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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

 

Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

When a woodworker searches the web to learn how to make wood inlay bandings there is little information to be found. In fact there seems to be very little information about how the masters of wood inlay created the wonderful patterns that are sometimes seen on museum quality furniture. However, there are some patterns of wood inlay from the Buffard Freres that offer a glimpse into the world of classic wood inlay from Paris. After studying these inlay designs the urge hit me to figure out how to could duplicate some of these patterns. What I am learning of this “lost art” I will attempt to share with those interested.

When I first began making wood inlay bandings my tool of choice was the table saw. However, my work has evolved and now my band saw is getting a workout. I like working with the band saw for cutting wood inlay segments for a number of reasons.
1). I find it safer when working with smaller or narrower wood pieces.
2.) There is no chance of kickback on a band saw.
3.) The band saw offers a great deal of control when working with sleds and the band saw rip fence.

The Band Saw Sleds:

1.) The Bandsaw Crosscut Sled
2.) The Dedicated Band Saw Miter Sled
3.) The Tilting Miter Sled for the Band Saw

Also important…The Bandsaw Rip Fence for Cutting Thin Strips

The three sleds and the rip fence each take 10-15 minutes to make and they can be made from scrap material in the workshop. The sleds are highly accurate and efficient. Actually, I had not seen or heard of any band saw sleds before I thought of cutting wood inlay segments on the band saw. My band saw sleds are an original thought that I developed for the purpose of cutting wood inlay segments. The sleds have opened up a new dimension for my band saw work and it’s as if my band saw has suddenly been upgraded.

When preparing stock for wood inlay it is important that the material is dimensioned properly. The material being used needs to be flat and of uniform thickness. I use the open drum sander for this operation.

When using a sled I clamp a stop block to the fence so that segments are cut to a uniform width or length.

So far the segments for the wood inlay I have created have been cut at either 90 degrees or 45 degrees. For the 90 degree cuts I use the crosscut sled. When making 45 degree cuts I use either the dedicated miter sled or the tilting miter sled depending on the particular cut to be made. Keep in mind is that the bandings do not have exposed end grain. The wood grain shown is either edge grain or face grain.



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

How to Make a Bandsaw Miter Sled

The Bandsaw Miter Sled

 

“I will see it when I believe it.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer…Motivational author and speaker (1940 – )

 

Bandsaw Miter Sled – a Wood Shop Accessory

Miter Cut on Bandsaw Miter Sled

Miter Cut on Bandsaw Miter Sled

There are many times while in the shop working on wood projects that we find a need of various woodworking jigs and then at times we also will have a need for an assortment of saw accessories. Sometimes we need to make a shop accessory while in the middle of our wood project and then again there are instances when our project is actually the building of a shop accessory. In either case here is a crosscut sled that you may find very handy at some point. Let me introduce you to the dedicated bandsaw miter sled. You’ll be glad to learn how to make a miter sled for your bandsaw.

 

Cutting a Miter with the Bandsaw Miter Sled

Cutting a Miter with the Bandsaw Miter Sled

One of my favorite cross cutting sleds made in the workshop is the dedicated bandsaw miter sled and the reason I like it so much is because it is great for working with smaller material. Now, often times I will use the dedicated miter sled for the table saw for the miter cutting of larger wood pieces. However, when there is a need to cut a miter on smaller material I choose the dedicated bandsaw miter sled for making the cuts because it too is very safe, accurate, and efficient.

 

The Beauty of the Bandsaw Miter Slde

 

Bandsaw miter sled front view

Bandsaw miter sled front view.

The beauty of the dedicated bandsaw miter sled is its simplicity. It is easy to make from wood scraps in just 10 minutes and you will be is ready to cut dead-on miter joints immediately thereafter. One of my favorite uses for this saw sled is miter cutting when fitting and installing bandings of wood inlay. It works especially well when cutting segments for an wood inlay pattern called “Wolf’s Tooth“.

 

 

 

Enjoy these Band Saw Accessories and Techniques: :

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

Bandsaw Crosscut Sled

Bandsaw Rip Fence made in the Shop

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

 

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
…Nelson Mandela, first black president of South Africa & Nobel Prize recipient .(1918- )

 

The Idea for the Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

 

Tilting Band Saw miter sled

Tilting Band Saw miter sled

The idea of the tilting bandsaw miter sled came to me while working on creating a variety of wood inlay banding patterns for various wood projects to be built. Sometimes my choice is to cut inlay segments by using the dedicated miter sled for the table saw and for those operations the table saw technique works just fine. However, my curiosity and imagination has led me to the band saw where my first concern was about the quality of the cut for the inlay segments. It is no longer a concern as this method works very well when cutting miters on flat material. (So far I have been using a 3/8″ band saw blade with 4 teeth per inch. The cut is clean.)

 

Triangle segment cut on tilting band saw miter sled

Triangle segment cut on tilting band saw miter sled

There are some advantages to using the bandsaw over the table saw when cutting wood inlay segments.

1.) Less material is waste due to a narrower saw blade kerf on the band saw.
2.) It is easier and safer to cut smaller material on the band saw than on the table saw.
3.) More wood scrap can be utilized by using the tilting miter sled on the bandsaw.

 

The Accuracy of the Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

The tilting bandsaw miter sled is surprisingly accurate and efficient. (I recommend using a digital angle gauge or an Wixey 8 inch digital protractor to correctly adjust the band saw bed to the saw blade.) It can be built out of scrap material and ready to use in the woodworking shop in just 10 minutes. This miter sled works exceptionally well for cutting miters on smaller flat material where safety concerns could arise if the wood was instead cut on the table saw. To build the tilting bandsaw miter sled use the same techniques as featured in the Bandsaw Crosscut Sled article.

 

In the photo triangular segments are being cut to uniform length with the aid of a stop block. Notice how the stop block has a 45 degree angle to match the angle of the segment being cut.

 

 Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled Setup

 

Side view tilting band saw miter sled

Side view tilting band saw miter sled

Cutting wood inlay segments on the tiliting band saw miter sled

Cutting wood inlay segments on the tiliting band saw miter sled

The bandsaw bearing guide assembly needs to be kept as low as possible for safety reasons. On the operator’s left side the bearing assembly just clears the stop block and the crosscut sled’s fence. The right side of the bearing assembly has more clearance from the sled and as a result there is more exposure to the bandsaw blade. For this reason it is a good idea to have the tilting miter sled long enough to adequately handle a stop block on the left side and long enough to support the flat material on the right side. By designing the tilting miter sled in this manner it allows for a good cutting action and also for a good margin of safety as well.

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

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