Easy Angle Cutting Guide Homemade Machines & Jigs
It’s funny how one thing leads to another and that’s the story with this cutting guide. When I started to plan my deck chair build, I thought about what I could use (and recommend) for cutting the very sharp angles for the frame of the chair. Back when I was building those to sell, I made the cuts freehand on the table saw, and that’s something I won’t do anymore, or suggest that others should do.
A rafter square came to mind and how it can be used to guide a 90 degree cut when holding it on the work. It can also layout various angles (roof pitch) to cut freehand. Taking it a step further, I figured if it had a moving fence it could be set at any angle and used as a cutting guide.
Without giving much more thought, I went to the workshop to start making it. Often the first attempt at making something like this is not entirely successful, so I didn’t use the best materials. I found a piece of 1/2″ sheathing plywood and drew a half circle on it using my beam compass:
The plywood is left over from doing the soffit on my shed build, so about 10″ wide. I set the compass to 9″ and put the centre 3/4″ in from the edge. As this will be used to cut sharp angles, it would have to be fairly large to properly guide the saw.
Cut it out on the band saw and sand to the line on the disk sander:
Since the fence will swing in an arc to the chosen angle, there has to be a way to lock it in place. To do this, I drew two more arcs in about 1-1/4″ from the edge to define a slot that is 3/8″ wide.
This leaves enough space at the edge to mark the scale and it’s still wide enough not to be flimsy:
A 3/8″ hole is drilled at each end of the arc and cut out with the jigsaw. Again, I left enough material at the ends so that it won’t be easily broken:
The pivot point is drilled out to 3/16″ and the whole thing is sanded to make it smoother and easier to mark the scale on:
Next, the fence is made from a piece of spruce about 12″ long, 1″ wide and about 3/4″ thick. The end is marked round using a 3/8″ washer and the centre point is drilled with a 1/8″ bit for the pivot screw:
The end is rounded on the disk sander:
With the fence in place temporarily, the locking knob location is marked and drilled with a 5/16″ bit:
A 1/4″ t-nut is pressed in with my wooden vise and the fence is ready to attach:
The locking knob is just a 1/4″ bolt 2″ long glued into a plywood knob with a pair of jam nuts on the bottom to hold it in and space it up:
The pivot screw is a #10 flathead wood screw and the flared underside of the screw centres it in the slightly oversized hole when driven in tight:
To layout the scale, I’m using my homemade protractor:
I added a plywood pointer to the fence and marked out the scale in 5 degree segments:
To subdivide the 5 degree segments, I cut a piece of wood to the correct thickness to space the marks. This was a matter of trial and error, cut and recut until it was right:
The scale is not man-on-the-moon accurate, but certainly close enough for most woodworking operations, especially the ones I have in mind for it. After the scale was finished, I sprayed on a coat of lacquer to protect it.
Another way to do the scale is to enlarge the one I used for my protractor and glue that on. I believe that if I had done it that way it would have taken probably twice as long as just measuring and marking as I did, what with all of the messing around to get the print the right size.
Testing it out cutting a 30 degree angle:
It works well, better than I thought it would – it’s a keeper! Not bad for the first try.
Here’s a short video showing how I made the guide:
Here’s the video of the deck chair build that I made this for: