Workin' With What You've Got #2: Workin' With What You've Got #2:

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Blog entry by Randy Price posted 05-14-2011 06:14 PM 2532 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: TOOLS DO NOT MAKE THE WOODWORKER Part 2 of Workin' With What You've Got series no next part

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

In Workin’ With What You’ve Got – Part 1 I made the point that many woodworking operations can be accomplished through creative thinking and using tools you already have. In part 2 I continue with some tips on how I approached building the Taliesin Table Lamp, including some photos of the tools and jigs I made.

A prominent feature of this lamp is all the 45 degree splined mitered corners. I do not have a miter saw and find the miter gauge on my table saw is not very accurate. Also, in order to build the square base all four sides must be exactly the same length to get tight miter joints.

I had built a crosscut sled for my table saw and recalled seeing an angled crosscut sled somewhere before. After some searching on the internet I had found several examples of 45 degree table saw sleds and decided this was how I would cut the angles needed for the lamp. I still was concerned about making the 45 degree fence for the sled. One article I ran across suggested the following construction.

The sled is essentially a triangular piece of plywood screwed to a rectangular piece of plywood. The triangle starts out as a square and 1/2 is cut away after the two are screwed together. The sled can be whatever size you like, the only critical distance is the width of the sled as compared to the diagonal width of the square. This diagonal distance is the same as the width of the rectangle.

The square is mounted at a 45 degree angle to the base, but even if it is not a perfect 45, because the angle of the point is 90 degrees, two pieces of wood cut on opposite sides of the sled will always make a 90 degree angle.

Here’s an illustration of the basic idea:

And here’s the sled I built, top and bottom. I added a fence and stop block so I can repeatedly cut the same length pieces, for example to get the four sides of the lamp base.

I used metal runners rather than wood for the sled. I read where some had problems with binding of and/or excess play in wood runners because of humidity changes and the metal runners can be adjusted for a snug fit in the slots.

I’ve used this sled for some time and it faithfully produces 45 degree angles. I’ve used for most of the lamps on my Portfolio page (opens a new browser window to my Portfolio page).

Workin’ With What You’ve Got – Part 3 will continue with tools and jigs made in the shop, most out of left over materials as they were needed to build the Taliesin Lamp.


I’m working on measured drawings for the miter sled, soon as they’re ready I’ll put up a project post with link to the free plans.

Thanks for reading -



2 comments so far

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 3501 days

#1 posted 05-14-2011 10:31 PM

interesting topic. here is how i cut my 45’s

-- RKWoods

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3741 days

#2 posted 05-15-2011 06:24 PM

I like the simple approach to making jigs and as long as they work , I don’t think that they need to look like they cost a million dollars to produce : ) LOL
I hope to make some picture frames this year and a jig like this should help out nicely : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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