How To Make A Table Saw Sled Slide Better – A good table saw is one of the first tools you should get when you start working with wood. These saws allow you to make the long, precise, straight cuts needed for safe joinery and clean, professional edges. Table saws are also very versatile, as you can make different types of bars and sleds to expand their capabilities. I personally have lace sleds, taper sleds, box sleds and most importantly cross sleds.
Crosscut sleds allow you to precisely and safely cut wood to the exact length. Plus, by adding a stop block, you can quickly make repeat cuts – perfect for many parts of the same size. For example, when cutting wood for drawers, I always use a crosscut sledge to make sure all the pieces are the same size.
How To Make A Table Saw Sled Slide Better
Of course, you can do the same thing with a miter saw, but I find that the cross sled gives better control and a better cut. I use a hacksaw to cut the wood into rough lengths and then grab a cross sled to cut those boards to final size.
Sawstop Sliding Crosscut Table
While you can add all kinds of enhancements like holding clamps, integrated stop blocks, and mortises, any woodworker should make a simple cross sled, and anyone can.
Do-it-yourself projects can be risky even for the most experienced builders. Before starting this or any other project on our site, make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment and know how to use it properly. At a minimum, this includes safety glasses, a face mask and/or ear protection. If you use power tools, you need to know how to use them safely and correctly. If you don’t, or if anything here makes you uncomfortable, don’t attempt this project.
1. Determine how big your cross sled will be. Its size depends on two things: the width of your table saw and the dimensions of the largest piece of wood you want to cut. The sled can hang a few inches above the edges of the table saw, but you don’t want it to bend. Likewise, the entire cutting board fits on the sled with minimal overhang. I wanted to cut 24 inch boards, so I made my sled 36 inches wide. This gave me 12 inches on one side of the blade and 24 inches on the other.
How To Make A Crosscut Sled
2. Cut the plywood to length. One sheet will be the base of your sled, and the other will be cut into pieces and used to build the fence and stabilizer plate. Since these are structural pieces, both sheets need to be the width of your cross sled. Cut them to size (in my case it was 36 inches).
3. Separate the fence and stabilizer plates to width. For stability and strength, both the fence and the stabilizer should be made of several boards glued together. My fence is made from three strips of chipboard glued together and the stabilizer is made from two. The fence and stabilizer should be taller than the fully extended blade of your table saw. In my case, the blade goes up a little more than 3 inches, so I cut five fences and stabilizer plates to 4 inches wide.
4. Build the fence and stabilizer. Glue the three plywood panels on the back to the fence and the remaining two panels to the stabilizer. Try to keep the boards as close to level as possible to make it easier to level and square them in steps 6 and 7.
Degree Table Saw Sled
5. Cut the sled rails. The sled strips slide freely in the grooves of your table saw and the better the fit, the more accurate the cuts. Well-fitting runners make it easier to move the cross sled. The rails should be equal to the length of your sled, equal to the width of your table saw stop, and 1/16 inch deeper than the depth of the miter slot. I made mine from scrap wood, but if you don’t have any, you can buy a piece of pine or poplar.
6. Square and fence level. Once the glue has dried on the fence, smooth the underside of the piece and attach it to the fence surface. The easiest way to do this is with a switch, but if you don’t have one, you can do it on a table saw. When the bottom and face of the fence are square, align the top of the fence as well.
7. Align the stabilizer plate. You don’t have to be as precise with this piece as you are with the fence. Smooth the bottom along the entire length of the sled.
Dewalt Table Saw Crosscut Sled Rails
8. Place the base on the rails. Put a penny or two or washers in each line and place the rails over them. The pennies should hit the tops of the sliders above the table top. Apply a few drops of CA glue to each rail.
Make sure the table saw blade is all the way down, then lay the sled base flat on the rails, using the table saw fence to keep the plywood as perpendicular to the table as possible. The closer you are to square this step, the easier it will be to square the fence later.
Allow the CA glue to dry as recommended by the manufacturer, then flip the sled over. Drill three holes in the center of each guide, one at each end and one in the middle. Secure them with ½ inch wood screws.
Build A Tablesaw Crosscut Sled
9. Install the stabilizer plate. On the opposite side of the sled, install the stabilizer plate by drilling holes in the bottom of the sled base and using 2-inch screws to secure it. You can place it on the edge of the sled – it doesn’t have to be perfectly square. As a reminder, you want them to stand tall on the long edge, as if you were building a wall around your sled.
10. Make a three-quarter cut through the sled. Pull out the sled and raise the table saw blade about 1 inch. Insert the sled rails into the corner slots, turn on the saw and push the sled, stopping when the blade reaches 5 or 6 inches from the edge of the sled fence. This creates a line that shows exactly where the blade will travel on the sled.
11. Attach and install the sled fence to the blade. Place the fence on the near side of the sled, the same way you placed the stabilizer. Then use a square to make sure it’s perpendicular to the cut line. Sink one end of the fence, around the center line, into the bottom of the sled base and secure to the sled with a 2-inch screw. This screw will be the pivot point when you perfectly line up the fence with your square.
Easy Table Saw Sled
When the fence is as square as possible, screw in a second countersunk screw at the other end of the fence, which roughly matches the pivot screw. This locks the fence in place. If you’re lucky, the fence will be perfectly square, but you need to test it.
12. Use the five-cut method to check that the fence is square. There are several videos on how to use the five-cut method, and I recommend this one from Bike City Woodworks. It simplifies the process and includes a calculator that you can use to calculate.
Briefly, you cut the strip from all four edges of the rectangular board, working clockwise, and then cut a strip one inch long from the side of the first cut. Measure the far end and near end of the end strip with good digital calipers. Plug those measurements into the calculator, along with the distance from the screw to the end of the fence, and it will tell you how much to adjust the fence. If you have a few mechanical gauges, they can help with minor adjustments. If you don’t have one, like me, you can use playing cards, business cards, old ID cards, or anything flimsy from the store. Measure what you are using with your calipers so you know how thick it is.
Table Saw Sled Plans You Can Diy Easily
If the numbers indicate that your fence needs adjustment, remove the non-rotating bolt from the fence, adjust its position according to your calculations, and reinstall the fence using the new hole. In theory, your fence should be square, but you should repeat the five-cut method to be sure. Adjust as needed until you’re comfortable – a thousandth of an inch is usually enough.
Once the fence is square, drill holes along the length of the fence and secure with 2-inch screws. I put three screws on the smaller one