Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kreg fence micro-adjuster

This is another gizmo that has been a game changer for me.

Kreg makes a lot of gizmos and other bits and pieces to go with their L-shaped T-track profile. They use this profile for miter gauges, production fences, and even a band saw fence. I like the simplicity of their system, and of the stops that they've come up with. And I like that it's modular, because that makes it easy to modify things

I figured out a while ago that I could make a long miter bar by using a 4' hunk of Kreg's production fence and bolting it onto the miter head in place of the 2' section that it came with. The reason I wanted to do this was simple: I wanted a quick and easy way to cut things accurately to length. The only real problem with this is that the miter bar that hooks onto the head is aluminum, and it's a bit flimsy when you're working with a 4' miter fence. Bah. Eventually I made my cross-cut sled, and that helped.

That said, I still worked with the four footer on the miter bar for a while, and in my quest to find a more accurate way to adjust the stop block, I decided to see if I could re-purpose the micro-adjust that they offer for their band saw fence. I drilled a hole in an inch of t-track, slipped a square nut into it, and hooked it onto the micro-adjuster, and voila, it worked. It's not perfect, but it makes minute adjustments to the production stop a lot more accurate than doing it by hand.

I used to use Kreg's adhesive scale on the fence. But eventually I started making cuts on both sides of the blade, and I found that it gave an illusion of accuracy that wasn't really there. It was good for quick work, but parallax gets in the way, and my ability to micro-adjust rendered it a moot point.

At some point I want to get a steel bar made for the miter head, with a dedicated, non-adjustable 90 degree head. Once I have that, I'll take the time to dial in my setup a little more. For now, this has enabled me to blur the line between accurate and precise work in the machine room, both in terms of my ability to cut stock, and my ability to cut joinery on the table saw.

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