Woodworking Projects

Use a miter gauge to guide a tablesaw sled

Shop Tips

This system is robust, adjustable, and keeps the fence square to the blade.

The most difficult part of making any tablesaw sled is attaching the miter runner(s) accurately so that the fence is square to the blade. My approach makes this critical step much more straightforward.

If you have a spare miter gauge lying around the shop, you can attach it directly to the sled, creating a robust, adjustable guide system. You’ll only have one runner guiding the sled instead of the usual two, but these bars are made of durable steel or aluminum and can be adjusted for a snug fit in the miter slot, either with built-in adjusters or by dimpling the sides of the bar with a center punch.

It’s easier if you dedicate the miter gauge to the sled in question, adjusting it for squareness and leaving it that way, but you can also use the same miter gauge to guide multiple sleds.

attaching a miter gauge to a tablesaw sled

To get the miter gauge ready for its new job, drill and countersink a hole in the leading end of the bar. Lock the miter gauge at 90°, and use the two attachment holes in its head/fence (drill them if they aren’t already there) to screw it to the front fence of the sled, using pan-head wood screws. It’s helpful to have a little bit of slop in these holes for later adjustment. Then make a test cut to see if the sled is square to the blade. Adjust its angle a little if necessary.

Next, flip over the sled and drive a standard wood screw through the tip of the bar into the base of the sled. The goal is to do this without the bar moving from its current position. Make a practice cut to check once more for squareness, and the sled is ready to use.

If the sled has moved slightly off square, you can make a small adjustment by loosening the head of the miter gauge as well as the front screws that attach it to the sled, and tapping the front end of the sled sideways. Retighten the screws and make another test cut.

—BRUCE LARSSON, Dudley, Mass.

Illustrations by Dan Thornton From Fine woodworking issue #302

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