Introduction: Simple T Track for Woodwork Jigs

Picture of Simple T Track for Woodwork Jigs

I started to make a new small cross cut sled for my table saw the other day and decided to make the t slot directly in the fence rather than buying an aluminium one,
with that in mind I decided to write this little article to show people just how easy they are to make. this method can be used to make slots in jigs or to make a track to install in a jig.

Materials:-

  • A piece of wood suitable for making the fence or track ( hardwood is best )
  • 1 nut and bolt sized for the application ( for my example I have used 8 mm )

Tools:-

  • A table saw or Router (optional used as an alternative for cutting the slots)
  • Good quality wood glue
  • Clamps

Step 1: SELECTING MATERIALS

Picture of SELECTING MATERIALS

Firstly we need a suitable piece of wood for the project I would suggest using a hardwood for this as it will last longer, an 8 mm bolt mine is around 40 mm long and a 8 mm nut,

I have then used the table saw to remove around 20 mm from the top of the piece of wood as seen in the picture below.

Step 2: SETTING THE DEPTH OF CUT

Picture of SETTING THE DEPTH OF CUT

First we need to set the depth on the blade this needs to be just a little deeper than the head of the bolt.

Step 3: CUTTING SLOTS

Picture of CUTTING SLOTS

With the depth set move the fence so the blade is more or less center of the wood, it does not have to be perfect just close.

Run the wood through the saw and at the end of the cut turn the wood around so the opposite face is against the fence and run through the saw again, this method will center the groove on the work piece.
With the first cut complete adjust your fence so you make the slot a little wider and once more run the wood through the saw, as before flip your work piece at the end of the first cut and run through again, repeat this process until the slot is just a fraction wider than the head of the bolt. ( Remember because we are cutting twice for each fence adjustment it will double the amount removed so be careful towards the end of the process).

With the first part cut we now turn our attention to the smaller section we removed at the start,
This time we need to set the depth on the saw to around 4 – 5 mm and once again set the fence so the work piece is roughly center on the blade. As before we do two passes through the saw for each adjustment until the slot is slightly wider than the threads on the bolt.

Step 4: FORMING THE JOINT

Picture of FORMING THE JOINT

We now have both of the slots cut so we now need to join the top to the bottom using a good quality wood glue, spread the glue sparingly as we don’t want any excess in the slot.

(Spread the glue on the smaller faces of the bottom piece rather than the top).

Remember to wipe off the excess glue with a damp cloth and leave to dry for several hours.

Step 5: REMOVING THE WASTE

Picture of  REMOVING THE WASTE

After allowing the glue to dry remove the piece from the clamps and head back to the table saw.

This time we need to set the fence so the blade just cuts through the top most part of the slot as in the picture

Run the timber through the saw and you should be left with a T slot

Step 6: NOT FORGETTING THE NUT

Picture of NOT FORGETTING THE NUT

We are going to need something to tighten the jigs, this could be just using the nut and a washer or you could make something like this out of a little bit of scrap.

Comments

AndrewS246 (author)2017-11-02

This is great. I'd often scratched my head on this one!
Just a thought that might make it easier by reducing machining…
As it stands there's a wide groove for the bolt head in the lower piece, and a narrow groove for the shaft in the upper piece.
How about machining the wide groove and the narrow groove both in the top piece?
Also sand to a fine finish and lots of silicone spray!
Well done that man.

lbrewer42 (author)2017-07-18

This is a good job. I was thinking of something along this line and then saw a router bit sold on ebay that was designed to make this track in a board. One pass and its done. But there is a lot less satisfaction with a one pass solution!

Old Shooter (author)lbrewer422017-07-24

Sure would like to find a one shot router jig. Best I can find is two bits. The first makes the initial cut to depth needed. Second bit does the T part by following the initial cut thus keeping the cut clean and not straining the router.

Fianor (author)Old Shooter2017-10-17

Someone makes a bit that cuts the slot in one pass, but it's not as clean as the 2 pass. It can be tough on the router also.

Yerlt (author)2017-08-13

Sorry to ask the dumb question, but what would one use this T-slot for?

PhilH40 made it! (author)Yerlt2017-08-18

Hi making this is what started it all off, this is my small cross cut sled for my table saw. t slots have other uses from holding work down to adjustments on jigs.

techydiy (author)2017-07-25

Good stuff!

pbates123 (author)2017-07-23

Nice work PhilH40 and nice name also!! I like the way you made your T track. I have thought of a couple of other ways that may work as well although I have yet to try them.

