Great Cross Cut Sled

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Forum topic by newwoodbutcher posted 12-17-2010 01:43 AM 3521 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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740 posts in 2845 days

12-17-2010 01:43 AM

I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to build a great cross cut sled and my current project (Cherry Bed) has me hooked. I have the Dubby sled so angles are not needed, just straight and square cross cuts. I bought two 18” Incra Miter Slider SE adjustable steel miter bars and have a piece of Phenolic resin plywood thermally fused onto both sides that is big enough. I’m thinking that would make a very nice sled. I have the David Marks cross cut sled plan and think I’m going with that design. My question (finally) is; are there any considerations I need to give to the slippery nature of the Phenolic? Said another way do I risk having the fence move (slip) over time? I was thinking I might cut a shallow groove to remove the Phenolic coating and accept the fence but that would I think restrict adjustments to the fence if it ever got out of square. I see articles all the time where people are using Phenolic for jigs but don’t recall ever seeing a cross cut sled. Is there a reason for that?

-- Ken

5 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3658 days

#1 posted 12-17-2010 03:58 AM

IMHO, the slippery’er (is there such a word?) the better.

Crosscut sleds are bigger than most jigs, so cost maybe a factor … regular plywood is cheaper. A lot of folks build their crosscut sleds with melamine-coated materials …some use counter-top laminates, and others just use plain old MDF.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3644 days

#2 posted 12-17-2010 04:08 AM

well – you won’t be able to glue your fence to the sled phenolic base as that’s one of the phenolic’s properties (does not adhere well), but if you’ll bolt your fence to the phenolic base you should be just fine.

Actually I find bolting the fence to the base a good long term solution as you can untighten the bolts and reposition the fence (larger holes than that bolt) to accommodate sled misalignments over time.

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

View Loren's profile


10379 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 12-17-2010 07:43 AM

I believe phenolic is a bit stiffer than wood. I saw one guy’s directions
for a sled and he laminated phenolic to the bottom of a piece of flat
6mm baltic birch I think. You have to laminate something to the other
side too in order to keep the panel flat.

The whole idea is to keep the weight down. If you’re doing cabinets
you need 25” or more of real usable capacity for squaring on a sled.
Real easily, if you overbuild, the weight of the jig can get up to 20 lbs.
or more.

I haven’t built a sled in awhile but when I do it will be as light as I can
make it and still be stiff and flat enough to be an accurate tool.

View newwoodbutcher's profile


740 posts in 2845 days

#4 posted 12-17-2010 08:46 AM

Hmm. Weight. I hadn’t considered that. I have a 50” rip fence and was thinking I would make the sled pretty big as I need it to support long stock when crosscutting (78” long bed rail tenon shoulders for the first job) since I have smaller jobs covered with the Dubby for up to 4-5 foot long stock, I want to make this sled specifically for large stock. I’ve got a piece of 3/4” Phenolic coated (both sides) plywood I was planning to use. I’ll have to check it for heft including both a fence and rear rail. As I recall that piece of coated plywood was pretty heavy. . . Something to think about. Thank you!

-- Ken

View newwoodbutcher's profile


740 posts in 2845 days

#5 posted 12-17-2010 08:48 AM

PurpLev, thanks I was thinking bolts as well.

-- Ken

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