|Review by OttawaP||posted 05-09-2008 09:08 PM||10707 views||0 times favorited||14 comments|
I’ve been in the market for a new miter gauge . I’ve sold my previous Kreg due to it’s short length and light structure. While it was exceptionally accurate, I just found the crosscut length too short and was always afraid if I ever dropped it would be bent. I considered the Jessum, Accumiter, and Osbourne as the top contenders until I found the Smart Miter. The Jessum I found a little fiddly with the two pin set up and there did seem to be some issues with this system from what I’ve read on the internet. The Osbourne I’ve used but I don’t like the fact that the flip stop does not recess into the fence to prevent mitered points from slipping behind it and the way I can fly through cuts on a good production run I thought it would not work for me, other than that it’s a pretty good bang for the buck. The Accumiter I love for the weight and length of the longer version, but it too seems to suffer from fiddly pins that don’t always seem to sit perfect in the key from what I’ve read.
Doing a search I discovered the Smartmiter by Jointech. I had never heard of this company before since they don’t have a distributor here in Canada but they have a pretty good line of interesting products. I could not find one negative review of this product, most people are just pleased as punch with it. The amazing part of this miter sled is the adjusting pivot point which makes the flip stop scale useable for all angles. So a 12.5” cut at 90 deg is12.5” at 45 deg, no moving of the flip stop is required. Sweet. (see the pictures, the 45 deg miter and the 90 deg cut are both the same distance away from the blade.) It miters from -50 deg to 50 deg in ½ deg increments. The fence has spring loaded bearings that pop in and out of a steel plate on the underside and lock in place with a simple clamp. It has a fine adjustment knob with a #32 thread so it’s very easy to adjust to 1/128th with just a ¼ turn of the knob.
Drawbacks of this sled (and all sleds in general) is you do lose ½” in cutting height due to the thickness of the sled itself. Not a big deal in my book. And in a left tilt saw such as mine, I’ll refer back to my General miter gauge that came with my cabinet saw for any bevel cuts, again such a rare occurrence that it is not a deal breaker for me.
So I took a chance and ordered it. Unfortunatly the sled arrived damaged slightly. The cursor was broken and the flip stop would not sit nice and square. It must have gotten wacked pretty good by USPS. The sled overall is well made. Heavy phenolic base and strong aluminum extrusions that extend to 48”. It sets up quickly, just basically install the handle, square it to your blade, adjust the tape measurements and you are good to go. But alas, that’s where the problem started…….after 6 hours I realized I had a defective unit. It wouldn’t close a simple picture frame no matter what I did. The angles were off and there is no way to play with it, there was a fundamental error in the manufacture of it.
This was a on a Saturday so I took several pictures of the unit and damage and emailed them off with a letter to Jointech. Late Monday night I got a phone call from the Ernest Saldana, president of the company, and within 5 minutes an apology and the promise of a new unit were furnished to me. Now that’s impressive. A week later I got an email saying they went through the inventory and found a handful of defective units and were sending me out a hand tested replacement. It arrived undamaged a few days ago with an extra hold down clamp that I never ordered originally. I guess a “thanks for being patient gift” from the Jointech. I setup the new sled and it’s fine and performs wonderfully. It’s rock solid, heavy, stable and cross cuts up to 48” with useable measuring scales at all angles. Since it locks at both the pivot point and the clamp at the arch its very stable on long pieces unlike most single pivot miter gauges.
It is not a panel cutoff sled, it is limited to 12-15” depending on your saw since it miters in both directions, but for that I have a shop made panel sled that cuts a 24” width easily.
Theres’ a few videos on the website showing the setup and use, check them out http://www.jointech.com/smart_miter.htm
Improvements I’d suggest, a magnified cursor over the double lined parallax cursor would be better for older eyes. Possibly a bigger handle would be more comfortable and I really don’t have big hands either. These are minor items though and don’t really distract from the sled a whole lot.
I’ll rate the sled 4.5/5 since there is always room for improvement and 5/5 for service from the company. An excellent product, I highly recommend it.