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Bitty gauges bring accuracy when cutting lap joints

Illustration showing boards clamped to fence on tablesaw.0000

Cutting accurate, consistent slots for cross-lap or half-lap joints can be a challenge. Using a crosscut sled, I discovered a way to put drill bits into service as gauges for setup. Because the bits come in increments of 164 ", they make precise setup a breeze.

First, align one edge of the slot location in the workpiece with the kerf in the sled, as shown. Clamp the first stopblock to the sled fence tight against the end of the workpiece. To locate the second stopblock, select a dril-bit diameter slightly smaller than the width of waste to be removed from the slot. Place the bit against the workpiece and clamp the second stop to the fence, trapping the bit between the stop and workpiece. Remove the drill bit, make a cut with the workpiece against each stop, and then remove the waste in between. Reset the position of the second stopblock using a larger bit and repeat the process until the notch matches the width of the adjoining workpiece.
—Edouard Piché, Troy, Mich.

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