Quantcast

DIY Rail Square

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,738
Reaction score
89
Location
Suffolk
Got inspired by Peter Millards video and decided to make my own rail square.

Start with 2x M8 bolts and sand 0.5mm off 2 of the edges until they fit with a little play.

20201017_180237.jpg


Next cut some ply to the following shape

20201017_180308.jpg


and use some nuts or knobs to secure the ply to the track

20201017_180341.jpg


Then square it up. I just use the edge of my MFT top and some dogs. I know this isn't technically correct as only the grid pattern is guaranteed square, but from my tests, it's square enough for me

20201017_180745.jpg


Finally - make your cut! ... I like to use some dogs to push the work piece against.

20201017_180447.jpg


I'm very happy with the results, and it'll do me for now I think.
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,738
Reaction score
89
Location
Suffolk
What is the dog achieving in the bottom pic?
There is another just out of shot on the left. They are there to have something to push against, else it would all slide forwards as you push the saw forwards. At least it does for me.
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,890
Reaction score
86
Location
Warwick
I've just got a tracksaw and plan the same project (after being inspired by the same video) a few days behind you! Nice job. You didn't find it worthwhile to add the extra piece on top to keep the square set in place?
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,738
Reaction score
89
Location
Suffolk
I've just got a tracksaw and plan the same project (after being inspired by the same video) a few days behind you! Nice job. You didn't find it worthwhile to add the extra piece on top to keep the square set in place?
Do you mean the clip thing? .. nah, I find it's already very secure.
 

Sideways

Established Member
Joined
26 Dec 2017
Messages
973
Reaction score
28
Location
United Kingdom
Good job ! That encourages the rest of us :)
In my experience, plywood isn't especially hard. Over time, I'd expect the holes in your ply to increase in size from the sideways pressure applied by the bolts. Even a small amount of slop will be magnified by the length of the rail. As long as you are watching for this, no problem.
You've proven the concept. If you get your hands on something harder than ply like an offcut of alluminium or hard man made board like trespa, it will be easy to make your Mk2
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,738
Reaction score
89
Location
Suffolk
Good job ! That encourages the rest of us :)
In my experience, plywood isn't especially hard. Over time, I'd expect the holes in your ply to increase in size from the sideways pressure applied by the bolts. Even a small amount of slop will be magnified by the length of the rail. As long as you are watching for this, no problem.
You've proven the concept. If you get your hands on something harder than ply like an offcut of alluminium or hard man made board like trespa, it will be easy to make your Mk2
Thanks

The holes in the ply are oversized anyways to allow for adjustment. The square setting comes from aligning it and locking down with the washer/knob
 

artie

Sawdust manufacturer.
Joined
12 Jan 2015
Messages
913
Reaction score
85
Location
Norn Iron
There is another just out of shot on the left. They are there to have something to push against, else it would all slide forwards as you push the saw forwards. At least it does for me.
I see.
Similar but opposite to my construction of a few days ago.

I have a 38mm rail along the edge of the bench and a feather board holding sheet goods tight to it with the track placed at right angle against the dog
 

Lons

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2010
Messages
7,323
Reaction score
116
Location
Northumberland
I made something similar a while ago using an offcut of Tufnol (SRBP) though I did fit a clamp on top as well. I'd also have used ply if I didn't already have the Tufnol.
Useful DIY addition with the commercial ones at over £100.
 

pcb1962

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2014
Messages
881
Reaction score
45
Location
Surrey
So you have to square it every time you use it. If you square it once then glue another piece on top, butted tight against the rail you would be pretty close to square next time just by holding it against the rail whilst tightening the knobs.
Does the angled cut at the left hand end of the wood serve any purpose?
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,890
Reaction score
86
Location
Warwick
So you have to square it every time you use it. If you square it once then glue another piece on top, butted tight against the rail you would be pretty close to square next time just by holding it against the rail whilst tightening the knobs.
Does the angled cut at the left hand end of the wood serve any purpose?
Yes, that extra piece is in Peter's YouTube design as well as the clip.
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,890
Reaction score
86
Location
Warwick
I found Peter's tracksaw series very useful. I have a Wadkin AGS10 and an small Inca tablesaw, a SCMS an Inca bandsaw and an old big Borch circular saw so didn't feel I needed a tracksaw at all. I usually get sheet goods cut to size in B&Q or elsewhere, but COVID ... being in a very vulnerable group I am shielding like mad and if I don't need to go into a place with people then I don't. So I am ordering online from Wickes (free delivery for a couple of sheets of 18 mm and a couple of 6 mm MDF for spoilers) and set up with trestles and a tracksaw.

Before doing so I watched all Peter's videos so knew what to do and what to expect. I decided an entry level one was adequate for my needs, which were mainly to get the sheets into manageable sizes to be handled by the Wadkin etc (and to be picked up! I can't get a full size sheet from the front of the house the the garden workshop any more!). In fact the setup does much more, and is working well to get them close enough for final sizing for workshop furniture, which is the current project. Since I couldn't find good offers on the ones Peter discussed, I went with the Lumberjack, £95 including delivery from ManoMano implemented by Lumberjack. This is robustly and accurately made and works well. It doesn't have a riving knife, but I doubt that is important when cutting manmade boards, and I think the performance would be improved with a better blade. The depth settings are repeatable and the cut is where it says it is, including without the guide rail but using the knife edge indicator at the front of the saw (I don't have a 2.5 m track rail, but do have a 2.5 m straight edge). I've cut 36 mm MDF, the cut is nicely square out of the box, and the vac extraction is not bad (especially using Peter's tip about blocking up the hole in the side with masking tape). Some dust is thrown forwards as you start the plunge but stops when the saw is at its depth. The only slight downer is that the cams to set the fit on the track do seem to drift a bit. This may be that I haven't been able to lock them properly, but anyway this is not problematic if I remember to quickly check the fit before a cut.

Off the the workshop to make Peter's crosscut jig now, and the rail square will follow. I will indeed use a piece on top to set it square. I'm sure that transatlantic's bolts hold it well, but it will be useful to be able to quickly remove and refit the square without resetting the square each time.
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,738
Reaction score
89
Location
Suffolk
So you have to square it every time you use it. If you square it once then glue another piece on top, butted tight against the rail you would be pretty close to square next time just by holding it against the rail whilst tightening the knobs.
Does the angled cut at the left hand end of the wood serve any purpose?
Yes, as MusicMan mentioned Peter does exactly as you say. But for my particular setup, I will rarely be taking it off, and it's really quick to align with the MFT anyway (as well as adding more reference surface to make it easier).

If you're taking it on and off all day, then it would make sense to add that extra piece.

As for the angled cut, it's probably just to take away some of the unnecessary material, whilst maintaining a wide reference surface. So it's not banging into your side.
 
Last edited:

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,890
Reaction score
86
Location
Warwick
Yes, horses for courses as usual. I don't have an MFT and will probably use/not use the rail square about 50:50 so demountability makes sense for me but not for you.

Agreed about the angled bit, there's enough bruises in that area already!
 

petermillard

Established Member
Joined
2 Oct 2009
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
40
Location
West London
...Does the angled cut at the left hand end of the wood serve any purpose?
On mine it happened to be an offcut of ply from a reference square I made; there's a commercial one that's also angled - I think they claim it's to help reduce hose/cable snags, though I'm sure that it also reduces material costs.
 
Joined
11 Jul 2020
Messages
14
Reaction score
1
Location
Loughton, Essex
I made one this week after watching the same video, but as I had a spare 700mm piece of track I attached it with 20mm bolts and put the extra piece of ply on top to keep it square. I also used a spare track connecting rod as per the video. Works perfectly.
 

Lons

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2010
Messages
7,323
Reaction score
116
Location
Northumberland
This is my version made from 10mm tufnol. I rounded the heads of a couple of bolts, shortened and cut a slot for screwdriver then threaded holes in the tufnol, once I got a good fit I used threadlock to keep in place. The reference edge is a bit of aluminium tile trim glued on and I added the clamp so easy to fit and dead square every time
IMG_3250.JPG
IMG_3251.JPG
IMG_3252.JPG
IMG_3253.JPG
IMG_3254.JPG
 

marcros

(Trevanion)+1
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
10,277
Reaction score
211
Location
Leeds
I bought my rail square but...

a big improvement to the squares shown is a tab that supports the weight of the square itself when in use. you possibly/probably need one to work on each side. A penny washer would probably do the task, but a sliding tab would be better.

It might be Bob's camera angle, but you can almost see the assembly is rotating towards the camera. My Aluminium one is going to be heavier, so the issue more pronounced. It certainly helps before the saw is put on the track.
 
Top