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Make an adjustable miter bar

Some tablesaw jigs, such as cutoff sleds, ride in the saw's miter slots, and a well-fitting miter bar keeps these jigs accurate. You can make your own miter bar out of hardwood, but it's tricky to get—and maintain—that good fit. Here's how to make your own adjustable miter bar from wood.

Rip a 38 "-thick piece of hardwood, preferably hard maple, about 164 " narrower than your saw’s miter slot. (Most are 34 " wide.) Using a scrollsaw or bandsaw, cut three J-shaped kerfs as shown in the drawing, above, then drill a 18 " hole in each "tab," making sure you don’t drill beyond the kerf. Thread a 18 " setscrew into each hole.

Now take the wooden miter bar to your tablesaw and fit it to the slot. If the fit is a little loose, tighten the setscrews until they bottom out. As you continue to tighten, they’ll force the tabs out slightly, effectively making the bar wider.

When the bar slides freely in the slot with no side-to-side play, the fit is perfect. Attach the bar to your jig, and you’re ready to roll.
Robert Tutsky, Guilford, Conn.

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