How to Make a Picture Frame Sled. Perfect Miters Every Time.



Welcome to Make Something
with me, David Picciuto today, we're going to make a picture frame sled. I made this slide five years
ago and made a video on it. And there are some improvements that
can be made. I've learned a few things. This has served me very well, but
I just want to make a better one. I will go over some of those
improvements here in a second, but I want to talk about why you would
want a picture frame sled for the table saw instead of just cutting it at
the miter saw. For picture frame, you need two things. You have to have
miters that are a perfect 90 degrees, and you also have to have exact links
on the parallel pieces. Otherwise, your frame is not going
to go together very well. And that's where this sled
comes in really handy. Yes, you can get perfect 45
degree cuts at the miter saw, and you can set up a stop system on
the miter saw.

So you have exact links. But the great thing about this
sled is it measures from the inside of the rabbit, whatever
the size of your artwork, that is where you set the stop. If you are going to do this at the
miter saw it gets a little bit more complicated. There's a math
formula that you need to know. So if your board is two inches wide, the overall length is going to be a
certain size, but same size artwork. If your board is only an inch and a
half wide, it's not going to be as long. This sled eliminates all
of that. There's no math. You just set the stock for
the size of your artwork. Doesn't matter the width of the piece. That's the really super
cool thing about this sled. And it just makes picture
frame making so easy. I used half inch plywood because
I wanted to keep it light. Well, it turns out that half inch
plywood, it doesn't lay flat.

So one side kind of went up a little bit. So we're going to use a better quality
plywood. That's a little bit thicker. Another thing is, and I modified
this since that video is, I did this little T-track
on the runner right here, because what I found was
when I'm at the table saw, and I had this all the way back, it
wants to flip up and hit me in the face. And I found myself forcing
this down the whole time. So having that T-track that goes into
the miter slot and your table saw no matter how far back it is,
it doesn't want to flip up. So that was one thing that I modified
that we're going to do today. It's a little bit longer than I need. I've never made a frame
that is 34 inches long. So I'm going to shorten
this up a little bit.

So the sleds a little bit more manageable,
but as I shortened it up this way, I'm going to lengthen it this way. Because what I found was a lot, I'm cutting the board and there's no
support out here and it wants to flip down this. So I'm forcing myself to hold
this down and run it through the blade. And that's a potential
safety issue. It's also a, if it tilts down a little bit
and goes through the blade, I'm not going to get perfect miters. So those are the improvements
that we're going to, I'm going to grab some three quarter
inch of Baltic Birch plywood, the good stuff, and get started.

So now that we got the base of the
sled made, we need to make the runners. That's going to go in the miter slots
of the table saw you can buy premade, miter bars. And these are really cool because you can
expand them to the exact width of your miter slot. Today. I'm going to make my own using
some straight grain red Oak. So we're going to sneak up on the
cut until we get a really tight fit. Then we can finesse that fit later on. I also want to glue on a piece of
one eighth inch plywood on the bottom there to create this T because
my miter slots have like this T track type thing. And what that's going to allow is what
I mentioned earlier is when it's in there, it doesn't want to flip back
it'll I can just let go and it'll stay there.

Now that fits in the slot. There's zero play in there. I can cut two pieces out of this. I have to keep in mind that this
plywood is going to go into T slot. This is going to go on top of that and
I can take a pencil and Mark a line. So now we've got both of those cuts.
They both fit into the miter slots.

It is time to make the T part, and I'm
just using one eighth inch plywood. The width of this is going to be
dependent on the size of the slot and your table fall. So I'm going to
glue these guys together. So I'm going to throw in the eighth
inch plywood into the table saw, then we can drop that on top. And you do want to make sure that this
does sit slightly below the table, saw that way. The sled
rest on the table saw top. So I'm just going to use CA
glue because it dries really fast and you don't even need a
lot. And then I can just drop that right onto there on the previous slide
I had that kerf cut come right in at the corner, but because I want more to
hang out up front for more support, I'm going to come down here a little bit. Mark my line and this isn't necessary, but I'm just going to
draw that 45 on here, just so I can visually see
where that's going to go.

So to glue these on to this board, I need to throw them
back in the miter slot, but I want them raised a little bit.
So it sticks up above the surface. So I'm going to throw in
these pieces of cardboard and that's just enough to
keep it above the surface. I'm just going to kind of eyeball
where that line is going to go.

That's right where my blade is,
and it's going to go right there. And the runner on this left side is going
to be much longer than the one runner on the right that's going to be okay. This one of them just needs to
be a guide for the other. So, but I do want to make sure it is
sticking out there, sticking out here. I'm gonna bring in the speed square,
and this isn't super critical, but you want it really
close to being 45 degrees. The reason this isn't critical is because
the 90 degree guides that we have on here, that's the critical part. This just needs to be somewhat close, as close as you can get. Since
my runners are oversized, I'm just going to mark here. I know
that one gets the full treatment. I can lift this up and I know
to put glue all along this one and right here. Again,
we're going to use CA glue. This is this isn't sponsored. I promise,
but this is my favorite CA glue.

