I have a Craftsman's Tablesaw, circa 1950, and want to build a full size
(use both miter slots) crosscut sled for it. The tabletop measures 21" W x
27" D. I intend to make it 24" deep but was wondering if there is a "rule
of thumb" for the width? Thanks for any advice.
The trouble with a big crosscut sled is that they are heavy and you can't
cut a very wide board without the sled falling off the front of the saw. If
you make one that runs in the left miter slot and has the fence only in the
back you can cut a very wide board without the sled falling off the table.
You can make it zero clearance so you always know where your cut will fall.
You also don't have to remove your guards when you use it.
Also think about making a panel sled. Use Tim's idea but put the fence on
the front rather than the back. Think of the fence leading into the cut. It
great for sqaring up large panels like sides of cabinets and such. Mine has
a long runner sticking out the back. That way when I'm cutting a wide panel,
I still get good indexing in the miter slot while the fence of the sled is
way past the blade already. I used the Incra metal slides, but a well fitted
hardwood one would work just as good.
Regarding the width of you back fenced sled, I'd make it what ever width you
think you'll need. The only rule of thumb I can think of is to make sure the
blade is in the middle. That way if the sled is wider than the top of the
saw, it will stay balanced.
And for those cases where you want to support the offcut, just tape or
clamp a piece of the same thickness as the sled to the other side of the
I made a big two-runner sled and am about to cut it in half :-).
But one advantage of a large table is a long fence. Mine is 24" with a
stop block and I have an extension that screws on for another 18"
capacity. I don't know how a long fence would work on a short table.
Whatever will fit in the storage space you've set aside for it.
It is handy, on occasion, to have at least one side overhang the edge of
the saw table by an inch or two, for clamp space. It also makes squaring
the fence to the sled very easy: you can screw the other end down and
clamp the free, overhanging end for test cuts. The screwed end provides a
pivot. Once the fence is square, simply flip the sled over, drive the
remaining screws, and remove the clamp.
Try 25" x 48".
Go to library and get Fred Bingham's book, "Practical Yacht Joinery".
Covers the subject in detail.
He calls it a SLAT, but NBD, it's still a SLED.
You will build several different ones, trust me.
After all the times I've seen you recommend Fred Bingham's book, I decided
to order a copy, used, from an Amazon reseller.
I've only read the first 50 pages or so, but I'm pretty sure Fred's the
kind of guy I'd like to have for a friend and neighbor. Best expenditure
of $15 I've made in a long time.
I don't think I'll be building my own bandsaw any time soon, though.
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