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Making a Heavy Duty Crosscut Sled

The table saw is agueably designed for ripping wood, that's really whate it is best at, but that doesn't mean it can't be used for other things equally well. For many woodworkers, the tablesaw is first stationary tool they purchase because it is so versatile.  Out of the box, they will rip and cross cut (with the appropriate blades) and even cut dado, with a small modification to the throat plate.
With many table saws, the mitre gauges are pretty standard and have small surface that accepts wood for cross cutting, still they work ok. For someone who is doing a lot of cross cutting and wants perfect repeatable results, a crosscut sled is the answer.

These are relatively easy to make requiring only a few items, such as a good quality plywood base (I simly used a quater sheet of plywood that was 2 feet by 4 feet), a couple of decent quality mitre blanks and lastly a couple of flat boards that can be used for the front and back. The front stabilizer board only needs to be flat on the bottom the inside and outside should be reasonably flat but since this is only to stabilize the sled, it's not important that it be abslutely flat. The back stabilizer board DOES need to be pefectly flat on the bottom and inside as well, so selecting materials for this is very important.

If you have access to thick plywood that is 2 inches thick or better, that is ideal, otherwise you will need to hand pick something that is flat. I found a piece of construction grade, kiln dried 2x6 that was 8 feet long that looked like it would work. When I got it home and cut it in half, one half was off a tiny bit, but the other side was perfectly flat, just what I needed, and it was dry so it's not going to move around on me.

Make it Accurate with the Right Square

engineers squareHave you ever cut all the pieces for a woodworking project then tried to put them together and found that they just don't fit together nicely? Could it be that the one tool you rely on most, your square is not giving you a proper angle reading ?

One of the most frustrating things about woodworking, especially for new woodworkers, is when you are working away on your project and it comes to starting to put it together and it just doesn't fit nicely. There are gaps in the joints, some of the angles seem to be off a bit, it just isn't coming to gether nicely.

When this happens, you get out your square and start double checking your cuts  and if your square is off to begin with, measured one way, your cuts will be perfect, but reverse the square and if the joint is WAY OFF when reversed, then your square is the problem, not your woodworking ability. In many cases when this happens, you cannot go back and re-set up the machinery and re-cut the wood because it will be too small, so now you have a very expesive stack of firewood, or more wood for your cut-off pile that hopefully you will have a use for one day.

One of the tools we use continuely  in our work, often with out even thinking about it is the square. The lowly square has been around for ever and has remainend basically unchanged in thousands of years. Today, we can purchase all sorts of different variations of the square, large squares, small squares, adjustable squares  ....

Making Mitre Slot Blanks

plastic blank materialMaking jigs is one of the most common tasks for most woodworkers. Sometimes they are simple, sometimes not, sometimes they are used once but often they are used over and over again. Some of the most common jigs are associated with out stationary tools, like bandsaws, table saws, lathes, drill presses and so on. Many of the stationary tools that we use have mitre slots the are used for a few things, like mitre gauges, feather boards and other accessories that utilize this convenient slot.

Table saws are often picked on for making jigs where the mitre slots is used and when making jigs, it's ideal to be able to have some mitre gauge blanks on hand, rather than having to stop and make these as well as the jig.

Box Joint Jig - Operational Details

box_joint_thmJudging by the number of questions I received about making the box joint jig, it is evident that I didn't cover off with enough detail exactly now the "indexing" or "finger alignment" worked, so this video is to make up that shortfall. When you are making Lynn Sabin box joint jig, one of the key components is the Readi-Rod (also known as threaded rod, Redi Rod, Ready Rod and Thready Rod). The rod basically has three components, the length of the rod, the diameter of the rod and the number of threads per inch that are carved into the rod. Of Course the length is important as it needs to be the full length of your jig, the diameter is not so important but I found 3/8" to be a good weight to work with, and the final Very important component, the threads per inch ... should be 16 threads per inch. There are many other options of threads per inch and you can decide if another is best for you, but for most woodworkers 16 will be the best and here's how it works.


Making a Box Joint Jig - UPDATED

Box Joints are one way of connecting corners in woodworking. They look great and when they are glued together they make a very strong joint which makes them suitable for drawers and boxes, especially ones that get high usage. The problem with most box joint jigs is that they are often finickity to use and very often will only make one, or at the most two sides at the same time. From what we have been able to gather, this jig was originally conceived by Lynn Sabin and later modified by others.
  We have taken the original plans and modified them yet again, by primarily making the base much wider. The advantage to making the base wider is that the jig can now be adapted to cut wood flat side down. This means a type of weave pattern can now be cut into wood and not just on the edges.
Anyone who has tried to cut trivets manually on a table saw will be doing back flips when they see just how easy it is to make multiple cuts, accurately and easily.

We made the original version of this jig first of all to see how it worked and what problems we might encounter along the way. We were so happy with the first version that we decided to re-make the jig with a few modifications and changes to make it even better and more versatile. For more info and links, read on ...

The Rockler Glue Tool

glue brushSome of the greatest frustrations in woodworking come from seeminly simple tasks. Like when you glue boards together, it's important not to get glue on parts of the boards where you don't want it because when it dries it can effect the finish of the wood. Over the years I have tried everything to spread glue from my own fingers, to little wooden sticks, foam brushes, good quality paint brushes, disposable paint brushes, chips of plastic ... pretty much anything that I hope will work. I always seem to be looking for something that is easy to use and more importantly, something that spreads the glue evenly over the area to be glued so I am not wasting glue, but so I am getting enough so that I avoid getting voids in the joints.

Now, someone has invented a little glue brush that spreads glue evenly, particularly over the edges of boards such as when you are glueing narrow boards together to make wider boards. One of the problems with gluing boards together is that if you miss putting enough glue on a particular spot, when the glue dries you get "Voids" in the wood, little areas where there wasn't enough glue and it leaves small holes between the boards being joined. These are most annoying because they are hard to fill and stand out like crazy when you are trying to finish a woodwork piece. This little brush actually does a great job of spreading glue evenly because of it's large bristles. If by chance you are like me and often forget to clean the brush after you use it, the dried glue can be easily cleaned off after it is dry.

These are great little brushes .. inexpensive and easy to use and one of the great little addtions to helping to keep the frustration out of your woodworking time. To read more, click here to check them out at Rockler.

Copyright Colin Knecht