It is the gorilla glue. The reason is they have
the best caps by far all my other super glues and CA glues that
caps get glued on. They get chewed up. I have no affiliation with them. I
promise you, but this is my favorite glue. Just because the caps always come on
and off so easily. Check this out. This one has the cap. And then it also look at
that. It's got a brush. You kidding me right now.
You kidding me right now. We are going to set this back on here. I could see my pencil line right there. So I know it's going to
drop in right about here. Again, make sure I'm square. I'm just going to throw a weight
on there and let that dry. That's probably dry. It's been sitting for about five
minutes and hopefully this slides out. Let's say glue. Isn't very strong.

So we are going to drill holes and put
some screws in here just to make sure that never moves putting those screws
in there probably going to expand that right open there just a little bit. And that's going to make that fit
maybe a little bit tight. That is okay, because we can come back with some
sandpaper and Vanessa for the perfect fit. And now I need to Mark where
we want the screw holes to go. So I'm going to use my speed square again, and I'm just going to Mark the
outside of that miter slot. Actually, we can do this. I can pre drill right down the center. This bit that I have in here,
this come from make it snappy, but it drills the hole. And then also drills this little
counter sink at the same time.

So you do want to make sure that the
screws are below the surface so they don't interfere with anything.
And just as I suspected, it's a little tight. It's like
putting on a fresh pair of pants, right out of the dryer. They're
going to be a little tight. It's going to loosen up with over time. You can take some sandpaper and
their finesse that little bit. And then we're also going
to wax this at the very end. So it slides and glides nice and
smooth. Oh, you're recording this. I noticed that I had a little, a little gap in here. So I backed
the screws off a little bit. And now like an animal
on top of my table saw doing silly stuff.

I sanded a little point on there because
I was having a little bit of trouble getting it started finding its home. That definitely makes it a lot
easier. And we've got some, we do have a little bit of finessing
to do so we're going to sand inside here, wax these runners. What we're going to do different this
time is I'm going to use an aluminum square. The last time we just use one
long aluminum rule that we cut a 45 on. This is already a perfect 90. Now I went with the more
expensive Milwaukee one because it's red, but trust me, you
can use the cheaper ones. You go to a Harbor freight or get the
empire ones from wherever you can get. You can use the cheaper ones. You just have to make sure that
it is aluminum and not the steel.

pexels photo 5974364

Cause you can cut aluminum
with woodworking blades,
but you can not cut steal. I'm going to start my curve cut and then
find that point where that is going to be. And then we're going to lock this down
on here and I know I need to make my kerf cut at least to about right there. I'm
going to go a little bit past that point. We need to attach this to this, but we do need to raise
it up just a little bit.

We're going to use the same one eighth
inch plywood as we use for the T slot runners On the short side, that
little spacer can be any size. On the long side. You can see my spacer is not as wide as
the rule cause I needed this lip here for the stop that we're going
to make in a little bit. So right now we're going
to mix up the epoxy. I got mine roughly the same width, although I do not want it
sticking out that way at all. Cause that's going to ruin
my squareness of the square. It is time to attach the square. Eventually we'll chop
that off and I'm going to pre drill some holes into
this aluminum. And then I have, I think these are machine head screws.

These happened to be the stainless and
then we'll use that to attach it to the sled over here. I just got lucky enough where there's
already some holes in there and I can just use those. So I'm going
to drill over here. Once I line up at that
point to where I want it, I can take this and I can square up this. If this is one degree off, it doesn't matter because
this is 90 degrees. So if one cut is 44 degrees and
the other cut is 46 degrees, you're still going to have a perfect
picture frame and nobody's going to know still feel square. And I'm going to go ahead
and make a cut into here. This has to be aluminum because you can
drill aluminum easily and you can also cut aluminum with your table.
Saw with a woodworking blade. You can't do that with
steel. I have a sawstop. This aluminum could trip
the trigger and the sawstop.

If you don't know a all stop,
it detects flesh. And if it, if it detects flesh, a
brick slams up on the blade, pulls up underneath the table
and a fraction of a second. And it's nearly impossible
to cut your fingers off, but this aluminum may trip that trigger. So I need to turn the
brake off to do this. If you don't have a sawtop,
that's all you need to do. You don't even have to go all the way
through because when you have your picture frame on there, it's only going
to hang over a quarter of an inch, three eights of an
inch, a half inch or so. So because I do have a Sawstop, I actually need to remove
more material on both sides.

