Scarf sled and other jigs  
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I wanted a quick and highly repeatable way to cut scarf joints for the chine, sheer and battens. The methods listed in the books (hand saw, router jig, hand plane, etc) did not appeal to me. I wanted to do the cuts on the table saw.

This sled is modeled after a cross cut sled, but with a pair of fences added for positioning the stock. All of the wood is from the scrap bin.

Empty scarf sled The angled fence and the wedge are from a 2x4 which had its edge jointed to square it up. The 2x4 was cut for an 8:1 slope as recommended in the plans. The wedge fence was glued and clamped while checking that it was absolutely square in the vertical direction.

The wedge fence is shown with a bracing block which holds the thin end of the wedge fence vertical. The other fence to the right is used for clamping. Remember to save the off-cut from the wedge fence for use as the clamping wedge. The pencil marks are from a previous use of the plywood scrap and serve
no purpose here.

This is the bottom of the sled. It shows the plywood base and maple runner. The runner is sized to fit the slot of the table saw miter slot closely. The runner is glued and nailed (for clamping). To align the runner, place it in the slot of the table saw with wet glue surface up. Position the rip fence appropriately, and then place the sled bottom over the runner and against the rip fence. Next fasten the sled to the runner with brads from the top. This will hold it squarely in position. Add more brads from the bottom to hold it securely while the glue hardens.

Apply a generous layer of Johnson's paste wax to the slide and bottom of sled. This greatly reduces sliding friction. Remember silicone sprays have NO PLACE in the woodshop. The silicone is an insidious contaminant of finishes and will lead to fish eyes in very small amounts.


Scarf sled bottom view
scarf sled with hammer Chine piece ready for cut. The clamping wedge is shown being tapped into position with the hammer. The firm clamping is VERY important for repeatability.

The far end is supported by a helper, my son David, or by a board clamped vertically in the Work Mate. The top edge of the clamped board is at the same height as the top of the sled on the table saw.

Here the cut is shown in progress. Note the scars in the clamp wedge from previous cuts. You want to make sure that the saw goes completely through the batten so there is not a "nub" sticking out for later trimming by hand.

A major feature of the clamping setup is to allow you to keep your hands well clear of the blade. Remember, the saw guard is off for this procedure as well as the kick back pawls. Wear safety glasses and stand to the side. The off cut wedge pieces can become very sharp projectiles!

scarf seld cutting

Next: Router jig for cutting batten slots

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This page last updated 04/27/01                        2000, 2001 Mark Bronkalla