Tablesaw Sled for Miters
Precision jig eliminates gaps and headaches
Synopsis: Used on doors, face frames, and picture frames, frame miters are not as easy to execute as they look. The parts must be cut precisely at 45° and at the exact length. Then they must be glued and clamped properly. By using his dedicated miter sled and cutting the parts to length before they are mitered, Craig Thibodeau has mastered the frame miter. Here, he shows you how to make his sled and how to use it. Then he shares techniques for clamping that will make assembly easier.
Frame miters—used to make doors, face frames, and picture frames—look easy but are deceptively difficult to do cleanly and without gaps. Not only do the parts need to be cut at exactly 45° (and any inaccuracy is compounded in the two halves of each joint), but the parts also need to be cut to the correct length. Even if you cut the parts and miters right, you still have the challenge of getting the angled surfaces clamped and glued properly.
I use frame miters quite often in my contemporary-style work, most frequently on the tops of tables and cabinets, where the frame surrounds and protects a veneered panel. Through experience, I’ve developed some surefire methods for cutting and clamping these joints.
The key to my success is twofold. First, I use a dedicated miter sled for the tablesaw. Second, I cut the parts to final length at 90° first, then I use the fresh-cut ends as the reference for the actual miter cuts done on the sled. This method helps me cut miters precisely the first time, without a lot of test-fitting and recutting.
Sled guarantees a perfect joint My miter sled cuts both left- and right-hand miters easily and accurately. It’s essentially a standard crosscut sled, but I add a…