Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 31

Thread: How often do you use a hold down with your cross cut sled?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Oakland, CA

    How often do you use a hold down with your cross cut sled?

    I'm curious about people's practices with a table saw crosscut sled and how often they use a hold down when making cuts with one.

    In general, mine gets used for anything thin or where my fingers would somehow need to be near the blade, but generally not for larger boards. I also cannot imagine using a hold down when needing to do lots of repetitive cuts, for example. I'm wondering how many people are in the never and always camps and for those in the middle what other considerations you have.

    Not looking to start a religious war or judge anyone, but rather considering my own risk assessment.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    I just have a strip of sandpaper glued to the fence to keep parts from moving. Stop block for repetitive cuts. For unwieldy or warped parts I set a 10lb dumbbell on top. True holddowns would be nice but i haven't needed them yet. I did add t-track and holddowns to my miter sled.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Melbourne, Australia
    When the stock is long and can possibly lift upwards while I'm cutting and when my fingers are too close to the blade. Extra wide stock I often use clamps. Repetitive cuts that aren't too small I won't use hold downs. Slows the process too much

  4. #4

    10 characters

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2022
    Northern Colorado
    I won’t say never but it’s pretty close to that. Anything real small and I plan ahead with enough waste to make it safe..

  6. #6
    Not often. And usually not with the T track. I'll use a scrap of wood and a spring clamp for small stuff,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Upland CA
    I use a small sled on my band saw, and occasionally us a pencil with an eraser to hold down very small parts. TS no experience.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    NE Ohio
    I'm in the never camp.
    My sled isn't even equipped with anything to use.
    Long pieces that are narrow enough go through the miter saw.
    Long pieces that are too wide for the miter saw go under the track saw.

    For the rare short narrow piece - a stub of scrap or pencil eraser has sufficed.

    FWIW - one project I have for this coming warm weather is to make a replacement sled - which will incorporate some sort of hold down system.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Rarely. The only time is when my fingers get anywhere near the blade (2" or greater at all times).

    Having said that I have switched to a slider and a F&F. If I were making a traditional crosscut again, I would consider if its possible to incorporate the F&F into the design of the crosscut sled. No fingers involved.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
    It depends on what I am making. Most of my special use sleds have hold-downs. My general use sleds do not. For special, repeated cuts toggle clamps are helpful. One of my push sticks is a grabber stick with a sharp screw in the tip. It functions in a similar manner to Rich's pencil eraser. I try hard to never have my hands close to the blade, with or without a sled.

    Screen Shot 2023-03-31 at 6.39.57 AM.png

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Lebanon, TN
    Rarely, but my neighbor introduced me to this. It works and it's convenient. Each foot has a rubber bumper that reduces any slippage.

    FastCap 10 Million Dollar Stick

  12. #12
    Very interested in the responses to this query. I've been working for months on designing a cross cut sled striving to be the best it can be and have spent many mostly fruitless hours exploring hold down possibilities. I think limiting sled thickness to 1/2" for low weight and maximum height of cut is important, and this limits the ability to use t-track embedded in the sled, and much experimenting has revealed that typical hold down clamps using t-track on sleds tend to be awkward and slow to use, and you can't use much force unless the sled is thick, and toggle clamps used from the rear of a workpiece pull it away from the fence. A sharp blade and a stop on the fence make most cuts easy enough without hold downs, but I have a high tolerance for fingers near blade (and 40 years experience to know the forces involved). I know many woodworkers, especially younger ones, like hold down clamps, and will buy based on perceived safety.

    The best solution for quick and effective is a fence mounted toggle clamp. This is what the Dubby does, (pictured) what Jointech Smartmiter did, and what I'll be suggesting in my sled plan for those that want hold down. The toggle does pull up on the fence, and so the force has to be slight. This also requires a long toggle screw, and the commercial long offerings for that have a huge foot that limits its use for narrow pieces , which is where a clamp is most needed. A tiny toggle clamp with a long screw and small tip, a pencil eraser or "tip protector" is the most versatile.

    A huge factor is friction, and as some have mentioned, a high friction fence (sandpaper) is a big help. Perhaps more important is a high friction sled surface, or at least a not-low-friction sled surface. So the old school baltic birch sled, perhaps intentionally sanded with 60 grit, is a big advantage to prevent workpiece slippage over melamine or plastic laminate or phenolic. The commercial sleds, with their need for eye appeal, increase the need for hold down. Larger work pieces increase the area for friction to do its thing, and the cutting forces are the same at any moment whether the piece is 1" wide or 6" wide, and so larger pieces have less need for hold down clamp. dubby-11.jpg

  13. #13
    Always, even when I don't absolutely need it.

    I always make it clear that what I lack in talent I make up for in good tools and good clamping. You can get some good feather boards that let you just slide the next cut into the sled. Either that or get a quick clamp. The extra 3-4 seconds per cut adds up, but is still less than finding out an hour later that one out of 20 cuts was off and I have to set up the saw again.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Providence, RI
    With a general-purpose crosscut sled: rarely, unless there is less than about 3" to hold onto. For these smaller pieces, I prefer to use a hand-screw, positioned as close to the kerf as possible. If the blade makes incidental contact with the wooden hand-screw, it won't harm the blade.

    With a wedgie sled, cutting segments off small-dimensioned sticks of often exotic and expensive wood, where accuracy and precision are paramount: always.
    -- Jim

    Use the right tool for the job.

  15. #15
    I equipped my sled with a knob on the left side for my left hand. Makes it natural to grab the knob, rather than having the hand anywhere near the blade. There is a housing at the rear to keep the blade from exiting the rear of the sled. There is a toggle clamp on the right to hold down my work. Sometimes I don't fully depress the toggle, but use it to apply pressure. Anyway, still a safe place to keep my hand. I made a stepped block to rest the stopper of the toggle clamp, so that I can handle any board thickness without needing frerquent adjustment of the toggle clamp. Recently I made mitered cuts in a small pile of boards. It felt uncomfortable to hold my hands so far away from the fence and close to the blade, so I screwed a door hinge near the front of the work so that there was a place to rest my hand and to hold my work against the fence. That took only a few minutes to configure and implement.

    When you are doing production work, instead of one-offs, I think it is easier to let your attention wander (and I like keeping all my fingers). So, I almost never not use the hold-downs.
    Last edited by Floyd Mah; 03-31-2023 at 1:05 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts