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Box Joint Fence for the Dado Crosscut Sled

What’s the Purpose of the Adjustable Box Joint Fence?

Box Joint Fence - Dado Crosscut Sled for the TablesawThe adjustable box joint fence for the dado crosscut sled allows the woodworker flexibility when he or she is creating wood joinery on the table saw. The box joint fence is simply a woodworking accessory used to assure uniform spacing when making wood joinery such as box joints (finger joints) and evenly spaced dadoes. Also, by employing the adjustable box joint fence on the dado crosscut sled, the woodworker can quickly make the repetitive cuts necessary for creating decorative dentil moulding. The addition of the optional box joint fence enhances a woodworker’s ability to work systematically, accurately, and efficiently while at the same time, working safely. Box Joint Fence - Dado Crosscut Sled for the Tablesaw

How to make the Adjustable Box Joint Fence

The adjustable box joint fence is comprised of (2) 1″ rails of straight grained maple. The rail closest to the woodworker is stationary while the interior rail can slide laterally. This lateral rail has a T-track set in a groove. (The T-track is concealed from view.) The heads of (2) 5/16″ T-bolts are held within the T-Track. Holes are drilled thru the stationary fence so that the T-bolts can extend thru this fence. The threaded T-bolts are then fastened with the black star knobs.To adjust the box joint fence simply loosen the star knobs, adjust the box joint fence left or right so that the peg is aligned from the dado saw kerf the desired amount. Once the star knobs are secured, it is time to make the cuts.Dado Crosscut Sled for the Tablesaw

Adjustable Box Joint Fence - Dado Crosscut Sled for the TablesawIn the photos, you’ll notice a series of 1/4″ holes towards the bottom of the adjustable box joint fence. These are spaced at 1-1/2″. A  peg that is 1/4″ diameter then fits into one of the holes to make for the desired spacing of cuts. This adjust works well for dadoes, finger joint operations, or for creating dentil moulding. (Of course, the dado crosscut sled can also be used to cut other wooden joints such as half laps, rabbets, tongues, and tenons. Simply remove the 1/4″ peg for these woodworking operations.)

What are the Dimensions for the Dado Crosscut Sled?

Dado Crosscut Sled for the TablesawThe dado crosscut sled for the tablesaw is made from 1/2″ Baltic Birch plywood. This particular sled is 18″ x 26″ wide. All 3 fence rails are made from straight grained hard maple that measure 1″ x 5″ x 26″. A 6″ section of a 4 x 4 is fastened where the dado blades exit the sled. This block provides additional safety for the woodworker as it helps to conceal the dado blades from the woodworker’s hands.

Note: The adjustable box joint fence is simply a great accessory for the dado crosscut sled. I highly recommend the basic dado sled as it will help to advance your woodworking skills. Remember, the dado sled offers the woodworker control and precision. These two factors are key ingredients to being able to work with confidence. Once you have built the dado sled, you can simply add the box joint fence as you desire. Let me know how it works out for you.
Adjustable Box Joint Fence - Dado Crosscut Sled for the Tablesaw

Woodworking Power Tools

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

19…Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 2…Vacuum Press

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
…John Wooden (legendary UCLA Basketball coach)

This episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

Woodworking Tips and Techniques:

1.) Cutting 45 degree miters using a flat board miter sled on the Table Saw.
2.) Cutting dadoes on the Table Saw using a Sacrificial Fence.
3.) Sneaking up on table saw cuts with the aid of shims.

In this online video tutorial we continue the woodworking process of using an exotic wood in the construction of a decorative jewelry box. The walls and base of this wooden box have Koa wood veneers on both sides along with a core of 1/4″ MDF. The veneers were sliced on the bandsaw, then laminated to the cores of MDF, and finally placed in a vinyl bag of a vacuum press to allow the glue to completely set overnight.

Koa wood veneer packets in a vacuum press

In Part 2 of this fine woodworking project we begin by releasing the clamps of the vacuum bag and remove the koa wood veneer packets. It’s time to see how our glue-up went and it is good to see that the packets are straight and flat. Since there is residual glue on the edges and veneer tape on the flat surfaces our next job is to clean up the packets. We will perform this task at the workbench with the aid of a woodworking vise and a few workshop made bench dogs to hold the packets in place. With the packets laying flat we can scrape and remove the excess wood glue and veneer tape. Then we can clean the edges of the wood veneer packets in the wood vise by using a hand scraper and a block plane.

