Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #18: Sled mostly Done, Fence Calibrated, Dado Set in action......busy shop weekend.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 03-01-2010 03:48 AM 1419 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Still working on the sled.........some progress........ Part 18 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 19: A new LJ Mentored Project......Integrating my old saw and the Super Sled into the Shop »

Yesterday and today I got the little front fence installed, the push handle-blade bury block assembly constructed and installed, and the fence calibrated.

I am now ready to use it to make my quick and dirty temporary router table modifications, and then make the miter arms. Need the router table fixed to do that. First a couple of pictures, to make the explanation easier….......

..........sled from the back…......

........sled from the front, the operating position…....

So let me digress.

I know I should have taken a picture of this, I blew it…......

If you notice, instead of a closet rod for the handle as I initially planned, serendipity intervened and as I hunted for the piece of closet rod I had somewhere, I stumbled upon this piece of railing for a stairway.

Perfect. Better than the rod. So I pulled out my Oshlun 8 inch bargain dado set, used only once before on some ZCI’s, and dialed iin a very tight fit for the vertical piece of plywood, and eyeballed the center, it turned out to be adequate, and pushed it through with 2 pushblocks. Looked at the dado.

This is hard to believe, I had only used it on MDF before with good results, but that was not a good test. Not only was this dado perfectly square, but all surfaces actually looked like they had been polished. If there is a better dado set out there, it must be that you can see your reflection in the bottom of the dado. There is nothing I could do to those surfaces to make them better, and this was a low priced bargain dado set. Wow. Bought this on the advice of a LJ review. Read them reviews, gals and guys.

So back to the story…...........

So I did the glue up for the handle support and bury block, rounded and sanded it because it sticks out a little from the back, and will easily get damaged, and I will brush up against it.

I am finishing everything with clear Watco, but I used a little medium walnut on the handle. I attached the handle-buryblock assembly with two lag bolts into the fence, no glue. I thought of four, but it is pushed against the base, so even as the fence gets cut higher, it will still help to hold it together because there is no motion possible in the up down direction…......just speaking of forces of course. So except for the rails, no glue anywhere, on purpose for maintenance. But of course, then my fasteners have to be robust, and they are.

Here is a little more detail of the handle assembly…...

OK, now to the calibration. I had actually done a quick and dirty calibration yesterday, you know, make a cut and flip it over and compare, that’s how I did the initial calibration, after making the initial kerf.

So I get out my 6 inch try square, use it all the time, I should put a ring in my nose to hang it from.......

by the way the measurement tote is used literally constantly…..and start putting lines where the fence is now…....

What is this?, the fence is off angle in the verticle.

D——. I already jointed this thing. Get the jointer back out, easy deal, recheck the jointer for everything, reread the internet explanations of how to use a jointer. And did this and that, and figured out I moved too fast. Moved real slow, perfect right angle. Whew. Neophyte in action.

Put the fence back on. Do a 5 cut test. Off 0.003 to 0.004. Adjusted…redid the 5 cut….and got just about 0.001…....not worth changing. By the way, all this stuff about alignment comes from LJ’s.

So now my sled is functional. I can use hold-downs and even do 2 foot rips. All that is left is to install the stop block T-track, and make the miter arms. But that will wait for the router table quick and dirty mods, and then on to my utility computer cart for the office….......that started this whole venture into hobbyist woodworking.

My next blog item is some philosophy, and this blog got so long, decided to make two entries….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

14 comments so far

View lew's profile (online now)


12056 posts in 3750 days

#1 posted 03-01-2010 04:06 AM

Sweet looking sled, Jim!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#2 posted 03-01-2010 04:20 AM

Thanks, I have had so much help on this thing I will never remember to thank everybody. But it has been a lot of fun…...........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#3 posted 03-01-2010 04:25 AM

good blog , jim .

were learning ,
and appreciate the help !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#4 posted 03-01-2010 04:34 AM


‘tis all relative….....I need about a hundred times more help than you. Thanks for your suggestions, I now remember you were the one to push me to do the miter arms…..Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

Missed you in the list, but I haven’t forgotten. So many people have helped, makes it a lot of fun.

Hope you are doing well….....


