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My first shop jig attempt - cross cut sled

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Blog entry by lumberjoe posted 762 days ago 1686 reads 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Tonight I thought I would get started on my cross cut sled. Bad idea. My garage is not climate controlled and it is 101 degrees outside. Needless to say I didn’t get a lot done.

The overall dimensions will be 36” wide and 24” deep. I am using 1/2 BB plywood for the base, 3/4 bb plywood for the front fence, and 4/4 hard maple for the rear fence and the runners.

Step 1 – Runners. My idea actually worked out well. I started with 4/4 maple. I ran it through the planer until the end fit super snug in the miter slot:

After many VERY light passes, I got the fit I wanted

Next up, cutting them down to size. I didn’t want the sled to ride over the table, so I wanted to cut the runners a tad shallow. With the maple in the slot, I marked it with a pencil. I then ripped a piece off and split the pencil line

That worked perfect! They are just a hair below the table.

Next up, cut the plywood to size. After that. I marked a line every 7.5”. 6 1/4” from the back, 2.5” from the front and drilled some holes. I am going to be using woodpeckers jig fixtures. The bolt is 1/4”, the nut is 3/8”. I drilled a 1/4” hole in the front to start the dado, and a 1/2” hole in the end. Why? I’ll get to that in a minute:

I then routed a 1/4” dado through the board using the 1/4 hole as a center. I then used the 1/2” hole to route a 1/2 wide dado on the bottom, but only 3/16” deep. Effectively I have made myself a T-track. I can sneak the bolt through the 1/2” hole and have the nut recessed, while the bolt protrudes from the table to allow me to lock down the miter guides and other fixtures I plan on making, like a tenoning jig.

I also got the fence glued up. The fence will be as long as my table, which is about 47”. I doubled up on the plywood and glued them together. Given the size of this thing, I may tripple up and use 3 4” high by 3/4 thick pieces. I want to see how rigid 1 1/2” feels first. I used the rest of that maple for the back fence. Again, I doubled it up and glued it, so it’s about a foot long and 1 1/2” thick. I threw some brads in there to index it, but nowhere near the middle so I don’t run the risk if nicking the blade on one

That’s as far as I got. It is WAY too hot out and I am starting to get dehydrated. If anyone cares, stay tuned for more tomorrow

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts



21 comments so far

View jacob34's profile

jacob34

454 posts in 859 days


#1 posted 761 days ago

looks like you have a great start.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#2 posted 761 days ago

Thanks! Not going to be any progress today. Shop thermometer reads 106 right now. I can survive in that but my tools might not appreciate it too much

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View chrisstef's profile (online now)

chrisstef

10365 posts in 1602 days


#3 posted 761 days ago

it is just nasty out there brother … keep an eye out for that wood moving on ya once the humidity drops this weekend.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#4 posted 761 days ago

I did some work anyway, no pics though. The camera is still in the garage and I’m not going back out tonight. I got the slots for the miter fences cut, and also the groove for the T-bolts to ride in under the track. I really like my new craftsman router. The plunge base on it is amazing. It was cutting like crap at first, but then I realized I had the speed way down because I was spinning some huge bits last week. I’m not used to having a variable speed router. I cranked it up and it cut effortlessly. I also got the rails mounted – BUT – I sent a screw a little too deep on each one and cracked them. I cut new ones but didn’t put them on yet. I am going to get some thinner screws first. In a way I am glad I did. The first ones were a little too perfect and kind of tight. These slide effortlessly.