One way I thought of was to cut or route a channel slightly larger than the bolt shank you are going to use. Next using a key hole router bit route the area the head of the bolt will ride in. I think this would work well with brass toilet bolts.

The second idea was to, as before start off by cutting the channel first that is large enough for the shank and head of the bolt this time. Then use a piloted rabbiting bit to route down either side of the channel that you could then inlay thin aluminum strips leaving enough space for the bolt shank to pass between the strips. Not sure either of these would work any better than your idea though!

Nice work keep it up!

- Phil

Eh Lie Us! (author)2017-07-18

Great nut. How did you craft that?

PhilH40 (author)Eh Lie Us!2017-07-19

They are as simple as the slot is I will do a quick how to at the weekend while I am dong the next part to this one

Eh Lie Us! (author)PhilH402017-07-20

Much appreciated. It's a neat way to add a little more class to any typical...nut job.

Sorry. I had to go there.

Crandlemire (author)2017-07-18

Why wouldn't you just glue two small pieces of wood to the top on track
instead of wasting the time and material routing out, gluing up, and
then cutting off the bigger piece you used?

fred_dot_u (author)Crandlemire2017-07-18

The method in the instructable will result in a more accurate slot as well as a more easily aligned, glued and clamped slot cover. Nicely done.

Crandlemire (author)fred_dot_u2017-07-18

That is absolutely not true. You can precisely measure and cut two thin strips of hard wood and glue them to the base -- I like the instructable but disagree with the wasted effort and material to glue the top part -- so make it any way you want and I'll make it my way.

sbarns (author)Crandlemire2017-07-20

you try fiddle with small pieces of wood, i will finish way before you and will look neater and be way more accurate than your tooth pick method... router, clue, cut... you have to hold small strips, try to clamp... and just dont say nail because we dont all have nail guns...

hugedom (author)Crandlemire2017-07-19

I agree with author, this method seems easier and really not much more material wasted compared to cutting two tiny strips. I imagine the piece that was cut away would likely be reused for something else.

Crandlemire (author)hugedom2017-07-19

As someone that has been a professional woodworker for the last 40 years I am offering some sound advise as to how a wood shop would handle this build. The time to route the top piece and the waste of material would NOT be an acceptable method for doing this build -- time and material equals money -- and in business we are not in the habit of losing either. Again having said that everyone here is welcome to do it your way and I'll do it mine. It's a nice instructable other than that.

No it won't

PhilH40 (author)fred_dot_u2017-07-18

thank you for the kind comments

PhilH40 (author)Crandlemire2017-07-18

Thank you for the comment

you are correct you could just glue two pieces on top as you suggest and I have done that on a previous one where I added the slot to an existing fence.

I just find this way easier for me to line everything up

rayp1511 (author)2017-07-19

That's a handy tip and saves money! Nice job

PhilH40 (author)rayp15112017-07-19

thanks

sorebigtoe (author)2017-07-18

What a fantastic idea, it's brilliant and you have explained and showed it in so much detail. Well done

PhilH40 (author)sorebigtoe2017-07-18

Thank you

tomatoskins (author)2017-07-14

What a great technique! And you don't need any special bolts for the T-track!

PhilH40 (author)tomatoskins2017-07-18

thanks for the comment

deluges (author)2017-07-18

Smart and effective, I like it

PhilH40 (author)deluges2017-07-18

thank you

jim21489 (author)2017-07-18

Pretty cool technique it you don't have a router & t-track bit. Nicely done?

PhilH40 (author)jim214892017-07-18

Thank you

Toga_Dan (author)2017-07-18

Nice technique. I may suggest square bolt head. Less likely to split or wallow out the track.

18bbaker (author)Toga_Dan2017-07-18

ya, that's a good tip.

Very nice instructable overall! Thanks!

PhilH40 (author)18bbaker2017-07-18

thank you for the nice comment

PhilH40 (author)Toga_Dan2017-07-18

I tend to use what I have got, and on the sled I built using this method I used a rectangle one.

I wanted to show on this you could use normal bolts as an alternative.

Thanks for the advise.

metalworker (author)2017-07-18

nice job

PhilH40 (author)metalworker2017-07-18

Thank you

slamonella (author)2017-07-18

Great idea for folks without a router or if you have odd sized fasteners you want to use in the slot. I used to do something similar but I got tired of the hassle and just bought a couple of different sized t-slot router bits.

PhilH40 (author)slamonella2017-07-18

thank you for the comment

About This Instructable

25,570views

208favorites

License:

Bio: I love creating stuff !
Add instructable to: