Needing help with 45's

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Forum topic by Jim posted 02-26-2010 05:16 AM 1642 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jim's profile


150 posts in 3965 days

02-26-2010 05:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: box miters 45 degrees shooting board plane

Ok, here’s the rundown. I’ve been asked to make 3 more “Andy’s Art Boxes”. The problem that really held me back on my first attempt, was the issue of having to get the perfect 45 degree miters on the base of the box. I’ve tried going about this many ways, I’ve got the Craftsman version of the BT3000 Table saw, meaning that doesn’t have your typical table top, nor does it have miter tracks on it. It does have a sliding miter table which I’m almost positive has been tuned in, dead-on. I readjusted the blade angle stops to perfect 45.0 degrees with a digital angle cube, and STILL have issues. The cuts have gotten a lot closer to perfect, but they still show a bit proud on one end of the cut, and shy on the other.

So for the sake of trying to get these projects done fairly soon since we will be moving to a new house in the next couple months, I’ve decided to use the pieces I’ve already cut, and try to make a shooting board for my hand planes instead. The issue I’ve got here is, in order to make the correct shooting plane, again I have to make perfect 45 degree cuts to make a jig to hold the board at an angle to the plane.

I’m out of ideas, I’ve beat my head against the wall on this one, maybe I’m missing something simple, but I’ve given in. I’m asking for your guys’ help and input. I really need to get these boxes going and I don’t want to just “get by” like I did on the first box. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

9 replies so far

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4404 days

#1 posted 02-26-2010 05:27 AM

The problem is the fact that even a tiny error in angle is multiplied by four. With your digital angle gauge try small adjustments of 0.2 degrees at a time.

There is also the need to have opposite sides exactly the same length, or you will play with the angles to the point of complete frustration.

It takes a good saw to do a precision job on this type of application.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View barryvabeach's profile


159 posts in 3686 days

#2 posted 02-26-2010 05:30 AM

Jim, use your BT3000 with the miter table and cut a triangle with the right angle – it doesn’t have to be 45 degrees exactly, but close to it. Then use you hand plane, with the triangle clamped in a vise, to trim one side so it does form a true 45. You might try zeroing your digital angle gauge on you work bench, then putting one side of the triangle on the bench in the same spot, and hold the digital against the side of the triangle to see how close you are to 45. ( make sure the sides are straight since the digital angle cube has a small footprint. Don’t get too worried if you can’t get it to 45 exactly, you can still use it for shooting, you just use shims ( I use old business cards) on either the far side or near side when you stock is on the shooting board so that the pieces fit together when assembled. Good luck.

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 3965 days

#3 posted 02-26-2010 05:33 AM

I started using Rockler Fence Clamps, and putting a stop block on the sliding miter fence, and thanks to that it takes out the frustration on the lengths differing. I’ve noticed the joints contact more towards the inner face of the angle, leaving a slight gap on the outer corner. Haven’t figured out where the problem lies though. Didn’t know if it could be blade movement, uneven spots in the table, or whatever of the many factors that contribute to the frustrations of 45s. Thus why I figured going with a shooting board would make it easier, I just have to be able to make that jig that sets the boards up for a 45 degree shaving.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18823 posts in 4318 days

#4 posted 02-26-2010 09:34 AM

Did you try clamping them at a perfect 90 and sawing a kerf down the joint to finish it?

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

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4114 days

#5 posted 02-26-2010 06:46 PM

Miter shooting board and a handplane (say a #5 Stanley or low angle jack). Get it as close as you can with your TS, leaving it a bit over length. Then work it down to the line.

The down side to this as a short term solution is the investment in time and money in acquiring the tools, making the shooting board (you can buy them but easy to make) and then tuning the board and the plane. But once made it is a very slick way to get tight fitting miters.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View Fireguy's profile


132 posts in 3878 days

#6 posted 02-26-2010 06:57 PM

I set my blade to 45 and check it with my angle cube, then I cut 2 scap peices and lay them on the top of my saw end to end to make one straight peice if you are at 45 they should lay flat and no gap. It takes a few tweeks but has worked really good for me in the past.

-- Alex

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18823 posts in 4318 days

#7 posted 02-27-2010 12:21 AM

Fireguy, that sounds like the fastest and easiest way to fine tune it. Great idea,

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

View poopiekat's profile


4617 posts in 4377 days

#8 posted 02-27-2010 01:06 AM

When I owned a BT 3000, I found it imposible to get the type of cuts I expected on my older Delta/Rockwell.
I noticed that those clamps under the top, front and rear, that held the rails for the ripfence would flex, allowing just a bit of lateral movement. They’re only attached to the saw with sheet aluminum. A true square cut was difficult, and since I believe the sliding miter unit also rides in a track of the same rails, you might be not traveling true to your angle settings. When I bought the saw, I thought having rails that could be adjusted so you could choose which side of the blade you wanted your wide cuts was a dream come true….but with those rails tending to move around from the pressure of your lumber and push of your hands, it’s just not the right saw for the quality of work you wish to do. Mine went to an auctioneer.

UPDATE: Here’s an article written by someone who had the same bad experiences that I did:
I’m not the only one who had problems with the rails. Though, in retrospect, I liked some of the saw’s features, and perhaps if I knew about shooting boards then, I might have hung onto this saw.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 3965 days

#9 posted 02-27-2010 03:22 AM

Yea Poopiekat, I didn’t know any better when I bought the saw and I had the same thoughts as you. It folded up into a convenient cart (Craftsman version), and the rails could REALLY make wide pieces easier to handle and it was versatile. And then I realized the headache that it created as far as how to make everything parallel to the blade (I used the “accessory table” that had miters until I realized it had no way to adjust it to be parallel) and then started using the Sliding Miter Table and then noticed what you’ve mentioned, the table seems to have a little play due to the sliding effect. I have some ideas on how to make up for this a bit, but ultimately I’ll need the shooting board. Thats where I think I’ll do like Barryvabeach mentioned, and just make the angle block and shim it till it’s 45 degrees and make the swipe with the plane.

Thanks everyone for the input, it all definitely made me reassess the whole situation and the options I had. Ultimately I’ll have to save up for a better quality saw, but for now the shooting board should fix the minor imperfection I’ve got in the miters since it’s VERY close to being a tight fitting miter.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

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