Cross cut sled for small parts

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Project by Jim Rowe posted 04-06-2015 04:27 PM 3388 views 29 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This a crosscut sled I made using some plywood and MDF offcuts to allow me to accurately cut small parts, primarily for boxes. The design incorporates ideas from various projects here on LJs but especially from Kiefer from whom I took the micro adjustment facility.
The sled measures 24×12 and is made from 1/2inch ply covered with stick on film for dry marker boards. I figured that this would be useful for note making along the way! The fence is MDF stained ebony and has a replaceable face. It will accommodate timber up to 7 inches wide – quite adequate for what I make. Kiefer very kindly gave me a diagram explaining his adjustment mechanism.

However, as my fence is made from 1/2inch material I thought it would not be strong enough to take the mechanism and therefor decided to use a drilled and tapped aluminium block that I attached to the fence for greater stability.

I fixed M6 (6mm / 1/4 in) threaded inserts to the base and made matching 8mm holes in the fence to allow for adjustment during the set up process. Cap screws ensure that fence is securely fixed to the base.
I used a 5-cut method for adjusting the base that I found on You Tube.

I made a stop block mechanism to ensure consistency on repeat cuts. A piece of hardwood was attached to a piece of aluminium angle that had been threaded to take a couple of cap screws. The stop block is fixed to a length of channeled tubing on top of the fence.

Nothing radically new here, but I think it will work for me.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

8 comments so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 600 days

#1 posted 04-06-2015 05:13 PM

Great design I have favorite this for reference since I plan to build a small cutoff sled.

One question: the front of the slid has a black strip, I assume that this is to hold the front halves together. How do you keep from cutting through this strip?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

917 posts in 1736 days

#2 posted 04-06-2015 05:17 PM

Glad you like it. I limit the height of the saw blade to make sure it doesn’t cut through the front cross piece. The yellow box at the back is also a safety item in case I push the sled too far forward. I try to avoid this happening by marking the limit of travel on the saw table with an indelible marking pen – simple but effective.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 600 days

#3 posted 04-06-2015 05:31 PM


I admit that I am a Mag-Jig addict. I set a Mag-Jig on the saw table top to limit forward movement of a jig. This way I don’t have to constantly watch for the line, the jig just stops. This allows me to be focused totally on the cut.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2091 days

#4 posted 04-06-2015 05:37 PM

Very nicely done Jim .
The adjustment mechanism looks very strong and I can see that with 1/2” material it is a good idea .
I would add a stop device to limit the travel of the sled as I found that when concentrating on the cutting it is easy to push to far and have the blade exit through the safety guard .
Is the plywood bottom covered on both sides with film ?
What kind of guide strips did you use ?


-- Kiefer

View mafe's profile


11061 posts in 2513 days

#5 posted 04-06-2015 06:29 PM

Really a nice sled, crisp details and looks like wonderful to work with.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

917 posts in 1736 days

#6 posted 04-06-2015 06:34 PM

Kiefer very kindly sent me the link to a video he has made on the micro adjust mechanism. This will explain things a lot easier than a 1000 words!

I didn’t mention it, but the runners on the sled are made from oak fitted to the 11mm slots on my small, Scheppach, table saw. The saw is quite small and, for me, over sawing and running through the back fence will not be a problem,.I hope! Only the top surface of the sled is covered with the marker board film.

Thanks for the comments.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Northwest29's profile


1471 posts in 1914 days

#7 posted 04-06-2015 09:02 PM

Jim, excellent sled, just what I have been looking for to do boxes. Thanks so much for your sharing your creating it’s now on the top of my to-do-list.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View ruddy's profile


521 posts in 2363 days

#8 posted 04-07-2015 08:23 AM

A great sled Jim. Thanks for posting the details. I have a simple sled that also incorporates a couple of toggle clamps so the fingers are kept away from the blade when cuting small pieces. I can see I will have to upgrade it to use your clever fence system.
Thanks for posting.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

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