Bare bones cross-cut sled

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Project by BTimmons posted 08-03-2012 04:14 PM 4939 views 7 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bare bones cross-cut sled
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Following instructions from a recent issue of Fine Woodworking, I finally knocked out a basic sled for myself. The construction method in the article made it pretty simple. Instead of attaching two runners to the underside of the sled at the same time and then raising the blade through, this method attaches one runner to one side, then trims off the excess as you run it past the blade. Repeat the same process on the same side. Make sure the runners are pulled tight toward the center, then attach your fences. Pretty easy. It’s made from maple plywood, with solid maple for the fences.

For a while I used it as is, without waxing the underside. Once I did though, wow! Now this thing flies, and it’s so easy to make fine movements that take more control.

Like my other recently posted project, it’s nothing glamorous, but it sure is progress for my little garage shop. I finished this about a month ago and I use it all the time now!


Forgot to mention the method for attaching the rear fence, which I thought was quite brilliant. Apply your glue to the underside of the rear fence, then drill a countersunk screw up into one far corner. Here’s the important part – Get the fence as close to square as you can relative to the saw kerf running down the middle of the sled. Then drive a thin nail (I used my air nail gun for this) into the other corner. Then immediately cut a wide board (10 to 12 inches or so) on your sled. Flip one end of the newly cut board over and press the freshly cut surfaces together. If there is no gap whatsoever, you’re dead square so go ahead and clamp the fence down and let it dry. If there is a gap though, you can use a hammer to lightly knock the nailed end of the fence. this bends the nail in infinitesimal increments, which allows you to make extremely fine adjustments. You can’t make those fine tweaks once the glue is dry, so you’ve got to work quick. Keep repeating and creeping up on it until your wide boards don’t have a gap after you cut and flip one, then clamp it all down and call it a day.

-- Brian Timmons -

8 comments so far

View Jason™'s profile


87 posts in 2268 days

#1 posted 08-03-2012 04:44 PM

Very nice designed sled you have made for yourself there. I recently made one myself for my portable T.S. I found a video online called (5 cuts to a perfect crosscut sled). It was a great instruction on how to really square up that fence to the blade. I performed the technique twice and the third time I was only .002 off. I was so stoked at how well I had gotten this fence aligned. Now I hope it doesn’t move anytime soon due to change of humidity in air ya know.

Long story short I should of just said (might wanna check out this video might be useful to you if you would be interested)

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2389 days

#2 posted 08-03-2012 04:59 PM

As I often comment on sleds, put a blade guard on the back! You don’t want the blade catching you by surprise. This sled is really nice!


View Lifesaver2000's profile


556 posts in 3253 days

#3 posted 08-03-2012 06:21 PM

Brian, thanks for posting that idea about making the base of the sled in two pieces. I am about to make a new sled, and because of the commercial runners I want to use on the base this will save a lot of time and trouble on getting it made.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2626 days

#4 posted 08-03-2012 06:36 PM

Thanks, everyone. Lumberjoe, I do plan on putting a blade guard on. Lifesaver, glad I could help. By the way, I also edited the details to include how I installed the rear fence, which is a method I hadn’t seen before and it’s really easy to get things square.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Skylark53's profile


2676 posts in 3201 days

#5 posted 08-03-2012 09:32 PM

You’ve followed good advice. This will be a valuable tool to you in the shop.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2496 days

#6 posted 08-04-2012 04:46 AM

Sweet! Barebones it aint. Its really nice. I agree with previously posted advice; add a blade guard at the rear fence. Easy to do. Much easier than re-attaching a finger.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View Ken90712's profile


17575 posts in 3330 days

#7 posted 08-04-2012 03:11 PM

Nice work

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 2209 days

#8 posted 10-06-2013 05:17 PM

Nice sled. By the way, is there a table saw beneath the sled?? LOL!

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

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