One of the most common applications of splines is when we are reinforcing a mitered corner such as in this little decorative box. Now, mitered corners are pretty much end grain to end grain joint and they don’t give a lot of good glue surface. The glue joints actually pretty weak. So, by putting a little spline on there, it gives us a lot more long grain glue surface and it makes a much stronger joint. But in order to safely cut these splines, we will need a special jig for table saw and it’s pretty simple to make. But now start to walk through process:
Now, the runners for this jig are just made out of plywood. These are just scraps we have from other jobs and they are about two inches high lengthwise. It’s not really critical. These are about 21 or 22 inches somewhere around there. They are both the same length and that is mainly critical. They are going to fit onto the miter slots. That’s what is going to guide the jig that I make. So, we are going to mark where the deck of the table saw meets this board. That line is going to be critical for laying out the V cradle.
At that point, we are making a line at the center of our board on its width and now what we want to do is we will draw a line at 45 degrees from the line that indicates where the deck of the table saw and the runner come in contact. Now, we are just going to make a line there and then we are going to flip over onto the other side and make another line. We are going to remove this material here and we are going to do that using a miter gauge and a stop block. Here, we will tilt our blade to 45 degrees and then we will adjust the height of our blade so that it matches that first line that we put on the runner.
To notch this out, we are just going to use our miter gauge and we have an got an auxiliary fence attached to it for some extra support. We are just about ready to make our cut. The only things we need are safety glasses and hearing protection. We have lined up the layout marks on the runners with the blade and we are using a stop block to ensure consistent location and positioning.
Make one cut, flip the piece around and we make the second cut. There is our V- notch and now we are just going to repeat the process on the second runner. Those V notches will hold the cradle of our jig and as we are speaking of cradle, let’s go and make that.
Making the cradle is pretty straightforward. We have just need some pieces of wood somewhere between three or four inches in width. On the lengthwise, all they have to be just little bit wider than the distance between miter slots. In that case, we will probably look for some pieces that are about 13 to 14 inches longer. We keep all of our shorts and drops off to the side where it’s really easy for us to grab them and use them for projects. It’s a shame to throw away good pieces like this that could be incorporated into projects.
Rip that piece about four inches in width and these happen to be about 16 inches in length so that they can work fine. Next thing we need to do is we will assemble them at a right angle to one another. At that point, we are going to clamp them together then will run few screws.
We need to avoid putting any screws or fasteners in the center of this piece where it could come in contact with the blade. The next step is to just mount the cradle into the runners. Now, come back to the saw, lay the runners in place, put the cradle in and make sure that its square and the easiest way to make sure that this square is to line up the runners with the edge of the top of our table saw. Now, run the screws through to hold the piece in place. We are just eyeballing the screw location with the runner here.
The spline jig is ready for use. We will make one cut with the blade at zero degrees for a straight spline in order to know exactly where the splines going to be when we are using it on a project.
Making the spline cutting jig is pretty straight forward but now let’s see it in action.
Take a mitered corner, this could be the corner of a decorative box, a drawer or any number of applications but it’s an end grain to end grain joint and overtime it will fail. We will reinforce that by putting the spline right here. So, We are going to take this piece, set it on the spline cutting jig and then we are going to raise my blade until the apex of the blade just shallow of the inside of the corner. We will not cut all the way through. Now, it looks good. We are going to position the piece over the kerf and we will hold it in place. So, we are using little clamp here just to keep this from moving. If we had entire box to do or four corners of a frame, we would probably clamp a stop block onto this jig.
There is the kerf from our spline cut right through the corner. We have got a lot of long grain exposed in that joint. Now, we have to do is to put a spline in it. By finishing up the joint, all we have to do is take some long grain hardwood. We are choosing a contrasting hardwood here and we just glue right into the spline. Then, we let it dry and we trim it with a handheld flush cut saw.
So, that’s how simple it is to make and use a spline cutting jig on the table saw.
Hopefully, the article helped you a lot to solve elevation travel limit issues for an industrial cabinet saw. You can check our best table saws 2020, it will definitely help you to find your next best table saws.