I Built a Monster (w/pics)

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Blog entry by davidroberts posted 03-26-2010 05:27 AM 1743 reads 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Another cross cut sled, big woopee. While not my intention, this cross-cut sled is too big, too heavy, but is square to a gnat’s behind and can handle 20” wide board. Rather than tell you how great it is, I’m going to tell you the problems I had and what I would do differently. But first, thanks to Alaska Jim for PMing me to get off my duff and finish the durn thing.


This behemoth being exactly the dimensions of my Grizzly cabinet saw top – 48” wide by 27” has over 20” of cut width. My eyes were bigger than my sawdust belly and besides, I had a piece of scrap 3/4” MDF that only needed a slight trim. But it’s too bi and too heavy. I would scale this bad boy back to no more than 38” wide and maybe 16” deep, maybe less both ways. Or better yet, just build a Nahm panel sled, forget the right side. The problem is (1) finding a place to store such a beast and (2) lifting it on and off the TS, which can’t be good for the alignment. But it is sturdy as all get out with not a hint of wobble, and slides like butter on ice. I waxed the bottom a couple times.

I used a piece of 2×4 pine stud for the front fence (or front support) and a conglomeration of 1×4 white oak for the back fence. I glued up the two oak boards thinking a 1.5” wide back fence should be fine. I also initially made the back fence about 1 foot longer than the long dimension of the sled. I though I could clamp on the occasional stop, and the extension would give more support to the material being milled. The problem was (3) even after careful glueup the resultant board was bowed slightly. It had a curve of about 3/16th” or so. So instead of just planing it square, I glued a cutoff onto the back thinking it would straighten out. It didn’t, completely. Most of the curve was in the extension. Here is the long fence with the additional piece on the back -


I ended up cutting off the extension and planing the back fence flat and square. Much better. The additional piece on the back did no harm and actually makes a strong fence.

I had two steel Jet replacement miter bars lying around and thought this would be a good use. I initially used double sided tape and screwed them to the front but here was the problem (4) since they don’t run the length of the sled, there was only minimal support near the end of the cut. The sled would wobble a slight bit as the bars slid more into the outfeed table slots. So I moved them to the back and it made all the difference. My recommendation, buy full length adjustable bars and forget about the hassle.


Notice one of the bars is directly in line with a bolt used to hold the back fence. This is my attempt at poor planning. Success.

The final problem (well there’s more but who has the time) was (5) I didn’t think it would be a big deal to cut the grooves for the two hold down t-tracks. This was a big headache because my router (and probably yours) is to big and wide to maneuver effectively on the sled platform. I ended up buying a trim router. That’s the excuse I used. The trim router worked much better, however I used a board cut to the length of the platform and used a tee square to line it up, then clamped it to the sled. This would work great as a guide however I was not consistent and used both the front and back fence to measure from using a tee square. The fences are not perfectly square to each other by about an 1/8 and the groove is wider by that much at one end. Thank goodness for wood putty. I try not to notice. No pictures of that mess. Remeber for the sled to work, the front and back fence do not need to be square to each other, only the saw blade to the back fence.

I used double sided tape and either #6 or #4 by 3/8” screws, to secure the t-track, #14 by 2” screws to secure the front support, and 5/16” bolts with self locking nuts on the back fence. And slathered it with BLO a couple of times.

Here are a couple pics of the cuts and applications. The gap is less than a 64th, no light shines through a square


A 19” wide 1/8” thick walnut plywood piece cut to length.


The t-track and two hold downs are obviously from Rockler. The kit cost $30 but the deal is that the better Rockler hold downs were included in the kit, making them cost $5 each. I couldn’t make them for much less and they work well. The t-track for the future fence stop was a separate purchase. As an afterthought a stop on such a short fence is probably not worth it. Thanks for looking.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

7 comments so far

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4020 days

#1 posted 03-26-2010 06:32 AM

I gotta take my hat off to you guys that keep building these. You did a great job. Me? I’m just too dang lazy, I got the INCRA 3000 for the table-saw top and broke down and got a Milwaukee panel saw for the bigger pieces. Once set up and used correctly, I get within 1/32” and sometimes better. I got really frustrated with some I had built warping or wearing out.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3108 days

#2 posted 03-26-2010 10:22 AM

the slede isnĀ“t too big to handle
you just buy another Ts for all
the other tasks you have to do…...LOL


View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3161 days

#3 posted 03-26-2010 01:06 PM

Nice looking sled, thanks for showing it to us.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3422 days

#4 posted 03-26-2010 02:00 PM

Great sled and a great solution to a regular problem in the shop.

I think that it is really great that, as a wood worker, you solved your problem by doing “wood work”.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3666 days

#5 posted 03-26-2010 05:45 PM

Nice looking sled.

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4020 days

#6 posted 03-26-2010 07:32 PM

you are correct of course! ;0)

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3157 days

#7 posted 03-29-2010 01:31 AM

I have yet to do my miter arms and stop blocks on mine. I am using it as is though.

Got those deluxe hold downs 2 sets, with two 4 foot tracks I bought. I have extra track for future projects. Nice hold downs.

For what its worth, I cut my width down to 44 inches. But I have 24+ inches of usable depth. Kept the weight down by using a small short back fence, and attaching it with lag screws. I have made both fences removeable. The base is 3/4” ply. I believe that is a little lighter than the MDF. Right now I just pick it up and lean it against a shelf unit behind the the operater position. I do not find it hard to move. I am guessing although my sled is bigger, it actually may be lighter than yours. Mostly the result of serendipity, whatever materials I could find.

I wanted the extra depth, for larger panels. I do small crosscut on my RAS, that is hard to beat for that. The other thing I use the depth for is short rips, up to 2 feet. I plan to park the sled in an outfeed table built for it. More on that when I finally do it (don’t hold your breath waiting for it).

I really enjoy using the sled, and a project is a too and fro motion from TS to TS with sled to RAS to sled etc. Found that out while building a couple of totes. Just needed the bare TS to bring some MDF into project size, then put on the sled and it stayed there. A complex piece of furniture might be a different deal, but I think I can do my long ripping at the start, and then short rips and big crosscuts with the sled, small pieces with the RAS. Once I get my new outfeed table done, it should not be an issue. It will be tasked with dust collection, storage of the sled and miscellaneous items, and of course used as an outfeed table.

My rails were a composite of MDF and aluminum 3/4 inch strips. They are full length.

I will do a recap as a blog item when I finish everything for the sled.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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