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How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

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  • How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

    Hello, this is my first post since signing up a few days ago. I have been doing a fair bit of reading and this site is great!

    I have been around carpentry all my life and have all of my fathers tools, including a Beaver 6200 table saw. I am wanting to build a crosscut sled for it but I am unsure how large, or small to make it. I have watched dozens of videos on the internet and have a design in mind but want to maximize the sled for capacity but not make it to large or unsafe for the saw. The solid cast portion of my saw measures 24" wide by 22" deep with the blade centered at 12" in the width and set down from the top edge approximately 7" to center.

    I currently don not have an outfeed set up for the saw. I suppose the sled could run out onto it allowing for more capacity. Maybe I should build that first, lol!

    Any input appreciated!

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  • #2

    Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

    Outfeed support would be a good idea.
    My cross cut sled cuts 16”.
    I don’t very often need to cut larger, if I do I use a track saw.

    Size it for what you use the most.
    If you only use 12” wide lumber then make it 12” wide.

    Nathan

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    • #3

      Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

      I have made three so far, two crosscut and one dado. I have made them as wide as the sawtop. There's no real point (in my opinion) in being narrower as that way you get as much support for the piece being cut as if you were on the tabletop itself. As far as front to back ... only make it as wide as the widest board you're likely to cut, or as wide as you can easily support yourself when you are starting the cut.

      Remember .... you can cut small pieces on a large sled .... not so easy t'other way 'round.

      cheers

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      • #4

        Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

        I agree the size of the sled depends on the size of pieces you cut, if you need to cut large pieces consider an infeed support as well as an outfeed table. My saw top is about the same size as yours, here's what I built as an infeed support.

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        • #5

          Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

          Thanks for the replies. I spent the evening in the shop looking at my saw. I think I have a plan for an outfeed table that I am going to tackle tomorrow. I need everything I use to be mobile and easy to store as my shop is not dedicated to woodworking. After I get that sorted, I will look at building a sled. If the outfeed table works out, I will try to post a few pictures.

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          • #6

            Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

            If your building an outfeed table and you have limited space check out the design used by Laney Shaughnessy It folds out of the way when not in use. I made mine with ordinary door hinges rather than the shop built hinges he used. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt6s3rzF8jg

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            • #7

              Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

              I was looking at that video last night. The only problem I have is that on my old Beaver, the motor is mounted right in the way for the table to drop down. It will still attach to the saw on pivots so the legs can be leveled depending on where I have to set it up in the shop. I will have to remove it completely when I want it out of the way.

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              • #8

                Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                Mine is a direct drive Rockwell/Beaver 34090 so I don't have that problem. You could size the fixed portion to extend out as far as the motor to get around this problem. I find the sliding dovetail support rather than legs to the floor very handy, it supports the top rock solid, isn't affected by an uneven floor and I can easily move the saw with the table in place.

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                • #9

                  Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                  Good idea, I will have a look at that. Going to get some material for the table today and will also pick up material for the mitre sled while I'm out. What is everyone using? Most of the videos on the net are showing Baltic Birch but I'm not certain I have access to that in Saskatoon and if I did, I'm sure it would be very expensive and or a special order item. Any suggestions on an alternative that would be available at big box stores?

                  Just to note: I have some regular birch plywood I used from Rona for a cabinet project but it doesn't seem that consistently flat.

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                  • #10

                    Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                    Most of my sleds are melamine or laminate covered particle board or MDF. Any flat plywood, particle board or MDF is good. Looks don't matter so if budget is a concern you could repurpose sheet goods from a kitchen cabinet wall unit etc. Lot's of crosscut sled videos out there with some interesting features like stop blocks, hold downs,dust collection etc. which one(s) are you looking at?

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                    • #11

                      Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                      I used an old slab door that I had around or you could get complete with hinges from the Re Store
                      Bob just past Ayr

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                      • #12

                        Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                        Was going to make one similar to the one in the plans section on the forum. I like the replaceable section in the centre. Will likely pick up a sheet of 3/4” MDF for the outfeed table and use the balance for the sled.

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                        • #13

                          Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                          Or is it wise to just build a dato sled as well?

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                          • #14

                            Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                            Just looked and didn't see a table saw sled in the plans section. My big main sled doesn't have a replaceable section so I have a second smaller sled for dados and a third for miter cuts. I'm considering replacing or modifying my main sled to add a replaceable section. Looks like a good idea. Looked again and found plan, I was looking under shop not jigs. Looks good, if you haven't already check out William Ing's 5 cut method for squaring the fence. Lot's of options for the runners, it has been discussed on this forum several times. My favorite is leftover engineered flooring, laminate flooring would also work but I have a bunch of the engineered hardwood,
                            Last edited by Doug G; 03-11-2020, 02:53 PM. Reason: found plan

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                            • #15

                              Re: How to determine the best size for a crosscut sled.

                              Ok, outfeed table complete and now back to the crosscut sled. I have seen the 5 cut method and will use it for sure.

                              Went with 3/4" shop grade birch for the extension. I made use of the fence rails and hung the extension off of them. Used some aluminum fish plates. I may upgrade these to steel just for added security. Sub frame is glued and screwed double thick 3/4" ply with the exception of the pine for the back filler piece. The supports to the saw base are pine for now, I want to make a pair with adjustment in case things decide to move somehow. I had to cut a notch in the one front corner so I can lift it on and off with the fence installed as it overhangs the table. I will try post a few pictures.

                              And yes, my shop is a bit of a mess!

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