table saw crosscut sled
I've been limping along with a panel style sled (sled that sites to one side of the blade) which was ok except the fence recently warped out of square and I found that anytime I had a cut off that was longer than 6 inches or so I would need to support the cut off with a piece of plywood that was the same thickness as the sled or it would tear out 3/4 of the way through the cut under its own weight.
So, I decided it was time for a crosscut sled and set out to build one. I also chose not to do a video for this one on purpose. My sled is built nearly step for step the way that William Ng teaches it in his video on building a cross cut sled. Not only does he go through all of the how and why of his sled he also takes you through all of the math of the five cut method which you can use to get your sleds fence nearly perfect.
Make sure to check out Williams video: 5 Cuts To A "Perfect" Cross Cut Sled
For the runners I am using poplar. I know it's not the ideal wood for runners but it is all I had on hand and I am actually a bit curious as to how long they will last. First I cut of runners 1/16 thinner than the miter slot depth.
Next I cut the runners to the width of my miter slot, sneaking up on it a little at a time.
The base is made from half inch baltic birch. I sized mine to fit under my table saw wing for storage.
The base gets offset to the blade. I use the fence to line it up square to the miter slot and layout for screw holes.
Then, I can drill and counter sync for screws and install them all. I definitely overdid it here!
I varied from Williams sled on the back fence, it’s just a single piece of 3/4" plywood screwed to the base from below.
Running the sled through to establish the kerf down the middle making sure to stop short and not cut all the way through the sheet of plywood.
Cutting out three equal pieces of 1/2" baltic birch for the front fence.
To get the fence as flat as possible I laminated it and clamped it between two pieces of 2x6 that were jointed flat.
I also differed from Williams design for the front fence. I did a simple curve down into a flat fence. The curve gets cut at the bandsaw.
The straight part gets cut out at the table saw. I could have used the bandsaw as well but wanted this to be as straight as possible.
A quick sand on the belt sander to fair out the curves and ease all the edge and corners.
This is a cool trick that William shows. Cutting a 1/8” piece to fit into the kerf your saw left and then using a square against the fence for the initial setup. We’ll dial in the setup next but this gets it close. One screw on both ends of the fence gets installed.
Next, I go through a pass of the 5 cut method and calculate how far off from square the fence is.
After adjusting the fence with a feeler gauge the way that William teaches and re-running the 5 cuts I measured an error of .002”. I debated if I should adjust the fence agian but decided that’s “just square enough” in my book!
Lock the fence down and put a bunch more screws in.
A safety block made out of 1/2" Baltic birch goes on the back to protect you from where the blade exists. Notice the slight kerf at the bottom to allow the guard to fit over the bottom.