Fixing miters on table top

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Forum topic by ravensrock posted 02-16-2014 12:45 AM 1705 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ravensrock's profile


471 posts in 1612 days

02-16-2014 12:45 AM

Hi everyone,

I’m nearing completion of an end table/display table for my brother-in-law. It’s basically an end table that will have glass sides and top. I ran into some trouble mitering the top as you can see in the pics. I made a miter sled that I thought was set to cut perfect miters. Small scrap pieces came out fine. But when I used it to cut the larger table top, I end up with a gap on the fourth corner. Three of the corners are tight and square. But it leaves a gap in the one corner (lower right in the pic). I guess the sled is a bit off and that error becomes more apparent with larger pieces. Two pieces of glass (20” X 11 7/16”) with a wood strip down the center will make the top. I already have the glass so everything needs to be straight and square to fit around it correctly.

Any ideas how I can fix this last corner? I used my Incra miter gauge to make a slight 46 degree cut which closed it up some. I don’t want to screw it up by cutting it more. Seems like it’s too big to fill with putty or glue/sawdust.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

12 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2659 days

#1 posted 02-16-2014 01:32 AM

My only thought is to measure all 4 sides and make sure they are exactly the same length. If not, make em so!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View ravensrock's profile


471 posts in 1612 days

#2 posted 02-16-2014 01:51 AM

I thought I did check that each of the two opposite sides were the same length. Yet somehow I still ended up with this gap! I want to leave a bit of a reveal around the edge so I can’t cut make the pieces much shorter.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View Texcaster's profile


1277 posts in 1643 days

#3 posted 02-16-2014 01:57 AM

As gfadvm says, check the lengths. I just searched miter sleds here and most people use two sticks for the 45 angles. This method by A. Scott is easy and foolproof.. provided the ply is 90 before gluing down.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2416 days

#4 posted 02-16-2014 02:29 AM

I would check the angle of the last piece .
The way I understand it,with a table saw miter sled you may get 90 degree miters when the two pieces are joint together but each individual piece may not be exactly 45 degrees(one side could be 44 degrees and the other 46 degrees)

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Texcaster's profile


1277 posts in 1643 days

#5 posted 02-16-2014 03:10 AM

That’s right distrbd, the joints must be cut right & left to get a 90* outside corner. Easy to keep track of with moldings but flat pieces need to be marked R & L.

1 1/2 in chipboard screwed to my slider.

drop saw miter

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2473 days

#6 posted 02-16-2014 03:17 AM

This problem can’t be fixed with a shooting board?

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View 1jimc's profile


4 posts in 1530 days

#7 posted 02-16-2014 05:54 AM

Perhaps your focus is too narrow. A precise angle is only one part of the drill. Just as with a picture frame, clamping is critical and can be challenging depending on what hardware you have available to you. Assuming the close-up is bottom and right sides, you may be able to salvage this joint with a clamp bar running parallel to the right after first removing the glass and determining that the upper right joint is secure.

For a small size adjustment, glass edges can be sanded.

Yes, the board lengths are critical, but the final measurements before assembly should be corner to corner diagonally.


View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3310 days

#8 posted 02-16-2014 06:44 AM

for these frames
i assemble one end and one side
of both sets
(check for square now
before gluing)
then put them to each other
and see how they fit
you can still re-trim to match if needed
before gluing the whole thing up

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ravensrock's profile


471 posts in 1612 days

#9 posted 02-16-2014 06:57 AM

All good ideas everyone. I will double check the lengths of the boards in the morning.

DKV- I’ve never used a shooting board before. Haven’t done a lot of hand tool work yet and not even sure how to use a shooting board. I’ll have to research it.

Distrbd- I was aware that the angles didn’t have to be perfect 45’s to get a 90 as long as you keep track of the left/right cuts on your sled (which I think I did).

I seem to remember seeing a diagram somewhere of the adjustment you need to make if the miter hits on the outside corner vs the inside edge. If I cut just a hair from the inside edge will that bring the joint together more?

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2023 days

#10 posted 02-16-2014 04:46 PM

You can make the slot for the glass bigger, and recut the frame, (it will be slightly smaller)

-- Joel

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2938 days

#11 posted 02-16-2014 05:44 PM

View ravensrock's profile


471 posts in 1612 days

#12 posted 02-16-2014 06:25 PM

I checked my measurements and the boards were the same length. I’m thinking the fence on my miter sled is just a bit off?? I ended up gluing a cutoff back on to the one end and recutting the angle on the one corner to about 46 degrees. Still left a bit of a gap but I think I can live with it. So I glued it up. Maybe I can just fill it in with some sawdust and glue? It’s the top corner in the pic that’s a hair off. Here’s the miter sled I built from plans I found through Woodsmith.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

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