So I left off having made a test cut on piece of scrap. Now it’s time to move onto actually setting up a “fence” on the miter gauge to make a box.
Setting the blade to just above the height of my material.
The next few shots are from the back of the saw just for clarity.
A word or two about measuring – measure from the inside of the tooth toward the saw fence. You have to take into account the “set” of the blade’s teeth. I tried to get a picture of the “set” but did not come out so good. I’m sure someone else can do a better job explaining this – but essentially – the “set” is the way the teeth are positioned on the body of the blade. Take a close look at your blade and you’ll probably notice that one tooth leans toward one side then the next tooth leans towards the other. The distance between both teeth makes the total width of the kerf. The importance of this when measuring is that you want to measure from the tooth that leans towards the fence – not the one that leans away from the fence.
I’m shooting for a 4” side.
You can see that the 4 on my ruler sits right at the inside of the tooth.
Now here’s a little trick. When you are using a fence on your miter gauge or even a table saw sled, you don’t have to measure from the blade to the stop block. Instead – measure from the inside of the saw kerf on the fence. You can see here that I made an initial cut into the fence. The arrow is where you want to set the ruler from.
Next is clamping a stop block onto the fence and using the ruler to position the block 4” from the blade or the kerf – which ever you like best..
As I said, I’m shooting for a 4” inside. But this is not metal work where you have to have precision to .0001”. I can measure very well – but I don’t get a gray hair if I’m going for 4” and end up with 3 63/64” or even 3 60/64”. If your project does not have to fit into something else – don’t stress such small measurements. You have to decide how precise you want to be. Now with that said – say that I set my stop block at 3.75 instead of four or I just wanted to move the block over a tiny bit. I don’t unclamp my stop block – I loosen it just a tiny bit – then I use my girly girl little persuasion tool to tap the block over – then tighten the clamp back down.
OK – so now my stop block is set at 4” are pretty close thereabouts. Next I want to square up on end of my material. You don’t need to cut off very much – just enough to square it up.
If you don’t start with square stock – you won’t end up with a square box—how’s that for some advise!!! :-)
So next slide your square end up against the stop block and you are ready to make the first cut. I cut all 4 of miy sides the same length – I’m going to use this as a paper clip box for my desk at work. I like to mark all my pieces with the number of the side and I also put an arrow that shows which edge is up.
Now that they are all cut square it’s time to cut the miter – so you need to reset your blade to 45 degrees.
Here’s my safety talk for the day—whenever I change my blade settings – or anytime my hands are going be near the blade for set up – I unplug the saw. No sense taking any chances.
After I set the blade to 45 I run it through my fence to give me a 45 kerf to set my stop block with. You can see from the next picture where to set the piece.
This next shot shows an area of concern. See how close the stop is to blade?
You need a way to hold the wood down against the table as it passes through the blade. You could be tempted to do this …
BUT DON’T! It’s not safe. First off – your hand is to close to the blade, secondly your body is unbalanced. It’s safer to use a second clamp to to hold down the work piece. Here is a shot from the front of the saw and from the back.
Once set up run your piece through the blade. Completely through the blade – don’t stop until the board is past the back of the blade.
The next picture is not very good – but the cut should give you a knife’s edge for a nice crisp corner.
Someone asked me how to cut one side then the other side – how to move the piece after the first cut.
I’ve marked the piece with an “A” and a “B”. I cut the first side.
Then slide the board out and twist it to the left.
You can see that once twisted – the “B” is upside down. I have not lifted the board off the table – just turned it.
After the second cut – this is what you should have.
First test corner.
Here are the sides held together with rubber bands – top & bottom shots.
This corner is what you want to end up with.
If your corner does not turn out so well – there are ways to fix it. I’ll try to cover that another time.
See how it makes a little “v” at the top? That’s not a bad thing for a complete through cut – but when it comes to making the key cuts in the corners later in the process – you’ll have to make some adjustments for that “V.” If you don’t have a flat top blade, there are ways around it.
As always, comments, questions and suggestions welcome. This is only one way to get a box made. There are many, many others. I hope this helps answer a few questions I’ve received.
-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine