Eliminating side to side movement in miter gauge.

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Forum topic by 716 posted 02-07-2016 09:02 PM 1657 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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502 posts in 939 days

02-07-2016 09:02 PM

I know most of you would say “Just buy Incra”.
The stock table saw miter gauges are actually quite good for the most basic stuff like cutting at 90 or 45 especially if you attach a small fence to the back. However there is one thing that kills it. The side to side movement is around 1mm making it useless. You set your piece for a cut at certain size, than the miter gauge moves and you have hopefully undercut it, so you still can fix it, If you overcut, then it goes into scrap.

I have no idea why manufacturers even bother including a miter gauge if they are not willing to take measure against the side to side movements. Is it something that some folks managed to take care of themselves ?

-- It's nice!

27 replies so far

View joey502's profile


537 posts in 1540 days

#1 posted 02-07-2016 09:15 PM

Does the miter gauge not have set screws in the bar to adjust the miter slot fit? My stock miter gauge has the set screws, but I did buy an aftermarket that is much better.

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537 posts in 1540 days

#2 posted 02-07-2016 09:16 PM

Or, buy an Incra.

View bandit571's profile


20210 posts in 2706 days

#3 posted 02-07-2016 09:26 PM

Heard about using a center punch, make a few dimples on one side of the bar.

Also depends on the style of the bar, too. Does it have the tab out on the end that runs in grooves? Or, just a plain steel bar?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View TheFridge's profile


9606 posts in 1508 days

#4 posted 02-07-2016 09:39 PM

Drill and tap. Brass screws

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2319 days

#5 posted 02-07-2016 09:47 PM

Could put a strip or two of electrical tape on one side.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1475 days

#6 posted 02-07-2016 10:12 PM

None of it is Craftsman is it? Their ts miter slots are .010” under – .740” vs .750” on a ‘real’ saw … if you use a Sears miter gauge on a real saw it’ll be sloppy as hell.


-- Madmark -

View Redoak49's profile


3278 posts in 2011 days

#7 posted 02-07-2016 11:41 PM

Drill and tap on side in a couple of places and pot in nylon screw/bolt.

View 716's profile


502 posts in 939 days

#8 posted 02-08-2016 12:07 AM

This seems so easy and inexpensive to implement, Should be there by default even on the cheapest saws.

-- It's nice!

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 2998 days

#9 posted 02-08-2016 12:19 AM

My Delta 36-725 has set screws in miter gauge bar to adjust slop.

Another tip I’ve read is to run aluminum HVAC tape down edge of bar.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4825 posts in 2431 days

#10 posted 02-08-2016 02:38 AM

Like many others I used the factory miter gauge and as suggested I did drill and tap mine and put adjustment screws in it. Recently I made a cross cut sled seems to me to be much more accurate. My .02 cents worth anyway.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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1296 posts in 1752 days

#11 posted 02-08-2016 03:46 AM

Take the miter guide, lay it flat on your saw top, and hit each end with a ball peen hammer. Try to put it back into the slot. If it doesn’t go, file off a little of the mushroom until it goes into the slot. When you get to the other end, do the same if it’s shroomed. If it didn’t mushroom enough, hit it again, or until it won’t go into the slot. Do the file thing until it fits snug, but not tight…... better than getting an incra. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View bigblockyeti's profile


5136 posts in 1743 days

#12 posted 02-08-2016 03:50 AM

I welded a few spots on the side on one of my sloppier gauges after taking it apart and put it on a surface grinder to get the width about 0.0013” less than the slot on my table.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#13 posted 02-08-2016 04:15 AM

a strip of metal duct tape usually works great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View splintergroup's profile


2071 posts in 1245 days

#14 posted 02-08-2016 03:10 PM

Jerry (Nubsnstubs) and big block have good solutions if you have the equipment or the adjustment is minor.

I have an Incra and basically the miter bar sucks. The problem is my table saw (Unisaw) has the typical oversized Delta miter slot and aftermarket manufactures like to make there stuff fit the lowest common denominator, in my case the Incra fits the undersized slots in an old Craftsman saw perfectly.

The Incra uses expanding nylon disks to adjust. This is fine, but my disks regularly wear down and the slop returns. The disks also are spaced far apart so there are areas in the miter bar travel that don’t get proper side to side support.

My first solution was to drill a number of holes across the width of the bar, thread them, then install (with lock tight) some set screws. This allowed a perfect width adjustment. I was a bit worried about the set screw heads eventually gouging into the miter slot sides so I swapped in some of the ball bearing tipped screws. These have a small spring inside that allows the bearing to retract when under force, basically allowing the miter bar to be ‘spring loaded’ to one side of the slot with bearings acting as one of the sliding surfaces.

Eventually I plan on just milling down a piece of bar stock and replacing the Incra bar (the Incra head is fantastic).

My factory Delta miter has the usual near-useless head, but the bar fits the slot perfectly (hummmm…...)

View xeddog's profile


189 posts in 3030 days

#15 posted 02-08-2016 07:29 PM

Several good ways, but what about some Teflon tape down one side?


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