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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 table saw 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 Table Saw 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


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Wolf’s Tooth Wood Inlay Banding…a Two for One

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
…..Muhammad Ali, Heavyweight boxing champ…1942 –

Wolf's Tooth Banding... a closer look

Detailed view of Wolf's Tooth banding

One of the benefits of creating “Wolf’s Tooth” wood inlay bandings is that you actually get two bandings for the effort of one. What do I mean by this? When the initial cuts from the laminated stock are made on the table saw using the dedicated miter saw we flip the stock after each segment is cut. By doing this we are getting the necessary angles for the segments however, we wind up with segments that have two different color combinations. After all of the segments are cut we then need to carefully separate the segments by color. This way we will have two distinctive color patterns for our hardwood inlays. (The separating of the two color type can be tedious however, it is very important in order to maintain uniformity of the custom inlay bandings.)

Wolf's Tooth Wood Inlay banding segments

Wolf's Tooth Wood Inlay banding segments

In the photo to the right notice how the wooden inlay segments are cut from the same laminated stock. The stock is repeatedly flipped along the miter sled fence with each cut producing segments of two color types.
(The segment shown on the left goes with the inlay pattern on the left side picture frame while the segment on the right corresponds to the inlay design of the picture frame on the right.)

Notice the importance of of the wood color. (Place dark woods next to light color woods to get the best contrast.)
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Also read…Wolf’s Tooth…a Decorative Wood Inlay Banding

Learn more about wood inlay by studying “How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 1” and “How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 2.”
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Watch the following wood inlay videos:

Creating bandings for wood inlay

Wood Inlay…the Bandings are ready

How to install Wood Inlay



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Custom Picture Frame with Hardwood Inlay

Custom Picture Frame

Custom Picture Frame with Hardwood Inlay - "Feather Pattern"This custom picture frame is made in the woodworking shop. Black walnut is the primary wood choice  for the picture frame and a hardwood inlay pattern known as the “feather pattern” is applied to the wood project. The overall dimensions of the custom picture frame are 11- 3/4”  x  13-1/2″ x 3/4″. Each interior corner has a 1/8″ thick walnut triangle that is notched into the frame. Splined miter joints are employed by the woodworker to both strengthen and adorn the decorative picture frame.

“There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge, but can never prove how it got there.” Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Theoretical physicist.

Note:

1.) A dado blade set was installed on the tablesaw to create the groove which houses the hardwood inlay. Featherboards were used to minimize the possibility of kickback and also to maintain control of the cut during this procedure. The dado blade set and the featherboard were also used to create the rabbets for the walnut picture frame.

2.) A dedicated miter sled for the tablesaw was used to cut the miter joints for the custom picture frame.

3.) A tenon jig for the tablesaw was used to create the slots for the splined miter joints.

Feather Pattern of Hardwood Inlay

The total width of  hardwood inlay feather pattern is 1/2″. This is comprised of a 1/8″ mahogany borders, a 3/32″ center strip of black walnut, an alternating pattern of maple and cherry (each segment is 3/32″), and four negative spaces.

My goal for this custom picture frame was to reveal the lovely grain of the walnut while embellishing the frame with the hardwood inlay. The black walnut creates a dark backdrop while allowing the contrasting lighter wood tones such as the mahogany border and the maple interior to stand out. These varying wood tones and their resulting patterns cause the viewer’s eye to travel to and fro within the custom picture frame.

Balance, Stability, and Movement

My goal for this custom picture frame is to have a combination of balance, stability, and yet movement.

Here’s how I tried to attempt balance and stability:

1.) Each interior corner has a similar walnut triangle of horizontal grain direction.

2.) The negative spaces of the top and bottom rails are symmetrical to one another as are the stiles.

3.) The 4 miter joints mirror one another.

4.) The interior rabbet is equal at the top and bottom as well as from side to side.

5.) The hardwood inlay is centered in the walnut rails and stiles of the custom picture frame.

6.) The direction of the hardwood inlay pattern is balanced from side to side and & also top and bottom.

