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Miter Slot Sled

Miter Slot Sled

by John Calkin

Published online by Guild of American Luthiers, March 2024


This jig is more fallout from the week I spent in the last century in a class taught by Charles Fox. Jigs with clamps such as these have been all over my shop since then.

On top, the jig is nothing more than a panel of MDF, two lengths of 1/2" threaded rod, a pair of knobs, and two “jaws” cut from steel flat stock. The jaws were placed in a vise and one end was bent into a slight hook with a hammer. As you will see, aluminum might have been a better choice.

The underside of the jig is nothing more than randomly placed, recessed tee nuts and a wooden runner that fits nicely into the miter slot of the table saw. The runner left the panel overhanging the blade slightly so that a zero-tolerance saw cut could be made.

All layout is done on the object to be cut. Lines are placed on the edge of the jig, clamped down, and gently run through the blade.

Rough lumber can be given a clean edge as long as the dimension is within reach of the saw blade. BEWARE OF THE BLADE TOUCHING THE STEEL JAWS. THE RESULTS COULD BE DISASTROUS! Aluminum jaws make much more sense in this context. Note that helper blocks are needed to cut tall stock, in this case a pair of ukulele neck blanks. Make the cut slowly to prevent moving the stock, especially if the blade is less than newly sharpened.

Since this is the maximum depth that the saw can cut on this jig, the threaded rods were marked for length with a piece of masking tape, then cut back with a hack saw. ◆