How to safely make mortise plugs using your tablesaw
Here's a simple and safe way to form small plugs for the square mortises. This method keeps your fingers out of harm's way and prevents having to push a small workpiece between the blade and fence. To make a 3⁄8 "-square blank 8" long for the mortise plugs (G), for example, cut a piece of 3⁄4 " stock to 21⁄2 x 16". Position the fence 3⁄8 " from the inside of the blade. Place a piece of masking tape about 5" long on the saw table 4" in front of the blade and perpendicular to the fence for a visual stop, as shown above, top photo. Raise the blade to 7⁄16 ". With the stock on edge and tightly against the fence, rip the piece, stopping when the back end reaches the tape. Raise the blade 1⁄16 " (1⁄2 " total height). Flip the stock onto its face, and rip it again to form a 3⁄8 "-square blank. Now, crosscut the piece to free the blank. To safely and accurately crosscut the 7⁄16 "-long plugs from the blank, attach an L-shaped extension/sled made from 3⁄4 " scrap to your miter gauge, as shown, above, bottom photo. Raise the blade to about 11⁄2 ", and make a cut through the extension/sled. Draw a line on the sled 7⁄16 " from the kerf. Align the end of the blank with the mark to crosscut the plugs.