Instructables
Picture of The Square Cut Saw Track
Here's something you probably don't know about me ... I don't have a sliding miter saw. Here are some other things you probably already guessed ... I do have a regular miter saw; I don't really have the space for a sliding miter saw, let alone a second miter saw; I rarely have the need for a sliding miter saw, and I sure the hell don't want to pay for a sliding miter saw.

Looks like it's time to make a solution ... and then fix the fence on my large table saw sled.
 
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Step 1: The Parts and Layout

Picture of The Parts and Layout
02 Layout.JPG
05 Glueup.JPG
You've probably seen a track saw, and they are awesome ... awesome at being expensive. You've probably also seen a saw board. In fact, I was making a conventional 4' one when I thought to myself, "Self, You need to make me a sandwich. But after that, you need to modify this design so we can cut up that sweet 12" wide board that the miter saw can't handle."

Sorry, I got distracted. We'll focus on the modification. 1/2" plywood which I cut down to 10 1/4" x 18". A strip of 3/16" hardboard cut to 1 3/4" wide (left it long). and another piece of 1/2" ply that was 1" wide and around 10 1/2" long (left it long).

The offset to the left of my circular saw blade is 5" so I scored a shallow line at 5 1/8" on a table saw. I'd recommend going a little more then the offset for a cleaner first cut (I know I should've gone with 5 1/4"). This shallow line is an alignment line and a trick I found on youtube.

Step 2: Glue and Screw the Rail

Picture of Glue and Screw the Rail
Slap on some glue, line up your rail with the shallow cut, and throw a screw in one end. Now dial in the other end and make sure you use a square for verification. Drive some more screws. I used # 6 1/2" wood screws and I predrilled the hardboard with countersinks. I trimmed off the excess hardboard at this time.
Graham Lane6 months ago

A neat idea and one I shall follow. What is the hand-wheel for?

-BALES- (author)  Graham Lane6 months ago

That hand wheel is connected to my router lift.

Ah, nothing to do with the saw! I see.
jsilvestri368 months ago
Great idea and easy to do. Might have to make one myself.
-BALES- (author) 9 months ago
An even quicker version of this idea - nice.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U0qRrYLrVY
Slabysz10 months ago
In step #1, you scored a light line as an alignment trick? Is that just for mounting the guide? Why would you not just use a square and a pencil? Is it so you have a more permanent mark that shows if the guide goes out of alignment?
-BALES- (author)  Slabysz10 months ago
I saw someone do it and wanted to try it to see if it had any advantages. It didn't really.
Slabysz -BALES-10 months ago
ah I see. Thx. MMMM sandwich.
mikej_w Slabysz10 months ago
I hope it isn't P&B. I like salami.
kjlpdx10 months ago
you missed the last step. run your saw down the other side of your guide while using the part of the saw base to the right of the blade. this way your guide can make cuts from either side of the saw base. also write on the guide with arrows showing where the drop is. I know it sounds stupid, but it only needs to help you once pointing out which side of the line to cut.
-BALES- (author)  kjlpdx10 months ago
That is a viable option for sure. I'm not going to do it for a few reasons.

1. The other side of my saw has a 1 1/2" offset so I'd have to balance the weight manually and since I'm nowhere close to perfect, I'd end up with an angled cut.
2. I want more than 1 1/2" on that side so I have room to clamp while avoiding the motor housing.
3. The saw cuts flush to the track so if my keeper piece is to the right, I'll just add 1/8" for the kerf. I cut a little long anyway when breaking down stock.
kjlpdx -BALES-10 months ago
I made a set of these years ago. if you make the guide the right width then you can use both sides and not have collisions with your clamps. they will be wider than yours, and based, of course, on the dimensions of your saw. I find many times I want to cut on either side because of space restrictions at the workplace. 1½" is adequate to keep your saw level and square if you have a decent saw that hasn't been dropped.
claudg195010 months ago
Great 'ible; great twist on a traditional guide board.
"Turns out my framing square ... wasn't so square". You probably know that there is a way to true up a faulty square, but just to mention it here: take a punch and a hammer and look for the diagonal formed by the encounter of the horizontal and the vertical arms of the square. You ought to hammer down a depression on the metal. If the depression is near the inner side of the square, it will open a little. If you hammer near the outer edge of the metal, the angle of the square will be reduced slightly.
-BALES- (author)  claudg195010 months ago
I didn't know what, but I'm sure going to try it. I appreciate that info.
claudg1950 -BALES-10 months ago
Try this (no pictures though):
http://www.ehow.com/how_8158050_tune-framing-square.html
Better this one:
http://www.newwoodworker.com/fxfrmsqr.html
stanwitham10 months ago
A great idea! Thanks for sharing
Relence10 months ago
Thanks! I can definitely use this.
kevgrn11410 months ago
Very nice instructable!! I am vastly reducing the amount of space I can work in and this will help things out a lot.. I'm going to build one of these for sure! Right after I make myself a sandwich! :-)
dimtick10 months ago
I like this a lot. I have a set of saw guides that I made using hardboard for the base and 1x for the guide rail. problem with mine is that after a couple years they've warped so now it's time to make another. This time i'll use 1/2" ply for the base and hardboard for the guide. shouldn't warp this time around.
I also been wanting to make a guide just like this to use with my router as a dado jig.
couple cutting notes. these are both things i got off home improvement shows so nothing i can take credit for. I don't have a table saw (or a sliding miter saw) so these guides are how I make most of my cuts.
whenever possible i try to make sure that the waste side is completely supported so that you don't get chip off when the waste board drops. usually what i do is put a couple scrap 2x's on my table and the put the cut board on that and set the saw depth so that it only goes 1/8" into the 2x's. I've seen some suggestions to use some 2" rigid insulation under the saw but I've always been afraid that the insulation will dull the saw blade. my only problem is that i have to be careful to stop the saw at the end of the cut so that i don't knick the table. I know there are ways to prevent this but my table is pretty beat up so i don't worry about it to much. if i'm cutting anything wider than a foot i'll lay it on the ground and will kneel on the board while i cut so it's really not that often that i'm cutting on the table anyway.
my other trick is to score the cut line with a utility knike after you've clamped down the guide. makes for a cleaner cut. I'll often be in a hurry and don't want to take the time to swap out the saw blade with a finish blade so this will still give a good cut for pieces where the final edge needs to be clean and square, but doesn't need to be perfect.
(i really like your router table by the way. i have a crappy craftsman table to works ok but i'd really like somethign better)
-BALES- (author)  dimtick10 months ago
I'm surprised the hardboard warped. I made a 4' track using this 1/2" ply and it has some cupping, but I put the crown up and since I clamp it to my work, it isn't an issue (yet). Part of that was the veneer/grain orientation, but I was working with on hand materials. Those are some great tips that I'll definitely use.

I started with a $99 Skill table, but the switch died and it's mostly plastic. I built this table specifically for cutting the bearing edges on drum shells, but it has become my second most used tool (right behind the table saw), as well as an out feed table and assembly table. If I had to do it again, I'd probably use laminated plywood for the top instead of melamine because I'm getting some minor chipping on the edges, even with the plywood edging/banding. Also, I wouldn't worry about make the router slide to the center of the table because it isn't necessary.

If you are interested, here are the build galleries for the beast:

Router Table:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4601729406334.2184307.1385296591&type=1&l=e986553096

Concealed Landing Gear:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4763732216303.2188006.1385296591&type=1&l=28e1345174

The lift design is by John Heisz, whom I follow on youtube and I purchased his plans.