Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #20: More progress on the Crosscut Sled, a Travel Stop

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 03-09-2010 03:03 AM 1831 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: A new LJ Mentored Project......Integrating my old saw and the Super Sled into the Shop Part 20 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 21: Quick and Dirty Mod for my Cheapo Router Table.........but not quick and dirty enuf...... »

Quite awhile ago I decided that a sled should have not only a bury block for the blade, but a limiter so that the sled could not go beyond that block. This is not a novel concept. Others, including Niki have done it. That I discovered after making my own decision.

But my sled has an unusual future, it has to fit smoothly into a sled garage in the outfeed table, and then disappear…....another item on my todo list…..........

So the sled travel stop had to be removable. Niki had a stop he just swiviled at the edge of the sled, but my sled does not fit the confines of my saw table top. Most crosscut occurs on my RAS, dedicated to the task. But my sled needs to be large, to take care of the situations the RAS cannot handle, a crosscut over 15 inches, and increased width. So I made an easily disabled stop, so that it wouldn’t protrude when I stored the sled.

I digress, in a minor fashion:

I found one glitch with my bury block, it was a fraction of an inch short, or really, too high. So I added an addition to the sled base just under the bury block….......

That is important, because at the stop position I selected, when the blade is at maximum height cutting an item needing that height….....that should be the limit of the travel of the sled. And the blade should not protrude anywhere. So the little addition to the base solved the problem.

Back to the stop, I needed it to be disabled when I stored the sled, meaning, nothing jutting below the bottom surface of the sled base, I think, for obvious reasons. Can’t have some big bumpy down there increasing the height of the sled garage, or making the travel uneven and unsmooooooooooooth. And I wanted to be sure I knew that the stop was engaged, with a glance.

So here is the disabled view of my stop.........

......the sled is beyond the stop block, and the stop has been placed upside down in its disabled position. You see red…............

And here is the enabled view of the stop..............

........the sled has not reached the stop point, and the stop has been placed in its usual position, and you see green.

And here you see beneath the scenes, with the stop in its usual position, and the stop block on the saw table is apparent, the groove in the stop block, exactly mirrors the stop, to make the stop solid and so there are no unusual forces............

Finally, here is the stop, engaged with the stop block..........

The stop point is solid and unequivocal.

Now I would like to say this is all wonderful, but let me tell you, it is hard to make big holes with a forstner bit and a hand drill in plywood, and I have a real brute of a hand drill. I wish this would have been easy to manipulate to my drill press.

Well it works, but the holes ain’t perfect. But….....IT WORKS FLAWLESSLY…....even if you can’t see the flaws….so I guess it is unimportant…........(-:

A revisit or two….............

.........the measurement tote….....filled to the brim and used constantly… this project and all others…......

......and here is the sled with its T-track atop the fence waiting for the stop block system… that is a whole new story, and my Incra 18 inch precision measurement tools on the sled........also used constantly…...

....see the review by GaryK for the 12 inch set, because that’s why I bought it.....

Review that’s where I am. Got a few things done this weekend even though I was working. And also, I have most of the router table mods done too….......


Thanks for viewing….


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

14 comments so far

View lew's profile


12019 posts in 3722 days

#1 posted 03-09-2010 03:39 AM

Ingenious solution, Jim. Why am I not surprised?!


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

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3132 days

#2 posted 03-09-2010 03:43 AM

You are always first out of the starting blocks. Thanks for looking, I like doing different stuff, and I know that’s what you are about too….......


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3141 days

#3 posted 03-09-2010 04:29 AM

Talk about the simple solution being the best. What a great idea!

I don’t have one, incidentally (????), but know that there are drill guides for hand-held (corded or cordless) drills that can give you a much easier shot at a big forstner hole.

Also … I know the sled would be unwieldy for most bench tools, but … I’d have grabbed two of my infeed/outfeed roller stands, jacked them up, and done it on the DP.

That said, as always, you both did a great job, and found the exactly right solution. As I began the reading, I was thinking about one of my whiz-bang 5-star jig knobs, some threaded stock, and … and …. and ….. then I saw what you did … and smiled!

BTW: the joys of the Big Sled are innumerable. To finish the size on the top for night stand #2, I just flung it in my 0.25 acre crosscut sled, and … bzzzzziiiip! Done!


-- -- Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3132 days

#4 posted 03-09-2010 04:57 AM


I have owned, and discarded one of those jigs many years ago. My error is not doing exactly what you said, wrestling it to the drill press.

But, from another view, it does work, looks great, so I guess I designed well enough to allow for some slop.

But it bugs the s——out of me that it isn’t perfect.

OCD in action…........ OCD in dysfunction…........ nemesis….......

And in action, I did all the boards for my router table mod on the sled, even though it is unfinished. A’int it great….......nothing like a sled…......

Thanks again for the candid views…........this is a lotta fun….........

.......and I am really impressed by your night stands….....GREAT JOB…......

You had the moxie to go for first class wood on your first big project and hit a grand slam…......

.......I cannot express my envy and humility…(-:

But I like my jigs….......(-:


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3141 days

#5 posted 03-09-2010 05:16 AM

Nah. I think you did a great job—an unequivocally stellar achievement!

I think you and I share a personality trait (quirk?): that weird mix of OCD and perfectionism.

I fairly well botched a good number of things on the night stands. I even made some of the same errors twice, despite really trying to avoid them.

But … somebody had a great term: the touch of the hand.

It’s the “imperfections” that make us remember both that we built the things, and how far we’ve come, as our work progresses.

They’re also the imperfections … that will pretty much only ever be known to you and to me :-)

You’ve got huge call for pride on this sled.

I didn’t mean to criticize … at all.

It was more me ‘thinking out loud’ about how I might address the situation—one that I’ll surely face, down the road.

Safe to presume that your router table board cuts were dead-on perfect??

Bravo … again!!!

-- -- Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3132 days

#6 posted 03-09-2010 06:09 AM

Router boards are dead-on-perfect…........(-:

But I am still pissed off that the holes weren’t perfect…............


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3135 days

#7 posted 03-09-2010 01:32 PM

Neil, I have a drill guide like that. I think it’s made by general tool. I real like it but some times I forget about it in the bottom drawer of my tool box. Works great when I think to use it. I like that you can limit the depth of cut and mount it to custom jigs if needed. For drilling lots of holes I put my pneumatic drill on this fixture. Jim great job on you sled. it really a sharp looking piece. I like the design of the handle, it looks like you would have good control of the sled too.

-- 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 Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3532 days

#8 posted 03-09-2010 02:30 PM

Jim, what a simple solution, and great idea that will be put to use in my shop as well, thanks for posting

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

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3132 days

#9 posted 03-09-2010 05:05 PM

I really shouldn’t say I discarded that jig, I think it got left behind during a move, or borrowed. In any case it fell into disuse. I had mostly problems with the big bit trying to get it to grab hold of the wood. Part of the problem may have been the Watco, since doing this brake this way was an after thought. Oh well, the holes are good enough.

The handle is a piece of stair railing I had kept for 20 years or so. As soon as I saw it I realized it had a much more natural grip than a large dowel, because that is what it is designed for. And it had a flat bottom, so I could easily dado it. It has a perfect feel to it.

This did work out well, although I wasn’t sure as I did it. The stopblock I made by drilling a hole the same size as the smaller dowel in the stop, and then I trimmed the stopblock down, cutting through the hole. I actually set the position of the hole in the stopblock by starting to drill it through the hole in the sled while the unfinished block was mounted exactly in its final position. That way the stop hits the stop block perfectly, and distributes forces over a larger area.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3301 days

#10 posted 03-09-2010 05:35 PM

Good job on that Jim and a great safety feature. Like Neil, I also have a plunge router like thingamajig to put my hand drill into and it adjusts for different angles. Unlike Neil’s mine is spring loaded. It’s great to have when I can’t use one of my drill-presses.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3082 days

#11 posted 03-09-2010 10:21 PM

clever little gizmo you createted there Jim :-)

you probely cuold sell the last two pictures to Incra
to bee used in commercials :—))

look at them once more and you will discover all
the other messurments tools and calculater is
still in Tammy tote and looking missarable with her
she is nearly have alook of crying to her with
that colour the light has created


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3132 days

#12 posted 03-11-2010 04:20 AM


Really late on some of these replies, work has been a bear.

Yes that gizmo was in my life eons ago and left behind. I should have unmounted my drll press, clamped it somewhere approachable, and drilled the holes. That would be the real answer. My drill press is a bench top and easy to unmount and move around.

Loved your ‘process’ of work piece, great analysis. Process thinking has been with me since high school due to a quirk of my brother’s education. He was into philosophy, working on a master’s at one point, and Alfred North Whitehead, the quintessential ‘process philosopher’ was his idol. Read a lot of his very obtuse stuff, and have been thinking about processes ever since.

Kinda strange coincidence….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3132 days

#13 posted 03-11-2010 04:23 AM


Well I can tell you, Tammy is much more important than those Incra items. She gets carried to every place I am working, and is always in use. The Incra items, less so, but they are great additions.

Dennis, you are a hopeless romantic….........but not nearly as hopeless as I….................

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3082 days

#14 posted 03-11-2010 09:36 PM

funny you said that
becourse normaly i´m logic and absolut no romantic thinking here
but when it comes
to photo/pictures I can sometimes have a glimt
and see what can bee the most interresting/weard thing
that most others can´t see but it dam hard to take the pictures
that way (thinking creative) and have the endresult the way
you thought it shuld bee when you see it just before you
hit the tricker on the camera


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