the spinning saw blade.

6.) (0:44) The Pushstick: Take a look at the type of pushstick used in the video. It has the shape of a shoe. The reason that this push stick is used is to obviously keep the hands of the woodworker away from the blade. This pushstick also guides the material forward while keeping the material flat on the tablesaw. Pay close attention the the feedrate that the woodworker applies. He is simply allowing the table saw blade to cut through the material at a controlled pace.

7.) A clear space on the table surface to the woodworker’s right allows him the to conveniently lay the ripped material. This allows for ease of operation and organization.

The Router Table Setup

A router table insert is used along with a router. 1.) Align the router table fence to the bearing of the router bit with the aid of a straightedge. (In this case a framing square was used.) 2.) Clamp the router fence securely in place. 3.) Adjust the router bit is to a desired height. This preparation is performed using a scrap piece of the picture frame moulding.

Notice:

1.) (1:02) A plastic featherboard is securely in place on the router table a few inches before the router bit. This feather board has two knobs which lock it into position in the metal track. The featherboard is adjusted so that the material is able to ride along the router fence without any lateral movement. This control makes for a straight and uniform moulding cut.

2.) (1:41) A shopmade featherboard is clamped to the router table fence a few inches before the router bit. The maple featherboard keeps the material flat against the router table surface to allow for a straight and uniform moulding profile.

In a nutshell, these featherboards allow for the woodworker’s safety while controlling the shape of the moulding profile. There is something else that is quite important though. By having the featherboards in place, the woodworker is able to work confidently and with piece of mind. He knows he is reducing the margine for error by working safely.

3.) Watch the feedrate of the material as the woodworker takes a pass. Notice the depth of cut compared to the hardness of the material. How much material should be removed in one pass? Too heavy of a cut can create a safety issue or cause the router bit to burn the material. Too light of a cut is unproductive. Remember to make your first pass with a practice cut on a piece of scrap picture frame moulding. Once you are satisfied with this setup, it is just a matter of running the moulding profile on the rest of the material.

4.) (1:47) Notice the pushstick used in the router table operation. It is made from plywood and is about 12″ long. The pushstick is held at an angle to control the material while being guided through the operation. The all important pushstick  allows the woodworker’s hands and fingers to be clear of the spinning router bit.

The Dado Blade Setup

1.) (2:02) Freud Super Dado 8-inch Stack Dado  is used in the dado operation.

2.) (2:10) A shopmade tablesaw insert is used for a zero clearance cut.

3.) (2:10) A shopmade sacrificial Dado Fence is clamped to the Biesemeyer Table Saw Fence.

4.) (2:10) A Dial Caliper accurately measures the depth and width of the rabbet cut.

5.) (2:19) Both featherboards are in place to control for safety and the accuracy of the rabbet.

6.) (3:00) The dado blades and fence are adjusted to create a plough (or groove) on the face of the picture frame moulding. This will be the location for the decorative wood inlay banding. (3:32)

Tablesaw Crosscut Sled

1.) (3:34) The mahogany picture frame moulding is being crosscut to a predetermined rough length. The top and bottom members of the picture frame are shorter than the side members. So, we need 2 separate lengths of picture frame moulding.

2.) (3:58) Notice how the adjustable stopblock on the rail of the crosscut sled is being used. Once the initial moulding member is measured for length, a pencil tic mark is made on the moulding. Place the moulding along the sled’s rail. Now, set the pencil tic mark on the sled’s saw kerf edge closest to the stopblock. (4:05) The next step is to simply slide the adjustable stop block to the square end of the moulding from where the measurement was initiated. Now, all rough cuts will be guaranteed a uniform length. (4:18)

The Tablesaw Miter Sled

1.) a.) (4:27) Prepare for the initial right miter cut of the shorter members of moulding. b.) (4:33) Set the left end of the picture frame moulding  just over the miter saw’s keft. c.) Secure a stopblock by clamping it to the miter sled fence.  d.) Cut all the initial right miter cuts for the shorter lengths of picture frame moulding. Mitre Sled for Table Saw _ How to Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking Tips

2.) (5:32) Using the same procedure as above, make all initial right miter cuts for the longer members of moulding.

Determine the Length of each Moulding Member

Long Picture Frame Member: (6:28)

1.) a.) Working from a plan or previously made picture frame, take the measurements from the inside edge of the frame. In the video you’ll notice the woodworker line up a long member of the moulding to match a miter of an existing picture frame. b.) (6:31) Place a pencil tic mark at the short point of the opposite (left) miter. This determines the length of the longer member.

2.) a.) (6:40) Line up the pencil  tic mark with the miter sled’s left edge of the saw kerf. Make sure that the inside edge of the moulding is flush against the miter sled fence. b.) (6:55)  Clamp a stopblock along the miter sled’s fence where the long point of the opposite miter is located.

3.) (7:05) Proceed to trim the left miter.

