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Thread: Crosscut Sled Enhancements

  1. #1
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    Crosscut Sled Enhancements

    So the recent 'Build or Buy a Crosscut Sled' has spurred me to build my second sled.

    Nothing really wrong with my first one, but this time I primarily want to add a little more cross cut capacity.

    But in this rebuild, I'm asking, what are the best features to incorporate without making it too heavy or cumbersome.

    Lots of good Youtube videos out there, but I thought I'd ask the experts.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    T-track in the fence for stop blocks. I added two t-tracks in the base to help with hold downs on small parts. Really enhanced the sleds capabilities. I also put two t-tracks on the left of the sled parallel to the saw kerf so I could have an angled fence for mitered cuts. That was a waste. I have rarely used that feature, but its there for convenience if needed. I use the hold downs and stops more than anything.
    SWE

  3. #3
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    I have three slides I use primarily. Large medium and small. The small one has t-tracks for hold downs and I agree this is a great feature. Replaceable zero clearance inserts in the fence and the base are also a standard in my slides now. Obviously having the fence be somewhat adjustable is never a bad idea; how involved you make that adjustment (I tap it with a mallet when initially setting up) is up to you.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  4. #4
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    I spent a lot of time making my first crosscut sled. It had no bells or whistles -unless you count a t-track along the back (closest to the operator) fence. I paid as much attention to fit and finish as I did its utility and its squareness. I also made it "medium-sized" so it wasn't too big and unwieldy. It has two runners and a front and back fence. Critically, it's not quite large enough to crosscut panels (say, 24" deep for floor cabinets). So I will eventually build another sled, a touch larger, but with a single runner and, consequently, only one fence needed. So, much simpler, but it will finally let me truly square up plywood panels (for cabinet carcasses) on my table saw - currently I have to rely on the factory corners or on my circular saw and straightedge. Eventually I might make another sled specifically for 45* miters.

  5. #5
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    For lightweight considerations, use 1/2" Baltic birch, the best you can find.

    It's funny, Chris, I was just looking at mine this week after that same thread, and thinking I need to make a smaller one. Mine can crosscut about 22", big enough for taking down sheet stock (if the cut needs to be longer that 22" I can use the rip fence).

    But most of the time I only need 6 " or 8". I don't have and am not going to buy a sliding miter saw (known by its hip nickname SCMS around here), so the table saw is my crosscut machine. I think it might be convenient to have a crosscut jig for boards less than 12" wide.

  6. #6
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    I recently built a new crosscut sled. 1/2" MDF for the base and 3 layers of 1/2" BB ply glued up ala William NG for the fences. I used the microjig adjustable miter bars (4 total); they seem to work very well but it's too soon to tell how they will hold up long term. Only other B&W was using the Kreg top track with flip stop and production stop. I really like the track and stops. The stops have adjustable cursors so your placement of the rule doesn't have to be perfect. You can make a test cut and set the cursor to be dead on. The kreg top track is made for 3/4" thick fence so I had to rip a slot in the top of the fence to accommodate the track, but no biggie. I do wish the stops were taller; they are designed for a 2 1/4" high fence and I would have preferred a taller fence. In reality, though, I rarely cut anything thicker than an inch or so with the sled. One other gotcha with the Kreg track and stops though...the scale is offset 3/8" because the cursors on the stops are 3/8 away from the edge of the stop. No issue as long as you use the stops, but if you want to just clamp a stop block for some reason, and you want to use the scale, you have to allow for the offset. That wasn't a deal breaker for me, I can't envision wanting to use something other than the Kreg stops.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  7. #7
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    Replaceable Zero Clearance Insert. Make Cutout about 2" wide for blade and add 1/4 deep x 1/2 rabbet. Insert 1/4 ply Zero Clearance Insert. When it gets chewed up, easy to replace. Take it another level and make one for dados.
    Regards,

    Tom

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the ideas, keep them coming.

    I have the Kreg fence system on my miter saw fence, so I am familiar with it and like you said, I wish it was taller.

    I like the idea of the zero clearance insert, think I'll incorporate that.

    I also like the idea of making a single rail, small size sled.

    I have a rockler flip stop on my current fence, but it does have some flex in it, so I ordered one of these today.



    Does anybody have one? And if so, can you tell me the height of the L, on the non anodized part, that hangs over the from of the fence.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    Thanks for the ideas, keep them coming.

    I have the Kreg fence system on my miter saw fence, so I am familiar with it and like you said, I wish it was taller.

    I like the idea of the zero clearance insert, think I'll incorporate that.

    I also like the idea of making a single rail, small size sled.

    I have a rockler flip stop on my current fence, but it does have some flex in it, so I ordered one of these today.



