Making repeat cuts on a DeWalt miter saw with no ruler fence

mogator88June 5, 2008

Hi everyone,

I'm working on an "art" project where I have to cut a strip of wood into six equal pieces (and then repeat many times over.) These are miter cuts, and I figured the quickest/easiest/best way would be to do this on a miter saw (vs my table saw or radial arm saw.)

I recently picked up a DeWalt miter saw to replace a couple of off brand saws I'd been using over the years. I love the saw, its a real tool, but it has no markings on the fence (my others had a ruler on the fence.) So, I'd like to know what you do or would do.

What I've tried is:

- pre-marking the wood with a pencil, but it takes longer than I'd like to align the wood. Its a narrow strip and a miter cut, and I'm not getting great accuracy.

- pencil marking the fence. I don't feel like this is accurate enough for the precision cuts I need for this project

- using the first cut as a stacked template. Time consuming, not 100% accurate with the general blade I have.

- clamping a block to the fence. My DeWalt doesn't have a clamp and doesn't look like it has a place for one, so I used a spring clamp and plywood on the fence itself. I worked this time, but the clamp isn't as tight as I'd like, and the back of the fence has ridges and slopes so this is probably not going to always work, and then there's the motor that can get in the way of my clamp :-).

Thanks in advance for your ideas and help.

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sombreuil_mongrel

Order a self-adhesive rule strip and affix it to the fence, calibrating it to the cut as accurately as you can. They can be found at the link below, 2/3 way down page.
Casey

Here is a link that might be useful: Self-stick tapes

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 7:45PM
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bobismyuncle

I would make a sacrificial fence out of scrap plywood and affix the stop(s) to that. If you need it to move, you can use a stronger clamp or carriage bolt. I always cut a 1/16 to 1/8" rabbet at the bottom of the stop & fence so that sawdust does not accumulate and throw your measurement off.

"Measure once, cut 40 times"

There are also times when it's most important to be "exactly the same" for all pieces and not necessarily "exactly a given measurement."

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 8:32PM
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HandyMac

Actually, making a jig for a table saw is a better idea in this case. You could make an adjustable jig, with a position for every cut and possibly cut more than one board at a time.

The time spent maaking the jig will be much less than fussing with a miter saw.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 8:34PM
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mogator88

Thanks for the lead on the adhesive marking strip, I'll look into that.

The sacrificial fence sounds interesting. I'll have to see if I can clamp it properly, otherwise I found a moulding clamp set at Lowe's that would probably do the trick (for $35!).

My table saw is not in the same league as my other tools, but, a sled would allow me to tear right through this project. I'm going to look into this also.

You've all given me some great ideas. Thanks for your quick and kind responses.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:11AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

BTW, there are screw holes in the back of the DeWalt fence for attaching a wood fence strip; every well thought-out miter saw has this prepared for.
Casey

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 8:14AM
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brickeyee

You do not even need a sled for the table saw.

Attach a scrap of wood about to the table and use it as a stop for the cut offs.
Set the miter gauge as required. place the wood against the face and touching the stop block.
Push it across the table.

If you need to do both ends in opposite directions cut them slightly over length straight, then do one end mitered, then the other using a stop block for each repeated cut before changing teh block for the next cut.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 7:52PM
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bobismyuncle

I have a sliding miter sled that I use for picture framing as long as I can hold the stock (I switched to miter saw when I had a compound miter on a 7' side) I rarely use the factory supplied miter gauge -- only for odd angles. And if I did more non-45 mitering, I'd make an adjustable one.

I also have a sled for 0 crosscuts. It works equally well on 2" pieces as it does 10' pieces. I use it for all cross cuts and even some taper cuts.

Both are well worth spending an afternoon making and tuning.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 7:59PM
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mogator88

You do not even need a sled for the table saw.

Attach a scrap of wood about to the table and use it as a stop for the cut offs.
Set the miter gauge as required. place the wood against the face and touching the stop block.
Push it across the table.

If you need to do both ends in opposite directions cut them slightly over length straight, then do one end mitered, then the other using a stop block for each repeated cut before changing teh block for the next cut.

I had thought about using my miter gauge and fence. But my miter gauge isn't the best, and my saw has a 5/8" T slot, so an aftermarket miter gauge isn't easily available.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 4:12PM
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mogator88

I also have a sled for 0 crosscuts. It works equally well on 2" pieces as it does 10' pieces. I use it for all cross cuts and even some taper cuts.

I never even knew about sleds until a few days ago. A sled just for cross cuts would have come in very handy for several projects over the years, and probably stifled my desire for a new miter saw and radial arm saw.

Its amazing what one good tool, just one, can do when its properly "set up" and you have the knowledge to get the most out of it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 4:19PM
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bobismyuncle

The table saw is the "King" in my shop. My work style has just developed around it. I was giving a presentation at a conference and there was a well-known "router guy" in the audience waiting for his presentation.

He called me a "table saw guy" and said he didn't even own one.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 11:55AM
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mogator88

BTW, there are screw holes in the back of the DeWalt fence for attaching a wood fence strip; every well thought-out miter saw has this prepared for.
Casey

Actually mine doesn't have those. (Model dw712)

The right fence is completely flat - no holes at all. I double checked this morning just to be sure I was remembering this correctly.

The left fence has a pair of oval holes that would allow a bolt and nut to go through. But I would normally feed from that side.

I'm going to contact DeWalt about this, since their website shows two holes at the top of the right fence.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 3:45PM
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mogator88

Well my fence needs replacing, it should have holes on the right side fence.

DeWalt is replacing the fence for me at no charge as a warranty claim. I just have to drop it off at a nearby dealer and DeWalt will pick it and take it from there.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 4:32PM
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