Once the veneer packets have the exterior glue removed we can turn our attention to the open drum sander and sand the packets to a uniform thickness of 7/16″. We also benefit from this sanding as these surfaces will be prepared for the danish oil finish prior to gluing the miters of the jewelry box walls. The reason behind this is that the interior will be more difficult to sand when the box is built.

Koa wood veneer packet on the drum sander.

Now that the veneer packets are of uniform thickness we can rip the walls to a desired width. Then we can cut the rabbets of the side walls on the table saw using dado blades along with a sacrificial fence. These rabbets run along the bottom of the walls of the wooden box and eventually the base will be fit and glued within these rabbets.

The next step of our operation will be to focus on cutting miters for the walls corners. These miters are cut using a 45 degree flat board miter sled for the table saw. We need a pair of long walls and a pair of end walls. In order to ensure that each pair of walls have uniform lengths we use a stop block that is clamped to the push/pull fence. Now, we take our time as we guide the precision sled through the sharp table saw blade. When all the miters are completed for the four walls we head back to our woodworking bench for the fitting of the miter joints.

On the bench we lay our koa wood veneer packets down and lay out the desired grain orientation. We arrange that the walls exterior are facing up and the miter joint edges are aligned end for end. We now tape across the miters with blue tape. Next we flip the walls on edge to join the miters. With the miters formed we proceed to use spring clamps to hold the miters tight and in place. We now have the appearance of a box taking shape. However, we need to make sure the configuration is square. For this we measure diagonally across the opposite corners to check for an equal measurement. When the diagonals lengths are a match we are ready to move forward.

We proceed with the fitting of the base into the rabbets that were previously cut. This is a delicate job as we want a nice, tight fit. There is no measuring in this situation. It is just a matter of placing the base where it is suppose to go and marking length and width with a sharp pencil. We start by marking the length and then cutting the base on the table saw using a cross cut sled with a stop block.

Woodworking Tip
When we return to fit the bottom we are just a touch long. So, we return to the crosscut sled and fold a piece of paper to use as a shim between the veneer packet and the stop block. The result is a perfect fit for length. Now it is just a matter of cutting the correct width for a good tight fit.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

13…Let’s Build a Dedicated Dado Sled for the Table Saw

This episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

The dedicated dado sled for the table saw is a highly versatile woodworking shop fixture that can expand the woodworking approaches used by many woodworkers. (The woodworking video shows how to make a precision dado sled for the tablesaw.) Dado blades are used on the table saw instead of a typical saw blade and the dado blades are often said to be “stacked.” This term implies that the dado blades, chippers, and shims are combined to create a certain width. For example, a width of a dado may be determined by the thickness of shelves in a bookcase that will fit into the dado. Perhaps you want to create dentil moulding. The dado sled is an excellent choice for repetitive cuts. As you can imagine this shop accessory can be very useful to the cabinet maker, the custom furniture maker, or the typical woodworker as the dado widths can be adjusted up to 13/16″ on this crosscut sled.

Joinery that can be cut with this table saw sled include: slots, dadoes, grooves, half laps joints, rabbets, and finger joints. As mentioned previously, you can even make your own dentil moulding for a cornice with the dado sled. A reference key is set up on the dado sled fence to control the equal spacing of the dentils just as it is done for creating finger joints. The adjustable dado spacing feature is an add on to the basic dado sled, however you will find it very easy to build and quite useful.

Take incremental passes with the dado blade to increase the depth of cut. How much material you remove at one time will depend upon the density of the material being cut.
A dado set may be purchased as a “stacked dado” set or an adjustable wobble set.
Most dado blades sold today are carbide saw blades.
Dado saw blades can be used in the table saw or radial arm saw.
Dado blades work well on hardwoods, soft woods, and sheet goods. Use the instruction manual that comes with the dado blade set as a guide.
A dado table saw sled is economical to build and is highly effective for production work.
Set the dado sled for zero clearance for safety and to avoid tearout.
(If you have made a wide dado and now want a narrow dado.)To create a fresh zero clearance you can simply layer the the top of the sled’s base with a thin sheet of plywood or mdf. Make sure to firmly attach the new surface to the existing sled with screws or double stick tape.
On the fence directly in front of the operator there is a 4” x 4” block of wood. This is installed as a constant reminder of the spinning blades of the dado blade. The top of the block is elevated far above the blades and can serve as a handle for pushing and pulling the dado sled. Always use caution and think safety first.

The dado set used in the above woodworking video is the Freud SD508 Super Dado 8-inch Stack Dado. The set includes 2 blades, a shim set, 6 chippers, and a protective case. The blades are eight inch, 24-tooth blades for table saws with 5/8″ arbors.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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