All router tables come with a miter track set into the table top so you can use a miter gauge to cut square or angled cuts on end grain. Two factors are necessary to ensure an accurate cut – you need a good quality miter gauge that sets accurate angles and the router table fence must be 100% parallel to the miter track. The JessEm Mite-R-Slide Miter Gauge addresses the accuracy question directly and takes a different approach to the requirement for the fence and miter track to be completely parallel – it doesn’t use the miter track at all.
The miter gauge itself is built from precision machined 6061 anodized aluminum and like everything JessEm make it’s solid and well made. It rotates 45 degrees in both directions and features positive detentes every five degrees, including 22-1/2 degree positions. It has a large heavy-duty handle which you use to push the miter gauge and twists to lock/unlock the gauge.
Attached to the front of the gauge is the fence, a heavy duty aluminum extrusion with three T-tracks. On the rear is the track for attaching to the miter gauge via two knobs which twist to lock/unlock the fence in position. On the front there are two T-tracks, one for attaching the replaceable sub-fence and one for any optional hold down accessories you might use.
The JessEm Mite-R-Slide Miter Gauge itself is a reasonably standard design, built to JessEm’s high quality, but it’s the method of use where everything is different from the norm. Instead of sliding in the miter track in the router table the Mite-R-Slide is designed to slide on a chrome plated polished steel bar which is attached to the T-slot on the back side of the JessEm Mast-R-Fence II™ by a pair of clamping brackets. Once it’s set up the miter gauge slides smoothly and easily along the bar with no free play.
Advantages of the JessEm Mite-R-Slide Miter Gauge System
Priced at $369, JessEm’s unique system has a number of advantages over the traditional method of using the router table’s miter track.
The only slight downside to the Mite-R-Slide Miter Gauge concerns the fence – although it has the T-slot which lets you attach accessories like a hold down, it doesn’t really have the ability to adequately clamp the workpiece to the fence. As a result you would probably still opt to use a coping sled like the excellent Woodpeckers Coping Sled when creating cope and stick joints or rail and stile doors.
Compatibility with Non-JessEm Fences
Not surprisingly, JessEm say that the Mite-R-Slide only works with their own fences, the Rout-R-Fence™ and the Mast-R-Fence II™. However, this isn’t the case as the images below demonstrate where we have it attached to a Bench Dog ProFence and to an Incra LS17 Super System. So long as your fence has a T-track on the back, it’s very likely you’ll be able to attach the Mite-R-Slide.
By using the JessEm Mite-R-Slide on a fence that uses the traditional twin slots cut in the router table (like the Bench Dog ProFence) for adjustment, you avoid the major disadvantage of that type of fence – the difficulty in getting the fence absolutely square to the table top/miter track. Obviously, when you attach the Mite-R-Slide to something like the Incra LS17 Super System, you don’t have that problem in the first place.
There is no doubt that the Jessem Mite-R-Slide™ Miter Gauge offers greatly improved performance and increased precision over end grain cuts made with a miter gauge traveling in a miter track in the tabletop. Added to that, you get the convenience of it always being available and flipping out of the way when not in use. Retailing at $369, it’s not cheap, but if you own a JessEm fence or even a non-JessEm fence, you do a lot of end grain cutting, and you want a well-designed, quality product manufactured to JessEm’s usual high standards, you should seriously consider the Jessem Mite-R-Slide™ Miter Gauge.