The Ultimate Picture Frame Sled with Micro Jig Zero Play Guide Bar

The Ultimate Picture Frame Sled with Micro Jig Zero Play Guide Bar

I’m David Picciuto the Drunken Woodworker and today I’m going to show you how to make the ultimate picture frame sled. Check it! This is the first video and a multi-part
series on picture frame making This video give you an overview on how to make the ultimate picture frame sled. If you like to see more detailed
information and photos please check out my website at the link below. In order to make perfect picture frames
you need two things: One the two corner pieces must equal
ninety degrees And the short side as was as the long sides need to be exactly the same length. This sled covers both of
those issues as well as it allows for larger picture
frames than in traditional miter sled stop system. Picture frames are not measured by the
inside or outside length but by the rabbit so if you’re artwork or
matte is 5×7, this stop system allows
you to dial in that exact size. To make sure there is no play in our sled we’re using the MicroJig Zero Play guide bar system. that adjust to fit any table saw. Also, I must give credit where credit is due. This is a modified and updated sled to one published by Fine Woodworking. If you want to check out those plans there will be a link below. Let’s begin. First up is we’ll cut the base to size. Next we’ll draw the 45° line where our kerf cut will be, as reference. Knowing my fence is parallel to the blade, I’ll use a speed square up against it to register the sled at 45°. And then mark where the miter slot is located. Next I’ll assemble the Micro Jig Zero Play Guide Bar System in real time to show how easy it is to set it up. There are two pieces that slide along angled grooves. This allows the Zero Play Guide Bar to match the width of any miter slot. This 2nd assembly is the Zero Play stop system that’ll aid in configuring the guide bar. I’ll mount the stop in the miter slot about 12 inches up. Then using two nickels to elevate the guide bar I’ll place it up against the stop, slide the top piece so it just kisses the rails and tighten the three screws. And that’s all it takes to set it up. Quick and easy with no play. Next I’ll place it on top of the base and use an ice pick to mark where the the holes need to be drilled. Then I’ll drill oversized holes, this will allow for calibration. And counter sink them so the screw head will sit below the surface. And now it’s just a matter of placing in the washers and screws and loosely attaching the Zero Play underneath the base. Because the holes are oversized we can then calibrate the sled to be exactly 45° to the fence and tighten down the screws. A nice snug fit with zero play. Now we’ll cut the kerf to about 10 inches deep. Using an aluminum ruler I cut a 45° angle at the front end and then cut it to length. Using the cut off of the ruler for the short side I repeat the process. Since I want my ruler to be elevated and have an overhang, I’ll cut some masonite to about half the width of the ruler. Now I’ll epoxy it on the back of the ruler. On the short side I won’t need the measurements so I have the numbers facing down. Now it’s time to attach the ruler to the base. It’s important to have it perfectly parallel to the edge so I’ll screw in one side, position it and then add a couple more screws. Here is the most important part of the build. You want the short side to be a perfect 90° so I encourage you to check, recheck and then check again. Because I have a SawStop table saw, the aluminum will trip the break if it contacts the blade so I’m going to remove the first inch of my ruler. Now I’ll reattach it with glue and screws. Once again, make sure the two guides meet at a perfect 90° angle. Here I’m using adhesive backed sandpaper as grip to prevent slipping of my frame pieces when making cuts. Now it’s time to cut the stop block. On one edge I’ll cut a grove that’ll slip over the ruler. And then cut a 45° angle on one face. Then I’ll attach a hold-down toggle clamp to the stop block. The great thing about this stop block system is it measures the cut of the rabbit. So if your picture or matte is 5×7 we’ll move the stop to the 5 inch mark and clamp it down. Make our first cut on the left side and move the piece to the right side of the sled up against the block. Repeat the process again for two equal length pieces. Then we’ll move our stop block to the 7 inch mark and cut two more pieces the exact same way. Well thanks for watching. This is a multi-part series in picture frame making so I encourage you to check out these other links. In the future I may add some safety features and upgrade the toggle switch. I’d love to hear how you would modify this to make it your ultimate picture frame sled in the comments below. Be safe, stay passionate and make something.

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  1. It wasn't clear how the stop-block and/or the ruler helps ensure the cut will be accurate to the rabbet rather than the inside/outside measurement of the framing pieces.
    Nevertheless, great video, as always, David!

  2. I noticed you using an ice pick. I remember y'all's conversation on Making It about ice picks. Have you found what Jimmy said to be true? (Jimmy said something to the effect of: "Get an ice pick, and you'll start finding all kinds of uses for it.")

  3. I saw this jig on another site and downloaded the plans. They made the process so complicated I gave up till I saw your video. Thanks so much for making the process easy and detailed enough to make me take another shot. Great stuff, glad I found your site and see so many great projects for us beginners..

  4. As usual, really cool project. Thanks for making the videoa and showing us the build. Keep up the awesome work and for your time.

  5. An ice pick huh? A nice little nod to Jimmy!
    I am excited for this series. I think this is going to be a home run for you.

  6. I might have missed it, and im too lazy to rewind the vid to find out lol, but, did you add a second miter slot guide to the other side? Or did you just need one. Thanks for vid, sorry for the dumb question

  7. Great Jig! I am making this one.

    The toggle clamp works well, but why use the heavy clamp when the clamping force is so low? The light clamp ( ) is almost half the price on Amazon.

  8. Did you buy a single or double pack zero play? Single pack isn't showing the stop mechanism you setup in your video.

  9. I like your version of this sled and I have several frames to make so I am going to build one of these soon. Is there a pdf or just sketchup? Thanks

  10. After looking at various miter sleds, this is definitly the sled that'll serve me best. I have a question though. What did you do to calibrate the position of the ruler with respect to the right side of the saw kerf so that, for instance, if you set the stop to 6" you get a 6" piece? Thanks.

  11. Excellent jig; I'm in the process of making mine.  I wondered what width you used, from the edge to ruler and what was your logic?  And what width rabbit does this measuring system work with (to get that perfect length cut) or is that something that has to be tweaked in the shop?  Thanks.

  12. Thanks for sharing your take on this versatile sled.  I first saw Frank Howarth use one in his picture frame video from last year and I made one for myself – it's completely worth the effort.

  13. I know this video was published some time ago, and it already inspired me to make my own version – see – but I've made a further change that might be of interest to anyone else using David's design.
    I found that the Micro Jig Zero Play Guide Bar IS available in the UK  – see – so as my wood guides tended to be a bit 'sticky' I decided to give one a try, and it did improve sliding without increasing play.   I fitted only one Bar, but again found the problem of the whole jig tipping backwards off the saw due to the amount hanging over the front of the saw.

    My solution to this was to use the Stop insert – which has a 'T' section – to hold the jig down at the front.    I fitted it in the OTHER mitre slot, near the front, using a bolt in a counterbored hole – just like those for the Bar mountings, but larger – to get the position correct, then tightening the bolt fully, and putting a screw into the smaller square hole on the underside to lock it in place.  Initially I tried putting the Stop insert in front of the Bar, to use the same mitre slot, but that meant that the Bar was too far back on the jig, and not all of it was functional at the point where the saw blade was actually cutting.

    My friend is delighted with the frames I'm making with this jig, and I've just taken up a special offer for the Spring Mitre Clamp Kit – see – which has speeded up production quite a bit.

  14. This may have been covered, but I missed it if it was. The rabbit on the stop block has to be the same distance in from the lip as the frame you are cutting. Otherwise you will not get the right measurement.

    A tip is to use a small piece of the frame stock you are going to cut as your stop block. This way it is a guaranteed match.

    *Or you can measure from the rabbit on the frame and move your block to it instead of measuring with the block. Then the block doesn't need a rabbit at all.

  15. i wonder how many people have watched this video and asked there selves "why has this make something channel putting out videos from the drunken wood worker?!" i do kinda miss the channel being called drunkenwoodworker.

  16. Built this and after I cut a 1/4 rabbit for the picture it was off by 1/2 inch. Do I have to subtract prior to cutting or is the a trick to the stop block?

  17. I'm a bit skeptical of the stop block. With that toggle clamp, isn't the stop block getting twisted up a bit, and is held down by the ruler which is a bit of a pivot point?

  18. Thanks for the video. Did you install a guide bar on the left side of the sled and if so did you have to trim it's length down to fit?

  19. Here are a couple ideas – 1. I screwed a carpenters square onto the sled at 135 degrees to the blade, then cut it. absolutely perfect 90 degree miters. 2. I cut the tip off the stop block so you can see the marks from the top. Hope that helps someone – I'll try to post pics, if not you can email me at [email protected]

  20. Nice. I made  a smaller version per your video for my jobsite table saw.   Thanks again David.  Awesomeness.

  21. Super design – glad I found your channel and this vid post – btw I'm going to try to make some rings this summer – keep up the great work!

  22. I'm going to use your idea, but with one change, I'll cut off the corner of the stop block so the measurement for the rabbet is easily seen.

  23. Hello Aaron Ionta here
    Just to be clear, you say the measurement is the artwork, so the pieces you are cutting already have the rabbit for the artwork correctSo the pieces slide over the edge of the ruler?

  24. What did you use to cut the aluminum ruler? Is there a special blade in that mitre saw, or is that another type of saw?

  25. Hi, I just made this based on your video thanks for the inspiration. I am also a huge fan of your tape/clamp system it eliminates the hassle of the frame clamp systems.

  26. I've been forced into making picture frames and your jig is the best setup I've seen and soo simple. I would like to know the dementing you used. I'm thinking maybe something about 18 X 32 inches ?

  27. Thanks for posting this. I am going to build one, but I plan to incorporate a "TTRACKPLUS36" by Incra which should do the job of three components in one (Ruler, fence and toggle clamp). This can be set in a shallow channel cut parallel to the long side of the sled. A simple production stop can be fabricated and calibrated against the integral rule, fixed into position with a T-track bolt and knob.

