Building a Table Saw Sled 101

Making cross-cuts or trimming panels is much easier to do with a sled, it does not have to be fancy, just accurate. There are two basic designs, one runs beside the blade, like this one, the other runs on both sides of the blade. I like this one because it is simple to build and I think safer than the other style, the blade guard can still be used.

I have found that it is often better to build a jig specifically for a particular project, that to try to make one that does all things. This was a quick way to make a very simple but functional sled to cut some laminated pine project panels. I used material I had on hand, it took me about half an hour to build it.

I used both miter slots because I had two of them to the right of the blade on my saw, but only using one will work just fine.

How I did It

I ripped some left over composite flooring for the guide strips, hardwood or metal would be preferable but I didn't have any available. Make sure they are straight and are a good fit in the miter slots, you should be able to push them the length of the slot without any effort.

The base is 1/2" thick MDF, it is about 16" wide by 24" long, it could be wider, this also was material I had on hand.

I placed the strips in the miter slots with a bead of glue on the top of them, I pushed them back about 3" past the edge of the back of the saw table. I then laid the base on top of them so that the ends of the strips are even with the back of the base. It overlaps the saw blade which is lowered below the table by about 1/4". I used a square to position the base, then clamped the back using small c-clamps. I then slid the entire unit forward with the clamps in the miter slots so the front edge overlapped the the table and clamped the front ends.
I drilled pilot holes and countersunk them for short screws to give some additional strength to the glue that fastens the runners to the base.
I used a 1 X 2 for a fence at the front of the base. To fasten it to the base I drilled a 1/4" holes in the ends of it and sunk a 5/8" indents for the bolt heads. I enlarged the hole in the left end to 3/8" to allow for adjustment.
When I had the fence bolted on I raised the saw blade and trimmed the left side of the sled.

Then using a scrap board I made test cuts and adjusted the fence into position by loosening the left end and making any necessary adjustments.

Construction Notes

I generally prefer to use a metal guide strip, either steel or aluminum, it can be drilled and tapped for flat head screws to fasten it to the base.

It is not critical to fasten the guide strip parallel to the edge or at right angles to the ends, if you let the base over-hang the saw blade it will be trimmed parallel on your first cut.

The thickness of the base is not important, the thicker it is the less cutting depth you will have, so thinner is better.

To cut picture frames a miter sled can be made by attaching a factory corner from a sheet of plywood or MDF to the base.

Longer lengths can be cut using both sides of the triangle assuring a 90 degree corner, shorter lengths may have to be done with the left edge only.

Table Saw Crosscut Sled
No more squinting at those tiny scales! This Crosscut Sled features a large protractor scale way out at the end of the fence, allowing you to precisely tune your angles for air-tight miters and crosscuts. Easy-to-read 1/2 graduations and a hair-line indicator ensure error-free setups. Spacious MDF surface works perfect for crosscutting large panels, while self-adhesive low-friction tape allows easy sliding. Heavy-duty aluminum fence features an adjustable MDF face and a sliding flip-down stop. An aluminum hold-down slides along a separate slot to prevent material from shifting during the cut. Spring-loaded ball bearings in the miter bar are adjustable for a no-slop fit to the track and smooth, accurate cuts.

Table Saw Crosscut Sled

Table Saw Crosscut Sled

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