Well, today I finally broke down and finished a cross-cut sled for
the tablesaw. This was motivated by needing more square cuts than I could
get with the miter gauge; no matter how hard I tried to adjust the gauge.
This problem was really evident when cutting material for the Leigh jig.
Now I'm wondering why I waited so long (OK, one reason was because
I didn't want to take the time). The test cuts have come out to less than
0.0015" over 5", which equates to less than 0.003 out of square over 12".
Much better than anything I could have gotten with the miter gauge.
I had built one of these several years ago using oak and plywood --
the mistake I made with the original was that I made it too large -- it was
unwieldy and a pain to try to put on the saw and use. In addition, the
plywood I used from Payless Cashway was not stable enough to remain flat.
The new one is smaller, easily placed on the saw, and made using an MDF
base for stability.
The only thing I am uncomfortable with is that I see no way to
emply a splitter with a sliding table; I suspect this won't be a problem,
but I'm not used to using the saw without one for through cuts.
I probably don't, the two potential issues I see are if the piece being
cut tries to close on itself and to provide some additional protection to
keep the off-cut piece from contacting the back of the blade.
I used Eds P's advice and got mine down to 0 .00000015 outta square in 5
inches ( whew! I though I would have to do some sanding..) My Gawd,,, my
wood expands and contracts more than that from day to night
Serously the proven method for making a crosscut sled is just what Ed
stated... make the thing then screw on the back platform try and try and try
when your happy GLUE IT.. I remember my first one I made it so perfect so I
guled it together,,, then had to knock it apart, lose an inch to re-align
PS I use "SLIPIT" lube ( Non silicon) to lube the sliders--- great stuff
Being a newbie, with a sled on the next to-do list, was wondering if you
used both miter slots or if you used just one? I am wondering how to get
two rails aligned with the sled's base, with the slots, so it wont stick
when you push the sled through the board?
Make them a little less thick than the slot is deep, and shim them up
when you do the initial assembly. This gives you a little clearance
between the bottom of the rail and the bottom of the slot for sawdust
and gunk to fall into and not interfere with the motion.
Good point ... the easiest way to do this, and to get the runners up against
the base, is with two dimes in each miter slot underneath the runners. Dimes
are just the right thickness for this "clearance".
Of course, since this is an "international forum", you may not be able to do
this ... but you will at least have one more reason to hate us here in the
That it did NOT, Bob ... it had nothing to do with your remark, which I must
of overlooked in any event, sorry.
It just so happens I was listening to NPR on the shop radio this morning
(all the other stations are either in their bi-annual menstrual cycles,
bleeding for money, or broadcasting
Doctor's who graduated last in their class).
NPR was taking great delight, nay gloating, for the umpteenth f*cking time,
about just how much "the whole world hates Americans".
Perhaps if NPR, and the rest of the media, could comprehend just how much I
really give a shit, they'd maybe lay off, eh?
There are many little tricks, but the basic philosophy is to lay the runners
in the miter slots _before_ you attach them, then position the base of the
sled on top of the runners, fastening them temporarily to the base with
small screws from the top (or alternately, with pre-positioned double sided
tape on the runners).
TIP: use your fence as a guide for the right edge of the sled base during
this above operation.
Now carefully remove the entire assembly without upsetting the position of
the runners, and permanently mount them to the bottom of the base with the
The next trick is to get the back fence of the sled perpendicular to the saw
blade once the runners are in place.
The philosophy behind this is to fasten one _end_ of the fence with a screw
to the base, and the opposite end of the fence to the base through a
slightly oversize screw hole, just big enough to give you a bit of wiggle
room for adjustment on ONE end.
Screw both ends down, make a cut, flip just one of the pieces edge for edge
and see if the cut edges have a gap. If so, loosen the single screw (on the
oversized hole end of the fence) and move the fence slightly in the
appropriate direction, then re-tighten and repeat the steps until there is
no gaps between the cut edges when one is flipped.
Your fence is now aligned perpendicular with the blade. Remove the sled and
add more screws, through the base, to the fence to hold it securely in
TIP: Do not glue the back fence to the base as you may have to remove all
but the original two screws at some point in the future if the parts move
due to the dimensional instability of wood.
As stated, this is just one method of many.
I made this easier by putting more than two screws in the runners before
removing from the saw (I used 4 along the length of the sled on the table).
I took a slightly different approach. I did attach the one end with a
single screw. I then made the initial cut in the sled, cutting to about 1"
from where the back fence would be attached. Using a machinist's square, I
then moved the back fence to as near square as detectable with fingernail
and feeler gauge. I then clamped down the back fence and used a single
screw to hold the fence down. I made a test cut and measured the deviation
with the machinist's square and feeler gauge. The first cut was off a bit,
so I used a rubber mallet to "adjust" the fence in the correct direction.
After a couple of tries, I got the measurements I alluded to in my original
post. After getting that precision, I then screwed down the back fence
with multiple screws to keep it in place.
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