I have long since wanted to make a table saw sled. It seems to be a great system to make precise crosscuts, and after I have used this crosscut sled for the first time, I am sure it is a jig I will use a lot in my homemade woodworking shop.
May be I will end up making a table saw miter sled. And then, may be I´ll wonder if I would had bought my miter saw if I´ve had those sleds before. Well, my table saw will never be as portable as my miter saw.
I am pretty sure that you know the parts of a table saw sled. It consist in a sheet of plywood with two thick strips on it, and a thin strip bellow the sheet. One of the strips on the sheet is the fence against witch we rest our workpieces. The strip below the sheet is to guide the sled along the groove in the table saw.
To make my table saw sled I have three main problems:
- To guide the crosscut sled I need to get a strip that fits perfectly, but it moves smooth, in a groove in the top of my table saw. Because I made the top of my table with several pieces of plywood, you can watch in the video that it is easy to make a groove that fits perfect with the strip. Because I set the saw disc to be parallel to the sliding fence, and the fence is parallel to the edges of the plywood boards, then the edges of the plywood boards are parallel to the saw disc. So, all I have to do is to leave a space between two boards, in such a way that the strip fits inside that space, but it can run smooth and parallel to the saw disc. Well, I had to apply some wax to make it slide easily.
- To get the fence perfectly square with the saw disc I just use my square and take my time. When the crosscut sled was already made, and I made my first cuts, I check the cut for squareness and I decided that the precision was good enough to me. But if you are looking for a very precise way to make a sled you should watch “How to make a cross-cut sled” from The Wood Whisperer.
- Safety. One of the safety issues when we use a crosscut sled is that we must make sure we don´t put our hand right where the saw disc protrudes behind the fence. So, I glued there a couple of wooden blocks to keep the saw disc covered. And because I don´t want the disc to go beyond the blocks, I put a screw in the groove that guides the sled to stop it before the disc protrudes the wooden blocks.