You'll find it a snap to cut boards to the same length with a sliding, adjustable outrigger stop block attached to your table saw's miter gauge. To make one, you'll need:
- One 24-in. x 2-1/2-in. x 3/4-in. hardwood “extension fence”
- One 1/2-in.-diameter x 36-in. dowel
- Two 3/16-in. wing nuts and washers
- One 3/16-in.-diameter x 2-in. stove bolt
- One 4-in. x 1-in. x 3/4-in. hardwood stop block
First, drill a 1/2-in.-diameter x 2-in.-deep hole in the end of the extension fence. Be sure the drill travels parallel to the sides of the board so the dowel will extend straight and on line with the board. Glue the dowel in the hole.
Next, drill a 1/2-in. dowel hole near the end of the stop block, then saw a slot through the hole from the end for tensioning. Drill a 3/16-in.-diameter hole into the slotted end for the stove bolt. Finally, saw or grind off the bolt head, capture it in the stop block with the washers and wing nuts, and slide the stop block onto the dowel. If it doesn't slide easily, sand down the dowel a little with 80-grit sandpaper to slightly reduce the diameter. Now screw the board to the miter gauge, tighten the stop block at the desired length from the blade, and cut those boards to the exact length you need!
If you have several identical cuts to make, a stop block will make it go a lot quicker. Mark Petersen, a carpentry expert at The Family Handyman, will show you how to set up a stop block for your miter saw to save you time.