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25…Bandsaw Crosscut Sled

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin…(1809 -1948) English Naturalist

Cross cut band saw sled

Cross cut band saw sled

Sometimes as woodworkers we face a variety of situations that require some versatility and a little thought. This occurred to me one day while making wood inlay bandings in the woodworking shop. There are times that I feel quite comfortable making crosscuts on the 10 inch table saw using one of my cross cut sleds. However, there are other times when the material is small and I feel better using the bandsaw instead because the saw blade cuts at a lesser speed and also has a narrower kerf. Since I have found great success using sleds (miter sled and dado sled) for the table saw I decided to make a crosscut sled for the bandsaw and I am glad I did.

Band Saw cross cut sled with stop block

Band Saw cross cut sled with stop block

The crosscut sled for the bandsaw took only 10 minutes to build. Scrap MDF was used however, plywood could be used just as well. Just make sure that whatever material you select is flat. A piece of hardwood like maple or oak works well when making a runner that will fit inside the miter gauge slot as it will resist the wear of sliding back and forth. A snug fit that slides is what we want. It is important that the runner is cut to just below the table’s surface as we will want the sled to slide flatly on the bandsaw table.

After the runner is correctly dimensioned we take a combination square and mark a 90 degree line from one edge of the MDF to the other edge. We make sure that this line for the runner is at a location that allows for a good crosscutting operation as we want to allow enough length for the body of our stock to lay. We also want enough room for our stop block to be positioned adequately. The next step is to glue and pin nail the runner alongside of the scribed line that we made on the underside of the sled.

Now, the sled is ready to be run 3/4 the way through the bandsaw blade. Next, we pull the sled out and head over to the workbench where we take a 90 degree drafting triangle or a square and line it up against the bandsaw kerf. We then mark a line square to the saw kerf and this will accurately line up the fence for the sled. Now, it is time to glue and pin nail the fence in place. We want to take the time to allow for accuracy as it will pay off handsomely.

Note: On my bandsaw I currently have a 3/8″ blade with 4 teeth per inch and I am quite satisfied with the quality of the cuts I am getting using the crosscut sled. For small pieces it is much safer than using the table saw. As a bonus I am able to use a lot of my smaller wood scraps more often when using this sled.

Learn about the Bandsaw Rip Fence made in the Shop.
See how the rip fence is used for Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw.

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

A French Built Dedicated Miter Sled

Hello Bob
I’ve seen one of yours videos ( a very interesting video) for a miter sled
I’ve decided to do one for my table saw : all is in the video

Thanks a lot for all yours videos

Have a nice day

Diggerjacks – France

A fellow woodworker who lives in France recently saw one of The Apprentice and The Journeyman’s woodworking videos, Building a Dedicated Miter Sled for the Table Saw. So, he decided to build table saw sled for his workshop. This dedicated miter sled certainly is a beauty and is very well made. It has a plywood base and the woodworker has wisely selected straight grained wood for his fences. Notice how the tall sweeping fence allows for the hands to comfortably push the sled with plenty of clearance from the saw blade. It’s a smart safety feature as well as an elegant design. With an accurate interior fence set at dead-on 90 degrees our fellow woodworker has elevated his woodworking and now he will be confidently cutting perfect table saw miters with ease for a long time. Also, by using a stop block and a clamp along the interior fences he can control the lengths of his cuts with precision.

Another great feature of the sled is that it can also serve as a crosscut sled. 90 degree cuts can also be made when placing stock against the tall fence closest to the woodworker. One can see that the interior fence have an adequate length to cut miters and yet there is also ample room for making crosscuts as well. This is very handy for making quick square cuts and also repetitive uniform cuts of equal length when a stop block is in place.The dedicated miter sled allows for excellent control, dead-on accuracy, and the ability to go into shop production mode for fine woodworking.

Diggerjacks…Great job and thank you for sending in the comment and pictures of your recent build to share with fellow woodworkers!
If you have a build that they would like to share please send your message as well as the pictures of your wood projects.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

The Splined Miter Joint

How to Make a Splined Miter Joint

Splined mitre joint jig used on the table sawThe woodworking video shows how to make a splined miter joint on the table saw using a splined miter jig that is made in the woodworking shop. The jig for the table saw is easy to make and yet very accurate when cutting miter joints that include a spline. Notice how the plywood miter jig is slid along the surface of the table while sliding also against the table saw fence. Also, an 8 inch dado blade is used to cut the slot for the spline while a clamp secures the picture frame to the miter jig.

Walnut spline miter joints for a mahogany picture frame.The Splined Miter Joint is a decorative yet very strong joint. The addition of the spline and glue makes a regular miter joint all the more stronger while aiding in keeping the miter joint nice and tight. By using a wood spline that is of a contrasting wood, the woodworker can achieve a very distinctive appearance at the miter corners. This is why it is a favorite woodworking joint used when making a picture frame. (This joinery was cut on the table saw with the aid of a sliding woodworking jig. The splined miter joint can also be cut on the router table as well.)

 

Walnut splined mitre joint in a mahogany picture frameNote: The grain of the wood spline needs to be in the slot at a right angle to the miter joint when glued in order to give the splined miter joint its full strength.

 

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 Recommended Videos:

Let’s Make Splined Miter Joints

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled

Article:

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Mastering the Miter Joint

How to Make a Miter Joint

Perfect Miter Joint made with a table saw miter sledA miter joint is one of the most common wood joints. This woodworking tutorial features a woodworking video on cutting a perfect miter joint. If you’ve done carpentry or woodworking there probably was a time or two that the fitting of a  miter joint was a challenge. Maybe you have been cutting miter joints using a miter saw. This video shows a better way of how the miter joint can be cut. It  fits with great accuracy and is done safely. It can be performed with ease every single time by employing the table saw miter sled. The woodworking technique is predictable and duplicatable. Watch the video and learn how to make a great miter joint.

What if you could take your wood projects to another level? Now you can. You can feel comfortable cutting one miter or hundreds of miter joints as the table saw miter sled method ensures accuracy and efficiency. Simply follow the techniques used in the woodworking video. As you will see, all four of the miter cuts line up the way they are supposed to. A woodworker can cut perfect miter joints every single time using this woodworking system.

Note: Prior to the demonstration of building the picture frame a new Woodworker II saw blade was installed on the tablesaw. A Wixey digital angle gauge was used to calibrate the saw blade to ensure it would be set at 90 degrees to the table saw bed. This is a must to achieve the correct miter angles.

Perfect Miter Joint secured with an Ulmia spring pinch clamp - Miter Joint ClampsNotice how the Ulmia spring pinch clamps were used to hold the miters together during glue up. These miter joint clamps are invaluable as they provide adequate pressure to hold the miter joint. Simply find a place on your woodworking bench, glue and align the joints, and open and close the Ulmia pinch clamps. It saves time and it’s that easy. (You’ll love these pinch clamps. I highly recommend them as they hold the miter joint tight while the glue sets. You’ll be glad to have them.)

Recommended Video:
Let’s Make Spline Miter Joints

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled

Article:

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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