T-Track Cutting Jig
Added on November 18, 2010
Lim sent in this incredibly simple, yet useful t-track cutting jig. Getting a clean cut on that stuff can be a real bear and if you make a lot of jigs, you know what I’m talking about.
I have a friend who is an awesome veterinarian by trade and a gifted woodworker in his spare time. Once, when we were chatting in my garage/shop, he said something very profound. He said, ?You know Lim, as woodworkers we build more stuff for our shop than we ever do for clients or our families.? I thought about that and I think he is right. We build stuff for our shops out of necessity or because we want to experiment with new techniques to improve our chops. That certainly is true when it comes to building jigs. Let me just say up front that I love making me some jigs. I especially love using Kreg?s T-Tracks when I can. They are so versatile and I can remember a time when they didn?t exist. However, I have great difficulty cutting them so they have the same factory looking ends with a hacksaw. The edges are usually jagged and the cut line never seems to come out straight. Trying to make that first scribed line is so frustrating because the blade is thin and it seems to bounce all over the place leaving you with a haggard mess.
This weekend I was building a new crosscut sled and I wanted to include a T-Track on the fence to incorporate stop blocks. I slapped a dado head cutter in the table saw and made a test cut on a piece of scrap to check for the depth and width of the dado. Well, as luck would have it, I nailed it on the first try (this usually never happens!). I tossed the test piece into the scrap pile and proceeded to cut the dado into the fence.
When it came time to cut the T-Track to length to fit the fence, I was a little apprehensive. I had spent a lot of time making sure everything looked like something out of a woodworking magazine and I didn?t want to ruin it with a crappy end cut on the track. I know this sounds very anal, but I have always felt that the stuff we build for ourselves should express the kind of quality we would offer a client. That?s when lightning stuck (or maybe it was that southwestern Arizona burrito I had for lunch!). I went to the waste pile and pulled out my original test scrap. I then scooted (yes, I scooted!) over to the miter saw and cut off a piece of the scrap that was about 3? long. You can see the test dado at the top of the block and it struck me that I could use this to create a blade guide for my hacksaw. I then placed the T-Track in the dado, lined it up with my pencil mark and clamped it and the block to my worktable.
After putting a new blade in my hacksaw, I nestled it up to the scrap block and it cut through the T-Track like butter! The cut was straight and much smoother than my previous attempts. I used a file to clean up the burrs on the edges and low and behold it looked like a factory edge. Of course, you must understand that the simple things in life intrigue me, so this was huge. I have marked this scrap as my T-Track saw guide or as I like to affectionately refer to it, my Tee Tee blade guide. I hope this helps those of you who are as hacksaw challenged as I am. Happy woodworking and jig building!