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View Full Version : Any easy plans for a cross cut sled?



Michael Cole
06-07-2015, 12:48 PM
Would like to build a cross cut sled for my table saw. Anyone have links to plans for an easy to make sled?

James Tibbetts
06-07-2015, 1:32 PM
Mike welcome to the asylum! Do a search on youtube for wood whisperer cross cut sled. He has a real good video on making one and truing it up. Really a pretty simple project and for my money the best table saw accessory.

Jebediah Eckert
06-07-2015, 3:00 PM
+1 on above. I built that one and found the video to be easy to follow.

Michael Cole
06-07-2015, 11:34 PM
Thanks, I will look that up!

Michael Cole
06-08-2015, 12:16 AM
I watched it. It was a great video. I don't know that I can be as precise as he is though. I have 2 projects to finish up (a cart for my new planer which I got put together today, just have to sand, finish and wait for the hinges for the wings, and a reloading die cabinet for my son) and then I can get started with that!

Von Bickley
06-08-2015, 1:01 PM
Don't have any plans, but one piece of advice, be sure your blade is parallel to your miter slot before you build one.

Ken Fitzgerald
06-08-2015, 3:06 PM
Another piece of advise if I may...... make sure you use a blade of the kerf width you intend to use for the life of the sled when you make the initial cut in it......and remember to use that kerf width blade in the future.

Prashun Patel
06-08-2015, 3:49 PM
Whatever plans you use, a couple lessons learned (as if I have made a million of these... ;):

You need to buy or make precisely milled miter runners. Use quartersawn stock if you are making them from wood.

A 3/4" thick base gives you something to screw the runners into, but is heavy. A 1/2" base is easier to lift if your sled is large. A 1/4" base can even be appropriate for a smaller sled and doesn't take up as much blade height.

The easiest way (for me) to attach the runners to the base was to shim the slots with pennies so the runners are proud of the slots, then put glue on them, then sit the sled base on that. It's not critical that it's perfectly square. You can reinforce with screws after the glue is set.

Adhere some 150grit sandpaper to the fence so the stock doesn't slide.

I like a couple of laminated pieces of plywood for the fences. The edges aren't pretty, but they stay flat and are lighter than MDF.

Pat Barry
06-08-2015, 10:31 PM
The first one I built I used some scrap 3/4 particle board and it worked for several years. The biggest problem with it was the fact I used a single runner in the left miter slot. It did the job though but I didn't like the sloppiness of the runner in the miter slot. Fast forward several years and I made a new one from 1/2 baltic birch plywood (much better than particle board :) lol... The biggest improvment was to go to a double runner design - much more secure and repeatable. , Like Prashun mentioned though, attach the runners first, and then attach the fence.

Jebediah Eckert
06-08-2015, 10:51 PM
A bunch of years ago I took a woodworking class. In the class the instructor talked about making sleds. He said everyone says to use hardwood runners, ignore that, use Baltic birch 3/8" plywood, it is more stable and durable. The sleds in the school were all made with plywood runners and were subject to heavy use. Ever since I have made mine out of plywood I find it easier to get a good fit and they don't need to be adjusted from season to season. I'm just not sure why it is never mentioned in any of the videos? Everyone uses quarter sawn hardwood. What am I missing with this, other then you may not have 3/8" BB on hand? I bought a small sheet and kept creeping the tablesaw fence in until I got a perfect fit. Then I cut a bunch of runners and have them on hand when I need them for other sleds.

Also I use Prashun's method for attaching the runners and it has given me the best fit and smoothest travel. Why does everyone seem to use screws as well? Shouldn't the glue joint be plenty strong? I found the screws were the culprit of smooth travel. I guess they ever so slightly mushroom the wood causing sticky points on the runner. When I stopped using them the sled traveled smooth. Gone were the days of trying to figure out where the runners were running.

Michael Cole
06-08-2015, 11:55 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I really appreciate it.

Mike Cutler
06-09-2015, 10:19 AM
In the book, "Jigs and Fixtures Bible", by RJ "Cris"DeCristoforo, is a crosscut sled that is in my opinion, the best I've seen. The book devotes quite a few pages on to how to build it, complete with step by step instructions and pictures. There is also a complete cut list.
It's currently on Amazon for $1.36, used. For less than two bucks, it's worth having, even if you don't build the sled. ;)

Frederick Skelly
06-10-2015, 9:33 PM
I used UHMW runners. Slick as heck and very stable. I strongly agree with Prashun - use a 1/4" base if at all possible. I used 3/4" plywood and it was a beast to lift on/off the saw.

Full disclosure: after fighting that heavy sled for years I finally got an Incra Miter Express on sale. Far nicer than the homemade sled I had.

Fred

Curt Harms
06-11-2015, 9:43 AM
I made a Norm-style single runner panel cutter. I made the runner out of 3/8" X 3/4" mild steel. It wouldn't fit the T.S. slot from the store. I had to grind/file it to fit. I took some time there to get a nice snug but not rubbing fit. I then drilled and tapped 2 holes in the steel runner and screwed 1/2" ply to that. One nice thing about the 'one-sided' sled is that it's nice and light and easy to store. I wax the sides of the miter bar periodically to eliminate miter slot wear. I should (but haven't) made a 'dummy' for the right side that doesn't move. That would eliminate any risk of the very end of the cut dropping & breaking.

glenn bradley
06-11-2015, 11:28 AM
We all have our favorites so I'll just add things that I have learned to have on a sled to assure a long and useful life:
1, Replaceable inserts for the fence and bed. Sled slots wear due to the wood fibers passing through just like the slots on your ZCI's.
2. An adjustable fence. T-bolts in oversized (or slotted) holes is my favored method. Only a small amount of adjustment range is required.
3. A block or box to shield the blade as it exits the fence. Play safe.
4. Reliable runners. I have used white oak, ash, Incra commercially available aluminum runners and UHMW all with equal success and no problems after years of use.
5. An understanding that this will not be the last sled you ever make. ;-)

Curt Harms
06-12-2015, 9:01 AM
An adjustable fence. T-bolts in oversized (or slotted) holes is my favored method. Only a small amount of adjustment range is required.

I find this useful too. I added a fixed section to the sled in back of the movable fence. In that fixed section is a through hole with T nut. Put a machine screw with lock nut butting against the fence. Now I have a fine adjustment mechanism and once locked a stop for the fence.

william watts
06-13-2015, 4:10 AM
I lurked years before joining this group. I remember a fellow named Niki who posted clever designs for varies jigs. They were clever and will thought out. Here is a link to his method for building a cross cut sled; Cross-cut sled, a different way to make it. (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?38482-Cross-cut-sled-a-different-way-to-make-it) I used this method to position the runners on two slides, and it works very well. Niki has past on now, I miss his innovative method of work reflected in his posts. His posts live on.

cody michael
06-15-2015, 8:20 PM
I just recently made the wood whisperer sled, it was quite easy, just follow the video, I do not like where the cut out is in mine, I believe I followed the plan and it is at about 2/2 or 3/4 of the way to the right hand side, I wish it was either centered, or on the left hand side, I normally have cutoff to the left, so if your cutting a 4ft board and want to use table saw fence as a stop, I only have about 8inches of fence contact. also it seems quite big, most of my cuts are smaller, under 10 inches, I think I am going to make a smaller setup one of these days

Alan Hick
08-15-2015, 8:56 AM
Would like to build a cross cut sled for my table saw. Anyone have links to plans for an easy to make sled?

I know I'm late to the party on this, but William Ng has a superb video on you tube and his website. He offers a cut list, and provides the math on how to figure out how and where to adjust the rear fence to provide perfection in crosscuts. If you follow his directions, you only have to adjust your fence once to be within 1 one-thousandth of where you want to be. http://wnwoodworkingschool.com/5-cuts-to-a-perfect-cross-cut-sled/

Steve Peterson
11-04-2015, 1:00 PM
Also late to the party, but check out the "wedgie sled" on the segeasy web site. This is a site dedicated to making segmented turnings. They show a really cool way of making the runners.

They start with a strip of hardwood close to the width of the miter slot. Drill a hole in each end about 1/4" from one side and cut a slot about 1.5" long on the bandsaw. A screw inserted in the hole is used to flex the tab to create a perfect fit to the miter slot.

