Making 45-degree miter joints seems pretty straightforward, and it’s the type of wood joint we think of for many of our woodworking projects. But if you follow my blog and my YouTube channels you will know that this is not a wood joint that I like to use a lot. And that the results I get when I try to join wood strips using miter joints actually are not very good. The theory for making these joints is simple, but for some reason I don’t seem to be skilled enough with the cheap miter saw that I have. That’s why I decided to make a miter sled or 45-degree cutting jig for the table saw.
Some table saws that we can buy have their own miter guide, but I made my homemade table saw with a circular saw. So, let’s see how I make this miter sled adapted to my homemade table saw.
So, to make this miter sled, the first thing I have to do is to put some marks with masking tape on the table saw tabletop. One of the marks will tell me which is the direction of the blade, and the other mark tells me where I have the maximum cutting height. I also put the runner in the slot and push it until it bumps into the screw that, as you know, I have as a safety stop in the slot.
Now I put the base of the miter sled on the table saw and I center it with the cutting direction of the blade. I place the base so that the maximum cutting height of the disc is more or less in the first third of the board, and I mark the position where to screw the runner.
I screw the runner so that it is more or less at 90 degrees to the front of the miter sled base …
and I cut a slot in the base until the runner meets the safety screw in the table saw slot.
Now I center the plywood triangle on the base of this woodworking jig. With the runner against the screw in the table saw slot, the apex of the triangle should be slightly forward of the point that gives the maximum cutting height of the cutting disc.
So, with the edge of the metallic square against the edge of the slot that I cut in the base of the miter sled, I use a wood strip and a plastic square to place each side of the triangle at exactly 45 degrees to the slot in the base. If I want this miter sled to work well, I have to be as accurate as I can here.
And being careful not to move it, I drill a guide hole in it. I apply glue to the triangle and put a screw into the guide hole from the back of the base. Now I have to reposition the triangle with the help of the two squares, I drill another three pilot holes and I insert three more screws. And with the squares I check that the triangle of this miter led is perfect in the position it has to be.
Now I have to re-cut the slot, as I need it to enter a little into the triangle from the vertex.
And now I can do a test cut, so I put a wood strip against one side of the triangle of this miter sled jig and make a 45º miter cut at one end.
Cutting with this miter sled was very easy, so I went ahead and made all the 45-degree miter cuts I needed to make a simple wood frame. And surprisingly, with this woodworking jig I get better miter cuts than with the cheap miter saw that I have, so surely from now on I will be encouraged to do more projects with this type of wood joints.