Tips for Cross Cuts of Large Pieces with Miter Express


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I use the Incra miter express for most cross cut operations. For small and medium pieces, the sled works very well. Large pieces that extend well beyond the width of the sled, however, want to tip down off the sled. This makes operations like cutting tenons on large legs tricky because of how much downward pressure you need to use while simultaneously pushing the sled through the cut. 

Has anyone successfully modified the miter express to address this issue? I use the sled in the left miter slot, and I also have a router table extension on the left side with another miter slot. I am thinking that if there is someway to attach a panel that is the exact height of the one on the sled, I wouldn't have the tipping issue. The sled base is 1/2 MDF plus whatever the red coating adds in thickness, so 1/2 MDF wouldn't match the thickness exactly.

I know I could just build some monstrous cross-cut sled that could span the whole space, but (1) I don't really have room to store one and (2) this would probably require me to take out a second mortgage given the current price of plywood. 

 

 

 

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By large you mean length perpendicular to the saw blade? I think the benefit to the miter express is being able to remove the miter gauge from the sled. For long items reference the table saw surface might offer more stability than referencing the sled surface.

Another option that could work well is to use your planer and just make a spacer the same thickness of the red coated mdf that the sled uses. To stop it from sliding around you could use a hook on the front edge or some magnets and cork rubber or other non stick material.

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Yes, I meant in length perpendicular to the blade. The miter gauge is removable, but using the sled definitely gave me more control of the cuts for large tenons on the workbench build. I swear I saw a video where someone had rigged a way to connect two miter gauges to create a two-handled cross cut sled that you could use to trim the bottom of doors. Can't seem to find it at the moment. 

Just planing a support board down and using magnets is a great idea. I already have some magswitches, so that could be done for very little cost.

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  • 2 months later...

I am gearing up to build the waterfall table in the guild. When Matt cuts the bevel for the waterfall joint, he uses a circular saw and an edge guide. In other videos I have seen, the makers use a cross cut sled on the table saw. I am leaning towards using the table saw since I think I will be a lot more precise than I would be with my circular saw. When I make the first bevel cut, the table will be roughly 7 feet long by 16 inches wide. This is obviously far too large for using the miter express, but I was thinking of using the approach Chestnut suggested above that would add support beyond sled's capacity on both the left and right side. Does anyone have experience with bevel cuts on a piece this large on the table saw? If so, do you think the table saw approach is better than using the circular saw? Unfortunately, there's no practical way to just test both approaches. 

Also, if I do make the support pieces for the sled, by far the easiest approach would be to just run 3/4 MDF through the planer until I get it down to the thickness of the incra sled. The information I've read on dimensioning MDF ranges from "it's no big deal" to "don't even think about it." For what it's worth, I am using the Powermatic 15 planer with the helical head. Am I going to totally wreck the planer if I dimension a few square feet of MDF on it?

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Any reason you don't want to use a piece of solid wood? If I understood @Chestnut's suggestion correctly, you don't need a support that covers all of the table beyond the sled - just a strip along the edge of the table for the workpiece to ride on. Probably the narrower the better, to minimize drag.

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https://www.infinitytools.com/incra-miter-5000-table-saw-crosscut-sled is a link to the incra 5000. The bed has built in hold downs. This will also cut wide pieces. I made several 23 plus inches crosscuts. Repetitive and accurate. If you need long and wide cuts that are dependable this is the least expensive way.

 

PS if you need to roll the blade to an angle, the incra won't work. It is for 90 degree cuts only. 

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On 7/13/2022 at 12:00 PM, G Ragatz said:

Any reason you don't want to use a piece of solid wood? If I understood @Chestnut's suggestion correctly, you don't need a support that covers all of the table beyond the sled - just a strip along the edge of the table for the workpiece to ride on. Probably the narrower the better, to minimize drag.

I do just need strategically placed strips to support the work piece. I guess I was concerned that the solid wood would be more prone to warping over time. 

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With or without the incra 5000 I spray silicone on the friction points That makes the work feel smaller. I spray it under the moving panel of the incra 5000. 

On 7/19/2022 at 11:03 AM, TomInNC said:

I was concerned that the solid wood would be more prone to warping over time.

Make sure your wood is dry. Avoid wood from or near the center of the tree. If the work is to slide over a piece of wood I also spray that. Furniture wax will do the same as silicone.

 

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After I get the outrigger setup, are there any tricks for stabilizing the table before the cut? I've done cross cuts of maybe 18 inches on the sled, but those pieces were only maybe 2 feet long. I have a feeling it will be tricky setting things up to cross cut a 20 inch wide by 7 foot long board.

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One more suggestion.  Set up your sled and work piece, but do a dress rehearsal "cut" with the saw off and the blade retracted.  That way you can see if the operation is going to go smoothly.   

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On 7/19/2022 at 12:47 PM, curlyoak said:

With or without the incra 5000 I spray silicone on the friction points That makes the work feel smaller. I spray it under the moving panel of the incra 5000. 

 

If the table has been wax pedistal and maintained , just waxing is all that's needed...

 

Painters absolutely hate silicone in a woodworking enviroment..

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On 7/20/2022 at 1:17 PM, BillyJack said:

Painters absolutely hate silicone in a woodworking enviroment..

I love it and I paint. The silicone is completely gone when I do finishing. If you don't sand then there will be trouble. I always sand and NEVER had a problem. Maybe you need to sand more...

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When A person works on it it's simple, when several do it's not. 

 

If you get a board wet and wiperight off its fine, if you wet it and leave it you get different results. 

 

I keep silicone away from my car as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

1. Make sure that the blade is properly aligned with the fence and miter slot.
2. Always use a featherboard to help keep the workpiece against the fence.
3. Use a push stick to keep your hands away from the blade.
4. Keep your hands clear of the path of the blade at all times.

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On 7/19/2022 at 1:02 PM, TomInNC said:

I have a feeling it will be tricky setting things up to cross cut a 20 inch wide by 7 foot long board.

Tom has probably gotten past this by now.  I just wanted to add that for some operations bringing the tool to the work is better than bringing the work to the tool.  If your material starts to surpass your equipment capacity clamp down the material and machine it in place.  A hand saw, jig saw, or circ saw followed by a shooting board to true the cut.  A guide and a circ saw with the proper blade, etc. 

 

We can fall into the habit of approaching everything with the same process; tablesaw, router, hammer and chisel.  Different operations work better different ways.   This may explain the wall full or jigs behind my tablesaw and router table :D

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To add to gee-dub. I frequently make counters and tops with a bread board end. After cutting 1/16 more than needed, I clamp a straight edge to the work and run a router on the end for a perfect glue joint.

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Apologies for not replying. Something popped up at the house that I had to attend to.

Thanks for all of the suggestions. As luck would have it, a few days ago someone was selling a used TS 75 for a good price, so I picked one up. At least for the waterfall table, this should make taking the tool to the wood a lot easier as I didn't have a track saw before.

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I made a miter joint on a large board about 65"x20" and ended up making a new sled since it was too big for the miter express. I tried it with a track saw but the panel wasn't flat enough so the joints didn't line up. It's all in here if anyone else is looking. 

Couldn't you take the off-cut side of the Miter Express and put that in router table miter slot? That should give you the same height support and for free.

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On 7/31/2022 at 11:11 AM, BillyJack said:

You should be able to do this with a panel sled

I want better. Cleaning up the cut made by a sled on an 8/4 x 42" x 7' for example  to me is crazy. Like gee-dub indicated on big work bring the tool to the work. I have made glue joints on  smaller pieces on the table saw.  My table saw does not have a slider. 

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