Problem Solving Products: Issue 19Comments (0)
This article is from Issue 19 of Woodcraft Magazine.
Make More Accurate Miter Cuts
THE PRODUCT: Miter Divider
MADE BY: Arnott Tools, Inc.
WHAT IT DOES: Accurately divides an angle in half
AVAILABLE AT WOODCRAFT: #147889
TESTER: John English
Who among us hasn’t made two or even three attempts to get a critical miter just right? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool that tells us how much to scootch the miter saw angle for a perfect joint? John Arnott discovered through trial and error (and the use of some swearwords) that the angle of an inside or outside corner is rarely a true 90°. His Miter Divider measures the angle and divides it in two without requiring any math.
To use the Miter Divider you’ll need the jig, a small piece of scrap plywood (about 6 x 12" or so), and a standard pencil, which the manufacturer actually supplies. A three-minute reading of the well-illustrated instructions should answer any questions.
After placing the Miter Divider against an outside or inside corner as in Photo A, use the pencil to transfer the angle to the scrap as in Photo B. Without moving the jig, use the point of the pencil to rotate first one and then the other of two small metal arms that are attached to the red plastic jig. Holes in the arms accommodate the pencil tip. As the arms rotate, you draw two intersecting curves on the scrapwood as in Photo C.
Remove the Miter Divider and use its straight edge to draw a line. This runs from the point where the two straight lines intersect (A) to the point where the two curves intersect (B) as in Photo D. Use this line to set the angle on your miter saw as shown in Photo E. Cut the scrap for a test fit before you cut the molding or trim. Simply flip one piece and butt the two cut edges together for a test fit. You can also use the Miter Divider, instead of scrap lumber, as a bevel gauge to transfer your angle from the drawing to the saw.
This is an economical tool for trim and finish carpentry, and also for woodturners who work with stave construction. Cabinetmakers who are building multi-faceted structures will find it useful, as will many people who are installing a countertop or building a deck.
This is an ideal tool for DIYer’s who tackle trim and finish carpentry, and also for woodturners who work with stave construction.
Digital Accuracy For Your Table Saw Fence
THE PRODUCT: Digital Fence Readout Kit, Model WR700
MADE BY: Wixey
WHAT IT DOES: Adds digital accuracy to +/-.005" per foot to your table saw’s fence
AVAILABLE AT WOODCRAFT: #147854
TESTER: Ken Kupsche
The Wixey Digital Fence Readout Kit is designed as a universal add-on for most table saws. It eliminates manual measuring from blade to fence and is more accurate than OEM (original equipment manufacturer) ruler scale fences. Because it retains its calibration even when shut off, it allows you to reposition your saw’s fence with absolute accuracy every time you start it up.
The first thing you’ll realize about this tool is that it’s a kit, not a quick bolt-on. All the parts are there, the instructions good, but you’ll need to adapt and mount it to your specific saw. As shown in Photo A, the system’s components include an extruded aluminum track, a digital readout unit, and the hardware for mounting the track beneath your existing fence’s rail. The digital readout unit has a magnet on its side to connect it to the locking mechanism of your fence. Installation involves three issues: determining the length of the track, where to mount it, and how it attaches to your saw’s existing fence.
First, you need to assemble the track, attach the mounting brackets, slide on the digital readout, and mock up the installation. If the digital readout’s magnet does not touch your fence’s locking mechanism you have two options: 1) use the supplied bracket that easily bolts onto most T-square fences, or 2) fabricate a bracket (using the supplied bar stock, screws and bit) that will work with your specific saw/fence set-up. Wixey claims the WR700 easily mounts to Biesemeyer, Powermatic, Jet, HTC and other T-Square fences as well as Delta Unifence; and DeWalt, Vega and other round rail fences. In my case, I have a Biesemeyer fence and the installation proved pretty simple. Total installation time: just over an hour.
My mock-up quickly showed that my on/off switch, which hangs off the front fence rail, was in the way. I removed it and determined that I could hang it lower, out of the way, by fabricating a metal bracket extension or I could just cut the Wixey track to a shorter length. Most of my work is on the right side of the blade, so losing a foot of usable track on the left side of the blade wasn’t a big deal for me. I cut the track to size, removed the existing front fence rail, marked and drilled the mounting holes, and attached the track as shown in Photo B. Once in place, I simply slid the fence against the saw blade and calibrated the read-out to 0.000". As the fence moves, the magnet keeps the digital readout attached to it. When I need to remove the fence I just slip the unit to the side.
The digital readout can be adjusted to decimal inches (fractions up to 32nds appear beside the decimal readings) or millimeters. Its constant memory function lets you to turn it off and on and still retain its calibration.
As soon as I had the WR700 installed, I put it to work building a pine bookcase for my son’s college dorm room. I ripped case sides and shelves to width, and also cut dadoes in the shelves’ sides. The digital readout proved dead-on accurate and saved me time, since I didn’t have to fiddle with a tape measure to set up each cut.
Wixey’s digital readout is meant to improve accuracy and save setup time for the full range of saw cuts on the table saw. Ripping, crosscutting, angle-cutting, and dado work all apply. If precision cutting is important to you, then this add-on accessory may be just what the doctor ordered.
So does your woodworking require extreme accuracy? Prior to installing the WR700, I was able to use the hairline cursor on my fence’s scale and could match the digital readout’s resolution (.005") every time I readjusted the fence. But I was working with the lines on the scale. For cuts that were somewhere between those lines—well, that’s a different story. Here, the digital readout excels.
Too, if I’m cutting a run of pieces and come up short later, I can now make the exact same cut on additional stock by pulling that dimension off my cut list record and duplicating it. No need to cut, measure, fit, adjust over and over until I get it right. I think the woodworker who’s working with an older saw where there is no scale or simply an inaccurate one stamped into the front rail could greatly benefit from this accessory.
Of course, the WOW factor here is huge. Everyone who saw a digital readout on my saw was impressed. It may not make you a better woodworker if what you have already delivers precision. But for the intermediate woodworker whose measurements and setups can, at times, be suspect, it can and will make a difference, particularly if yours is an older saw. Finally, I give Wixey high points for clear instructions and, get this, including not only the drill bits you need but an extra battery for the digital unit! When was the last time you got that much in any kit?
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