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Thread: Milling oversized flat bar into table saw guide bar stock

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    craig9's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Milling oversized flat bar into table saw guide bar stock

    I've been using (temporarily) a hardwood guide bar on my main table saw sled. It was meant to be replaced after much less time, and now it's really worn out.

    In this video, I mill some oversized metric flat bar (20x10mm) into a size that will suit my 3/4" table saw slots. Not everything is plain sailing, so the video is a warts-and-all affair.



    Cheers,
    Craig

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to craig9 For This Useful Post:

    baja (10-11-2019), Crusty (10-10-2019), Frankd68 (10-13-2019), Jon (10-17-2019), Tule (10-11-2019)

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    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    Crusty's Tools
    I know that tune well. What I've found maddening is that many table saws (even my Makita) don't have consistent slot profiles and it's almost impossible to fit a bar without some slop. My best effort consists of two flat bars half the thickness of the slot depth and narrower than the slot width stacked vertically, bolted together in an adjustable fashion so that they can be tweaked for the best slot fit and then finally fastened as a unit to my sled and miter gauge. I planned to pin the two half bars together once adjusted for best fit but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

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    craig9's Avatar
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    craig9's Tools
    That method you mention Crusty sounds good, and ties in very well with your signature line: "If you can't make it precise make it adjustable."

    I have seen a few variations on the adjustable guide rail, but luckily, my slots are reasonably consistent. Looking at the machining marks on them, they were made with a large cutter on a horizontal mill. That method seems to produce a very consistent width, and the wear is really not too bad, and the saw is over 50 years old. Where I've written on the table in sharpie, that's mapping out the width of the slot at the top half, so you can see how much (or how little) wear accumulates over that time. Really not bad at all, so it was worth pursuing some "accurate" stock - or as accurate as I can come up with on a first attempt.

    So, after fettling this 2m/6' long piece of steel, I now have a fairly reasonable stock of guide bar that's suitable for the next 3-4 sleds I want to make. I know I need at least a large single sided panel sled, a box joint jig, and probably others.

    Cheers,
    Craig

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    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    Crusty's Tools
    I wish my slots were at least rectangular in profile but they're not and I'm afraid to try to machine them at least squarish because the cast aluminum table looks like it could become too thin if I remove much material, so making something that fits the slots as they are reasonably well was my only option.

    BTW, if you make a sled with two guides using both slots (makes a more stable sled) then each guide doesn't need to be the full width of the slot. They contact each slot on either the inner or the outer surface only (your choice) and that makes them considerably easier to make.

    And a somewhat related tip - I bought one of those Horror Freight saw blade sharpener machines for not much money at all and it works well to resharpen carbide tipped saw blades. As a bonus I'm currently building an add on fixture for it to do double duty as an end mill sharpener and the cheap included diamond wheel also works well on my bench grinder to grind TIG welding tungstens.
    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

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    craig9's Avatar
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    Hi Crusty, I saw a very old table saw blade sharpener at a local used-tools place a few months back and am kind of kicking myself that I didn't pick it up. I've seen a few good DIY methods of sharpening saw blades though (Matthias Wander of woodgears), and end mills (Kevin of MachineNZ). As for TIG tungstens, I just freehand them on the bench grinder and they are very quick and easy to do. I try to do them in batches, so if I dip a tungsten (as I still do from time to time), I just pick up a fresh one, and then I don't have to visit the grinder and interrupt my flow too much.

    Cheers,
    Craig

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    Thanks craig9! We've added your Table Saw Sled Guide to our Sleds category,
    as well as to your builder page: craig9's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:





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