With all the talk of panel sleds recently, I thought I'd ask:
How does one get the sled fences REALLY square to the line of travel/blade?
I've made a couple of small sleds, but they were never EXACTLY square. What's
the secret technique?
I have an Incra miter guage and love it, but it's only a left-of-blade affair.
It would be great to have a nice large sled, but if it isn't EXACTLY square, I
wouldn't be able to sleep at night.
Glue / screw the runners to the sheet.
Raise the spinning blade through the sled (HOLD ON TO THE SLED!!<G>).
All you need is about a 10" kerf, leave good amounts of plywood at
both the front and the back.
Screw one end of the rear fence, which has one face jointed flat, and
one edge jointed straight and 90 degrees to the face, to the plywood.
Use a big drafting triangle to square the face of the fence to the
Check squareness again.
Screw fence all along the length.
I don't bother with the front fence. In fact, I've been know to use
rough lumber for the front fence.
Joe wrote: >How does one get the sled fences REALLY square to the line of
Trial and error.
>I've made a couple of small sleds, but
they were never EXACTLY square.
First make sure your blade is parallel to the mitre slot. Place one fastener at
one end of the sled fence as a pivot point. Square the fence to the blade as
closely as possible using a carpenter's square, not touching any teeth on the
blade with the square. Mark the position of the fence on the sled. Secure the
fence to the sled with a couple more screws, and make a small trimming cut
using a 2 foot board with freshly jointed, planed faces and edges along the
fence. Mark the edge that will be against the fence. Then take about a 5-inch
wide crosscut. Keeping the same edge against the fence, flip the 5 incher over,
butt it up against the other piece and check for space. The wider the board,
the more apparent any out-of-squareness will be. Then remove the two screws
(not the pivoting one), and go figure which way to move the fence to square it
up. Use new holes for the new screw placements. It may take five or more
efforts to get it close enough so you can sleep at night. Tom >
Someday, it'll all be over....
Check the the Fine Woodworking "methods of work" collection - the tablesaw
book. There's a method in there that works really well :
- Use double sided tape to stick a square bit of sacrificial material in the
middle of the sled, straddling the section where the kerf will end up.
- Raise the sawblade and push the sled into the blade, cutting only halfway
through the sled, but enough to have a kerf line completely through the
- Your one sacrificial piece is now two pieces, stuck down on the sled by
double sided tabe.
- Lever off one of the pieces, and use an accurate square against the cut
edge of the remaining piece to provide a 90 degree reference that you can
set your sled fence/s to.
- When your fence/s are done, lever off the remaining sacrificial piece, and
you've got yourself an accurate sled.
Here's my method:
1. Attach runner(s)
2. Cut the saw kerf. For a straddling 2-runner sled, cut most of the saw
kerf :-) This can be done by raising the blade into the sled like a
zero-clearance insert, and then sliding the sled until there is an inch or
two of material to hold it together.
3. Square the fence to the kerf using a known good 90 degree "something"..
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