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Poor man's sliding table

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Steve Maskery

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I don't often have to do cross-cutting operations on the tablesaw, as I have the big Bosch Axi-Glide SCMS, but there are some times when the TS is better suited. Although the SCMS does have a depth limiter, it is not excellent, the saw bounces somewhat, and when the blade depth is restricted, the saw cut no longer goes back to the far edge of the workpiece. It's far from ideal.

I'm making a set of M&T joints at the mo. The cheeks are sorted, thanks to The Ultimate Tablesaw Tenon Jig, so now I have the shoulders to cut. It's much cleaner to do this on the TS rather than the SCMS for all the reasons mentioned above.

My saw came with a very basic mitre fence. Robust, firm and actually very accurate, but it's a bit primitive. Yes I can (and do) attach a scrap sub-fence and I can (and do) clamp a stop to that. But we can do so much better.

Long, long ago in a land far away, and in another life before I had a SCMS at all, I made a traditional crosscut sled. 1/2" ply base, fences fore and aft. Even in those days I was fairly safety conscious, so it has a drop-over blade cover and tunnel guard at the back, where my thumbs are. It was OK. It still hangs on the wall, even though the runner no longer fits the mitre slot very well. 2 years in a barn didn't do it any favours.
old sled.jpg


But it was only OK. There is no way of fastening anything down to the base, I can't do angled cuts on anything over about a foot or so long and it doesn't take long for the zero-clearance slot to wear, resulting in an inferior quality of cut.

So my criteria for its successor are:
It should be zero-clearance and be able to be kept zero-clearace.
I must be able to clamp the workpiece down if necessary.
Any fence should be able to be set with perfect accuracy, at any angle.
My guarding must not be compromised.

A couple of years ago I bought a load of T-track from Rutlands. It was on offer, so I filled my boots. It's been sitting in the corner ever since waiting for me to get round to this. So I found a piece of mahogany and planed it to be a Goldilocks fit in the mitre slot:
runner in slot.JPG

I then screwed down a piece of 9mm MRMDF to it
screwing runner 4.JPG


It's not easy to see in the picture above (and not just because it is way out of focus...) that there is a gap of about an inch between the blade and the edge of the board. That gap will be taken up by a replaceable, sacrificial strip.

I first routed a suitable rebate on the RT:
routing rebate 2.JPG


Then I screwed it over the edge from below:

screwing rebate.JPG


This now makes the whole thing a bit wider than it needs to be, so it is trimmed with the same blade that I entend to use for the job, making it zero-clearance:

trimming working edge.JPG


My first idea was to have a grid of T-track, all perfectly mitred. This is easier said than done. I did cut all the pieces, using an angle grinder


angle grinder.JPG


then cleaned up the sawn faces with a disk sander on my lathe and then a diamond file:

hand filing.JPG

I appear to be having some problems focusing this week

DS tape 1.JPG


I started to lay out the pieces, but being all hand-finished, it soon became apparent that it was going to look awful, so I cut of all the mitres and started again, this time leaving a square hole at each imtersection. This is easier, neater, and will give me the option to drop in a fastener even if the edge of the slot is obstructed. I'm using double-sided carpet tape. "Why not glue?" I hear you ask. Well the problem with gluing this is that these layers of MDF are of different thicknesses, 9mm for the base and 12mm for the infills. A glue line that is unbalanced can cause the MDF to bow. I have a shooting board to which this has happened and I'm sure that this is the reason. I am hoping that this way, the board will stay pretty flat. We shall have to see.

Incidentally, the MDF is 12mm the T-track is 1/2". The T-track should be a gnat higher than the MDF, and, indeed, it some places it is. In other places they are dead flush. I assume that the MDF doesn't have such tight tolerances. Thats OK. I want to clamp down to the T-Track, but not the MDF. If the MDF were proud then any clamping would tend to pull the T-track up and away from the base. I don't want that to happen.

So after quite a lot of messing about, I've ended up with this

new grid.JPG


I hope it is going to be good, I've used 3-and-a-bit lengths of track, it's not going to be as cheap to replace.

The next job will be to make a fence for it.
 

MikeG.

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I take a few photos, as you do Steve. The thing is, it's me holding the camera and pressing the button, so I can never appear in the piccies. You, on the other hand, are in almost all of yours. Either you have a professional photographer following your every move, or you've got some sort of remote trigger, or you use a self-timer a lot.
 

