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Easily assemble miter joints without jigs

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Picture of Easily assemble miter joints without jigs
Miter joints are very common, popular joints in woodworking.

They're also devilishly difficult to make.  The 45 degree angles need to be cut dead-on to avoid gaps, and the gluing-up process is a horrorshow- the moment you clamp a miter-joint-to-be, the pieces slide around.

Various companies sell a host of jigs and tools for easing the problem.  But here's a method that has worked quite well for me, using nothing beyond normal shop tools.

What you'll need:
  • 4 mitered pieces to glue up.  You may be able to adapt this process to work on individual joints, but here I'll only talk about gluing up a rectangle all at once.
  • A table saw, with a sliding rip fence.
  • a decently straight board, long enough to clamp at both ends of the table.
  • Clamps
In truth, you don't really need the tablesaw and fence (you could use a regular table and two straight boards), but it does make life easier, as you'll see.

This Instructable was made at Xerocraft, the Tucson Hackerspace, and is intended to count towards our sponsorship from Instructables.
 
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Step 1: Set up your fences

Slide the fence to one edge of the tablesaw table, and lock it in place.  Place the straight board square against the outside edge of the fence, and clamp it down.

Now, you can move the fence anywhere else, and it will be parallel to the wood straightedge.

Slide the fence away, and lock it down the exact width (or slightly closer) than the width of one side of your rectangle.  With a piece of soft pine as a fence like what I've got here, I can set the gap slightly smaller, and the miter pieces will just stick when they're perpendicular.
kpomerleau1 year ago
Would be nice if the pics were straight but the instructable gave me a bunch of ideas. Great work!

Thanks!
BillBiker1 year ago
No problem on the pictures I just saved on pc desktop opened in paint and flipped em 180 degrees :) . Awesome Idea and time saver. Not to this part just yet but I am learning alot, bookmarked this for future reference Thanks!!
kentdvm1 year ago
Excellent idea!
brianfss1 year ago
Good idea. Thanks for sharing.
Reading this on my iPad, I just flipped it over and the pics look fine:)
jimmyf1 year ago
Thanks for this cool idea. Make my life a whole lot easier!
Does it require mounting a table saw on the ceiling or onto a wall? (Just kidding) Your photos need re-orienting...
HarnessedDevilry (author)  oldmancoyote1 year ago
I'm sorry! The photos were right side up on my computer, but the Instructables website flips them over weirdly. Maybe it doesn't like Ubuntu?
What a great way to get those fit! Thanks for the share.