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How to Cut Wedges on a Table Saw
Woodworkers of all skill levels face this question. In my years as a professional carpenter, I have learned that using the table saw to cut wooden wedges is one of the best ways to produce high-quality carpentry work. But how do you cut wedges on a table saw without damaging your project?
This is the best guide for you to learn how to cut wedges on a table saw.
- Best Table Saw for the Money
- Dado Blade
- Miter Gauge
- Wood Glue
- Wood (Preferably Plywood or 4×4)
Duration: 45-60 Minutes
Budget: $30-$50 (USD)
Things to Remember:
1. Choose the right blade – For precision woodworking like this, it’s important that you’re using an expert blade with zero set (or any other type of set). These blades are designed to make smoother cuts without ripping or tearing, which is what we want for getting our perfect angles out of the wood.
2. Initial guesstimate – When cutting a perfect wedge, the first 1/8″ of depth will be the hardest to get right. This is because it’s when the saw blade itself is cutting into the wood and it’s creating a concave shape on the surface for your cut.
On start, the table saw blade will have a slight set. You’ll want to make an initial estimate of how deep you’re going to cut. This will help make sure that you’re still getting your perfect wedge later on in the cutting process by not over-estimating where you need to place your fence for a specific angle.
Use a miter gauge – This is the secret to cutting your wedges at the perfect angle. By using a miter gauge (miter sled can work, too), you’re able to cut the wood at any angle you’d like without even having to concern yourself with a rip fence.
When using the miter gauge, make sure that you’ve got an offcut of wood underneath it that’s about 1/8″ shorter than your wedge. This will allow your blade to cut along this piece of wood and create the perfect shape.
The biggest mistake most people make when cutting wedges is thinking they need to use a rip fence. The truth is, by using the miter gauge (or a sled), you can place the fence where you want it and cut the wood at any angle.
The biggest takeaway from this article on cutting wedges is that you shouldn’t be using a rip fence to cut your wood at an angle on a table saw. You’ll always end up with an imperfect pattern if you do this. Instead, put your wedge face down and use the miter gauge or sled.
How to Cut Wedges on a Table Saw Video
How to Cut Long Shims on a Table Saw
If you have shims that need to be cut but don’t have a miter box or table saw, then there are a few tips you should know for cutting them with a table saw.
1. Tape one end of the shim – To ensure that shim doesn’t slide around while cutting, tape one side of the shim to your cutting surface. Make sure to use enough tape so there is no chance of it coming loose during the cut.
2. Place another piece of wood under your saw blade – Use another piece of wood as an offcut and place it directly below the blade. Make sure that this piece is about ¼” shorter than your desired length for the completed shim. This will allow the shim to slide directly under the blade without getting stuck.
3. Set the angle at which you want to cut – on your saw, adjust the angle. You can use a protractor to help with this if that’s what is available or just set it straight across for a 45-degree cut.
4. Use a push stick – This will keep your fingers clear of the blade and also help with sliding the shim through and under it. You’ll need to use a piece of scrap wood because there won’t be enough room between your piece and the blade for both of you at once with regular safety gear in place.
5. Set the depth for your cut – The shim should be set at the correct depth before you begin cutting. If it isn’t, you’ll run into problems.
After all those steps, you know how long shims for your table saw.
How to Cut Long Shims on a Table Saw Video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use a miter saw for cutting wedges?
Yes, you can use a miter saw for cutting wedges.
Can I cut plastic wedges on a table saw?
Yes. But it is not recommended to use a table saw for plastic wedges unless you’re using the proper blade.
Can a bevel cut make a wedge?
No. You do not use a bevel cut to make a wedge.
how to cut wedges on a table saw
This ends our How To Guide of How to Cut Wedges on a Table Saw.
Learning how to cut wedges on a table saw gives you access to other kinds of practical cutting for woodworking. One of them is knowing how to cut tapered legs on a table saw for chairs and tables. Some would even use wedges for projects that involve chairs and tables to match their tapered legs.
We hope the knowledge you gained here will help you in the future with your DIY or Professional Woodworking projects. We want you to be sure of that what you get from us are 100% facts, so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice or to advise us in return with accurate facts.
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Henry is a long time Trade Instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology. Henry has been teaching the trade of carpentry for over 15 years and is excited to share his knowledge with the next generation of builders. With his posts you will explore some general terms, tools, and techniques that are helpful for the beginning DIY Enthusiast!. He’ll also provide a list of all the best tips needed to start your building journey right away!