Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"W" is for Wedge Jig

How to build a wedge jig

If you saw the recent Pottery Barn catalog chances are you love these wood stars as much as me:

And you quickly think 'I can DIY that surely!'.  However after much trial and error I consulted fellow buildy blogger Jamison at Rogue Engineer who quickly informed me I needed a 54 degree angle.


Never fear I have the solution.
If you want to make a five pointed wood star you are going to need a wedge jig.
And I'm going to show you how to make one.

(Because I googled it to death and couldn't find a tutorial :).)


- 3/4" scrap plywood
- 1x2 pine board scrap
- 2" wood screws
- wood glue
- protractor
- pencil
- miter saw

(You don't need a measuring tape for this project somehow it ended up in the picture.)

The wedge jig can be used for most miter cuts that exceed your saw's settings.  In this case we are making a jig for 54 degrees but you can make this jig to fit your necessary miter.  

Essentially we are moving the fence forward to make a steeper angle.

How to build a wedge jig for a miter saw:

Step 1: Set your miter saw for a 30 degree miter cut.  I choose 30 degrees because it seemed like good middle ground, not too steep.

Step 2: Set the 3/4" plywood scrap flush to fence and make the cut.

Step 3: Go old school and use a protractor to mark a 36 degree angle off of the fresh miter cut.  The goal is to get up to a 54 degree miter cut so 90 - 54 = 36. 

Step 4: Draw a line for the 36 degree angle from the red dot through your mark.

Step 5: Glue and attach the 1x2 pine board on the narrow side flush up to the line you just drew (in red above).  Predrill and countersink 2" wood screws down into the 1x2 board.  Don't worry if the 1x2 extends off the plywood at this point.

Step 6: Reset the miter back to 0 degrees and cut the excess 1x2 flush to the plywood.  Do this for both ends of the 1x2.

Your wedge jig is complete and ready to use.
Don't forget to set the miter back to 30 degrees before making any cuts!

Also be sure to use a clamp to keep the jig secure.  If you want additional security consider adding a perpendicular wood fence to the plywood (where it meets the saw fence) then you can clamp the wood fence to the saw fence as well.

Now place the piece to be cut in front of the wedge - here I used about an 8" piece of 1x3 pine.  Be sure to clamp the piece to the wedge fence and cut away.

54 degree miter done on a miter saw using a wedge jig


Rebecca Mimnagh said...

So clever! I never could've even dreamed this up! I've had to do a few cuts that weren't 'set' on my miter saw and ended up using a protractor and probably a very dangerous cutting've single-handedly saved me time and possibly a few fingers!!

Deez Nailz - Canadas most fabulous hand model said...

wow ~ thanks for posting this thurough tutorial. love your blog!

BP Furniture said...

This is great. Will definitely be making one of these later.

Thank you


Kellie said...

We made these! My husband figured out to change the angle of the wedge jig slightly so that he wouldn't have to keep resetting the miter saw angle after each cut. Instead of 30 degrees he put the miter saw at 36 and made the wedge jig to accommodate the difference. Then the miter saw is all set for the 36 degree cut. :) Thanks for the instructions!

Peter said...

Thanks for the tutorial. Always battled with angles larger than 45 degrees. Going to improve the jig though and will share with all. I have thought of a way the jig can be fully adjustable from 45 to 90 degrees so that you don't have to reset the machine all the time. Thanks for the foundation.

Bernice D. Miller said...

I can’t believe how beautiful everything is! O.K., I am really ashamed to admit I have a compound Miter saw, that I have never used! I bought it about 6 months ago at a garage sale from a guy who was seriously down on his luck and selling all his tools, everything. It was kind of sad, but I guess we both got something out of the deal. I need to figure out how to use it, and then there will be no stopping! You really have inspired me in so many ways.

Tad Thies said...

What was the size of the plywood that you started with? i am guessing 24x18?