Here’s how I attempted movement:

1.) The walnut grain pattern of the custom picture frame creates a subtle movement for the eye to travel.

2.) The interior walnut triangles point outward. Their silhouette of the lighter picture creates an irregular octagon thus causing subtle eye movement for the viewer.

3.) The combination of the miters, walnut triangles, negative spaces create directions for the eye to travel inwards towards the center of the picture as well as outwards.

4.) While the hardwood inlay pattern appears centered in the walnut rails and stiles of the custom picture frame, notice that the interior rabbet of the frame creates a subtle shift in eye movement inward towards the picture.

5.) The contrasting wood tones create an interplay resulting in eye movement.

6.) The contrasting direction of the hardwood inlay feather pattern causes the eye to travel.

Note:

Weldwood plastic resin glue was used for the splined miter joints of this custom picture. The same glue was used during the entire process of the hardwood inlay.

The custom picture was leveled and finished sanded using an open drum sander. A sanding block with fine grit sandpaper was then used to detail the custom picture frame.

Woodworking Power Tools

Recommeded Videos & Articles:

Build a Miter Sled for the Tablesaw

Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings

Let’s Make Spline Miter Joints


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Online how to Woodworking Guide – The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

An Online How to Woodworking Guide

Segmented Woodturning - Woodturner - Online how to woodworking Guide- The Apprenticeand The Journeyman UniversityThe Apprentice and The Journeyman University is an Online How To Woodworking Guide  specifically for woodworkers. This ongoing collection of  woodworking videos, articles, and wood projects is for the beginning woodworker as well as the experienced woodworker. The primary goal of sharing this woodworking knowledge base is to pass on experience to those who want to take their woodworking skills to a higher level.

The online how to woodworking guide is set up so that you can easily browse through the various woodworking subjects at a glance.  This offers woodworkers an opportunity learn many new woodworking ideas. These are how to woodworking tips that you can immediately apply in your woodworking shop. So, if you are new to woodworking and have been wanting to learn how to woodwork, take your time and enjoy this knowledge base. If you are an experienced craftsman, here’s an opportunity to share proven woodworking ideas and techniques. If you find value with this online how to woodworking guide, consider The Apprentice and The Journeyman University as a regular source for your online woodworking.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci 
…Italian painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer…(1452-1519)

Architectural Details…Interior, Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House, Chicago - Frank Lloyd Wright Homes - Online how to Woodworking Guide

Custom Inlay Designs for Arts and Crafts Woodworking

Decorative Door Knockers of Florence, Italy

Decorative Inlay Patterns for Custom Hardwood Inlays

Decorative Woodworking Patterns of Architectural Millwork & Custom Moulding

Fine Woodworking Patterns for the Skilled Woodworker

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes – CarpentryVideo

Front Doors of Florence Italy

Santa Maria del Fiore…Duomo Cathedral of Florence, Italy

Woodworking Ideas & Patterns from Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo

Articles…Segmented woodturning - Wood lathe - new to woodworking - woodworking ideas

Band Saw Woodworking Safety Tips

How Venice Italy was Built on a Foundation of Wood

Miraculous Staircase – Carpentry and WoodworkingVideo

Steve’s Woodworking Shop Tour

The Practice of Woodworking

Wood Veneer Coffee Table by Vincenzo

Woodworking Skills…The Shape of Things to Come

Arts and Crafts…

Gustav Stickley…Father of the American Arts and Crafts MovementVideo

Custom Picture Frame with Hardwood Inlay

Crosscut Sleds…Band Saw Cross Cut Sleds - Bandsaw Crosscut sled - new to woodworking

