Guide for cutting at 90 degrees with the table saw.

DIY table saw sled with safety improvements

I had been wanting to make this squaring carriage for the homemade table saw for a long time. I have always found it to be a very simple system for making very precise 90 degree cuts, and after performing the first cutting test with it I think you can get a lot out of it. It is now one of my first choices when cutting wood for my woodworking projects.

Maybe I’ll end up making one for 45º cuts as well (<- I’ve already done it and it’s going great), and then I’ll still consider whether I would have bought the miter saw if I’d had these carriages before. Although I have to admit that the portability of the miter saw is lacking in the home table saw.

As you may already know, this system consists of little more than a plate on which there are a couple of slats, one to support the wood (fence) and another to prevent the plate from opening or deforming, and a thinner slat underneath that we slide through a slot in the table and that serves to guide the carriage.

When it comes to manufacturing the carriage for cutting wood at 90 degrees with the table saw, we have three main problems:

  • Get a slot and a ribbon that slides in tightly but smoothly. Since my table saw table top is made from pieces of plywood, you can see in the video that achieving this is very easy for me since my side guide is parallel to the sides of these small boards I use, and I adjusted the saw to be parallel to the guide (and not the other way around, since leaving the guide parallel to the sides of the boards first is easier), and therefore, if I leave a groove between two boards, the slat running inside will run parallel to the blade. The only thing left to do is to apply furniture wax to ensure a smooth glide.
  • Make sure that the support bar is at 90 degrees to the disc. I use a square and take my time, and the result was quite good. If you want to be very precise there is a technique to adjust the angle very accurately. You can watch it in “How to make a cross-cut sled (YouTube video)” by The Wood Whisperer.
  • SAFETY. One of the disadvantages when using these carts is that we cannot trust and put our hand behind the fence just where the disc will protrude, or the result will be a cut finger. The best thing is, besides being careful and avoid putting your hand there, to use some system to be protected, so I thought of a screw in front of the guide rail to limit the advance of the carriage and also some wooden blocks that hide the disc when it protrudes behind the fence.
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