The rest of the features are specific to cutting wedges for segmented turning, but the sled base could easily be adapted with a square fence.

Steve

Denny Tudor
12-19-2015, 3:26 PM
I just made a sled for my saw. Didn't have any hardwood available for the runner. Top of that my "work" area is an unheated metal pole barn. So it is very susceptible to moisture , heat and cold- constant battle. I did have some trex type porch flooring available and use it for runners. They work great. Beside not being affected by moisture and temperature they turned out easiest make. Having made wood ones in the past , getting them the needed snug was extremely easy. I just had to get the close and minor adjusted after attachment to sled was just a matter of using my metal scraper . It was a breeze to scrap off tiny amounts in select spots.

One thing you must be aware of is that the screws will swell the runner. So after you got the runner to fit perfect and then when screwed to sled nothing works . Don't panic the scrapper easily fixed that in no time.

Finally the plastic type material needs no waxing of lubrication of any type .

Clayton Petry
03-16-2016, 7:40 AM
I built the woof whisperer one just the other night. This was my second crosscut sled. As another commenter noted, it's important to square your blade to your miter slot before you build the jig.

On my first sled I used polyethylene runners from Amazon and I was not impressed. This time I got on the same jungle based site and picked up a cheap 12" drafting triangle and a pair of the microjig zero clearance adjustable runners. I don't have a jointer or planer so making my own seemed futile.

Anyway, I went with a 1/2" ply base and made the fences from two pieces of laminated 3/4" ply, secured with 2 1/2" deck screws. On my old sled I tried to use a single thickness of 3/4 with pocket screws and the whole thing felt flimsy as a result.

On the new sled I got lucky, square to 1/10,000 of an inch per inch of cut on the first go!!

glenn bradley
03-16-2016, 9:24 AM
Another piece of advise if I may...... make sure you use a blade of the kerf width you intend to use for the life of the sled when you make the initial cut in it......and remember to use that kerf width blade in the future.

Or make replaceable inserts and use the sled for all sorts of things :). This leads you away from the more basic build but, it is an easy feature to add and I really enjoy the benefits. In the end you want to tailor your sled to your use. The coolest whiz-bang accessory is dead weight if it is not of use.

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Robert Engel
03-16-2016, 9:28 AM
Eagle Lake

Nick Ferry

Rich Riddle
06-25-2016, 2:15 AM
Glenn,

That is the nicest cross-cut sled I've seen (on the left). Much better than the one I made.

Robert Engel
06-25-2016, 9:07 AM
I post this because you are probably using plywood in those projects.

A panel sled is very useful and, IME almost indispensible when cutting plywood parts. The are quite easy and quick to build.

Its basically a very simple sled with a couple differences:
1. The entire sled is on the left of the blade. There is one runner in the slot and another that runs along the left edge of TS.
2. There is one fence. A 3/4" thick cleat fastened to far end of sled, so you are pushing against the fence as you cut.
3. I installed a couple lever clamps to secure the piece (not necessary but useful).

I use a couple saw horses and a 2x4 to support very long pieces.
Hope this helps.

Eric Commarato
10-10-2016, 2:39 PM
Would like to build a cross cut sled for my table saw. Anyone have links to plans for an easy to make sled?

Google William Ng on YouTube and his perfect crosscut sled, it is the best plan out there, and concisely presents how to construct and adjust it for cuts true to one thousandth of an inch.

Gary Radice
11-13-2016, 10:18 PM
The wood whisperer learned to make his sled from William Ng and uses Ng's design and construction methods. I just made two of these last week, one for cross cutting and one for dadoes, following the Ng videos which are very clear. It was fairly easy to get the sleds accurate to 0.002" per foot. I used 1/2" birch ply for the base. Mine are 30 x 27, which is large, and they are they weigh a little over 16 pounds each. If I was doing it again I'd make them a bit smaller to save weight.

Bill McDermott
11-22-2016, 5:52 PM
Put a couple sloppy, fast coats of shellac on the bottom. Sand smoothish. Wax. Enjoy and immensely easier slide across the saw table.