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A mitre box is a handy woodworking tool used to guide a backsaw, so you can make clean and precise cuts with it. In this instructable, we're not just making any plain-old mitre box: This mitre box has an adjustable width, so you can use it to cut wood of all sorts of shapes and sizes. In fact, you can adjust the mitre box's width from 0 all the way up to, well.. the length of whatever saw you want to use really. It doesn't even have to be a backsaw; it works just as well for e.g. a hand saw, as you can see in the first picture. Moreover, making this mitre box is actually easier than making a regular fixed-width mitre box. The trick is that we're just going to make two sides of our "box", clamp them into a Workmate/workbench's vice, and let that workbench do the hard work. That is, the workbench will form the bottom part of the mitre box, as well as provide the adjustment mechanism. Additionally, you can also secure your workpiece by clamping it down to the workbench.

The reason I ended up making this funky-looking mitre box was because I needed to resaw some small wood strips into thinner strips. (see the third picture) Because I don't have a table saw or a bandsaw, I resorted to cutting these strips by hand. It would be a pain to cut these strips without some sort of mitre box and (un?)fortunately, the only one I had wasn't wide enough. Sure, I could've just made a bigger fixed-width mitre box, but where's the fun in that if you can build a variable-width version in less time?

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Here's what you'll need to get going:

  • Pencil
  • Carpenter's square
  • Double-sided tape
  • Clamps
  • Sandpaper
  • Hand saw / backsaw
  • Small sheet of wood (As you can tell, the wood doesn't have to look pretty, but it should be quite strong/dense though.)
  • Workmate/workbench (Anything with a Workmate-like vice will do.)

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