Improved Crosscut Sled Westerly RI
West Kingston, RI
Improved Crosscut Sled
Improved Crosscut Sled
A split fence guarantees accurate cuts
by Tom Caspar
Whenever I want to make an accurate square cut, I reach for my crosscut sled. Unlike a miter gauge, its right-angle setting doesn’t need constant tweaking. My cuts are always right on the money.
Crosscut sleds have been around for a long time, but few are ideal. Many are heavy and hard to store. Most develop an extra-wide saw cut in the fence and allow the blade to throw sawdust in your face. My design solves all these problems.
3 New Features
Take a look at these great features:
Zero-clearance subfence. The subfence is composed of two adjustable sides, like many router table fences. When the saw cut between the sides widens with use, simply remove the subfences, re-cut their ends square and re-install them. A zero-clearance slot allows you to quickly make a super-accurate cut. Just align a pencil mark on the workpiece with the saw cut in the fence and you’re good to go. A zero-clearance slot also eliminates tear-out.
Adjustable stops. Two stops mount on the sled’s T-track, making repetitive cuts very easy to set up. One stop is for short stuff; it only travels the sled’s width. The other stop is on a long arm; it’s used for pieces 18 to 48-in. long.
Easy storage. This sled stands upright on either end. In addition, this sled weighs only 24 lbs., making it easy to lift on or off the saw. A clear plastic guard over the blade keeps sawdust from flying in your face. Blocks behind the fence surround the blade when it exits the cut.
I’ve engineered this sled to give you years of reliable use. The fence and back brace are laminated to prevent twist or warp. They won’t sag because they’re stiffened by aluminum. The runners won’t be loose in one season and tight in another, unlike most sleds, because they only bear against one side of the miter slots.
Sizing Your Sled
Stood on end, this sled is 31-in. tall and just fits under my saw. If you make a shorter sled to fit under your saw you’ll reduce the sled’s 24-in. crosscut capacity.
I used one full sheet (60-in. x 60-in.) of 1/2-in. thick Baltic birch plywood to make my sled’s base, which is 36-in. wide and 31-in. deep. If you’re willing to give up 1-in. of crosscut capacity, you can make the base from one half-sheet of Baltic birch plywood (30-in. x 60-in.).
Make the Base
1. Cut the base (A) to size.
2. Make the runners (B). I made mine from the same material as the base: Baltic birch plywood. It’s 1/2-in. thick, but the runners must be 3/8-in. thick. To make the plywood thinner, cut a piece 4 in. wide by 33 in. long. Remove the tablesaw’s guard, raise the blade 1-in. high and set the fence 3/8-in. away from the blade. Stand the plywood on edge and rip both sides. Replace the guard, lay the plywood flat and cut the runners about 1/32-in. narrower than the miter-gauge slo...