Easy Homemade T-Slot for jigs.
I started to make a new small cross cut sled for my table saw the other day and decided to make the t slot directly in the fence rather than buying a aluminium one,
with that in mind I decided to write this little article to show people just how easy they are to make. this method can be used to make slots in jigs or to make a track to install in a jig.
- A piece of wood suitable for making the fence or track ( hardwood is best)
- 1 8 mm nut and bolt
- A table saw
- Router (optional used as an alternative for cutting the slots)
- Good quality wood glue
Step 1-Selecting materials
Firstly we need a suitable piece of wood for the project I would suggest using a hardwood for this as it will last longer, an 8 mm bolt mine is around 40 mm long and a 8 mm nut,
I have then used the table saw to remove around 20 mm from the top of the piece of wood as seen in the picture below.
Step 2- Setting the depth of cut
First we need to set the depth on the blade this needs to be just a little deeper than the head of the bolt.
Step 3 – Cutting slots
With the depth set move the fence so the blade is more or less center of the wood, it does not have to be perfect just close.
Run the wood through the saw and at the end of the cut turn the wood around so the opposite face is against the fence and run through the saw again, this method will center the groove on the work piece.
With the first cut complete adjust your fence so you make the slot a little wider and once more run the wood through the saw, as before flip your work piece at the end of the first cut and run through again, repeat this process until the slot is just a fraction wider than the head of the bolt.
( Remember because we are cutting twice for each fence adjustment it will double the amount removed so be careful towards the end of the process).
With the first part cut we now turn our attention to the smaller section we removed at the start,
This time we need to set the depth on the saw to around 4 – 5 mm and once again set the fence so the work piece is roughly center on the blade.
As before we do two passes through the saw for each adjustment until the slot is slightly wider than the threads on the bolt.
Step 4- Forming the joint
We now have both of the slots cut so we now need to join the top to the bottom using a good quality wood glue, spread the glue sparingly as we don’t want any excess in the slot.
(Spread the glue on the smaller faces of the bottom piece rather than the top).
Remember to wipe off the excess glue with a damp cloth and leave to dry for several hours.
Step 5 – Removing the waste
After allowing the glue to dry remove the piece from the clamps and head back to the table saw.
This time we need to set the fence so the blade just cuts through the top most part of the 8 mm slot as in the picture below.
Run the timber through the saw and you should be left with a T slot as seen below.
At this point if this was a fence or jig we are finished an alternative would be to cut the t slot off the top of this about 2- 3 mm below the slot and mount it on jigs just the same as you would aluminium ones.
Step 6 – Not forgetting the nut
We are going to need something to tighten the jigs, this could be just using the nut and a washer or you could make something like this out of a little bit of scrap.
I hope you have found this helpful have fun!