Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Puttering Around...

I've been doing small things out in the shedshop recently, just kind of getting used to the space and the idea of it being there all the time. I organized my very small collection of clamps...

I made two jigs. First was a "door board" for cuts up to four feet long with the circular saw. Next on my list was a cross cut sled for my crappy table saw.

I realized that my table saw is just not very "true" and in fact, there is no way to get the blade to a true vertical 90 degrees. I used a digital angle finder and the closest I could get the blade was 1 degree off of 90.

Anyway, the cross cut sled makes using the table saw safer and should result in slightly more accurate and repeatable cuts. Of course, it's me making this thing, so let's just say I don't have super high expectations... :)

First step is to cut some runners:

I stacked a few coins in the slots to raise the runners up high enough to glue them to the sled. Once I had that done, I was ready to add the front and back fences.

Or, I _would_ have been ready, but somehow the runners went from a PERFECT fit to a very sloppy fit after I glued them in place. I was very frustrated at this point because I had spent so much time being very careful to make such perfect cuts.

I ripped one of the runners off and replaced it with a store-bought aluminum track made just for this purpose. Once I attached that to the sled, the thing fit perfectly and I was back in business. I coated the back of the sled with paste wax to help it glide. I'm sure it won't last long, but I love the smell and feel of paste wax.

Finally, I installed the front fence and made a partial cut through the base of the sled. I used a square to get the rear fence, the important one!, as square to the blade as possible. I triple checked it as best I could, screwed it in place and then cut some test pieces. I did this thing where you cut a piece of wood 5 times, rotating the cut side to the fence after each cut. Then, you save the off cut from the 5th cut and measure both ends of it. Divide that distance by 4 and that's how much off of perfectly square your fence is. (It's called "the 5 cut method" and I did a terrible job of explaining it)

Anyway, despite all of my careful measuring, I'm still off by .0125 inches. Well, that's what I'm "guessing" as I don't have any digital calipers. Could be more than that, could be a 64th of an inch.

Still, I suppose it will be good enough for now, as I think the fence is straighter than the blade itself.  :)

Here it is hanging on the wall:

That redwood 2x4 screwed to the rear fence is there to remind me to NOT put my fingers there. I may have made the sled a bit too large, but only time will tell.

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