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Cross cut sled

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Review by richgreer posted 01-04-2012 06:23 PM 5797 views 3 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cross cut sled Cross cut sled Cross cut sled Click the pictures to enlarge them

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.




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richgreer

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28 comments so far

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a1Jim

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#1 posted 01-04-2012 06:39 PM

Thanks for the review Rich looks like a good tool to have around.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Viking

857 posts in 1881 days


#2 posted 01-04-2012 07:26 PM

Rich;

Great review! Thanks for sharing.

I bought the Rockler sled about 18 months ago and also got it on sale. Think it was $99 and they gave the drop-off sled for free.

Most of what I use it for is to make very accurate cross cuts and 45 degree miters. I set the stop on back of sled so fence would be 90 degrees to the blade using a large drafting triangle. Do same to check the fence for 45 degree miters. I use the “window” to just get close but don’t trust it for final settings.

I do find that I use this sled more and more every week.

Good Luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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Tim Dahn

1473 posts in 2251 days


#3 posted 01-04-2012 10:16 PM

Thanks Rich,
One thing, with the dado blade you usually only cut 1/2” deep so it may not be an issue .

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

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richgreer

4524 posts in 1761 days


#4 posted 01-04-2012 10:29 PM

Tim – I usually only take 1/2” to 3/4” (depending on the wood) is a single pass with a dado stack but I sometimes make multiple passes. With the sled in place, I am limited to 1” total with my 6” dado set and 2” with the 8” dado set (that I do not like).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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Jimbo4

1145 posts in 1449 days


#5 posted 01-04-2012 11:21 PM

Rich – I got mine about 6 months ago, on sale with free shipping, with the right side drop off. I use it to cut them little pieces for segmented turnings. Works really good. I added more degree marks out past the end, to allow me more diversity in the segments.

-- *Arachnoleptic Fit*: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidently walked through a spider web.

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Dusty56

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#6 posted 01-05-2012 12:55 AM

Looks like money well spent , Rich : )
Happy New Year !!

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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PCM

132 posts in 1731 days


#7 posted 01-05-2012 06:42 AM

Thanks for the review, I’ve been using the Rockler cut off sled for more than 2 years. It not only is extremely accurate, but also improves safety. Larger pieces of wood can be safely secured and it keeps your fingers safely away when cutting smaller pieces. I made my own drop off sled, which is important to reduce the risk of the cut off from becoming a projectile (the blade kicking it back).

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helluvawreck

15959 posts in 1553 days


#8 posted 01-05-2012 02:33 PM

Rich, this looks like a nice piece of equipment. Thanks

helluvawreck

https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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ChuckV

2437 posts in 2213 days


#9 posted 01-05-2012 05:40 PM

Excellent review. I’ve had mine for several years and use if often.

When mine arrived, there was some shipping damage to a corner of the board. Rockler replaced it quickly. Other than that, I have had no problems with the sled. I sometimes clamp the damaged board to my saw to support the drop off, as you are using a piece of plywood.

-- “While the world with closed eyes sleeps, The sky knows and weeps - steel rain. ” ― Nathan Bell

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RONFINCH

142 posts in 1611 days


#10 posted 01-05-2012 05:52 PM

Great review! Just looked it up to purchase…...$139 now, story of my life.

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richgreer

4524 posts in 1761 days


#11 posted 01-05-2012 06:12 PM

RONFINCH – Be patient. Rockler puts items on sale on a fairly regular basis.

OTOH – I think it is a pretty good deal at the $139 price.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1830 days


#12 posted 01-06-2012 01:06 AM

RONFINCH – I think in the latest catalog they were offering the sled and drop off together for $133. But Rich is right, it’ll likely be on sale again within a couple of months; just keep checking. I waited till it was both on sale and free shipping, and it was only 3-4 months before that combination popped up.

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Lenny

1269 posts in 2213 days


#13 posted 01-06-2012 12:23 PM

Hi Rich. First of all, a well written review. I always appreciate and respect your input here on LJ so it is with pleasure that I offer the “build” side of the equation. I am in the middle of making a “super sled”, so called by John Nixon of Eagle Lake Woodworking. There is a nice version of it posted here on LJ by Maveric777 aka Dan. I just received an order of supplies from Rockler (hold-downs, knobs and t-track) that cost in excess of $50. That’s with free shipping and with two of the items mentioned on sale. That does not account for the 1/2” Baltic birch and the quartersawn douglas fir I opted to use for the fence. So, I am into this for closer to $80-$100. It sounds as if you got yourself a nice, accurate crosscut sled for a great price.

As a side note, I am still grappling with why I am making the sled at all. Like you, I have the Osborne EB-3 miter gauge. It has performed wonderfully and I feel I am getting dead on 90 degree cuts as well any other angles. I have resolved that there are at least two benefits: 1. Because of the hold-downs, I will be able to cut small pieces more safely, i.e., with my hands no where near the blade and 2. As you mentioned, I will be able to cut wider boards (panels if you will). Again, nice review Rich.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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richgreer

4524 posts in 1761 days


#14 posted 01-06-2012 04:45 PM

Lenny – Thank you for your kind comments.

I hope no one read my review as advocating the buy side. If I had the time I probably would have preferred to build. That’s my nature. However, I have a to-do list as long as your arm and some of the projects have some deadlines on them. I crudely estimate that building a really good sled would take at least 5 hours and probably more than that.

I don’t advocate buy versus build or vice versa. It’s just in this case, all things considered including my to-do list, the buy decision was the right decision for me. After working with this sled for a few days, I think I made the right decision.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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Lenny

1269 posts in 2213 days


#15 posted 01-06-2012 05:38 PM

I’m in agreement with you Rich. To each their own and for whatever reasons they might have. I made a workbench and went with a pre-made workbench top. Some might say, “What’s the fun? We’re woodworkers and making it is the fun part.”, and they would be right. But as you said, sometimes expediency outweights time and effort.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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