Short Picture Frame Member: (7:31)

1.) a.) Determine the length of the short picture frame member by laying the miter on the existing picture frame or the plan. b.) (7:39) Along the inside edge of the moulding place a pencil tic mark at the short point of the miter that is to be cut.

2.) a.) (7:51) Place the pencil tic mark on the left edge of the miter sled saw kerf’s edge while making sure the inside edge of the short member is flush against the miter sled fence. b.) (7:58) Secure the stop block to the miter sled fence.

3.) (8:09) Turn the tablesaw on and cut the left miters for all the short members.

Dry Fit the Picture Frame Members:(8:23)

1.) Align each miter joint precisely.Ulmia Spring Pinch Clamp and Miter Joint - How To Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking Tips

2.) Secure each miter joint using an Ulmia spring pinch clamp. (The Ulmia miter clamp pliers and the Ulmia miter clamp rings are also featured in the woodworking video.)

Gluing and Clamping the Miter Joints:(8:45)

1.) Brush on white glue to each joint side with an acid brush. Make sure there is enough glue, but not too much. Reach a happy medium.

2.) a.) (8:59) Work on a flat surface while aligning each miter joint. b.) Open the clamp ring and release the pressure to secure the joint. c.) Continue this routine until all 4 joints are aligned properly. (9:35)  Good job!  d.) Proceed to the next picture frame to be assembled. e.) Develop a rhythm to your work and enjoy the process. f.) Place stickers under each picture frame and away from the wet glue during the drying process.

Woodworking Power Tools


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

How to Make Picture Frames with the Table Saw Miter Sled

Picture Frames Made with a Miter Sled

 

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
Leonardo da Vinci…(1452-1519) Architect, musician, anatomist, inventor, engineer, sculptor, and painter.

Picture Frames made in the Wood Shop

Making picture frames in the woodworking shop is fun especially when we have a system in which to work. In this case we are making the picture frames from picture moulding that was made on the router table and also on the table saw using dado blades. The dado on the moulding will house the decorative wood inlay that we have previously created in the workshop. (It is nearing the Christmas Holidays at the time of this writing and we have quite a few gifts to make.)

Cutting miter joints for picture frames

Cutting miter joints for picture frames

 

Picture Frames made in Production

 The picture frames that we are making have mitered corners so we are using the dedicated miter sled for the table saw. The sled is set up to cut perfect miter joints and this will allow us to go into production mode as we are building 12 picture frames at this time. Each of the picture frames will display pictures that are 5″ x 7″. The picture moulding is of a Peruvian wood called Camala.

 

The System of making Picture Frames

1.) Using the crosscut sled…Crosscut the moulding lengths slightly oversized.

2.) Divide the lengths into two separate piles (if the sides and top/bottom of the frame are unequal.)

3.) Using the dedicated miter sled… Cut a right miter on all moulding members.

4.) Determine the actual length needed for the sides, use a stop block to control the cut length, and cut the opposite miter.

5.) Determine the actual length need for the top/bottom, use a stop block to control the cut length, and cut the opposite miter.

6.) At the workbench… Assemble the frames by fitting, gluing, and using spring clamps to secure the miter joints in place.

 

Having a dedicated miter sled enables us to create wood projects that have miters with dead-on accuracy. Using the above system with the miter sled allows for production work that is quick and efficient. Appreciate the process and enjoy the results!

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

Making Perfect Miter Joints

 

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
Michael Jordan…(1963- )Former American professional basketball player, businessman.

There’s something nice about seeing wood joinery that is well done. It’s a if the craftsman is making a statement about his knowledge of the trade, his set of skills, and his pride in craftsmanship. When you see miter  joints that are clean and tight the craftsman is sending a message that he knows what he is doing because he is well practiced and he cares about his craft. It can simply be seen in his work.

It could be said that miter joints are definitely one of the most common joints in woodworking or carpentry. This is a joint that we are taught early on in our apprenticeships because we will be cutting miters throughout our entire career. As an apprentice it sounds simple enough to just cut a left 45 and a right 45 and glue then together to form a 90. If it were so simple then why are there open miter joints? Let’s take a look at how we can make perfect miter joints.

Perfect Miter Joint Technique

 

In this article I will share with you the best method I know to make miter joints in the workshop. My technique for cutting miter joints is using a dedicated miter sled on the table saw. The sled is simple to build and it does not cost much to build it. In fact it can be made within an hour from scrap material in the shop. Once it is built it can serve the craftsman for a long time. The miter sled if built correctly offers unparalleled accuracy. The sled can easily be set up to do production work. With a good miter sled and a sharp saw blade one can cut perfect miter joints for a picture frames that are ready to glue. Simply put the miter sled is a joy to use.

 

Watch this video…Building a dedicated Miter Sled for the tablesaw

As you can see from the photos the woodworker is making quite a few picture frames. (These wood projects are Christmas gifts in the works.) Notice the stop blocks in the pictures. The location of the stop blocks control the lengths for parts of the picture frames and by having these stop blocks in place the woodworker is able to precisely cut uniform lengths repetitively. This allows for production woodworking as all the parts can be cut accurately and efficiently. Once all the lengths are cut it is just a matter of fitting and gluing the miter joints together.

