Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

author
Eh+Lie+Us%21 made it!(author)2017-07-18

Great nut. How did you craft that?

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)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

author
Eh+Lie+Us%21 made it!(author)2017-07-20

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

Sorry. I had to go there.

author
Crandlemire made it!(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?

author
fred_dot_u made it!(author)2017-07-18

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.

author
Crandlemire made it!(author)2017-07-18

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.

author
sbarns made it!(author)2017-07-20

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...

author
hugedom made it!(author)2017-07-19

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.

author
Crandlemire made it!(author)2017-07-19

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.

author
Waste+Of+Space made it!(author)2017-07-18

No it won't

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

thank you for the kind comments

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

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

author
rayp1511 made it!(author)2017-07-19

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

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-19

thanks

author
sorebigtoe made it!(author)2017-07-18

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

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

Thank you

author
tomatoskins made it!(author)2017-07-14

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

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

thanks for the comment

author
deluges made it!(author)2017-07-18

Smart and effective, I like it

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

thank you

author
jim21489 made it!(author)2017-07-18

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

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

Thank you

author
Toga_Dan made it!(author)2017-07-18

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

author
18bbaker made it!(author)2017-07-18

ya, that's a good tip.

Very nice instructable overall! Thanks!

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

thank you for the nice comment

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

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.

author
metalworker made it!(author)2017-07-18

nice job

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

Thank you

author
slamonella made it!(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.

author
PhilH40 made it!(author)2017-07-18

thank you for the comment

author
lbrewer42 made it!(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!

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