Steve Maskery

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I use the timer for every shot, even when I'm not in the frame. That way the camera doesn't shake. I also have a Stand-In-Steve, a picture of my face, life-size and at the same height as me, which I plonk where I shall be standing so that I can frame the shot. It also has a focusing chart on it, so Ihave no excuse. I have no idea what happened with those two :(
 
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novocaine

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this is as ever a wonderful project. unfortunatly, you have let slip about stand in Steve, so I no longer care about the table saw thingy, I want to see the making of stand in Steve, a tail of woh and despair. poor SIS, he does half the work and gets none of the online accolade. Give SIS a chance, come on, FREE STAND IN STEVE... REWEES WODDERWICK. :)
 

Cabinetman

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Well I looked up SCMS – sliding compound mitre saw for anybody else like me from the dark ages, that sliding table? you made is very smart Steve, but I’m still completely in the dark as to what it’s for I’m afraid, how will that help you cut the cheeks on your tenons? Ian
 
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I take a few photos, as you do Steve. The thing is, it's me holding the camera and pressing the button, so I can never appear in the piccies. You, on the other hand, are in almost all of yours. Either you have a professional photographer following your every move, or you've got some sort of remote trigger, or you use a self-timer a lot.
I'd sack that photographer then. Given a few of them are out of focus :LOL:
 
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LOL! It's not for the cheeks, They are sorted with the UTTJ (The Ultimate Tablesaw Tenon Jig TM ). This is for the shoulders.
And, just for Novocaine, here is SIS:


For the avoidance of confusion, I'm the one on the right.
S
I would have picked something more pretty to look at. Like Daenerys Targaryen
 

Inspector

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Nice jigs but I lean more to your original type. Quick and dirty to get'er done. Like the one I whipped up to cut stairs stringers for my decks. Had to make lots because the plastic boards require one every foot for support so they don't sag or flex too much. This sled is 3/4" plywood because I had it around and I can nail fences to it at any angle I need. Someday I'll make one with a protractor head on it like the regular mitre gauges. Bought one of these to try it out. https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/sho...880-veritas-shooting-board-fence?item=05P5485. Option B is to take the bar off a mitre head and put it on a sled.

Pete

IMG_4634.jpg


IMG_4635.jpg


IMG_4636.jpg
 

Steve Maskery

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My flip-stop arrived a couple of days ago, so I've made a fence for the sled. I've been given several doors from a 1930s house. Panelled doors which were then covered over with plywood and hardboard and painted bright green and orange. I guess the 1970s. With those skins removed they look like this:
old door.jpg


I'm not sure what the wood is, but it is dead straight, close-grained and smells wonderful, a sort of sweet musty smell of old houses. I was told that they were pitch pine, but I'm sure they are not. We had a pitch pine staircase in the house where I grew up and that stuff was hard and heavy, this is light and soft enough to mark with my fingernail. Could it be Douglas Fir? I'm not very well up on my softwoods, TBH.

So after a bit of cutting up and gluing together I had this:
IMG_20200917_164819.jpg


IMG_20200917_164836_1.jpg


fence section.JPG


The slots were made by fabricating the lower piece, but I could just as well have routed them.

So the finished sled looks like this:

finished sled.JPG


And you can see it in action here:

Please remember to Like, Subscribe and SHARE. It makes a difference. Enjoy!

S
 

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doctor Bob

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One thing which I always find starange is why home workshops tend to use a panel saw the opposite way to commercial shops.
I and most big shops I know have the fence at the start of the bed, so you push your work on to it.

Like this

 

Steve Maskery

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That's a good point Bob, and I made my first tenon-shoulder sled like that. But in the picture above there is massive support in front of the blade, enough to support a full sheet. But if you are using a tablesaw rather than a panel saw, there is nowhere near as much support, often only a foot or so, so my sled would be hanging off the front even more than it is. Plus, a sled like mine give better protection for breakout at the back.
Are all panel saws like that Bob? I've only ever used one once, but I thought that its fence was at the back like mine. It's no use asking me what make it was, I have no idea, it was a decade ago.
 
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MikeK

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One thing which I always find starange is why home workshops tend to use a panel saw the opposite way to commercial shops.
I and most big shops I know have the fence at the start of the bed, so you push your work on to it.
Maybe it's a regional thing. Without exception, all of the commercial shops I've visited here have the crosscut fence installed as shown in the image you provided. When my saw was commissioned, the SCM tech told me not to put the crosscut fence at the start of the slider unless the piece being cut could hang over the outrigger without sagging. With the crosscut fence at the far end of the slider, a large sheet is supported at three corners by the saw, and the fourth corner is supported by me if needed. I added the optional auxiliary table to the near end of my slider for additional support.
 

Steve Maskery

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That makes sense. At least for a large sheet. My sled isn't for that, though. With the fence at the far end (and I could put it there if I wanted, of course), the sled wouold be hanging of the front too far at the start of the cut. My saw doesn't have the sort of outrigger support that those saws have, unfortunately.
 

--Tom--

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Same doors I have in my house. Pretty sure they’re Doug fir, at least its what I’ve always believed they are.
 
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be interesting to see if you actually use the horizontal t track. I think it would be fine with just the vertical tracks, and makes the build a lot easier.

You also can't really compare it to a sled as you get support and zero clearance both sides. But it does look very useful to have also. Think I'll try one with just the vertical t track
 
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