 

Perfect Miter Joints & Ulmia Spring Clamps

 

When it comes to gluing the miter joints I highly recommend using Ulmia spring clamps. These clamps allow you to properly align the miter joint and then secure it. Once clamped the miter joints will not move. Of course there are different size spring clamps for different size miter joints. My spring clamps have been with me for over 30 years and they have clamped a lot of miters. The clamps are truly worth their weight in gold. If you have yet to experience these clamps you will quickly understand when you use them for the first time. When you decide to purchase spring clamps make sure to buy enough because when you go into production mode you will be doing a lot of clamping. Keep in mind that mitering with these clamps goes quickly.

 

Working with a dedicated miter sled and spring clamps is quick, efficient, and accurate. By following this route you will see your skills and miter joints improve. When finished you can also take pride in the craftsmanship of your work for a job well done.

 

A video for mitering smaller material…Let’s Build a Bandsaw Miter Sled



 

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

Dedicated Miter Sled…revisited

“Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count.”
…Albert Einstein…Genius, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1879-1955)

The table saw is a primary tool in the woodworking shop and has been for many years. If you are a power tool woodworker chances are you have a table saw. Some woodworkers may debate which is their first tool of choice for their shop, however that is an argument for another post. In this post we will concentrate on one tool and one fixture for this tool.

Little is said in woodworking books, woodworking magazines, or woodworking online about the dedicated miter sled for the table saw and perhaps if you are a woodworking beginner you may not even know about the miter sled. So while you may not find this workshop accessory in woodworking catalogs, you may soon come to realize the difference this fixture can make for you and your projects.

The dedicated Miter Sled for the table saw is a woodworking video tutorial on how to build one of the truly great table saw accessories. If you have ever worked with an accurately made table saw sled then you can attest to the difference it makes for your skill level and also for the all important qualities of your fine woodworking projects.

Now, some woodworkers may say that they use a a table saw miter gauge or some type of miter jig and that’s fine. Other woodworkers may say that they have chop saws or compound miter saws and that’s OK too. However, chances are if they ever had the opportunity to use a precision miter sled for the tablesaw then they would be using the miter sled.

It’s easy to see how this fixture for the table saw could find its origins in a cabinet shop, furniture shop, or a planing mill as the miter sled is worth its weight in gold when its time for production work. The nice thing about the miter sled is that you will never have to set up the angle for the miter after you accurately set the interior fences. (as the video reveals.) So, anytime the craftsman wants a dead-on miter that totals 90 degrees he reaches for the miter sled. One may raise the question “What if I need to cut my stock square and I don’t want to have to remove the miter sled or run to the chop saw all the time to make my cut?” In this case the miter sled can do the job again. Take a look at the push/pull fence closest to the woodworker and you will notice that there is ample room to make square cuts and thus adding to the versatility of this table saw sled.

The table saw miter sled is made with production work in mind. A convenient example in this instance would be making multiple picture frames as it really does not matter if you are make 10 picture frames or a 100 of them. If your picture frame is of equal lengths on all four sides then you really only need one stop block set- up to cut the necessary length for all four sides. In this case you simply need to cut the initial miter and then measure the needed length. Now, mark this length on the stock with a pencil and this will indicate where the table saw blade will cut the next miter. Set this pencil mark to the saw kerf as the side of this stock is set along the interior miter fence. Now, place the square end of a stop block against the miter fence and butt the block against the previously cut miter. Secure the stop block in place with a wood clamp and you are ready cut all day long if you need to.

(The above is a basic example. For production it would be better to cut stock lengths perhaps a 1/2 longer than needed and then cut one miter. Once the length of the piece is determined then cut the remaining miter. Then do the same for all remaining pieces of that particular length.)

The advantages of the miter sled:
1.) Dead-on accuracy.
2.) Can be used as a cross cut sled.
3.) It is very cost effective.
4.) In a small shop it can save space and possibly costs by eliminating the need for a chop saw or typical miter saw.
5.) The miter sled can easily be built within a few hours and ready for immediate usage.
6.) It may save the woodworker from unnecessarily buying an expensive miter guage.

Notes:
a.)Make sure the base material is flat. Baltic Birch plywood or MDF are good choices. (1/2″ – 3/4″)
b.)Use straight grained hardwood for the push/pull fence and for the 90 degree miter fence. (maple is a good choice.)
c.) Use straight grained hardwood for the runners. (quarter sawn is preferred. maple and oak are good choices.)
d.) Should the fences be glued? (this is a personal choice. The miter sled pictured has fences that are glued using yellow glue.)
E.) Use a sharp, quality saw blade for best results.
f.) Make sure the table saw blade is set 90 degrees to the table.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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