I make crosses for my ministry to hand out at various events. Up until now I have cut these out individually using a band saw. This is very time consuming. Recently I had the idea of using a dado blade or router table to cut my stock into the shape of a cross when viewed from the end, then "chopping" it into the proper thickness (~1/2") using a chop saw or a table saw. The problem is both have a tendency to want to launch the crosses when the cross cut is made. Can anyone offer a suggestion for holding the crosses after they are cut? I'm thinking I may have to build a custom jig, but I'm not sure how to design it.

  • 3
    There are some simple ways to do the needed crosscuts here (including just sawing by hand in a mitre box) but I would advise against your proposed method because the crosses will end up being 'short grain' pieces, which like all offcuts from the ends of boards are quite weak and can often be snapped just with finger pressure. Since you have access to a table saw so you can quickly and accurately form dados how about making the crosses up from two pieces, using half-laps? If you take a batch-production approach I imagine you could knock out a couple of dozen in an hour after some practice.
    – Graphus
    Dec 30 '18 at 9:55
  • A sacrificial fence for the chopsaw (even something as simple as a 2x6) would prevent your crosses flying, but listen to Graphus about the short grain problem. Dec 31 '18 at 16:34

You could create a jig that is a "negative" of the cross-section of your piece, with a stop to reference the thickness of each cut. Something like this would probably also help when you're milling the profile as well, since otherwise you'll be running the piece referencing a very thin edge on both the table and the fence.

However, I agree with @graphus's comment that this is generally not a good idea since it will result in your finished piece being entirely short-grain. The workflow he suggested would be much better. To expand on it:

  1. Mill a bunch of square stock
  2. Cut an equal number of pieces to length for the vertical and horizontal pieces
  3. Set up a dado stack to the same width as your stock
  4. Set a stop-block on a miter gauge or crosscut sled to locate the dado in the center of the horizontal pieces. Set the height to be half the thickness of the stock. Make sure you have a "zero clearance" surface both under and behind the workpiece to avoid tearout.
  5. Cut a dado in all of the pieces
  6. Glue and clamp them together

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