A French Built Dedicated Miter Sled

Bandsaw Crosscut SledVideo

Building a Dedicated Miter Sled for the tablesawVideo

Dedicated Miter Sled…revisited

Let’s Build a Bandsaw Miter SledVideo

Let’s Build a Dedicated Dado Sled for the Table SawVideo

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter SledVideo

SketchUp of the Dedicated Miter Sled for the Tablesaw

Tilting Bandsaw Miter SledVideo

Inspiration…

James Krenov…Legendary Woodworker 1920-2009

Inspiration in Venice, Italy

 Remembering James KrenovVideo

Sam Maloof…woodworking interview…1982Video

Joinery…

Box Joint Fence for the Dado Crosscut SledSplined Mitre Joints - Picture Frame - Joiner - Joinery

Cutting Tenons on a Dado Crosscut SledVideo

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

Let’s Make Spline Miter JointsVideo

Mastering the Miter JointVideo

The Splined Miter JointVideo

 

 ProjectsKoa Jewelry Box - Veneer - Veneering - wood veneer - wooden jewelry boxes

A Custom Bathroom Wall Cabinet with Raised Panel Doors

A Hand Dovetailed Black Walnut Jewelry Box

A Multidrawer Wall Cabinet for the Workshop

A Woodworking Drill Press Table

Double Bevel Marquetry…a Tulip of Various Woods

How to Make a Picture Frame – Top Woodworking TipsVideo 

Let’s Build a Drill Press TableVideo

Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 1Video

Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 2…Vacuum PressVideo

Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 3Video

Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 4Video

Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 5…WoodturningVideo

Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 6…JoineryVideo

Let’s Build a Magazine CaseVideo

Koa Wood for a Woodworking Project

Techniques…Cutting thin strips - Saw Techniques - Bandsaw Jig - Resaw Band saw

Band Saw Rip Fence made in the ShopVideo

Bandsaw Resawing Method…Article & Video

Creating Picture Frame MouldingVideo

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band SawVideo

Finish Work Methods for an Inlaid Picture FrameArticle & Video

How to adjust for Band Saw Blade DriftVideo

How to Create Dentil MouldingVideo

How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips

Woodworking Tip – The Power of the ShimVideo

Tools…Wooden picture frame - Ulmia Miter Clamps - Miter clamp - Mitre Clamps - Pinch Clamp

A Favorite Tool…The Wixey Digital Angle Gauge

Card Scraper for Wood Inlay Bandings

How to make Poorboy Parallel ClampsVideo

Poorboy Parallel Clamps…questions from a Woodworker

Precision Woodworking Tools…using a Caliper

Sliding Bevel Gauge – Woodworking Layout Tool

The 5 Most Important Power Tools in my Woodworking Shop

Try Anti-Fatigue Mats…your feet will thank you!

Ulmia Miter Clamps and Pinch Clamps

Using Push Sticks for Safe WoodworkingArticle & Video

Zero Clearance Table Saw Inserts

Wood Inlay…Wood Inlay Bandings - How to make Wood Inlays - Making Inlay Banding - Decorative Wood Inlay

A Sicilian Walnut Table with Decorative Wood Inlay Banding

A Step by Step Process…A Banding with Checkers

A Study of Creating Wood Inlay Bandings

Buffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog

 Buffard Freres wood inlay bandings…1134-1141

Checkered Wood Inlay Bandings

Creating bandings for wood inlayVideo

Creating your own Wood Inlay Bandings…The Secrets Revealed

Hardwood Inlays made in the Woodworking Shop

How to create Barber Pole Wood Inlay Banding

How to Glue Wood Inlay BandingArticle & Video

How to install Wood InlayVideo

How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 1

How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 2

How to Make Designs in Wood InlayArticle & Video

How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

Learn How to Make Wood Inlay BandingsVideo

Let’s Install Wood Inlay BandingsVideo

Making Wood Inlay on the BandsawVideo

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band SawVideo

The Art of Wood Inlay BandingArticle

Wolf’s Tooth…a Decorative Wood Inlay Banding

Wolf’s Tooth Banding…a Two for One

Wooden Patterns for ParquetryArticle & Video

Wood Inlay Banding – How to Make Barber Pole BandingVideo

Wood Inlay Banding – How to Make the Square Pattern…Video

Wood Inlay…the Bandings are readyVideo

Wood Inlay…Making a Statement

Wood Patterns for Inlay BandingsArticle & Video

 Woodturning…Salt and Pepper mills - Wood Turning - Woodturning Projects - Wood Lathe - Woodturner

