Crosscut Sled--What did I do wrong?

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Ok, first of all...Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. Here's what I can gather from your various responses:
1) Make sure my saw blade is parallel to the mitre guage slots. Is there a more accurate way to do this than just building a simple T-square type thing that I would ride in the slot and make sure it touches the saw blade equally at all points?
2) Double-check that there's no play in my runners. Will do.
3) If 1 & 2 don't eliminate the problem, I will replace the 2x4 with something more stable to prevent the sled from flexing.
4) If 3 doesn't work, add a top to provide even more stability. I'm guessing it would have to be something pretty hefty (but clear) to be workable.
5) I guess I'm a little confused on 1 point. I thought the design of the sled was to hold the stock against the front but Larry made it sound like the wood runs against the back edge. Which is correct? (When building my sled, I only checked the front board for perpendicularity to blade.)
Thanks again, Dan
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If I understand you correctly, you are pushing the wood against the front side of the sled. Before you do steps 1 to 4, try putting the stock to be cut against the back of the sled. Closest to where you stand. That is the correct place. Of course check the back side for perpendicularity to the blade.
HTH,
Dave

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Dave wrote:

Either front or back is fine. In some ways it makes more sense to be pushing everything forward... ;-)
IIRC Kelly Mehler's table saw book shows both front and back aligned crosscut sleds. I don't have the book checked out from the library so I can't check for sure. ;-)
My understanding is the Europeans favor the front models in both jigs and sliding table construction, while US woodworkers favor the back.
-- Mark
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On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 18:16:10 +0000, Mark Jerde wrote:

I don't think I understand this. Unless the bed of the sled is very narrow, if you put the workpiece against the back of the sled, aren't you going to be hanging over the blade? That would make me nervous. And if the bed is wide enough to accomodate larger workpieces, isn't a lot of the sled going to be hanging precariously off the front of the table before you make the cut?
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On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 19:33:23 -0600, Ray Aldridge

I think we should clarify terms. The front of my saw is the part that the operator's belt buckle hits when cutting. The front fence of my sled is the fence that gets to the outfeed table first when cutting. If the sled is completely sitting on the saw, the rear fence is nearest the front of the saw.
When I make a sled, I rarely square the front fence, only the rear. The front fence usually exists only to stiffen the sled. Some of my smaller sleds don't even have a front fence.
That said, I just about always cut with the work held against the rear (reference) fence, pushing it through the blade. Therefore I think Ray and I are on the same page, I don't know which fence Mark is calling the "front" fence. <G>
Barry
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"Ba r r y" wrote in message

You must be a left-handed democrat? ;>)
It's like the "near" side of a horse ... it's a matter of perspective if you're not a horseman. Actually, I think of it just the opposite when it comes to fences on TS sleds, The front fence is the one nearest to me that I hold the wood against, and the rear fence is that one way over there, past the blade.
Maybe we should start a TS sled convention designating your rear fence, and my front fence, as the "near" fence?
Who says we don't "reach out" to each other? <g>
--
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That actually makes way too much sense.
I'll have to remember to use near and far in the future.
Barry
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Ba r r y wrote:

In (a) table saw book(s) I have seen crosscut sleds that use the far fence. It is my understanding that is the configuration of both crosscut sleds and crosscut tables preferred by the Europeans.
-- Mark
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Ba r r y wrote:

Well, there are standards of designations for moving things but some people don't know them and don't use them. Unfortunately when talking about moving and non moving things one can get mixed up. I agree that the front of the saw is where the belt buckle is cause a saw doesn't move. OTOH, a auto moves, so the front is the part that "arrives" first and the right side of the a car assumes the person if facing the way the car is driven. The right side of a stream also assumes that a person is facing downstream. Thus the front of a sled is just like a n auto, first part to arrive (at the saw). You could also talk about the right side of a sled but that would be asking too much.
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On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 02:06:42 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

damnit, now I can't find the front of my house!
We've found an interesting confusion in RV's that ties in with your theory, though...
Most folks think of the end with the hitch as the front when towing it, but the side with the door is the front when you're camping...
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calmly ranted:
George Cawthon said:

Goodonya, Geo.

Got a mouse in your pocket, son?

