How to Make a Picture Frame Table Saw Sled




About: I am a full-time online content creator, designing, creating and teaching the art of woodworking. I have an art background that I incorporate into my projects and focus on originality and design.

This is the first video in a multi-part series on picture frame making. This video gives you an overview on how to make the ultimate picture frame sled. In order to make perfect picture frames you need two things... One, the two corner pieces must add up to 90deg and the short sides as well as the long sides must be the exact same length. This sled covers both of those issues as well as it allows for larger picture frames than a traditional miter sled stop system. Picture frames are not measured by the inside or outside length but by the rabbit so if your artwork or matte is 5x7 we can set the stop to create a frame for that exact size. To make sure there is no play in our sled we're using the MicroJig Zero Play Guide bar system that adjusts to fit any table saw. Free SketchUp plans available on my website.

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Step 1: Step 1: Cut Base

First up is we’ll cut the base to size.

Step 2: Step 2: Kerf Cut Line

Next we’ll draw the 45° line where our kerf cut will be, as reference.

Step 3: Step 3: Mark Miter Slots

Knowing my fence is parallel to the blade, I’ll use a speed square up against it to register the sled at 45°. And then mark where the miter slot is located.

Step 4: Step 4: Set Up Zero Play Guide Bar

Next I’ll assemble the Micro Jig Zero Play Guide Bar System. There are two pieces that slide along angled grooves. This allows the Zero Play Guide Bar to match the width of any miter slot.

Step 5: Step 5: Mark the Zero Play Guide Bar Holes

Next I’ll place it on top of the base and use an ice pick to mark where the the holes need to be drilled.

Step 6: Step 6: Drill Oversized Holes

Then I’ll drill oversized holes, this will allow for calibration. And counter sink them so the screw head will sit below the surface.

Step 7: Step 7: Attach Zero Play Guide Bar

And now it’s just a matter of placing in the washers and screws and loosely attaching the Zero Play underneath the base.

Step 8: Step 8: Calibrate and Tighten

Because the holes are oversized we can then calibrate the sled to be exactly 45° to the fence and tighten down the bolts.

Step 9: Step 9: Cut the Kerf

Now we’ll cut the kerf to about 10 inches deep.

Step 10: Step 10: Cut Aluminum Ruler

Using an aluminum ruler I cut a 45° angle at the front end and then cut it to length. Using the cut off of the ruler for the short side I repeat the process.

Step 11: Step 11: Create Ruler Overhang

Since I want my ruler to be elevated and have an overhang, I’ll cut some masonite to about half the width of the ruler.

Step 12: Step 12: Epoxy the Back on Ruler

Now I’ll epoxy it on the back of the ruler. On the short side I won’t need the measurements so I have the numbers facing down.

Step 13: Step 13: Attach Ruler to Base

Now it’s time to attach the ruler to the base. It’s important to have it perfectly parallel to the edge so I’ll screw in one side, position it and then add a couple more screws.

Step 14: Step 14: Short Side Guide

Here is the most important part of the build. You want the short side to be a perfect 90° so I encourage you to check, recheck and then check again.

Step 15: Step 15: Reattach With Glue

I'll then take them off and reattach it with glue and screws.

Step 16: Step 16: Add Sandpaper Grip

Here I’m using adhesive backed sandpaper as grip to prevent slipping of my frame pieces when making cuts.

Step 17: Step 17: Cut Stop Block

Now it’s time to cut the stop block. On one edge I’ll cut a grove that’ll slip over the ruler. And then cut a 45° angle on one face.

Step 18: Step 18: Add Hold Down Toggle

Then I’ll attach a hold-down toggle clamp to the stop block.

Step 19: Step 19: Make Your Frame!

Start by making your first cut on the left side. Then on the right side butt up your piece against the stop block. Repeat so you have two equal length pieces. Move the stop block to the next length and cut two more pieces the same way. There is a full video and detailed photos on my website along with free SketchUp plans.

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    14 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I have been trying to find the plans for building the picture frame table saw sled. I tried the link above and I'm told the page is not available. Do you have another link for the plans or any other suggestions that I might try? Your help would be greatly appreciated.


    1 year ago

    Thanks. Nice project, however, using your cut measurements of 5 x 7 for the frame, there will be no support for the "mat" as it will fall through. Therefore the correct cut marks will be 4.5 and 6.5, which accommodates a 1/4" rabbit.


    3 years ago

    On steps #6 and #8, counter SINKING defeats the purpose of drilling holes oversize for adjustment. The ANGLE of the countersink will positively locate the hole; for adjustment purposes, there should be a flat bottomed counter BORE to accommodate a screw head without any taper, since the tapered head will also positively locate the screw in the center of the hole no matter what size the hole is.


    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    He used the wrong term here. To your credit, he should have stated "counter-bore." To his credit, in the video he uses a forstner bit, so he IS counter-boring. Additionally, he places a steel washer in each hole, effectively negating the sink vs. bore issue anyway.

    Personally, I find it far easier to drill the counter-bore before the through-hole to ensure concentric alignment, but seems he pulled it off anyway!

    John L

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I would suggest that you be VERY careful here, because you are infringing on the Great Izzy Swan's patent upon the world "Ultimate". Mark my words here, if you receive a "Cease and Desist" order, best pay close heed to it.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice to see you here, David! :D

    Just a heads up, the link to your website, the orange text to the right of your profile picture at the top of this page, isn't working properly. You're missing a ":" after the "https"


    4 years ago

    Very nice jig. Thanks for sharing.


    4 years ago

    Awesome I was wondering if you would come to instructables.I've been watching you vids and listening to your podcast since you started.sweet jig.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I liked how you did the calculations, but I'm using miter saw for kind of these works. So it's good for those who don't want to spend money on miter saws.

    sir woodster

    4 years ago

    really good instructable .
    what is the next part about ?


    4 years ago

    Glad to see you on instructables, been following you and your great content on YouTube since you started. Can't wait to see what else you've got in store for us!!