Three cross-cut sleds

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Project by Glenn posted 11-02-2009 04:55 AM 3879 views 13 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Going through Doug Stowe’s book, Basic Box Making, and these are three jigs/sleds he recommends to make it easier to work with small/thin parts. The ability to use stop blocks with these sleds has brought a level of precision to my work that I never had with using just the tape for each piece and cut.

The first is a basic cross-cut sled out of ply with ash fence and runners. I added the blade guard behind the fence to keep the thumbs out of the way and found that it strengthens the fence as a side benefit. Fence and guards are dadoed into the ply base and attached with screws from underneath. Runners are attached with screws.

The second is a miter sled designed for use with the blade at a 45’ angle. MDF base and ash fences and runners. Fences are in an edge groove and attached with screws from underneath.

The third is a miter sled designed for use with the blade at 90’ and the stock at 45’. MDF base and fence support, ash runners, white oak fences. Fences attached with screws from underneath. Let me tell ya: the setup on this was hell! I drug out every square and tape and ruler and other measuring device I own to try to get the angle on this precise. I think it turned out pretty good.

These three little sleds have proven invaluable for many things, not just boxes. Before making them, I was very, very hesitant to do any crosscutting on the table saw and relied mostly on my compound miter saw. I never really trusted the miter gauges that come with the table saw. Even a long fence attached to the gauge didn’t give me a sense of control of the work piece that I needed for piece of mind. Last weekend, however, I was cutting a long, thin piece on the miter saw (it was only about 1/2” thick), and as soon as the blade touched the piece it grabbed it and shattered it against the aluminum fence spraying me with splinters. Now that I’ve used both methods, the miter saw and these sleds, for several projects, I can see where each would be the more appropriate tool for the job. I can highly recommend the addition of these sleds to your workshop.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

6 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#1 posted 11-02-2009 05:11 AM

Wow more sleds than the jamaican bob sled teem. good job

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bill merritt's profile

bill merritt

203 posts in 3288 days

#2 posted 11-02-2009 05:59 AM

Good job.And yes they should be in all shops in some form.

-- Bill Merritt -Augusta Ga. woodworker

View SteveMI's profile


1094 posts in 3294 days

#3 posted 11-02-2009 03:03 PM

Sleds are on my todo list and I like this idea of dedicated uses. Others with t-slots or routed slots seemed to require remeasuring and setup each time for basic cuts. I’ve had reasonable success with the miter attachment for the saw, but again it needs to be calibrated to the cut each time.

I haven’t had much confidence in the 45 degree cuts just using the miter attachment. Worked, but always second guessed if it was right.

Only downside I see is changing out blades with different kerfs, but that is probably not that much of a deal. Most likely going to used the same blade for the specific cuts sled was made for.


View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3324 days

#4 posted 11-02-2009 03:23 PM

I like those jigs. You are so right about the smaller stock. I was thinking on how to make it safer this weekend…

View rowdy's profile


375 posts in 3442 days

#5 posted 11-02-2009 04:14 PM

I am sold on sleds, so I am glad you are having good success with yours. I started using them with my first table saw, which was a clunker, yet the sleds enabled me to make precise cuts. Coupled with stop blocks and the like, sleds really do raise the precision AND safety of a table saw imho.

-- Rowdy in Kechi, Kansas

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3713 days

#6 posted 11-03-2009 01:09 AM

I need to do these badly… thanks for the ideas

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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