No, that's just the entrance. The front is still the front, with the hitch. You don't call the side of the car with the door the front, do you, silly person? Oy vay. ;)
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"George E. Cawthon" wrote in message

54 degrees.
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says...

nearest you/me. To Larry, and most others, it's the fence furthest away.
--
Homo sapiens is a goal, not a description

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On Tue, 9 Nov 2004 08:48:57 -0800, "Daniel Grieves"

If you have a dial indicator, you can mount it to the miter gauge so it touches the blade. Check the reading at the front, rotate the blade to the back, and check the reading again. Ed Bennett, one of the Wreckers here, builds a fancy set for checking all the tools in your shop, butcha gotta have a crowbar if you're like me. The $6 Harbor Freight indicator works just fine. You choose. The video he has put together is great, and a really good value: $1.96 delivered to your door. http://www.ts-aligner.com/newindex.htm

Good.
I used 1/2" Baltic Birch ply and put a piece of 1x4" oak on both ends. It flexes only when I put a 6-8' stud on there to hack off. <g>

If you want to be EU safe and don't want to see what you're cutting. (Pretty soon they'll have thought police there, too.)

So we're clear, I call the end which hits the saw first the front.
Because it's cut last, the back is closer to your body while feeding the sled through. I nestle the board up against the backer board closest to me. The front board is there to hold the two cut halves of the sled together. The back is what should be aligned with the blade.
Did that help clarify things for you?
I've noticed a couple times that vibration in the saw (Dina can't pass the -flat- nickel test due to an old jaw injury on her motor pulley, but it's only about 1/4" off. ;) caused the board to float out about 1/8" and I got a bind when I started the cut. I pay more attention now to both finger and board placement.
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My way of checking that the blade is parallel to the miter gauge slot is as follows:
MAKE SURE YOUR TABLE SAW IS UNPLUGGED WHILE PERFORMING THIS PROCEDURE.
I bought a cheap ($13.00) dial indicator from Harbor Freight, marked and drilled a hole in the end of a 1X3 and mounted the dial indicator to it. I clamped the 1X3/dial indicator assembly in my miter gauge (mine has a hold-down but you can use a regular clamp) and marked a tooth on the blade that was "set" toward the miter gauge. I held the bar of the miter gauge tight against one side of the slot and slid the rig back and forth while rotating the blade to make sure the dial indicator tip was in contact with the same spot on the marked tooth both front and back
By doing this, I was able to reduce the arbor alignment error to only .003 inch. I could have gotten it closer with a little more effort but since the blade itself had more than four times the runout, I figured that was good enough.
I bought the dial indicator after struggling for three days...and many test cuts...to set up my power miter box using a method similar to what you described.

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That dial indicator is on sale in the stores right now for $6.99. A nice magnetic base is just a little more.
:)

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I still have those feeler gages for those spark plug things we used to change all the time in cars. If I care how far off is off.
Use your combo square riding the slot. Touch good, no touch bad, it's a go/no go situation, since any error is bad.

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Exactly.
Barry
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On Tue, 9 Nov 2004 08:48:57 -0800, "Daniel Grieves"

that's the basic idea. you also want to account for any runout in the blade itself, though. the way to do that is to pick a spot on the blade near the rim and mark it with a felt tip pen. use that spot for all of your measurements. raise the blade all of the way up to increase it's length above the table. rotate the blade so your mark is near the front and take a measurement of the distance from the blade to the miter slot. rotate the blade so the mark is near the back and take another measurement. compare the two measurements.
it sounds like it's time to post my sled again on ABPW. look for it there.
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On Mon, 08 Nov 2004 18:59:16 -0500, Daniel Grieves wrote:

things slightly, and it works excellent (although took a few iterations to get it working well).
I'd recommend replacing your runner material with something harder. I started with hard maple. These worked ok, but not great. I recently upgraded to steel bar, available at the local BORG. This has made a huge difference in overall stiffness and ease of sliding the sled. One problem I had with the wooden runners was that they were very slightly warped, or curved, so if the sled was square at the front of the cut, it was slightly off by the end. This did cause some binding.
I'd also recommend attaching a piece of 2x4 or 2x6 protruding out the back. This is similar to the 'tunnel' someone else mentioned, but a lot simpler. The blade goes into the 2x4, and I always know where it will end up after a cut. I don't have to worry about visually checking where my hand is - I can do it by feel.
Try replacing the runners, and see if that helps. A working sled is well worth the time invested.
Chad
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