Al Capwn

Miter Bar Material

Miter Bar Runner Material  

16 members have voted

  1. 1. What is your preferred miter bar stock?

    • Incra
      3
    • Kreg
      0
    • Other Manufacturer (Specify in comments)
      3
    • Shop made: UHMW
      2
    • Shop made: Wood
      7
    • Shop made: Other
      1


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Alright - going to be rebuilding some jigs, namely the cross-cut sled. What do you prefer to use for your jigs for the miter bar runners? Any lessons learned? Anything to avoid in particular?

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I started with Incra. Hated the price.

So when I made a dado sled I used UHMW. I found that either the 3/4" wide pieces were not exactly 3/4" (from that machine shop online) or my miter slots were slightly smaller. So I had to use a hand plane to bring it down to size. Then I put screws in it.. and it causes the material to bulge out so you have to plane it down again to fit in the slot.

Next sled I tried cedar that I cut myself. I cut it so the expansion would be least likely to affect anything. They work fine but since I'm in a very fluid environment, I don't think I'll continue to use wood for the future. 

So I've down in the metal category. I like both Incra and Kreg so it would probably depend on price if I bought more. 

 

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I ended up grabbing Micro-Jig for my first so that at least ONE thing would be straight in my shop. :)

 

32 minutes ago, Cliff said:

So when I made a dado sled I used UHMW. I found that either the 3/4" wide pieces were not exactly 3/4" (from that machine shop online) or my miter slots were slightly smaller. So I had to use a hand plane to bring it down to size. Then I put screws in it.. and it causes the material to bulge out so you have to plane it down again to fit in the slot.

Thanks for sharing that.  I was going to try that next.

Do you think the UHMW would have worked well if you pre-drilled and countersunk the screws from the bottom, or were they too malleable for even that?

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UMHW is to malleable and it's usually inconsistent in dimensions when you get it. It bows if left unsupported.

I have a few of the store bought aluminum rails that can be adjusted to fit the slot. I swap them from jig to jig over the years. No idea what brand but the work great.

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15 minutes ago, Lee Bussy said:

I ended up grabbing Micro-Jig for my first so that at least ONE thing would be straight in my shop. :)

 

Thanks for sharing that.  I was going to try that next.

Do you think the UHMW would have worked well if you pre-drilled and countersunk the screws from the bottom, or were they too malleable for even that?

I did pre-drill and countersink after the first screw went so bad. it was better but still an issue. Honestly, I thought they were going to rock and they ended up my least favorite. The cedar worked great but I know with living in IL it could end up a problem in the long run.

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While making this tabletop I was thinking QSWO would be nice for rails.   It's pretty dense and seems stable.

Steve I think the aluminum ones are Incra.

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I use red oak strips on the bottom of my jigs. After installing them with glue and screws, I wax the bejesus out of the whole bottom and rails. Haven't had much of a problem but, my shop is heated and cooled year around also.

 

Rog

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1 hour ago, wdwerker said:

UMHW is to malleable and it's usually inconsistent in dimensions when you get it. It bows if left unsupported.

I have a few of the store bought aluminum rails that can be adjusted to fit the slot. I swap them from jig to jig over the years. No idea what brand but the work great.

I too use the aluminum runners now,it saves on weight . I've made my own in the past from QS material. 

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I like the UHMW, I have a 3' rail on my version of the Rockler taper jig and a small length on a little dado sled and both fit my miter slots perfectly.  I bought it from Peachtree about 7 or 8 years ago and the dimensions were perfect.  Slides nice in the slot too.

I have a maple rail on my crosscut sled and it works well enough, but there is definitely a slight difference between summer and winter.

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3 minutes ago, ProfessorChaos said:

I like the UHMW, I have a 3' rail on my version of the Rockler taper jig and a small length on a little dado sled and both fit my miter slots perfectly.

And no issues with squeezing I gather?  How are they attached?

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5 minutes ago, Lee Bussy said:

And no issues with squeezing I gather?  How are they attached?

I attached them with the most slender screws I had in the shop.  It seemed there were really no issues with shallow threads holding in the material, and the stress on the screws is shear stress anyway, for the most part.

I use the taper jig quite a bit for both tapers and jointing with no problems.  However, there do seem to be a few different places, at least, that sell it, and it's easy to imagine differences in dimensions from different suppliers.

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3 hours ago, Cliff said:

Then I put screws in it.. and it causes the material to bulge out so you have to plane it down again to fit in the slot.

Cut it undersize, and use the screws to fine tune the fit. 

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I built a sled last week to make some saw horses.  I used some scrap Poplar that had been stored in a different room in the old house we're working on than the big room where the stationary tools are to make runners out of.  I built the sled and left it in that room with the tools to make the sawhorses the next day. That part of the house is insulated and all on the same heating system.  I had to work on the runners with a side-rabbet plane to get them to slide in the table saw slots that next day.  Maybe they swelled from the moisture in the glue.   Since it's probably been twenty years since I last built a bunch of sawhorses, I'm not worrying about how long this sled lasts.

Short version:  Don't use Poplar.

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I just started a new sled last week, and used walnut, because I had it on hand, and it was relatively easy to get to size. So far so good, but I can definitely see the appeal of using the metal runners that you can adjust to fine tune the fit... Alas, I spent my "allowance" this month on beer (oh, the joys of having the wife manage the budget). 

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One of my miters has steel for the slot with 2 or 3 taps in the side where hex set screws have been placed. One simply adjusts these for a perfect fit.  If I were to build a steel one on my own this would be my approach.  (I think this might work for a hard wood just as well as with steel though perhaps I might use a longer set screw.)

29 minutes ago, Robert Morse said:

I just started a new sled last week, and used walnut, because I had it on hand, and it was relatively easy to get to size. So far so good, but I can definitely see the appeal of using the metal runners that you can adjust to fine tune the fit... Alas, I spent my "allowance" this month on beer (oh, the joys of having the wife manage the budget). 

My sled just has some unidentifiable wood for the runners. It's the red stuff of garden stakes. Doesn't seem to have changed dimension last Summer in the Ohio humidity. So far, so good.

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I use the incra rails, they are a bit pricey however. My last sled I used straight grained hard maple that I milled and then ran through the drum sander until I got it to the size I needed for it to be just right to fit my miter slots. 

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I have Incra miter bars (the adjustable aluminum ones), UHMW and straight grained oak and ash.  All of these work equally well and I have no preference.

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I have tried them all over the years. Go with the adjustable metal ones regardless of the brand. I have several pairs and steal them from one jig to put on a new one. So easy to adjust the slop out of one to get those cuts dead on the money. The slots on my 2 table saws are not exactly the same, neither is the location of the blade within the opening so I label the jigs as to which saw using which blade. If a jig doesn't get used in 5 years or so I cannablize all the parts and toss it. I bought a kit of jig parts , knobs, T bolts, T knobs, handles etc and it was a wise investment of the $60 or so I paid.

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On March 2, 2016 at 0:59 PM, Robert Morse said:

I just started a new sled last week, and used walnut, because I had it on hand, and it was relatively easy to get to size. So far so good, but I can definitely see the appeal of using the metal runners that you can adjust to fine tune the fit... Alas, I spent my "allowance" this month on beer (oh, the joys of having the wife manage the budget). 

Walnut and beer, you can't go wrong with that combo

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