This is definitely a chicken before the egg situation. While embarking on the wood star project I quickly realized I needed a wedge jig in order to make a steep miter cut so I made one and I’m sharing the how-to with you.
Let’s make a wedge jig for your miter saw. A DIY tutorial to create a wedge jig for making steep cuts on a miter saw plus a wood star project.
If you saw the recent Pottery Barn catalog chances are you love these wood stars as much as me:
And you quickly thought ‘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 in order to make the five pointed star shape.
BUT MY MITER SAW DOESN’T MAKE A 54 DEGREE CUT?
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 :). PS – I have a new fancy miter saw set up that makes a 60 degree cut!! But this tutorial below is still great for make a wedge jig if you need any steep cut beyond the capacity of your miter saw.
This jig is made using wood scraps from around the shop, no need to buy any supplies just use what you have on hand. It’s a jig after all and although extremely useful it’s not decorative so don’t worry about being fancy here.
- 3/4″ scrap plywood
- 1×2 pine board scrap
- 2″ wood screws
- wood glue
- miter saw
- drill & drill bits
(You don’t need a measuring tape for this project but 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 cut.
Essentially we are moving the fence forward to make a steeper angle.
Below is the tutorial to make a wedge jig for your miter saw. Please read through all the steps before beginning to understand the process. Also this is what worked for me and maybe you have a better version or an update, please feel free to add your notes in the comments. It’s very helpful to others when the can see your insights – thank you!
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 1×2 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 1×2 board. Don’t worry if the 1×2 extends off the plywood at this point.
Step 6: Reset the miter back to 0 degrees and cut the excess 1×2 flush to the plywood. Do this for both ends of the 1×2.
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 board to be cut in front of the wedge – here I used about an 8″ piece of 1×3 pine. Be sure to clamp the board to the wedge fence and cut away.
54 degree miter done on a miter saw using a wedge jig.
Now you can make these wood stars in my post here.
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