    Does anybody have one? And if so, can you tell me the height of the L, on the non anodized part, that hangs over the from of the fence.
    I saw those K&M stops after I bought the Kreg stuff; I may still order one since I think it will work with the Kreg track. Not positive, but looking at the dims on the photo, I'd say the silver piece extends 2.25 down from the top. Seems to be a bit of a standard...
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  10. #10
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    Yes, but it's the one on the far right that confuses me.

    When I get mine, I'll try it on the Kreg track and let you know.

  11. #11
    Paul, since you bought 4 miter bars, I assume you have it set up as a two bar sled. If so, you have fallen (as many have) for the two miter bar myth. This myth assumes that because there are four edges instead of two, the sled is bound to be more robust, or stabler or sexier or whatever. Not so! The distance between two runners changes with humidity and will therefore not be EXACTLY the same as the distance between the miter slots. If the miter bars are ever so slightly father apart than the slots the outer edges of the two bars will guide the sled and the inner edges of the bars will never touch their respective slots. If the bar spacing is less than the slots the inside edges of the bars guide the sled and the outer edges will not touch the slots. In either case, it can be seen that the sled is guided by one and only one left edge and one and only one right edge. This is the same as happens with a single runner sled. Moreover, a dual runner sled has to be adjusted with more free play (aka slop) so that it will not bind up umder some humidity levels.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    Yes, but it's the one on the far right that confuses me.
    Looks like the backer/fence on the far right doesn't extend to the 'table' surface.

    Is it worth drilling holes in the 'table' surface to decrease weight?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene Dixon View Post
    Looks like the backer/fence on the far right doesn't extend to the 'table' surface.
    Yes you are correct. After close scrutiny you can see the bottom corner of the aluminum piece. Thanks

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I have three slides I use primarily. Large medium and small. The small one has t-tracks for hold downs and I agree this is a great feature. Replaceable zero clearance inserts in the fence and the base are also a standard in my slides now. Obviously having the fence be somewhat adjustable is never a bad idea; how involved you make that adjustment (I tap it with a mallet when initially setting up) is up to you.
    I meant "sleds", not "slides". Darned voice-to-text

    Oh, and definitely two runners. Bandsaw drift is a myth. Double the contact surface is math. Just supplying a different opinion

    So if I had to make a list of things I put on my sleds:

    - Plywood construction
    - ZCI's

    a fence align.jpg

    - Adjustable fence

    8 t-bolts.jpg

    - Blade exit guard

    small sled 2-1.jpg

    - T-tracks for smaller pieces

    Box Sled (17).jpg

    - Standardize your fence height and thickness so that stops and other goodies can be used between sleds (see that? I said sleds )

    I have been tempted to add t-track to the fences but, have trick little clamps that serve me well. I use t-track a lot so I am not sure why my sleds remain t-track free(???). I have used aluminum, UHMW and straight grained wood for runners. All work well. I shellac and wax the bottoms, and wax the runners. Along with a well maintained tablesaw top the bottoms give years of service without wearing through.

    b-2009-bev-sled-how-to-002.jpg

    The larger sled is a bit hefty and I keep considering putting some cutouts in it to help with the weight. It is only for larger panels which I don't do very often so it just keeps getting used instead of "improved". I did make a simple sled support so that I can have it in the "start" position without having to hold it up.

    TS Sled Support (6).jpg . TS Sled Support (8).jpg . TS Sled Support (10).jpg

    I have sleds that have survived for three tablesaw changes by just relocating the runners. The leading fence is glued and screwed. The 'operator position' fence is adjustable on t-bolts. I have only re-adjusted one fence, on one sled, in probably 15 years. I trust them implicitly and they have only let me down once (that would be the time I re-adjusted ).

    Have fun developing the sled(s) that check off all the items on your list.

    P.s. in the last pic you can see that I added little rubber feet for the sleds to stand on when they are leaned against the wall for storage. These keep the sleds off of my concrete shop floor so they do not wick moisture.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 11-16-2020 at 11:45 AM.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  15. #15
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    Sep 2019
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    I took William Ng at his word and incorporated a rear fence with a raised plateau over the blade. It's sized so that when I put my hands on it, my fingers and thumbs cannot possibly reach the blade. A simple feature that I thank myself for with every use.

    Regarding stops, yikes. T-tracks and dadoes. Why bother? I just clamp a squared-up block to the fence and register the work against it. I don't think it takes any more time than using those fancy aluminum jigs. For small parts I clamp two blocks, one on each end of the work. The blocks are 3-ply laminated 3/4" plywood, about 2-1/4" x 3" x 6", and are true to square. So easy. And cheap. They get a lot of use.

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