Crosscut Sled Fence Material

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Forum topic by Dchip posted 08-02-2010 05:08 PM 3126 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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270 posts in 2676 days

08-02-2010 05:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question sled tablesaw

Most sleds I see have hardwood fences. Wouldn’t these be susceptible to small movements that could throw off square? Does the lengthwise grain orientation remove this risk? I’m thinking of using two pieces laminated 3/4’’ MDF or plywood, as I don’t see the downsides to this. Any input? Thanks.

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

10 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 08-02-2010 05:17 PM

the fences are usually oriented with the quarter sawn edge on top/bottom which keeps any movement in the up/down plane thus not really throwing off the sled’s left/right setup.

hardwoods are easier to work with, can be smoothed out, and look better. also you can get a beefy hardwood in one piece instead of having to glue up multiple 3/4” sheet material = extra work.

that said – you can use whatever you have at hand and works for you as long as it’s functional it’s all good.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5300 posts in 3137 days

#2 posted 08-02-2010 08:19 PM

Would mdf wear faster than hardwoods?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View GregP's profile


154 posts in 2301 days

#3 posted 08-02-2010 10:24 PM

My cross cut sled is made out of plywood, I would think MDF would be awfully heavy.

-- Greg P, Washington State,

View gerrym526's profile


266 posts in 3232 days

#4 posted 08-02-2010 11:22 PM

My crosscut slleds (have 3 in different sizes) have 3/4 baltic birch bases, and hardwood (3/4 poplar) front/rear fences. Have never had a problem with wood movement because the fences are fastened to the plywood base with long screws every 3-4 inches.

-- Gerry

View jpc's profile


139 posts in 2605 days

#5 posted 08-03-2010 12:46 AM

i guess by reading some of the above ive been lucky, i grabbed a two by two of poplar 36 inchs long from the big box for mine and have had no problems, now that ive said that watch my next cut be fucked up

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139 posts in 2605 days

#6 posted 08-03-2010 12:47 AM

opps sorry for the profanity, thinking out loud as i was typing

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 2859 days

#7 posted 08-03-2010 03:58 AM


View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 3448 days

#8 posted 08-03-2010 05:14 PM

I’ve had good luck with SYP dimensional lumber selected for grain. I think good grain is the most important thing.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View Dchip's profile


270 posts in 2676 days

#9 posted 08-03-2010 06:11 PM

Thanks all. It seems MDF is out. I’m gonna swing by the big box and look for some 8/4 poplar or red oak. I’ll prob still use an mdf base (unless I can find some real good ply), though I’ll prob use a bit of finish to minimize swelling.

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3384 days

#10 posted 08-03-2010 06:54 PM

I use a lot of mdf for jigs, etc. A quick coat of dewaxed shellac keeps the mdf stable, and a touch of fine sanding and waxing keeps ‘em slick.


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