safer method for mitering short thin stock

Folks -
I always end up painting myself into a corner on this one. I am building a number of small boxes with matching grain on mitered corners. How do I cut the miter safely. I have a 12" double tilting SCMS, but the box ends are only about 5" long so my hand is too close to the blade for comfort. I have the saw tilted toward the "narrow" side rather than the 135 degree side to combat earlier problems with tearout and material damage ( there are rabbits on both the top and bottom of the workpiece) Redwood splits and splinters out very easily...
I could set up the table saw to crosscut the miter using the miter guage, but I still have the same concerns.... I've done it, but it just didn't *feel* safe, so I stopped.
To make the grain match perfectly on all four corners, I ripped 8/4 stock in half vertically, then the inside faces of the two pieces are turned to face outside, and then one side and one end are cut from each piece. If you are *VERY* careful with this set up and cut the miters as close to the final size as possible then you can have continious grain on all four corners of the box. If you have to trim the parts very much at all, the effect is considerably reduced.
I guess I could double stick tape the workpieces to some longer sacraficial stock, but thought I'd ask y'all's 2c worth here. I didn't leave the stock long and then cut each box side off sequentially as I want the grain to match and didn't think I could get each side *dead on* that way. If it weren't a big deal, I think that would be the way to go.
Thanks in advance for your remarks....
John Moorhead Lakeport, CA
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On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 16:13:43 GMT, "john moorhead"

Lion Miter Trimmer.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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My Makita comes with clamps on the fence that you can be used to clamp small pieces to the table so you can get your hands out of the way. That said, after I made a miter sled for my table saw, I rarely use the Makita for 45d miters any longer.
Nice thing about the sled design I have is that even if each cut is not precisely 45d, if you cut in the right sequence, you get the complementary angle that insures a 90d corner.
The problem then becomes making sure that each side is precisely the same length, which is solved by stops on the fence of the sled.
IIRC, there are plans for a basic TS miter sled in the latest issue of Wood magazine on the racks as we speak. It is not as fancy as the one I made, and it has no blade guard, but it is basically the same idea.
Might want to check it out.
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Snip

Well, DUDE, who wants the basic model when you've got the fancy schmancy one? Howzabout letting us in on the secret?
-Phil Crow
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I've wanted one of these since I saw them.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=1&page2922&category=1,42884
hoping to have one under the tree :)

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Too bad you didn't live in Ottawa - at the "Used, display, and damaged" table there was a mitre cutter like that for about 1/2 the price. Not sure what is/was wrong with it though - likely a nick in the blade for a discount of that magnitude.

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aww man! nice!

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john moorhead wrote:

Like Swingman said, miter sled. For that kind of work, you'll want one of the versions with the triangle pointing toward the back of the table.
They work great. Even with my horrible POS table saw I can get miters that band clamp together with no stray points sticking out, and no distressingly large gaps. Some minute gaps still, but the table saw is a boat anchor, and this is as high as the bar goes.
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"Silvan" writes:

You betcha.
You can cheat to make one.
Cut a corner from a sheet of 3/4" plywood, say 18" on each side and mount on a sled base.
Check out Fred Bingham's book, "Practical Yacht Joinery", from the library, for details.
HTH
--
Lew

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That's what I did, and where I got the idea ... Thanks to you.
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Swingman wrote:

Me too, probably. I got it from some Wrecker. Something about this medium causes names not to stick very well, and I usually forget who said what when.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Lew's been pushing "Practical Yacht Joinery" for a good while. I found a used copy a year or so ago. Good, basic woodworking book with a lot of, as the title says, "practical" tips and information.
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"Swingman" writes:

That is exactly why I keep suggesting it.
Best $20 I ever spent for a book.
Any book that has a section entitled, "Happiness is a $5.00 table saw" is definitely practical IMHO.
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Lew

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For very accurate casework miters I prefer the TS. You can backup your work with a sacrificial board attached to your miter gauge to eliminate splintering. As for holding the cut offs, I like how David Marks holds the piece down with the eraser end of a pencil as he makes the cut and then moves the piece away from the blade.
The blade bevel setup is dead simple and super accurate; crosscut a length of stock, orient the pieces to form a corner and check it for square, adjust as necessary.
Work safe!
David

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Bannerstone wrote:

I'm convinced it is a camera trick or something. If I don't hold my workpiece as tight as I can, the piece creeps when I'm cutting :(
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Make yourself a "donkey's ear" shooting board, which is no more than a vice-mounted jig which will hold the stock at 45 deg and provides a reference bed along which you run a block plane. Works very well for small items like your box.
Just had a thought and DAGS, and wouldn't you know it, Jeff Gorman has covered the DESB on his excellent website. Says it all, but your one needn't be quite so wide.
http://www.amgron.clara.net/planingpoints/donkeysearshoot/donkeysearindex.ht m
Cheers
Frank

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Router table, zero clearance fence and 45 degree chamfer bit. A jig or two to control the stock and act as a backer board to minimize tear out is also handy.
Bottom of this page is showing a lock miter bit but a 45 degree chamfer bit will work the same way though you should probably do the cuts "horizontal" with the parts flat on the table. Next page has two "sleds/jigs" for controling the stock while cutting. If you're parts are at least 3/8 inch thick the lock miter joint might work for you. Posted a closed lock miter joined box to a.b.p.w. last week you might want to check out. Let's you wrap grain around the box and, if the original board is wide enough, acrossed the top as well.
(all one line so watch the line wrap)
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/SharpeningCenter/SharpeningCenter4.html
This method also lets you miter thin stock.
Lot's safer than cutting miters on short pieces with the table saw or miter saw. Like you, I get very uncomfort- able when my body parts get close to the blade.
You've heard of "phantom limbs" - where an amputee still "feels" the missing extremity? Well, when I can feel my hair stand on end I stop doing whatever I was doing and try to find another way to do whatever I was about to do.
Hope this helps.
charlie b
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