And while it’s pretty easy to just screw a piece of wood to the front of your miter gauge, I think it’s worth taking just a couple minutes to make an adjustable auxiliary fence. This way, you can move the fence as close to the blade as you want, even when mitering, see Fig. 2.
JIG CONSTRUCTION. The “adjustable” part of the fence is made up of two sliding pieces, see Fig. 1. A rabbet cut on each piece allows the two pieces to interlock.
The top piece has a couple of threaded inserts so it can be attached to the miter gauge with machine screws, see Fig. 1a.
The bottom piece “floats” under the top one (until the two machine screws are tightened). By sanding the top piece 1/32″ thinner than the bottom, it will “pinch” the bottom piece in place, see Fig. 1a.
A replaceable face is screwed to the front of the bottom sliding piece. This way, when the fence gets chewed up, you can make a new one.
One solution is to use a simple support block, see photo. The nice thing about this block is that it allows you to pivot the workpiece as you push it through the saw to “follow” the direction the blade is wandering.
The guide is nothing more than a block of wood that has been beveled on one end to create a “V” point, see Fig. 1. On the other end, the top of the block is cut away to make it easier to clamp it to the table of the band saw.
To use the block, simply clamp it to the table so it’s just slightly in front of the blade, see Fig. 2.
It rocks back and forth in the slot or bumps into the edge of the table saw top, making crosscutting not only difficult, but potentially dangerous as well.
That’s why I like to use a crosscut sled when cutting large panels. This jig works like a giant miter gauge, allowing you to crosscut wider pieces.
The large, flat base of the sled provides plenty of support for wide panels. A pair of runners guides the sled and the workpiece smoothly through the saw. And a fence on the trailing edge of the sled ensures that every cut will be square.
CONSTRUCTION. To build the jig, start by cutting a piece of 3/4″-thick plywood for the base. (I made mine about 16″ x 30″.)
Next cut a hardwood runner to fit in the miter gauge slot of your table saw. Size the runner so it slides smoothly in the slot. Then glue and screw it to the bottom of the base.
To keep the jig aligned, a second runner is added to the bottom of the base. This one rides against the edge of the table saw extension wing, see photo.
Once both runners are attached, place the jig on your saw and trim off the right edge of the base.
FENCE. For the fence, I used a piece of “2-by” stock with a chamfer routed on the bottom edge for a sawdust relief, see Fig. 1a.
But I find that trying to guide a workpiece through a saw with one of these push sticks is a little like trying to push a brick with a straw. This is one case where wider is better.
That’s why I like this push block design. It’s nothing more than an 8″-long block with a shallow notch cut on the bottom, see Fig. 1. The notch fits over the back edge of the workpiece that’s being cut.
The wide profile of the block gives you plenty of control. And instead of fitting between the fence and the blade, this push block is designed to ride right over the blade, see Fig. 2.
To prevent this, I built the simple jig shown in the photo below. It provides an accurate reference that makes it easy to square up the door. A glance at the drawing shows that the jig consists of a plywood base that supports the door and two wood cleats that form a square corner. It’s important that the cleats are 90° to each other. So start by attaching one cleat with glue and screws. Then use a framing square to position the second cleat as you glue and screw it in place.
To use the jig, start by placing each clamp directly over (and parallel to) the rails of the frame. Then, adjust the pressure and position of the clamps until the frame sits square in the jig. Note: To prevent glue from sticking to the jig, I brushed on several coats of a polyurethane finish.
The next thing to do is cut a pair of feet to shape. Then cut a dado in each foot sized to hold the upright and glue the feet in place. The last thing to make is the adjustable rest for the workpiece. I cut the rest and a mounting plate to size first and glued them together. Next, two shoulder pieces are cut and glued to the rest and the mounting plate to keep it parallel to the floor. I used a carriage bolt and star knob to secure the rest to the upright, as you can see in detail ‘a.’.
Whenever I use pipe clamps, I like to place a block of wood between the clamp and my workpiece. This clamping pad helps prevent damaging the surface of the wood. The problem is trying to hold the block in place as you tighten the clamp.
To solve this, I made some magnetic clamp pads. Each pad is just a block of wood with a shallow hole drilled in the center. Then I epoxied a small magnet into the hole, as you can see in the drawing. The magnet holds the pad in place, leaving me with both hands free to align and tighten the clamp on the workpiece.
There are times when you just don’t have enough clamps. But don’t worry – you don’t have to blow your budget on new ones. Here’s an easy-to-build clamp that will work great for most projects.
What’s unique about these clamps is how the pressure is applied. Instead of tightening a threaded screw, a wood wedge is tapped between the clamp and the workpiece.
The clamps are easy to make. As you can see in the drawing at right, each one consists of a long, wood rail with two clamp heads.
A fixed clamp head is screwed to one end of the rail. And to accommodate different size objects, an adjustable clamp head is positioned along the length of the rail.
To make this work, you’ll need to drill a series of holes in the rail. These holes accept a pin that’s mounted into a hole in the adjustable clamp head. (I used a dowel for the pin.)
In use, this pin allows the adjustable clamp head to pivot as you tap in the wedge, as shown in the detail. The farther you tap in the wedge, the more pressure it applies against the workpiece.