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Thread: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

  1. #1

    Default Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    Hi,

    I'm looking for some opinions for those of you that have made and used crosscutting sleds before.

    I have looked at many examples and plans but I'm not sure of the design that I should use.

    I am looking, for this project to crosscut 3 foot long pannels into strips. What type of crosscut sled will give better control and have the best results? Fence at the trailing edge of the sled pusing the panel with the fence or Fence at the leading edge of the sled pushing the panel into the fence?

    What about the type of sled, some are only on one side of the blade others have a taller fence that provide a connection to a full TS width sled.

    I'm looking for some feedback on why you chose the specific designs that you use. Last time I did this I used a Miter gauge with an extension and got binding and poor results.

    Thanks in advance

    Allain

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    Hi Alain---I made one a few years ago when I was doing a kitchen after I sold my shop. At the time I had a General Int. 10" Contracter saw.

    My sled was built to crosscut a 24" wide panel. Overal size was 28" front to back and 48" left to right

    If you happen to have a piece of 5/8 milimine---great. First--make 2 hardwood strips slightly narrower than your mitre slots--28" long. Place them both in the two mitre slots using masking tape to centre them in each slot.

    Lay your piece of milimine on the saw table--square with the back edge---the one closest to you. Temporarily fasten the two hardwood strips by screws throught the milimine; remove from saw and fasten securly.

    Now get two piecce of hardwood--preferably 1 3/4 x 3 1/2 finished x 48" long. Fasten each one to the front and back of the milimine--securely. Use a router to round over the top edges.

    If by any chance you have a T-grove mitre slot---remove the washer or if you can purchase 2 more and put them on the front of your sled---these will help hold the sled on the table as you start your cross-cut.

    Now this is the important part---I said use 1 3/4 x 3 1/2 for the front and back of the sled---fastened on the 1 3/4" dimension. Place the complete sled on the saw---it will probably cover the whole saw. The blade should be down---turn the saw on and raise the blabe slowly throught the milimine so that is is only 7/8 above the milimine.. You can now cut completly through the 28" width of the sled. You still should have approx 2 5/8 " of solid maple holding both left and right side of the sled together.

    MOST IMPORTANT---WHEN YOU ARE CROSSCUTTING---BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL WHERE YOU PLACE YOUR RIGHT HAND AS PART OF THE BLADE WILL BE EXPOSED WHEN YOU FINISH THE CUT.

    I put a piece pf ply painted red with the words NO HAND where the blade came out. I also had a piece of 1/4 clear plexiglass over the saw blade as well.

    This set up works great for 3/4 material---if you want to cut thicker material then you have to raise the blade higher but then you will end up cutting too high into the maple stiffning pieces.

    This is fairly large and maybe a little on the heavyside but if its built square you wont have any problems crosscutting 24" material.

    I'm sure some of the other guys will have some good ideas as well--Tou could probably cut the weight down by using a piece of !/4 ply with strips of arborite glued on the underside for ease of sliding--you would then have to GLUE and SCREW your hardwood runners for the mitre slot.

    Hope this helps
    "Born 50 years too late"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    mac is right, cross cut sleds are easy and vital at the same time
    i usually have two or three knocking around, abiggie for cabinet parts and panels, a smaller one for cross cutting hardwood parts and another with a half inch dadoe cut in it
    my fav is shown although its almost worn out
    nothing fancy but they are disposable, no matter what they beat using a mitre guage
    Attached Images Attached Images
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    I have used various types and they all do the job. If the panel is narrow such that it will fit on the operator side of the blade and let the guide well engage the mitre slot then the rear fence is good. If you have a panel that is too deep then the leading fence is best.

    Personally, I avoid 2 runners since they can be a cause of binding unless you get them dead parallel or have extra slop. One is all you need.

    It is nice having the sled on the other side of the blade since it offers support for the off-cut but is an extra design detail to provide support for it.

    billh

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    Thanks Steven---I couldn't find any pics
    "Born 50 years too late"

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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    2 runners is a must, its not difficult to tune, mine are all two runners, build the thing and find the binding spots, its easy, and trim them
    my "biggie" cuts particle board or plywood cabinet parts perfectly square and perfect edges
    one runner just has too much slop, might as well use the mitre guage
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    well obviously my sled has seen a lot of use and actually i have three
    but they are disposable
    so dont spend a lot of time on them
    key features? well flat obviously, i make mine from 5/8 subfloor plywood, fences square to the mitre slot(easy) then zero clearance saw kerf(even easier)
    best addition to a table saw ever, beats the heck out of even the best mitre guage
    freehand crosscut, rip a small piece, miter a really small piece, a cheapie sled cant be beat
    mine is usually on the saw all day
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    I built one about a year ago and now I wouldn't go without one. I will most probably build another since it gets so much use. Here is a link that could help in building one.

    http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuild...scut-sled.aspx

    Daniel

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    Here is one way of building it:

    http://www.geotekds.com/sled/index.htm

    Below is the one I built, can cross-cut up to 25" wide and 5 or 6' long.
    I would definitely recommend to add the T-tracks and add hold downs.
    They help a lot. Every cross cut I make I measure carefully and secure it with the hold downs and just move the sled. Very easy and super accurate.
    I've built a smaller sled that has T-tracks, but it runs only on one miter slots. I find myself using the bigger one more often. For T-tracks, I used epoxy to hold them in place and it is super-strong.

    ts1.jpgts2.jpg

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    I've got a pdf file of a book that has quite a few jigs in it and drawings and instructions on how to build them. PM me and I'll be happy to share.
    www.sppss.com
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" Sign outside our Pentecostal church.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    mreza;

    Where do you get hold down clamps like the ones in your picture. I've been looking for those and can't seem to find them.

    Thanks
    Rick

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    well you got some opinions
    first of all, double runners are a must, if you use a good hardwood with straight grain and even better quarter sawn, then its easy and will work for a long time
    i say they are disposable, but mine are used all day everyday, for a hobbiest, a good sled will last a long time
    they get sloppy in the miter guage grooves after a while
    but even a well worn one still has uses for non critical cross cuts like for cutting up rough stock
    the one i showed in the pics is used everyday for fine crosscutting and cutting tenons on finished material
    so make one, start with a piece of plywood(i use 5/8 G!S fir, nothing fancy), cut a couple of runners, even poplar will do but i prefer maple(even the cheap stuff) or oak
    put the runners into the mitre guage slots on the saw and lay the ply on top, reasonably square, drill and screw the runners, check for reasonably easy running, then glue and screw the runners, remember fine tuning afterwards will be required
    after the glue has setup, fine tune the runners for easy movement, a shoulder plane works well here but even sanding will work too. slide the sled back and forth a few times and check the runners. tight spots will be black or burnished from the cast iron top. a little spray lube helps too, you should be able to slide the table almost effortlessly
    then raise the blade and cut the sled about half way
    use the saw kerf to mount the front fence square to the saw kerf and add a back fence parallel to the front
    i use the front fence all the time, so its alignment is critical, take your time, the back fence just holds the table together
    my fences are just glued and clamped and about an inch higher than the blade at its highest cut
    crosscut sleds are pretty simple, and disposable, making a new one takes a couple of hours, but they turn a crude ripping machine into a finely tuned woodworking instrument
    i must add that because of the zero clearance kerf, i now do all of my crosscutting and tenon cutting with a rip blade, so i dont spend as nearly as much time swapping blades
    the rip blade(a freud glue line blade) gives me perfect cross cuts because of the tight sawkerf in my sliding table
    Last edited by stevem; 12-11-2008 at 07:51 AM.
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick in Brantford View Post
    mreza;

    Where do you get hold down clamps like the ones in your picture. I've been looking for those and can't seem to find them.

    Thanks
    Rick

    From BusyBee:
    http://busybeetools.ca/cgi-bin/produ...01211082162691

    The T-track with two hold downs usually goes on sale for about $11-12.
    I add a little plastic cap (from those spring clamps) on the head of the hold-downs so they don't mark the wood. You can also build your own hold downs from a scrap piece of wood.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    dont let the lack of fancy additions and hardware stop you from building a sled
    just build a simple one and try it
    you'll never be without one again!!
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  15. #15

    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    mreza;

    Thanks, thought about making some, might give it a shot.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    Quote Originally Posted by mreza View Post
    The T-track with two hold downs usually goes on sale for about $11-12. I add a little plastic cap (from those spring clamps) on the head of the hold-downs so they don't mark the wood. You can also build your own hold downs from a scrap piece of wood.
    Initially I made mine from pieces of scrap and then used the BB clamps. I dipped the tips in PlastiCote for a permanent non-skid, non-marring solution.
    www.sppss.com
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" Sign outside our Pentecostal church.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevem View Post
    well you got some opinions
    first of all, double runners are a must
    ...
    Disagree and in fact running two parallel tightly "trapped" guides over a distance is generally considered a deficiency. If one is holding the sled properly, what is the other one doing?

    billh

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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    True---but for the sake of 10 minutes and a little wood why not err on the safe side ? Besides if you push too hard on one side there is a chance for binding
    "Born 50 years too late"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    all of my sleds have always had two runners, if nothing else it cuts down on wear
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Questions Regarding Crosscutting Sled.

    I'm sure this will surprise you all, but the wood used for the guides expands and contracts with weather changes - who knew? My last (I hope) cut off sled uses 3/4" flat bar stock from metal supermarket - expands and contracts at (nearly) the same rate as the cast iron saw top. A little bit of filing and some wax, drilling and counter sinking, doesn't expand when you tighten the screws, no more binding in the summer and won't wear out while I'm alive. Costs just a few dollars, but worth it to me. FWIW

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