Combination Bevel Sled for small parts.

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Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 05-02-2017 09:27 AM 2739 views 7 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

10 left, 37 right and 49 left… finally 0… and OPEN.

Just kidding, not that type of combination, but the combination of both a 90° and 45 ° bevel cut on the same sled.

Just as a disclaimer, I have always called a mitre cut a non 90° cut, so may I be whipped extensively if I use mitre and bevel out of context.

I have just needed to cut a new set of “skins” for my sled so I thought it was an opportune time to release its details on you, the unsuspecting innocent public.

It started off as a misdirected enhancement to my standard 90° crosscut sled and as all good workshop jigs, eventually grew up and matured into the adornment you see above.

I am finding that more and more of my workshop jigs are influenced by the need to fabricate parts for T & J models, consequently I found that I am using it more for bevel cuts along the length of the job hence the inclusion of the bi-directional intersecting T-tracks.

The zero clearance, for either 45° or 90°, is achieved by what I affectionately refer to as “interchangeable skins”. Without the skins, the two cuts would merge at the bottom of the base and cut out a wedge. This is a picture of the base… the wedge is held in by a sliver of glue… unsafe!

Each configuration comprises of 4 sets (and please don’t ask me why 4 sets and on hindsight 2 sets would have sufficed) pairs of skins. Please don’t take my 4 skins out of context. There are 2 similar sized pieces (3mm and 6mm thick respectively) to make up the 9mm height of the track seeing as how my laser throws an objectionable wobbly whenever I attempt to burden it with the onerous cutting of 9mm MDF… wouldn’t have had that problem if I cut it on my bandsaw… but then the laser would throw a wobbly due to neglect. However, if you must ask why, it’s probably from the evolution when I introduced tracks and therefore cuts, and with more tracks even more cuts, and one just gets carried away with cuts (ask those old religious institutionals back in the 60’s).

Unlike the bikini, the four pieces got incorporated into SketchUp and never got changed.

The outer “skins” of the jig are static and never need to be changed.

The beauty of these skins is that the sled is usable with both thin and standard kerfed blades and if you are a thrill-seeker you could even use a thicker blade by just inserting a clean set of skins.

For non 45° cuts I use a “different jig” also based on the “skins” principle (and the same confused terminology).

Through the use of a laser I can place the screw holes in precisely the same place each time so when a skin wears out I simply cut a new one and fit it. Once the skins are screwed in the first time, the first cut sets the zero clearance kerf for future use.

I will emphasise here that if you KISS the design of the central skins and T-track pattern, any skin reproduction could easily be made with straight tablesaw and/or bandsaw cuts. I cannot emphasise enough to keep the first skin you make as a template for subsequent screw hole placement otherwise you will turn your sled base into Swiss cheese.

The benefit of the crossed T-tracks is to permit an extensive combination of clamping hardware, especially for small parts that may need several anchor points.

I use the Incra double track on the fence. It over extends the length of the fence by a large margin but that is to provide greater measuring capacity. The fence is secured by several bolts from underneath so it can be repositioned as required or exchanged for a smaller one (if I had one).

One of the benefits of the double track is that you can place a sliding tape measure on it. Then all you need to do is make a cut after bracing the piece against the stop block, measure the cut and then align the tape measure with the appropriate reading with the stop block… just remember which side is the correct side (DOH!).

When making 45° cuts ensure the tip of the pre-cut end does not slide under the stop block. You may need to change sides accordingly, unless you want uneven cuts. While we are talking about stop blocks… well I am as you have no control over what I’m talking about… I use 3D printed stop blocks. In the past I sacrificed a few shekels for those fancy aluminium ones, however, quickly found that if you had to design your shop made fences to accommodate the stop block, they were not always the most convenient bit of hardware. You can make the 3D one conform to YOUR specifications and while it may take 2 hours to print it only cost about $2 max for material (with a new “swing arm” only less than $1). Most of the cost is in the hardware to hold it together (and of course time to design, but as I like mucking around with SketchUp that was a freebie).

Now that you have gotten this far, let me point you to a video have made of this jig so as to save you all the above reading. You may have noticed (well you haven’t till you see the video) I have welded the four pieces into 2 as hinted to above.

Here are some late pickies of the virgin skins (uncut). The top (6mm) skin has the screw holes countersunk,

In this next pic, the skins are just lazing about where they are to be inserted, pretending to be cute and have not been screwed (yet).

Thanks for reading.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

9 comments so far

View crowie's profile


5109 posts in 3234 days

#1 posted 05-02-2017 11:27 AM

Must say Alex, you are are get innovator along with the step by step notes and photos, sir, most helpful, thank you for all the time and effort to share….top marks!!

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Dutchy's profile


4215 posts in 3452 days

#2 posted 05-02-2017 04:30 PM

View Dutchy's profile


4215 posts in 3452 days

#3 posted 05-02-2017 04:36 PM

Innovation and Alex are almost synonime to each other. Sorry to tell you that I prefer the sliding table from innovator Altendorf


View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10503 posts in 3692 days

#4 posted 05-03-2017 01:06 AM

Cool idea, have to study your very detailed notes and see what I can do.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Calmudgeon's profile


538 posts in 2711 days

#5 posted 05-03-2017 01:32 PM

Thanks for the explanation and the photos. Without them, I would have been left forever wondering how that bevel kerf got cut in the back fence (second photo). ;-)

Seriously, though, the idea of doing a build-up around the t-tracks rather then embedding them in dado cuts is a creative solution, as are the exchangeable skins. I can see both of these being useful in other sled/jig designs.

Thanks for posting.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5381 days

#6 posted 05-03-2017 03:16 PM

Sweet. :)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View DaveGlx's profile


365 posts in 3727 days

#7 posted 05-05-2017 09:28 AM

Nice toys you build mate. May I ask where do you source your t-tracks?

-- Dave -

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


8235 posts in 2104 days

#8 posted 05-05-2017 10:28 AM

Thx D’GIx.

I actually sourced a lot of my tracks from Rockler (USA) when our $ was worth a few shekels more. I usually use hardware (like t-tracks and their accessories) as “stocking fillers” during a USA purchase to pad out the box.

Locally I have sources some from Carba-tec (Kreg type). They also sell the intersecting tracks. Another late comer (here in Victoria) are Timbecon who also supply the type of tracks I use. I’m sure there are other sources but they are the ones I used and you can mail order from both. If mail ordering, make sure you sus out the specs. Some tracks only accept 1/4” hardware while others are 5/16” biased (may take 1/4” hardware). Also consider where using. The Incra, especially their double tracks, are great but they are 1/2” thick while the Kreg and Rockler are 3/8” (9mm). Just be aware when mixing and matching what dados/trenches will be needed. I prefer 3/8” as you get 1/8” extra screw depth in the same thicknessed timber, which I prefer for greater clamping pressure (less potential for track “delamination”).

Hope I have helped.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View DaveGlx's profile


365 posts in 3727 days

#9 posted 05-05-2017 12:16 PM

cheers mate, keep’em coming ;)

-- Dave -

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