 Creating and Turning Salt and Peppermills

A fascinating woodturning process

Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper MillsVideo

 Wood turning tools used for the Salt and Pepper Mills

 

 …Segmented Wood Turning…Segmented Woodturning - Segmented Bowl Turning - Segmented woodturners - Segmented woodturning videos

 A Salad Bowl set of maple & walnut…part 1

A Salad Bowl set of maple & walnut…part 2

Finishing the Segmented Vase of walnut & mapleVideo

Gluing and Aligning wood rings for Segmented Turnings

Mortising the base of the segmented vaseVideo

9 1/2″ x 12″ Vase…Segmented Woodturning

Organizing the segments and rings

Segmented Vase 9″ x 12″…Mahogany, maple, cherry, & walnut

 Segmented Vase…maple & walnut

Segmented vase of maple, mahogany, and walnut

Segmented Wood Turning…a Cherry and Walnut Bowl

Staved Segmented Woodturning…a Fruit Bowl

The Process of Segmented Woodturning

Turning a Segmented Vase on a Wood Lathe

Woodturning…A Segmented Vase of Walnut and Maple

Woodturning…Dinner Salad Bowls of Mahogany and Walnut

Woodturning… video of the 9″ x 12″ Segmented VaseVideo

Wood Turn a Segmented Knob on a Wood Lathe…Video

Wood Turning…a Segmented Fruit Bowl…part 1Video

 Wood Turning…a Segmented Fruit Bowl…part 2Video

……

Woodworking Power Tools


Cutting Tenons on a Dado Crosscut Sled

Cutting tenons on a dado crosscut sled while using the table saw is a very effective way of producing highly accurate tenons safely in a short period of time. The woodworker makes his or her pass with the dado sled in a very controlled manner as the sled runners glide freely back and forth through the miter gauge slots. The craftsman’s hands are clearly away from the path of the dado blades. Also, the material is easily held firmly in place for each and every pass. There is no need to hurry as it it just a matter of enjoying one’s time at their craft while working with complete confidence.

 

Cutting Tenons on a Dado Crosscut Sled

Cutting Tenons on a Dado Crosscut SledWhen cutting tenons on a dado crosscut sled, it is easy to determine where to clamp the stop block in place. Let’s say that the length of the tenon of the tenon needs to be 1-1/4″ long. 1.) Simply measure 1-1/4″ from the furthest dado saw kerf’s edge. Make a pencil mark on the sled. 2.) Align the stop block end with the pencil mark. 3.) Clamp the stop block securely in place.

Obviously, when cutting tenons on a dado crosscut sled, the craftsman needs to take a minute to install the dado blades. Consider this as an investment of your time that will pay you back handsomely in return. When a woodworker has a project with tenons, typically, there are multiple tenons to be cut. So, once the dado blades are installed on the table saw it is just a matter of raising the saw blade height to the desired level of the cut. Now keep in mind that some woods are denser and as a result harder than other wood species. If you are working with a very dense wood, it may be necessary to raise the dado blade incrementally. However, most of the time in my shop I am able to raise the dado blade set to a desired fixed height and then cut the tenons without any further blade height adjustments.

Safety First

Cutting Tenons on a Dado Crosscut Sled and more

Cutting Tenons on a Dado Crosscut Sled and more

Working safely is imperative. It is not an option. In closing, cutting tenons on a dado crosscut sled can be done safely, effectively, and with confidence. Now, as a woodworker you have numerous methods for cutting tenons and it is great to have a variety of techniques at your disposal. However, remember to always place safety as the primary requirement for you decision.

Questions

What is your method for cutting tenons?
What tools do you use to produce tenons?
What questions do you have about cutting tenons on a Dado Crosscut Sled?
…….

Learn how to Build a Dado Crosscut Sled for the tablesaw.

Woodworking Power Tools

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