A shoulder injury two years ago forced me to make a lighter crosscut sled than the much larger, heavier sled I had used for many years. But now that my shoulder is much better I have found a new use for the lighter sled: miter cuts for small boxes. However, mitered crosscuts result in thin and fragile edges on the sides of the kerf area, where the table saw blade runs.
I came up with a solution: make a replaceable insert for the miter crosscut sled – and simply replace this insert as needed. I cut off and removed some plywood from the sled, and sized and inserted a new, removable red oak insert. After setting the blade angle precisely using the Wixey Digital Angle Gauge, I cut the new kerf in the insert at exactly 45°:
I use a wood block to get repeatable length on the box sides:
The same afternoon I also made a 45° frame sled, fashioned after Gary Rogowski’s picture frame sled, as it appeared in FineWoodworking.com. In the following photo I am confirming that the 90° angle is accurate. The thick walnut fences are screwed tightly against the MDF reference triangle I had screwed to the plywood base:
Also shown in the previous photo are short blocks on each walnut fence; these will allow clamping of extension wings, for various attachments.
In the following photo I show the picture frame sled in use. One side of the miter joint is cut on one fence, and the second side is cut on the opposite fence – this way, the miters will always be perfect, as any angle errors are canceled out:
I now share my results. First, the the miter corner on the little box I featured a while back, in the article Letting the wood speak:
I will also be making some picture frames. My first test using the picture frame sled shows a perfect miter:
I am finally confident that my miters will be perfect!
I would love to hear from you:
- How do you currently cut your miters?
- Are you happy with the results?
- What improvements would you make to get better miters?
- Are you already cutting miters with a variation of these sleds?
— Al Navas