I was thinking today about my terribly cheap (and somewhat broken) miter gauge and what to do about it. I’ve been looking at getting a Ryobi BTS20 to replace my Delta TS200, but that’s probably a ways off. In the meantime, I’ve set a screw through the T-bar into the plastic guage to replace the little stop tab that broke, and I’ve also screwed on an auxiliary fence. And I’ve built a sled for straight crosscuts, although the 1/2″ MDF and dimensional lumber make it somewhat massive for the little bench saw.
I was looking at the Ryobi website and took a gander too at the BTS15, which does not have the built-in folding leg stand with wheels, but it does have a nifty little sliding miter table instead of a miter guage. And the more I thought about it, I realized that a shop-made version would really only need to be a board for the sliding table part, with a runner on which to slide, and then a pivoting arm as a fence. Heck, even I can probably make one of those.
So this is my concept. My first version pivoted the arm halfway up the right side, but I changed it after another look at the one that comes with the BTS15. And notice how I think I can even include a protractor. I was looking for a protractor one day and the thought occurred to me that I could just find a picture of one on the Internet and print it. It worked great. So for this I’ll just print one and glue it to the table. It doesn’t have to be especially accurate, because you really need to measure with a bevel guage and set the angle with that, and then make test cuts anyway. But the protractor is kinda handy, to give you a certain sense of what the angle is. What ballpark it’s in.
My only worry now is getting the right size runner. I think I recently noted how I used toilet bolts to fit into the non-standard T-slot to use with a feather board. But I don’t think bolts would work with this; I really think it needs a runner. My crosscut slet has two runners, on the outside, one on each side of the saw table, rather than running through the slots. Since this necessarily has to fit on only one side of the blade, rather than both with the sled, that method won’t work here. (And that’s part of why the crosscut sled is so massive. And, now that I think about it, the saw table extension I got for Christmas isn’t going to work with the crosscut sled.)
But I can buy or mail-order a rectangular bar of aluminum that’s 5/8″ wide, the same width as the miter slot. The slot’s about a 1/4″ deep, but I just need a runner that fits in the slot. It doesn’t necessarily have to hit the bottom. McMaster-Carr sells a 1/8″ thick aluminum bar that 5/8″ wide. It’s all of $5.48 for an eight foot length. But how am I going to get eight feet of aluminum delivered to my office?