Cross-cut sled

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Project by DrJosh posted 06-21-2011 01:40 AM 3818 views 5 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this cross-cut sled for my new table saw in just a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. I used 1/2” MDF for the base and a laminated double thickness of 3/4” baltic birch plywood for the front and rear fences. I squared the front fence to the blade using first my framing square, then double checked with my adjustable square, and a final triple check with my drafting triangle. Then, I checked the sled with the 5 cut method after seeing it down on the I ended up with an error of 0.03” over a span of about 30”. I’ve done a few test cuts and I’m very pleased with the results. I’m looking forward to using this cross-cut sled on my upcoming projects, which are consequently on hold until my summer teaching duties are over.

I’m so happy to finally have a table saw with standard-sized miter slots so that I can build and use jigs like this and alsu purchase commercial miter slot accessories if I choose.

-- Nashville, TN

13 comments so far

View jeff's profile


1132 posts in 3700 days

#1 posted 06-21-2011 02:02 AM


-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3908 days

#2 posted 06-21-2011 03:03 AM

Nice looking cross-cut sled.

View Woodstock's profile


255 posts in 3523 days

#3 posted 06-21-2011 03:42 AM

Nice. And a very handy accessory for a table saw. I use mine a lot.

And I’m impressed that you know how to compute the error rate over a given distance. Most folks who aren’t machinists bother with that kind of accuracy. Tip of the hat.

Now I’m NOT being critical. Honest!
But two kudos to the first person to see and name what’s wrong in both pictures.

(It kinda just “jumped out at me”.....)


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View TurnTurnTurn's profile


614 posts in 3344 days

#4 posted 06-21-2011 03:48 AM

Nice job, I plan to build one of these soon. Not sure what DW is referring to, it all looks good to me.

-- TurnTurnTurn

View DrJosh's profile


50 posts in 3128 days

#5 posted 06-21-2011 05:20 AM

Now, I do admit that I still need to put some type of blade guard where the blade exits the front fence. My shop is my garage and its not climate controlled, so after an afternoon of 93+ I was ready to be done with the basic project completed. Did I find what you were hinting at, DW?

-- Nashville, TN

View FlairWoodworks's profile


71 posts in 2774 days

#6 posted 06-21-2011 07:48 AM

N6DSW – the thing wrong in the pictures is that the sled is not cut all the way to the back, so if the sled is pulled too far forwards, it will hit the blade. If the blade is turning, the sled will be kicked back. I noticed that right away too.

-- Chris Wong -- --

View Woodstock's profile


255 posts in 3523 days

#7 posted 06-21-2011 08:31 AM

That’s a good addition putting a blade guard on the side closet to the operator. but that’s not what I spotted.

(It kinda just “jumped out at me”…..) was a hint.

Shouldn’t the saw blade cut go fully front to back, rather than 2/3 of the way through the MDF? I’d be VERY worried that the back of the saw blade rising out of the saw table would catch the MDF where the saw cut stops, sending the sled flying towards the operator.

Further, isn’t the two layers of ply farthest away from the operator there to keep the MDF from pinching against the saw blade? But since there is no full cut front to back on your sled then why would you need the back ply? So it has no purpose unless you complete the cut in the MDF front to back.

As it sits in the pictures unless you only plan on cutting stock less then 6-8” inch wide you run a real risk of sled and material getting kicked back at you should you pull the sled too far towards you when you reposition the stock in the sled with the saw on.

Answer: Very simple 20 second fix. Just finish the cut w/ the blade just above the surface of the MDF but not through the ply brace completely and it would be a lot safer. Then just about any wood flat stock that will fit between the plywood but less than 1/3 the height of the lowest ply brace will be relatively safe to cut, all things being equal. Search LJ for other sled examples to see what I mean.

I apologize if I sound like your mother. But I’d hate to hear you got hurt. And stuff (kick-back) moves amazingly fast around power tools. Faster than you or I could ever get out of the way of in time. (Er, don’t ask how I know.)

Better yet (And I catch myself not doing this.) Get into the habit of standing to one side in case something does come back at you while you cut.

Other than that you’ll enjoy the sled and the saw once you get a better saw blade.. Stock blades are not very good in comparison to a quality aftermarket blade such as Forest brand blades and others. I’m always amazed as to how glass smooth the cut is once I upgraded the saw to a carbide blade. Very nice tight glue lines.


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View Woodstock's profile


255 posts in 3523 days

#8 posted 06-21-2011 08:35 AM

Flatwoodworks posted the correct answer while I was posting my reply. He gets the two kudos.

-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View bobasaurus's profile


3546 posts in 3419 days

#9 posted 06-21-2011 09:10 AM

I have the same saw. It does great for a portable. I made a miniature crosscut sled that just rides either to the left or right of the blade only. It cuts really nicely, and tearout is minimal despite not supporting the piece from both sides. It’s great getting square cuts without elaborate setup.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View BasHolland's profile


98 posts in 2918 days

#10 posted 06-21-2011 04:06 PM

I liked the kudo-question from N6DSW!!! :)

....but I didn’t find the answer….till now.

Nice clean cutting sled!

-- Bas, Holland

View DrJosh's profile


50 posts in 3128 days

#11 posted 06-24-2011 12:19 AM

Hey DW: Thanks for the info about the kerf in the sled base. This afternoon, I lowered the blade to just barely abouve the level of the base, turned the saw on, and carefully ran the sled back to extend the cut all the way through the base. Thanks again for the heads up. I still need to add the blade guard and I plan to add that this weekend.

-- Nashville, TN

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3409 days

#12 posted 06-24-2011 02:39 AM

Very nice !!!

And … as a fellow contractor’s saw user … I applaud the bold move you made, of making a sled that DWARFS your saw….


-- -- Neil

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 3870 days

#13 posted 05-05-2012 10:51 PM

I have the dw744 and I’ve been trying to build a sled for it. I have the incra mitre bars but I cant get them to slide nicely and not have any slop. I checked the slots with a caliper and they aren’t the same width all the way. They’re not wildly out but I guess it’s enough for the bars to bind.

What did you use for runners?

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