I am actually worried about warping. This thing is U shaped already. When I mounted the rails the first time I clamped it down to the table to flatten it. It’s laying flat right now on my bench with my 150lb tool box full of taps, dies,files, and bridgeport end mills. I’m hoping that takes the warp out of it. I’ve done that before with plywood and it seems to snap back into shape

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View chrisstef's profile (online now)

chrisstef

10365 posts in 1602 days


#5 posted 760 days ago

I think thatll work for you Joe, try a little beeswax on the threads of those screws to keep it from splitting on ya. Good luck.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15382 posts in 1462 days


#6 posted 760 days ago

Joe, one way to mount your runners is to size the stock for your runners 3/8 thick. Then take some nickle coins and put them in the bottom of the table saw slots. You might use 5 or 6 nickles per slot spread evenly across. Then you lay the runners in the slot on top of the nickles. The runners should be almost too tight to slide well at this point but easy to move by tapping with a small light tack hammer. This will assure that they are positioned in the slots perfectly. Then you take the plywood which you have previously sized and squared properly. Next you put two beads of glue along the length of the top surface of the runners. The nickles will raise the runners above the surface of the saw table. You can put some painters tape along the edge of the runners to keep glue off the saw. You should have checked that the fence is parallel with the slots and blade and square with the table, of course, before doing any of this. After you have put the beads of glue on the runners you will put the fence in a position where the edge of the plywood will locate the runners in the center of the plywood when the edge is against the fence. Then it is a simple matter of carefully lowering the plywood onto the runners while keeping the edge against the fence. You have time to get everything perfect because of the open time of the glue. Put some weight on top of the plywood to give enough gluing pressure and then let everything sit their for 24 hours. The next day you take the weight off and carefully pull or pry the whole thing out of the slots and turn it over. Remember your runners are just tight enough to make sure they were accurately positioned and strait so a lot of force in the prying should not be required. After you flip it over you will find that you have two perfectly positioned runners that are parallel to each other, centered on the plywood, and are also parallel to the edge of the sled. Since they are glued to the plywood I usually just reinforce them with some small nails and a nail gun. Actually I find that a good number of 23 guage nails work great. I’ve never had a runner get knocked off. However, they can be stripped off with an old chisel and hammer when it’s time to replace them. The old glue can be sanded down. All you have to do now is use a sanding block and carefully run it back and forth against the edges of the runners while checking frequently how the sled slides in the slot. Take a little care here and you will end up with a sled that has no slop whatsoever and that slides good.

I have used this method enough to position runners or replace runners to know that it will give you an almost perfect sled base. BTW, I didn’t invent this method. I ether saw it on Wood magazines site or Finewoodworking’s site. I believe the latter. It’s main advantage is the ease with installing and positioning the runners perfectly. Sometimes drilling holes and running fasteners in can move or even bend a runner which kills your accuracy. With this method you eliminate the need for all of this.

I know that the description of this in words makes this whole method seem quite complicated but if you read through it several times and think about performing the steps in the proper order it is all really quite simple. I hope this helps you or somebody else. The article should not be that hard to find. It also gives a lot of other pointers about sleds. Good luck on your sled.

helluvawreck
https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#7 posted 760 days ago

Good call on the beeswax. I know why they split, it’s my fault. I drove the screws too deep into the countersinks. The head ended up cracking the wood. And the sad thing is I did this TWICE!. I pulled the tool box and sheet of 3/4 plywood off this morning and the warping seems to have gone. it stayed flat. I put everything back on because today is going to be gross again. I don’t know how you guys in Texas get anything done. 100 degrees and 85% humidity is miserable on me, my tools, and the wood.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#8 posted 760 days ago

Holy crap what a good idea! I am going to do that. Sanding along the entire length of the runners is ok? My idea was to draw some hash marks on the side with a pen then slide the sled all the way though a dozen times, then sand where the hash marks were scratched up.