I'm actually going to
come all the way through, take this off and then
shave off a little bit. That way the blade can never touch
this. So it doesn't trip the trigger. You don't have a sawtop. Don't worry
about it. Don't worry about it. The Juul angle gauge. So I'm going to set that on
there and I will zero it out. And we're going to see what we got here. What's that say Dan? 90. So something that I like to do just to
make sure the boards don't slide on here as I'm cutting them is some
adhesive back sandpaper. You could just get regular sandpaper.
And you'd spray adhesive for this, that will also work because this
stuff can be a little costly. So I just ripped this board and now I
need to cut a 45 and I was getting ready to do it at the miter saw.

And Dan's like, you could just use the sled
you just made to cut 45. So mind blown. So I'm just going
to hold this up against here. And I'm going to run this through
the blade to get a nice 45 degree cut on that. So now we
need to create a little lip. That's going to wrap around the
rule. That's why we raised the rule. I've got my blade set to
the depth of that lip. And I've marked this out
where I need to cut it. And it's probably gonna take two passes. Cause this rule looks
thicker than one eighth. So I'm going to run this through nudge
the fence over and run it through again until it fits on there.
So that fits in there. No need to put a little
toggle clamp on there. So now we're going to use a toggle
clamp to lock this stop into place. I got this toggle clamp
from Harbor freight. I did notice that they've greatly
improved their toggle clamps over the last couple of years, their old ones were
crap.

This one is much higher quality. The one problem you may run into is the
bolt that comes with that might not be long enough to reach over everything.
So I went to the hardware store. I just got a longer bolt. And then this longer bolt does
not have this rubber foot. So I'm just going to take
one of these clear bumpers, screw it on the bottom of that. And then we screw this
toggle clamp into place here. So now I'm going to show
you how to use the sled. I have this artwork from
my buddy, Jim Ether. It measures nine inches by 10 inches. I'm going to assume that you already
have your board with the rabbit cut in there. You can make that rabbit at the table
saw or the router I've got basic picture frame, making videos. If you
need to go check that out, that rabbit fits over the lip on the sled.

If you were doing this without the sled
over at the miter saw you would have to use that formula we talked about earlier
to figure out the length of the cut, because that length is going to vary
depending on the width of your board, but because this sled measures
from inside the rabbit, we don't have to worry about that. That
is the beautiful thing about the sled. I'm going to slide the stop over so that
intersection is right at nine inches. And then just go slightly bigger just to
give it a little bit more room for the artwork. And then I can lock that down. You will always start on the
left side of the jig, my left, your right and make that first cut.

And then we can take that miter
butt it up against our stop and cut one more time
for that perfect length. And now we'll repeat
for the parallel piece. So now we have two pieces that
are the exact same length. Now we're going to do the exact same
thing for the two 10 inch pieces. So I'm just going to move
my stop over to 10 inches. So now it's time to glue this up.

As long as your table saw blade was a
perfect 90 degrees and your square was at a perfect 90 degrees. This
should glue up perfectly. I'm going to use my picture frame
glove, Jake, I've got a video on this. You might want to check this out. This makes glued up picture frames quick
and easy. The great thing about this. I can see my joints. I can make sure that
they are level and I can clean all the glue squeeze out
after I get this clamped up. So get that out of the way
that's going to drop in there and then there, and then this fits
in there like that.

I perfect fit. Perfect. Miters you will want to
strengthen these joints right here. Cause if you drop this right now, probably break apart and you're probably
not going to drop your picture frame on the floor. You're just going
to hang it up on the wall, but that is end grain
to end grain glue up. And as that wood expands and
contracts over the years, it's going to weaken that joint.
Eventually it'll split apart. I've got a brand new video on a spline
making jig on how to reinforce that. And if you don't want to
see a spline on there, I show another way and how to
strengthen that with a Dow on the back. So check out that video. It's
a four part video series. We've got the video on the clamp.
We got the video on the sled. We got the video on the spline jig, and then I got a general picture frame
making video that goes into great detail about things that we talked about here, as well as mounting and
matting and glass cutting.

You want to check all those
videos out before we go. I want to show you one more thing that
I added to the jig since making this, I added one more toggle clamp to the
sled because I found when I have like six foot long boards and I'm trying
to cut this piece right here. This is what happened. Even though I made this
sled with more support here, those longer boards still want to
fall off so I can throw this in there. And then clamp that down.
Unlike this toggle clamp, where I had to put a longer bull on here, I had to shorten this one to make
clearance. All I did was just sand. This tip down right here. If you
don't want to use a toggle clamp, you can put a T track in there and then
put one of one of these guys on there. I have plans for this at my
website makesomething.com. That's going to wrap it up. We'll see you next time with a brand
new project as always be safe, have fun, stay passionate and make something.

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