Question about using a table saw to cut thin material

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Forum topic by Furnitude posted 09-06-2011 08:13 PM 1285 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3536 days

09-06-2011 08:13 PM

I made a miter sled to cut 45 degree angles on my table saw. I’ve used it on 1/2” to 1” thick material several times with no problems. It makes a great quality cut. Last night though, I tried to cut miters on material that was a little less than 1/4” and it didn’t work at all. A piece would break off and go flying. I even made a sort of sacrificial holding block to make sure the piece didn’t move during the cut and that didn’t help at all.

One factor may be that on the cross piece of the sled, I cut a 1/8” rabbit to relieve the surface so dust wouldn’t be a problem. I’d appreciate your help with a diagnosis!

-- Mitch, Also blog at

5 replies so far

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3590 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 08:49 PM

Can’t tell you much without a photo of your sled, but it sounds to me that you have defeated the zero clearance features of your sled by cutting the rabbit.

-- Joe

View RONFINCH's profile


143 posts in 2953 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 08:52 PM

If your 1/8” rabbit is cut on the side of your sled against the blade, that could be your problem. Dust won’t be a problem if your sled is flat on the table saw table. Thinner material is a lot more brittle….. it’s going to splinter without a backup board. Also, the blade you are using might have something to do with the splintering also. Try a blade with more teeth, like a plywood blade.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18293 posts in 3705 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 09:53 PM

Try sandwiching it to see if you can make a clean cut.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4247 days

#4 posted 09-06-2011 10:13 PM

If I understand you correctly, that rabbet is almost certainly the cause of your problem. Photos please!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3536 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 04:35 AM

Hi everyone. Thanks for your wisdom. I am using a combination blade and haven’t had trouble before doing this sort of thing. In the two photos, you’ll see the first one showing the rabbet I described and the next shows the rabbet filled with a flush piece of wood that I glued in there. Once the glue dries, I’ll make a pass to establish the zero clearance. Then I’m betting I’ll be good as gold. Thanks again!

-- Mitch, Also blog at

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