  28. I blame Diresta for this Ice pick BS. It's an awl. An awl is a tool used by cabinet makers for making holes, an ice pick is used for breaking ice.

  29. Great video, David. This will come very helpful. I'd like to apply that to a regular crosscut sled, so i can have the ruler to make accurate cuts.

  30. Thank you for this video, I made my jig following your direction and it is a joy to use, very precise and easy for avoiding to figure the geometry with the rabbets!  Great design

  31. Do the micro jig guide bars prevent the jig from raising up on the right side? I have a worksite table saw and am worried about the jig tipping. The original plan from fine woodworking has a key as part of the runner to prevent tipping.

  32. Nice idea! Giving this a shot. Hoping i can substitute the straight edge for a 24" carpenter square. That way I'm sure my angle is right at 90 and only have to worry about being 45 from the blade.

  33. Great Job David! Any chance Fe you have plans for this build? I’m getting ready to build some frames and would love to use this jig.
    Btw, go Cavs!

  34. Love going back and watching the old videos. And it's interesting that you are still using this sled today. Great video. Great sled.

  35. I need to batch out 8 or 9 frames so I think I'm going to make this. Only difference, to make sure the left and right sides are at a perfect 90 (and since I don't have a saw stop), I'm going to make it from an aluminum framing square and cut it in place.

  36. how did you set up the rule to measure the rabbit. Is this one size rabbit or would it work for other sizes. maybe an add on for this or am I dense? Thank you

  37. David, just listened to making it 178. I think this is my first time commenting on a video of yours. I find shop projects boring and the artsy stuff is so much more you. Shop projects get you a lot of non-subscriber views simply because of covering a wider audience but these are likely not your core subscribers.

  38. Unfortunately, the Microjig doesn't fit on all table saws. Mine is a relatively new 10" Craftsman (i.e. after their products went to shit and they started selling "Protection plans," instead of the old Craftsman's lifetime warranty). The miter slots have small tabs which seem to be there to keep the very loose miter gauge rail from popping out of the slot. I had to cut the tabs with my Dremel, and make wood rails. (what a PITA) To be fair, this Micro-jig system might work with the tabs cut off, but I hesitate to buy it in case it doesn't work. I hope to upgrade to Bosch, Porter-Cable, or even Dewalt saw, at which time I'll give them a try

  39. I built this and I'm frustrated with the Zero Play for this application, and might replace it: it doesn't secure the sled in the T-track. It does a perfect job of preventing lateral play, but does not prevent the sled from tipping up and down, which is important with this sled because of how unbalanced the weight of it is: the rear of it really wants to tip toward the floor, which makes the beginning of the cutting motion less comfortable and safe, because in addition to pushing the sled forward, you also have to play the role of counterweight.

    The version that these plans were adapted from on Fine Woodworking accounts for that and uses hardwood runners, with pieces of aluminum to secure the sled into the T track. At least on my saw, there's <2mm of clearance between the bottom of the Zero Play and the bottom of my miter slot, so really not a lot of room to work with to fasten something that will keep the sled secure in the track.

    The most durable option I can think of for modifying this sled to have that feature is to grind away about 1mm of a couple small sections of the Zero Play (each rail is ~4mm thick), and use some thin aluminum or mild steel tapped to 8-32 (same as the Zero Play hardware), with longer bolts.

    I like your stop block and the idea of using adhesive backing, but I'm not a fan of the Zero Play here. As heavy and awkward as this sled is, I wonder if making it even bigger and maybe repositioning the cut line would allow for a better way to counterbalance its heavy rear end.

  40. I realize this video is almost 3 yrs. old but I had a couple of questions. Did you use the dimensions from the original plans? Did you just use one of the Micro jig runners? It appears as though there is a 2nd runner (hardwood maybe) and I'm curious as to the reason for that.

  41. I finished making this jig last night and made my first frame! Thanks SO MUCH!!! Keep up the great content!

  42. Great Video David!
    I just finished building this with a couple hold downs…do you the link or size it the toggle hold down for stop block?

  43. There appears to be a second wooden runner in the miter slot to the left of the blade. Is this the case? Or what am I seeing? Thanks. Great jig!

  44. Good Lord, I would pay for someone to make me one of these sleds… I'm just starting in hobby-based woodworking and need to make a lot of frames of different sizes…

  45. I really appreciate you making this video! I'm in the process of making this sled based on the FWW plans and videos, and there are parts of their instructions that are unclear and leave a lot to be desired. I've watched their videos on making this sled numerous times trying to be sure that I fully understood what the heck I was exactly supposed to be doing, but seeing how you've assembled the sled, it definitely paints a much clearer picture of what exactly you're supposed to do. I had no idea that you'd remixed that same sled until today, and this video you've put together is so helpful! Thanks!

  46. Hi David, I recently started with carpentry, just as a hobby, I would like to know if you could have any idea so that a template can be used with circular saw, thanks

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