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Table Saw Miter Gauge; How To Use

November 22, 2018Olen Murriel

In the world of woodworking tools such as table saws, there are some accessories that make work not only efficient but fast as well One of these indispensable accessories is the miter gauge; for table saw owners it is a great addition to their system. The meter gauge is designed in such away that it allows you to make perfect cross-cuts that are perpendicular to the wood’s grain at all chosen angles. You can set your miter gauge at an angle of your choice; some at 45 degrees, others at 90 degrees on the miter gauge which than enables your saw to create a picture-perfect cut.

Nevertheless, some companies have begun manufacturing miter gauges that provide the accuracy that is required for table saws. While they remain a bit on the expensive side, but you can still find some aftermarket miter saws that are highly specialized and accurate with a few hundred dollars, you can lay your hands on one that is truly effective and of high quality.


How a Miter Gauge Is Designed To Work

A miter gauge comes with features that make it work with both accuracy and precision. Some of these features include along with a thin metal guide, which runs through the miter slot in the table of your saw. Another feature is the half —moon shaped head that is attached to the metal guide and is strategically placed at the connection point with the guide. There is a locking function that makes the connecting part to be locked from any angle within a range of -45 to .45 degrees.

The moment you take out your workpiece and place it between the miter gauge and the board, the outcome is a workpiece that is cut at the exact angle which you wanted. The most commonly used angles for many miter gauges are set at 90-, 45-, and 30- degrees. There are also ones that allow for angles of 22 1/2 degrees.


Creating Square Cross-Cuts Using a Miter Gauge

Square cross-cut remains one of the simplest to make; for newbies, its much easier to master To begin with, the miter gauge has to be set at 90 degrees. This allows for the final outcome of your workpiece coming out an accurate square. One thing to look out for is the accuracy of your miter gauge; this is because in as much as the gauge has been designed to offer as much accuracy as possible, sometimes they can be a degree less, give or take off the kilter.

So before you embark on making your perfect square cross-cut here is how to check for your gauge accuracy.

  • Begin by setting your miter gauge at 90 degrees; the assumption here is that your meter is marked from 0 degrees. This type of setting allows up to create a perfect square.
  • Follow this by unplugging your table saw ‘s electrical cord, and then raise the blade as high as you possibly can.
  • While you have the saw blade in that stationary position, slide your gauge and ensure that it is in line with the edge of the saw.
  • Since you require a 6-inch combination square at this point, ensure that one end of the square is placed against the saw blade; while the other edge is well positioned just next to the flat and forward edge of the miter gauge.

Check to see of the square is sitting in place with this perfect alignment. If that is the case, it means your gauge is accurate. But if there any gaps, however minor, then you will have to make required adjustments until you achieve perfection.


Making a Cross-Cut

Begin by sliding the gauge towards the front edge of the saw table. At the same time ensure that your cutting material is placed against the flat edge of the miter gauge.

  • Use a pencil to mark the material for the cut and line up this mark against the saw table.
  • You can then plug in and turn on the saw and then start sliding the miter gauge while making sure that the board is secured and held tightly against the head of the gauge.
  • After the cut is done, pull the material, and remove it from the saw; switch off and unplug.


Creating Angled Cross-Cuts Using a Miter Gauge

This is also of one of the most popular and easily executed cross-cuts using a miter gauge. Although similar to square cross-cuts, the difference comes in where the miter is angled at 45 degrees.

  • In order to make a cut of this kind, you are required to guide both the gauge and material at a slower motion as compared to the square cut. The reason is that if done otherwise, the gauge’s movement can easily disturb the board, and then slide it out of position while you are working. To be able to secure the board to the gauge, you can use a small woodworking clamp.
  • Having set the angle and the board in the required position with the miter gauge, you can then create the perfect angled cross-cut.


Ways of Adapting a Miter Gauge

This mostly happens when you are cutting longer boards that are sometimes between 4-5 feet long. In this case, you want to secure some bit of wood to the front of your miter gauge, mostly to provide support and stability to the board that is being cut.

  • On the miter gauge, there are matching holes through which you can drive a wood screw. This allows you to secure and tighten the sacrificial board on to the flat face of the gauge.
  • There are some high-quality models of miter gauges that come attached with an extra-long wood facing just for this purpose.


Safety Tips For safety purposes;

  • Avoid making crosscuts on boards that are longer than 4 feet long while using a table saw and miter gauge. This is because aligning them accurately can sometimes be challenging. The table saw is also quite small to safely accommodate this kind of board.
  • Again try to avoid using your table saw’s fence at the same with the miter gauge whenever you’re making any type of cross-cut by using your miter gauge. This is because there is a chance that the board could bind against the fence and violently kick back, causing unexpected injury.
  • What you must then do is to remove the fence, or slide it out of the way just before you start making any type of cross-cut with the miter gauge.
  • Also ensure your working area is both clean and tidy, while all tools and equipment are regularly maintained. Wearing protective safety gear such as safety glasses and recommended clothing goes a long way in ensuring that are not susceptible to danger while working withatable saw.
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