hey everybody welcome back to the shop since upgrading to my new table saw I need to start putting together new sleds and jigs to go along with it now arguably the most important one of them all is the crosscut sled so I can get perfect and repeatable 90-degree cuts I just finished putting this one together so let me show you how I did it alright first of all I want to thank Acme tools for their support with this video if any of you are looking at buying or upgrading a table saw Acme tools has a 2018 guide to table saws on their blog and they did a really good job of collecting a bunch of information together now my old Dewalt jobsite saw that I had before was on that list and this new saw snap saw that I have upgraded to is also on that list so if you're looking at getting into a budget saw or you're looking at a professional machine I would probably trust what Acme tools has to say on the matter because they've done the research so I'll leave a link for that down in the description and let's get on with the bill there are really only two hyper critical parts of a crosscut sled the runners and the back fence other than that the rest is all just personal preference and some bells and whistles it's critical to have very stable runners that fit without any slap inside the miter tracks in the saw there are lots of different materials that will work for this and there are even more opinions on which one's best last year when I helped clean out my grandparents old house I came across a few four-foot square sheets of what I believe is PVC plastic in varying thicknesses I added them to my collection of materials knowing that eventually a project would come up where I needed them I decided to use this material as the runners for my sled thinking that they will be impervious to any expansion or contraction they'll resist wear longer than any piece of wood and they would probably have a more slippery surface to aid in sliding down the miter tracks I ripped a strip off the edge of my plastic sheet that would be wide enough for two runners then I cut the strip in half I used a calipers to get a precise measurement of the miter slots which was three quarters of an inch on the dot then I set my fence to a hair over that I wanted them to be oversize so I could sneak up on a perfect fit I could have strip at that width then tested the fit in the miter slot as expected this first one was too big so I knocked the fence over just slightly rip the strip and tested it again this time I could get it to fit but it was quite tight and didn't slide well this is exactly what I was looking for so I ripped the second strip to the same size I actually cut four runner while everything was set up knowing that I had more sleds coming up in my future and I didn't want to have to dial this in again the next time I hand sanded the edges of the runners with 220 grit paper until I had the exact fit I was looking for they slid back and forth effortlessly but had no discernible play side to side with my runners ready to go I switched my focus to the fences once again there are lots of possibilities here for materials but the main focus should be on something that will not move and warp once you have the fence is set to square some people do this by laminating several pieces of plywood together to get one really thick piece for me I had a huge beam of rough cut cedar that had been drying for close to 10 years I figured this would be pretty stable and it has the added benefit of being pretty lightweight wood so my sled won't be too heavy once I'm finished with it I used a jointer and planer to get the two fence pieces perfectly flat square and down to the thickness I wanted then I ripped them to what will be their final height on the table saw and cut them to length I tipped the blade on the table saw to 45 degrees and shaved about 1/8 inch off of one corner this creates a small space in the back fence for dust to go so that the dust doesn't interfere with a workpiece up against the fence I'll demonstrate this later for the main body of the sled I used 3/4 inch MDF the overall size I'm going for is pretty arbitrary I wanted it to be big but I let the materials I had on hand dictate the specific dimensions the first step in assembly is attaching the runners to the body I put several washers in the miter slots to lift the runner up just higher than the surface of the table then I ran a thin bead of CA glue down the entire length of the runners this just needs to be enough to hold the runners to the body while you flip the whole thing over make sure you don't use so much that there's squeezed out you wouldn't want to glue your unfinished sled to your table saw I locked the table saw fence down then use it as a reference to push the MDF sheet against this way I could slowly lower the sheet down onto the runners while keeping everything lined up and as square as possible with it set in place I press down on the runners to make sure that the glue made contact then I walked away for a few minutes to let the glue set up most of the time I use accelerator with CA glue to speed up the process but in this case I really didn't want to use any on the MDF since MDF sucks up moisture like a sponge and I was afraid that this would hurt the flatness of my sled once the glue dried I very carefully pulled the runners out of the miter slots and flip the sled upside down I drilled pilot holes every few inches along the length of both runners using a flag on my drill bit to make sure I didn't drill all the way through then I used a countersink bit on all the holes to make sure that all the screw heads would be recessed below the surface of the plastic after driving in a bunch of 3/4 inch screws those slides aren't going anywhere I flipped the sled back over and put the runners in the miter slots to test how well they slid they moved but they were binding up just a little bit so it took too much effort to push and pull the sled so I flipped the sled back over then used a scrap of wood with a square corner wrapped with some 220 grit sandpaper then slid it back and forth along both sides of each runner the fit was so close to perfect at this point that I didn't want to remove too much material so I only made a few passes before flipping it back over and testing the fit this time the sled moved back and forth effortlessly but there was zero side-to-side movement moving on to the fence I lined up the right corner and made the back of the fence flush with the base of the sled this won't be perfect but it's really close so it's a good place to start I clamped the pieces together then drilled a pilot hole and ran in a screw to hold this corner in place I needed to cut a reference line in the MDF by raising the blade up through it so I had to temporarily remove the riving knife from the table saw then with the saw running I turned the crank until the blade just started to poke through the middle of the board pushing on the base not the fence I slowly slid the whole thing forward until the blade had cut right near the fence I grabbed my biggest square and reverencing off the cut line I pivoted the fence until it was a square as I could make it then I clamped down the left corner drilled a pilot hole and ran in a screw the front fence doesn't have to be perfectly Square to the blade so I just flipped the sled over lined up the back edges of the fence and the MDF then screwed it in place I put a screw in each end as well as close to both sides of the saw line this way none of the parts will move around when I cut all the way through the MDF so here's where we start to test and adjust the rear fence to get it perfect I'm using a commonly known process called the five cup method in essence you take a scrap of wood and cut off one side then you put the freshly cut side up against the fence and cut the next side you continue to do this until you get all the way around then cut roughly a 1 inch strip off the side you started with make sure you mark the front and back of that strip then measure each end to see how different they are at this point some math is involved and since I'm not good at math and I can't in good conscience try to teach someone else how to do it I'll leave a link to the document I use to help walk me through this process if you do everything correctly you will eventually come up with a number that tells you exactly how much you have to adjust your fence by to get it square to make my adjustment I found a feeler gauge that matched the number I came up with I have to move the left side of my fence forward so I put the gauge up against my fence then I put the point of a carpenter's pencil up against the gauge then clamped it down I removed the screw from the underside of the fence and carefully nudge the fence forward until it just barely touched the tip of the pencil then I clamped the fence in that position drilled a new hole and ran in a screw with the new fence position locked in I performed the test again this time I had reduced my previous error by more than half but I still wanted it to be better so I just repeated the process again it took me three times before I had my fence as precise as I wanted it but you could keep on doing it as many times as it takes to make you happy with my fence style then I flipped the sled over and put screws in both the front and back fences every few inches to keep them from moving around I made sure to have screws close to the cut line but not so close that they were in any danger of touching the saw blade I rubbed paste wax into the bottom of the sled and over the runners to help reduce friction and keep it gliding easily over the saw the final touch was adding a bit of safety to the sled I took a scrap block of cedar and glued it to the back of the fence this way when the blade passes through the fence its contained inside this block of wood and doesn't present any danger to my fingers I only used CA glue and mounting this block because I haven't decided if this is my permanent solution to this problem if I change my mind I can just tap this off with a hammer and do something else here's a quick demonstration of how the recess in the bottom of the fence helps keep sawdust from interfering with the position of the workpiece without the recess the dust gets trapped in between and will throw off the cut with the recess the dust slides harmlessly out of the way and keeps your cuts more accurate well this is definitely the nicest crosscut sled that I've ever had but it actually is very basic as far as these things go there's a lot of bells and whistles that you could add to it one of them would be maybe a tea track across the top and that's actually why I left it flat and square the way it is I haven't decided if I want to add stuff like that to it yet or not so this gives me the ability to just run a groove down here put in an aluminum T track and then I can have flip stops I can have a couple of different jigs that go along with it again I don't know if this is the safety measure that I'm going to keep back here it needs some sort of a block or box back here but I just super glued this one on temporarily to make sure I like how it's working I can knock that off and replace it if I need to a lot of other people I've seen who don't need that track who don't need all the bells and whistles I'll actually take and just have a high spot right here over the top of the blade so that it holds the whole thing together but then they'll actually taper this down and have a lower fence on the edges so that you can actually reach over and grab your work pence workpiece easier so that might be an option that you would want to go with if you don't have any intention of upgrading from this sort of idea this is a very big one it's it's got a 21 and a half inch space between the fences so I can get fairly big panels with that I probably don't need that much space most of the time so I might come back and build a smaller one also but I figured I can always put small pieces into a big sled I can't put big pieces into a small sled so I started with the big one that's really all I wanted to say about this so thank you guys very much for watching this thank you once again to Acme tools for their support with this one you guys should definitely go check out that blog post if you have any interest in learning more about some of the newest table saw models because they did a lot of work gathering a lot of really good information and really rain things and giving stuff stats to see how they stack up with each other yeah that's about it thanks for watching we'll see you next time

Making A Table Saw Crosscut Sled – Simple & Precise
Tagged on:                                                                                     

34 thoughts on “Making A Table Saw Crosscut Sled – Simple & Precise

  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Very simple but well made

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Awesome job on building a crosscut sled. Been doing woodworking for 5 years, now I may make one .

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    I do not use table saw for more than 5 years. I invented a "Parallel Guided Power Saw" you can see on you tube under this name which is much better and easy to use. Are you interested to partner with me to manufacture my saw? Is a patent pending.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Great template! I plan to replicate! Curious what kind of drill bit do you have that has the countersink included?

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    will I be able to make it with a chainsaw?is it possible?

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Great video. I just bought that saw and I am about to make my first sled. Very Helpful

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Not only an excellent build but, a super video! Easy to watch and follow. You do a great presentation.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Oh no! Your old outfeed table video for your Dewalt was an inspiration to me! So many times I wanted to give up and go buy a Sawstop instead. But I persevered and have finally finishing building my own version of your Dewalt job site outfeed table. Only to discover you’ve upgraded to a Sawstop.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Hey. I am in the process of planning my slide out. Have you posted the 'math' you referred to yet?

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    love your feed table. Did you build that yourself?

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Great video – I really appreciated your simple, honest approach! Great teacher!!!

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    My fathers uncle owns Acme Tools wow what a small world!!!

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    I can understand why you want a very rigid base, but it wastes a good chunk of cut depth. IME, you always get into a situation where need that last quarter of an inch that you can't get because your sled's base is too thick. IMO, 3/8" would have been rigid enough.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Very nice 👍🏻

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    You can also get anvils, bombs and rocket powered roller skates from Acme.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Nice walk through of the techniques and steps required to make a precise crosscut sled. For better accuracy you could start (and end) with a long side cut, instead of a short side cut when doing the 5 cut test. The longer the cut the better the accuracy you can gain, but this is of course quite marginal. Personally I would never make a sled from MDF and solid wood, regardless of how long it might have been seasoned. The issue being that there will likely always be a fluctuation of humidity in a workshop over the year (dry in summer and wet in winter) which will affect MDF and solid wood so much faster than a good quality plywood. Again, it will be marginal, but if you aim for as accurate as you can possibly get get it you would be better off with good quality birch plywood. (If you have climate control in your workshop, with an even temperature and humidity throughout the year, this does of course not apply in the same way, but who has climate control in their workshop?).

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Great video, thanks!

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Nice sled thanks for the tips good video

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    For a crosscut sled that you never need to wax, use a sheet of Phenolic surface coated plywood used for concrete forming. The Phenolic layer provides a slippery surface by default.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    If you'd wanted a professional machine you'd buy a Felder or a Hammer sliding table saw and cutting that large sheet of plastic (or a full sheet of plywood) would've been quicker, more comfortable and less precarious.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    The first time you've done a good job of writing five cuts, although I still can't understand, because the translation software, thank you very much, subscribe

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Nice vid man! Would the absence of a front fence on a smaller sled allow you to cut larger pieces when needed, without the need to make a 2nd, larger sled?

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    sorry to say the article that is "2018" is nothing but same old stuff rewritten over and over, every year. there is literally no variety of saws to choose from . there are 7 "job-site" models on there and 3 pretty expensive saws (yes the smaller SS is labeled "contractor" but is leaps ahead of other hybrid types). The Delta Uni is very well rated low, all SS has high regards. where are all the other saws before you jump into nearly $2k? that article from Acme Tools is a shill ad (since this is just their own product), not to say that you are. Acme tools did ZERO work and I've seen the same "best of" lists for years.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Great video. Excellent explanation of the build. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Made that same basic sled in 1976. Its been in every wood working book produced by every woodworker since the mid 70s. Funny how I have seen the same sled built 900 different ways since You Tube came along. KISS Principal. Good video for a beginner. Started my 41st year as a woodworker. Glad to see many coming behind me! Enjoy your journey!

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Well done – really good video editing as well

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your build.
    The 5 cut link does not work, here is the correct link: http://valleywoodworkers.org/training/fivecumethodquare/
    Cheers

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Great video man! The title did everything it said it would, simple and on point. When I upgrade to my forever table saw I'll be making this. Thanks!

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Acmetools don't like germans:

    Error code 14
    Request was blocked by the security rules

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Just what I needed to learn! Thanks for posting this awesome video Mark. Best from the Netherlands.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    nice sled, sure if you do get fed up with it, the kids can use it as a slide

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *