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Thread: Building a crosscut sled. Need advice...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Nottingham, MD

    Thumbs down Building a crosscut sled. Need advice...

    Hello everyone... I've recently started woodworking, and I am building a crosscut sled this afternoon using the one in Tolpin's Table Saw Magic as a guideline. Toplin built his 62" long, and extending off the left side of the table. I am building one 48" wide by 30" deep so that I can crosscut cabinet casing panels.

    I've already build the front fence, cut the rear fence, fabricated some oak rails, and cut the base to size. Now, I am trying to figure out where to position the rails on the base. I wanted to run my plan by some of the experts on here to make sure I'm not too far off the mark.

    Most of the cabinets I will be building will be standard kitchen and general purpose cabinets. I believe that most of them will be 31 to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. My plan is to attach the rails to the sled in such a way that there will be approximately 14" of base to the left of the blade and about 34" to the right of the blade. The right side of my saw has 34" of table, so the sled will be supported all the way across. This will allow me to trim the ends of 36" tall panels square with 34" of the panel supported to the right of the cut. If I need to put a dado arcoss the center of a panel, 14 inches of panel on the left will be supported by the sled with about 4" hanging off. All 18" of the panel on the right will be supported. Would I be better off centering the base on the blade? This would leave a lot of panel unsupported when I trim an end, so I think my original plan is better.

    Does this sound like it will work OK?

    Thank you,

  2. I think you're on the right track. I made my sled so that covered the entire tabletop when it was on, so it would protect the surface in my small shop (I end up using the sled on the saw as a bench top too often!) But it sounds like your configuration is based on your particular needs.

    The sled is very stable, and you can clamp things to it easily enough by clamping a block to the front and rear fences. At some point, the heavy end of something sticking out the side becomes hard to manage. On my router table, which nests between the side rails to the right of my saw, I have put stock there to allow the overhang to slide along it. But it sometimes gets caught, dragging the stock along with it. I have a jig in mind that will be a "slippery" strip of UHMW plastic or tempered hardboard sized to be the same height as the sled base, and notched so it will stay in place on the router table, or mounted on legs so I can extend it well past the table extension.

  3. #3
    Hey Michael, I built four of those things before I was satisfied. The first three were left of the blade like you are talking about, but my fourth one was right of the blade. My major problem with any sled is support of larger material, and by going right of the blade I got to use the whole side table for support and my rip fence for accurate settings for panels taller than 24", eliminating the need for some sort of telescoping or long, cumbersome crosscut fence. The sled was 24"x30" and I could effective crosscut panels up to 27" wide. I used UMHC runners because my previous oak ones got fat in the summer. I also used the T-slot washer from the miter gauge so that the sled wouldn't tip when it was all the way back, and my outfeed table kept it stable after a cut. Just right of the blade I rabbited the sled to receive 1/4" ply inserts that could be replaced as needed if the zero clearance edge got too chewed up or I used a different kerf blade. There is a bolt on the end of the sled to allow micro-adjusting for square, an arched slot that allows the crosscut fence to move 52* for miters. Embedded in the right side of the crosscut fence is a slotted piece of hardwood that you can keep adjusting to the left to help with rear tearout for straight or angled cuts, until you use it up, then put in another one as needed. Left of the blade sits a false deck the same height as the sled so that cut offs don't drop. I used a runner for the miter slot on that side of the table to index that into place each time I used it. I Also incorporated another slot in the sled with a clamp. Surrounding the rip fence is some ply from the same sheet so that anything longer is supported on the far end of the panel. Also on the rip fence is a 1" block that pivots out of the way when not needed, so I didn't have to reference two fences at once, and merely had to add 1" to my measurement to get what I wanted. For any long cut-offs left of the blade I had my jointer situated with a UMHC jig set to the same height as the deck to add support there. Below are some pix of it. I didn't re-invent the wheel or anything, and this unit was built from me reading a few plans in mags, incorporating what I liked. This baby served me well for many years until I purchased something with a true sliding table. I wouldn't go back, but it was a good unit, and I know for a fact that my shop built sled is still in service in someone else's shop. I would have hated to just throw it out and I'm happy it is still going strong.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    This is the sled that I built

    I looked at a lot of different options for a basic sled and the thing I liked about this sled was that it allowed me to use it both directions. IE. I could use the brace on either the front or the back of the wood..

    Its not as fancy as Sams, but its a simple rugged design. I built mine out of MDF with oak runners and some 3/16 aluminum angle. I wish had built it using UHMW material because the runners do swell..

    John C

  5. Sam, that's a great sled! When I get around to making another I may steal some of your ideas.

  6. #6
    Go for it... I certainly did my share, and now share what I did. ;}..

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