CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKETS #5: Mitering the basket sides

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Blog entry by stefang posted 10-21-2014 07:59 PM 2534 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Progress Part 5 of CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKETS series Part 6: The Devil's Bow-ties »

I had big plans for lots of progress today, but I wound up doing a lot of chauffeur work instead so I didn’t get into the shop until late afternoon. I did manage to cut the miters for the basket sides and I will cover how I did that in this episode.

Compound Angled miter set-up
  • Making an angled fence.
    As most of know, miter angles are usually pretty accurate with the saw set to cut 45 deg. angles with the cut being done at 90 deg. However when we tilt the saw away from 90 deg. to produce a compound cut, we usually don’t experience the same accuracy. That’s why I try to avoid using the tilt angle settings on my SLMS.

Instead, I prefer to use an angled fence cut at the slope angle which I can hold the workpiece against in the same position it will occupy in the finished project and then just use the 45 deg. setting to make the miter cut. It should turn out quite accurate even if the fence is not exactly the desired angle as all the sides will be the same and should fit together perfectly.

To make the auxiliary angled fence I ripped a 2×3 at 15 deg. This was then set up on top of an MDF platter on the miter saw table to create a cutting surface that would prevent tear-out. The auxiliary fence was then screwed onto the MS fence through factory drilled holes. See below

Ordinarily the work pieces would be of uniform length, but mine weren’t because my stop moved a little while I was cutting the sides to length. I therefore thought it wise to mark the actual miter cut lines on each one. A lot more work, but worth it since destroying even one basket side would take me more than two hours of scroll saw work to replace. I then used the markings to line up with the miter cut I had previously made in the fence. I was able to easily hold the pieces by hand while cutting on the right side of workpieces. The left hand miters with the saw position set at 45 deg. on the other side were however a different story. To hold the workpiece there you would have to have your hand right under the saw or have it clamped, neither of which is possible because the saw is in the way while cutting, so I had to figure out an easy way to hold the workpiece. The solution turned out to be pretty simple. I just used a screw with a washer screwed to the fence in right through the workpiece fretwork. It took a little more time, but again worth it to not ruin the workpieces and get a very accurate result. See below

 Trial assembly
The cutting went perfect and I felt relieved that no damage was done. Next up was to tape up the sides to see the preliminary result. Here is the first one. The miters came out perfect!
See below

after that I cut the edges of one bottom piece to size with 15 deg. angle on all four edges and this also fit well so I can use the dimensions for the other bottoms. See below

Here they all are minus bottoms taped up. They all came out as good as the first one, and why not considering the care I took to insure that they would? See below

I plan to trim the other bottom pieces to size and then cut and glue in the 3 bow ties on each piece. When that is finished I will be gluing up the sides with the bottoms installed. Next on the agenda will be the top rims together with the bow ties on the mitered corners and then the feet if I get the time. Thanks for reading.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

13 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26653 posts in 4320 days

#1 posted 10-21-2014 08:06 PM

Very slick method, Mike. I’ll have to remember this one!!.............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4556 days

#2 posted 10-21-2014 08:12 PM

love your approach mike

‘stop and think’

these sure look nice
and your tutorials are excellent

as always

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4549 days

#3 posted 10-21-2014 08:25 PM

Thanks much Jim and David. With my skills I should be the student not the teacher, but I figure we all have some ideas that are worth sharing. This has been a fun project so far because of the challenge to make it a production operation, which although I have made up to 3 baskets at a time I didn’t carry it out like I’m doing here.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2844 days

#4 posted 10-21-2014 09:39 PM

Mike: Very cool techniques! I’ll be using them.
But you might consider stopping now and turning the stack of five into a lamp.
Maybe next time?

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4549 days

#5 posted 10-21-2014 09:58 PM

If I made a lamp out of them John I would want a Batman scroll pattern. The shadow cast would look great on our living room wall I’m sure my wife would love it. BTW the groove for the bottom did work out fine without it being cut at an angle as you predicted.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3882 days

#6 posted 10-21-2014 10:20 PM

Coming along just right ,you got it figured and are getting precision cuts with that set up.
It alway pays to take your time and make a good jig as it would take a lot longer to make another piece . Haste makes waste !


-- Kiefer

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4019 days

#7 posted 10-21-2014 10:33 PM

Santa Claus is coming… town… Very good Mike. I wish I had your energy.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4518 days

#8 posted 10-21-2014 11:07 PM

well mike i didnt see you pull up in my drive to take me to town…you sure you were not taking a nap under the shade tree…lol….im enjoying the blog, always a joy watching you do a project…i went out this morning and well…the afternoon came and i ended up in bed hurting way to much to even think of leaving…my fault…i still try to do things i have no business doing…so ill be here tomorrow…you have a great day in the shop…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22126 posts in 4890 days

#9 posted 10-22-2014 04:21 AM

Love it when things work out just right ;-) Nice work.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4549 days

#10 posted 10-22-2014 07:04 AM

Klaus So true. I can attest to that after creating much waste during my woodworking career, but I am getting better with experience. Brainwork first and then woodwork!

Bob (Grizz) After seeing that video about the 84 year old Australian posted by Patron, I feel that I should be doing a whole lot more. Sorry to hear that you are laid up. My youngest son has similar problems and some days he just has to stay in bed. Sweet dreams, and get better soon!

Bob thanks. Yes, a seldom occurrence in my shop, so well worth celebrating or at least bragging as I have done here.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1919 posts in 4676 days

#11 posted 10-22-2014 10:23 AM

I can definitely appreciate your method in doing these repeatably. The do over is costly in terms of time.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3487 days

#12 posted 10-22-2014 01:45 PM

Mike, your work and blog are stellar, the Baskets are looking wonderful.
...and thanks for sharing your Jig solution for repeatable compound cuts.

Best Regards. – Len
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4549 days

#13 posted 10-22-2014 04:42 PM

Thanks Ken and Len. The compound solution is really just re-shared. Most pros and many hobbyists have been doing using this technique like forever.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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