The way I did it was a royal pain. I pre-drilled a bunch of holes and put the runners in the slots. They are about a foot longer than the sled so I had enough handing off the back. I put the plywood square to the fence and slid it back so I could screw the front of the runners in place. After I got 2 screws in, I slid it forward so I could get a couple in the front. I then slid it off and finished the rest. I was never able to test if it was straight because the slots blew out on me. Thanks for the tip, I’m going to get that set up now.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15382 posts in 1462 days


#9 posted 760 days ago

You’re going to have perfectly strait runners with this method. The purpose of sanding the edge of the runners is to give them just enough clearance to slide but no slop. Don’t go to fast and have patience and check frequently you don’t need to take off much at all so it won’t take long. Just don’t go to far where you will get slop. You want no slop.

helluvawreck
https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#10 posted 760 days ago

Thanks for the tips. I’ve got it gluing up now. The runners right now are an absolute perfect fit. but it’s difficult to slide. I’ll be gentle with some 150 grit until I can slide it with a tiny bit of resistance

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#11 posted 760 days ago

Here it how it sits now. I didn’t have any loose change so I used some bolts to raise up the rails:

Great tip! you just made this 100x easier on me

And yes, one rail is cut longer (front and back). It should help me get it on the saw easier.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15382 posts in 1462 days


#12 posted 760 days ago

Joe. it looks good. However, whatever you raise the sliders up will need to keep them parallel with the top in the grooves and they need to be supported in several places across so they stay strait when the glue dries.

Look, I’ve done this more than several times an it will work. If for some reason it doesn’t then just start over and figure out what went wrong and correct it. The nickle trick works like a charm. Some washers might work. When I read the article I thought that it was a great idea and that it solved a lot of problems. I did it and it worked very well. Unless I find a better idea I plan on staying with it. Good luck.

helluvawreck
https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#13 posted 760 days ago

There are probably about 20 bolts in each miter slot. I also put a level on them before I put glue down and they were dead on. It’s a great tip and like you said, easy to correct if I mess it up

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15382 posts in 1462 days


#14 posted 760 days ago

I’ve been sitting out in my shop this evening and thinking about your project. You’re confusing me a little about the bolts. A nickle is flat and slips right into the bottom of my t-slot with no resistance. It lays flat because it is flat. I personally believe that private industry can manufacture anything better than can the government because private industry has to make a profit and hold their tolerances. The government doesn’t have to make a profit. However, there is one thing the government does well and that is make a coin. I don’t know maybe they contract this out. However, I think not. I’ve never put my micrometer to a bunch of nickles in order to get a statistical measurement of the uniformity of nickles. However. I bet that one nickle is very much like another – at least it seems to me anyways. They’re probably much more accurate than something like a common washer. The main thing is they are flat and thin which means your slider sits well down in your slot. This means that if your slider is sized properly the slot will hold it strait and square and will pretty much insure that the top of your two sliders will be laying in the same plane which is parallel also to the top of the TS table. This gives you cheap accuracy for the glue up. This means that all will go well unless Murhy’s law creeps into the picture and Murphy was and is a bastard – his law can screw up anything – I can assure you of that. Of course all is invariably dependent on the accuracy of your table saw slots which is a whole ‘nother matter. After all, nothing is perfect in the world so we scrape along as best as we can. We plunder along with all of our modern contraptions. Unlike people, no two table saws are created equal. :-| Did you ever consider a Kentucky rifle? How did the old timers make such an accurate and beautiful instrument as that with the simple tools they had? Something to think on anyways, don’t you think?

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 844 days


#15 posted 760 days ago

Charles, I’m sorry to say that I don’t follow instructions well :). I needed to use my table saw so I couldn’t wait the 24 hours. I slid it out and put in some 23 awg brads. Brought it back to the table saw, it slid, but not well. It’s REALLY tight – but that’s OK I cut it close. I made about a dozen super light passes with some 150 grit sand paper on a flat block. went back to the saw – PERFECT. NO lateral movement at all. I threw a little past wax on them as well. If I put the sled on the saw and give it a shove, it shoots right off the saw onto the outfeed table. Can’t ask for better than that!

That was a great tip and it worked awesome. I was really struggling with attaching the rails. I also got the fences mounted, and the front fence was square on the first shot! I did the 5 cut method twice because I didn’t believe it

However – that is where the good news ends. I am a dumbass. when I made the initial cut, I had the sled on backwards. Not that big of a deal, I can just route the runners a bit longer.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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