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#5 posted 03-01-2010 04:50 AM

This looks really good, Jim. I am sure John Nixon would give it his seal of approval. :)

Using the railing was a good idea too, by the way. Just another reason to not throw any scrap piece of wood away since invariably we will find a use for it down the road.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#6 posted 03-01-2010 05:04 AM

Thanks for the comments. That piece of railing, it was about 12 inches long, I almost threw it out a dozen times. You just never know. I am trying to make it look a lot like your sled. Appreciate the comments and your blogs that inspired me….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3560 days

#7 posted 03-01-2010 01:14 PM

Great Jim! I see you found some good plywood to use, looks like a super addition to the shop.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4295 days

#8 posted 03-01-2010 01:59 PM

Very nice Jim,

It turned out great.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#9 posted 03-01-2010 05:28 PM

Yes, I found one piece of decent plywood. I am chewing up that old plywood pretty fast at this and that. The base of this thing had to be level, though, so I had to be choosey. Still have to make the miter arms, but that comes after a quick temporary router tabel fix.

Miter arms left, and the T track on top of the fence, and a stop block or two. I already used that T-track in the base for a holddown point. Thanks for following.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3169 days

#10 posted 03-01-2010 06:39 PM


I shall now delete all pictures of, and references to, my crosscut sleds.

Expect a call from the good people at Webster’s. They’re going to need pictures, to update their newest dictionary entry.

That, Good Sir, is functional furniture. I don’t know HOW I would do it, but I would use it for rips, too, if I could.

Yours is a textbook example of that famous Abe Lincoln story: Mr. Lincoln, if you had eight hours to cut down a stand of trees, how would you proceed? Mr. Lincoln: I’d spend seven hours sharpening the saw.

For an OCD guy, you don’t have ADD. You sat back, did your homework, consulted your ‘experts,’ and built a sled that anticipated potential pitfalls, finding ways to avoid them.

It’s cool. It’s racy. It’s elegant. It’s great!

Curiosity, though: are you going to put a (lexan or other) windshield atop that bad boy?

Also, it may be worth your while to consult a structural or marine engineer. I’m guessing that transom will support a 5HP Briggs & Stratton outboard, but … no harm in knowing for sure :-)

-- -- Neil

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3110 days

#11 posted 03-01-2010 07:34 PM

hej Jim
that is one hell of a sled :-)
you need a crane to lift it of the Ts
and I´m with Neil consider a plexiglass
sheild to cover the blade maybee even
one with dust colection that wood bee


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#12 posted 03-02-2010 05:42 AM

Neil and Dennis

Just back from the opthalmologist and still have blurry eyes. Neil, I don’t know how you do this, I feel for you.

So first, if you look carefully, you will see verticle grooves (dados) in both fences near the saw kerf. I think I will use a MickyD style guard, a three sided 3/16 inch Lucite Tough guard. This hinges, however, on dust collection. And it is also about guards and splitters. And it is related to dust collection when the sled isn’t used.

And I will now give you a verbal sneak preview…...go make some popcorn…....this is a long preview (-:

I have made it a blog entry, here is the link….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3329 days

#13 posted 03-02-2010 10:41 PM

The sled looks great Jim and I really like that handle. It is elegant and looks comfortable to use. Congratulations on the successful sea trials and necessary corrections. This sled will need a magnificent name. Have you thought of one yet?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#14 posted 03-03-2010 05:57 AM

Thanks for the handle comments. If I had found my original closet rod piece, it would have never happened. But I found this old piece of railing first, I believe it is about 25 years old, (never throw away a piece of wood), and I instantly recognized it as the solution. And it is absolutely comfortable and appropriate. In fact, since it is designed as a hand hold, it would make sense. Serendipidy, not planning got me that one.

It had never crossed my mind to name it. I’ll have to work on this. My benchtop downdraft table, the one with the interchangeable top panels, either with or without holes, is called Dusty. Really original…..(-: And by the way he is in heavy use.

Ok. I will work on this name thing. By the way, the sled has a bunch of stuff to still go on it…...I finally dreamed up my sled travel limiter as I drove home from work tonight. Figured out a simple solution. It is the item that prevents the sled from moving forward more than is necessary, meaning when the middle of the blade is at the back fence. I may make that tomorrow, it will be simple and fun, and make a good blog item. There are certain features I wanted it to have, and I solved the issue simply.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics