|Review by richgreer||posted 01-04-2012 06:23 PM||5797 views||3 times favorited||28 comments|
I’d always thought of a cross cut sled as a “nice to have – but not essential”. Then Rockler had a sale on this item ($99) and I said “why not”.
This is a tool that raises the buy versus build question. I could probably have made a sled as nice as this one, but I am sure I would have spent at least $50 in materials and several hours of labor and I decided, in this case, to buy instead of build.
I am very impressed by the overall quality of the materials used, the accuracy and the how easy it is to make adjustments (set the angle, slide the face board, set the stop or use the hold down clamp.
One minor disadvantage, relative to a miter gauge, is that there are no indents to precisely set the angle. However, look at that window and marking line in the second picture. You can really set your angle accurately.
One reason for a sled is to cut larger panels. I’ve not tested this, but I am confident I could cut a panel 24” wide by myself. I could probably stretch that to about 28” but I may need a second set of hands to help me steady it. As an FYI, I have already used this sled to make an 18” rip cut. I would never have been able to do that with a miter gauge. Previously, I would have used my fence. It was quicker and easier to use the sled.
The surface of this sled is 1/2” higher than the surface of the table saw. In theory, that reduces how high you can cut. Since I prefer to use a thin kerfed blade and a stabilizer, to reduce wobble, this is less of an issue for me. I say this because the stabilizer already reduces my maximum height and with the sled I can raise the blade until the stabilizer is 1/2” above the surface of the table. I hope that makes sense.
The loss of height of cut may be an issue when using a dado stack. My favorite dado stack, Freud 606, only has a 6” diameter. I would have the option switching to an 8” dado stack that I like less or reverting to a miter gauge.
The metal track (miter bar) runs smoothly in the groove of my table saw. There is no detectable wobble in the groove. Four plastic strips on the bottom help this sled move back and forth very smoothly.
The metal track is not the t-type. You can just set the sled down into the table as opposed to sticking the track in from the end, like I do with my miter gauge. I think (but I am not certain) that I prefer it that way.
The sled is a little heavier to handle than a miter gauge – but not much. FYI – my primary miter gauge is the Osborne EB-3.
I did not buy the drop-off sled. A 1/2” piece of plywood works just fine.
Before using this sled, I had assumed that I would only use it for special situations such as cutting larger panels and cutting small pieces where the hold down feature would be helpful. Now I expect that the the sled will be the primary way I do crosscuts and my miter gauge will only be used when necessary. As an example, I will revert to the miter gauge when I am tilting the blade.
note – if you look closely at the lower right corner you will see a little damage. That’s not Rockler’s fault. I dropped it on that corner. I only did some cosmetic damage. I still regret I did that.
-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.