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Table Saw Sled vs Miter Gauge

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 962 days ago 5978 views 1 time favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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richgreer

4522 posts in 1701 days


962 days ago

A table saw sled has always been on my “nice to have – but not really essential” list. I built a “quick and dirty” sled once for a special project. It got the job done but it was very crude and I deemed it not worth keeping.

Recently, Rockler had a sale on this sled and I said, “why not?” I don’t remember if it was $89 or $99, but I remember it was a pretty good deal.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=18063&filter=table%20saw%20sled

I always thought sleds have two basic purposes: (1) large panels and (2) small items that you can clamp down on the sled.

I just completed a 2 day project where I used the sled a lot. I used it on some semi-large panels and I used it on a number of routine cuts.

I used to assume that my miter gauge would always be my first choice and I would only use the sled on special situations. Now, I think it will be just the opposite.

Until the last 2 days, I did not realize just how handy a crosscut sled can be.

I’ll do a review of this particular sled shortly.

I’m curious about how others feel about miter gauge versus cross cut sleds. As an FYI – my primary miter gauge is the Osborne EB-3, an excellent miter gauge. I’d be particularly interested in the opinions of those who have both a high quality sled and a high quality miter gauge. In what situations do you prefer one versus the other?

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


35 replies so far

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

796 posts in 1770 days


#1 posted 962 days ago

Good to hear that this is a good sled. I bought it in the same sale ($99 and free shipping) but haven’t had a chance to use it yet (some temporary medical stuff is preventing me from using most of my power tools right now). I’ll look forward to reading your review – the reviews on Rockler’s site were all very positive.

Did you get the drop-off sled too? I didn’t bother with that one (yet).

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richgreer

4522 posts in 1701 days


#2 posted 962 days ago

I don’t understand buying the drop off piece. A half inch piece of plywood works just fine for a very small fraction of the price. I cut an 30” by 18” piece from some 1/2” plywood I had laying around. Amazingly, this was 1/2” plywood that was actually 1/2” thick.

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

View jwisbey's profile

jwisbey

20 posts in 1040 days


#3 posted 962 days ago

I built a version of the super sled and use it for all my cross-cuts that my miter saw cannot handle. I hardly use my miter gauge any more.

-- Joe, Ohio - Working with wood for over 25 years and still a beginner

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

796 posts in 1770 days


#4 posted 962 days ago

Yeah, that was my thinking on the drop off…I figured I’d wait till I saw a need, and then put something together.

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 1610 days


#5 posted 962 days ago

I rarely use the miter gauge that came with my saw. Not that there is anything wrong with it. I tend to use my RAS and SCMS for most mitered cuts.

Like yourself I built a crude workable sled and was planning on building another one with some improvements to make it better, when I received my Delta sliding table attachment. The Rockler sled set up is very similar to the sliding table. The only real difference I see in the 2 is the drop off portion of the sled.

Look forward to your review of the sled.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1637 days


#6 posted 962 days ago

I recognize the value of the sled vs. the miter gauge but just keep putting off making it.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View KenBry's profile

KenBry

449 posts in 1074 days


#7 posted 962 days ago

I bought the incra miter sled, love it! It is on my saw 80% of the time

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

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agallant

427 posts in 1513 days


#8 posted 962 days ago

I have my own, I rarely touch my CMS or miter gauge.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10724 posts in 1317 days


#9 posted 962 days ago

I tend to use my super sled every time I need to cut a lot a parts the same length. Don’t know why but the stop block on the sled just seems more convenient than the one on the miter gauge. Maybe if I had a longer fence on the miter gauge (mine is 18”) I would use it more for these repetitive cuts. ANOTHER good topic by Rich.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View William's profile

William

8975 posts in 1469 days


#10 posted 962 days ago

Some time back I bought an Osborne Miter Gauge. I thought it was the end all of angled cuts. I loved it and couldn’t see why I’d ever need anything else.
I recently aquired the Incra 5000 sled in a trade deal. I wasn’t sure if I’d even need it. I loved my Osboune so much.
Then a couple of days ago, while pondering how I was going to cut (repeatedly) 67.5 degree angles on small pieces without taking a chance on chopping my fingers off, I noticed the Incra hanging on the wall and realized it would do them easily.
So the last couple of days I’ve been going back and forth. This is my conclusion (for me, maybe not for everyone).
I still like my Osborne for long pieces. In my opinion,, there is just no substitute for the stability and easy repeatability I confidently get from the Osborne.
For small or awkward angled pieces, the Incra sled iss the way to go. I still don’t know how I would have safely cut the twenty four pieces I done today without the sled and hold down clamp.
I am picking up some hardware next time I go to town so I can hang the sled on my sawstation on the opposite side as the Osborne so that from now on, they’ll both be equally handy depending on what I’m working on.

By the way Rich, very good topic. I don’t recall ever seeing a topic that pitted a quality miter gauge against a quality miter sled. I have seen topics on scrapping crappy miter gauges in favor of a good sled. It’s a whole different ballgame though when you think about the benefits of both as long as they are both quality accessories. I hadn’t really put what I typed above into thought until I read this post.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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richgreer

4522 posts in 1701 days


#11 posted 962 days ago

Thanks to everyone for their excellent comments. I don’t mean to gloat, but this is the kind of discussion LJ should be all about.

Regarding the subject at hand. When on sale, the Rockler sled is only $99. Most, if not all, of the quality miter gauges cost more than that. It is starting to seem like a “no brainer” to me.

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

View William's profile

William

8975 posts in 1469 days


#12 posted 962 days ago

You can also get the Osborne EB-3 for $99 with free shipping here. They say for a limited time, but it has been at this price for months. I don’t know for sure it’ll last though. I know that seems like a lot of dough to drop on a miter gauge, but as I’m sure Rich will attest to, it’s worth every pennie. The only thought I’ve had since I bought mine (I got it for $99) is that I wish I’d bought one sooner.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View William's profile

William

8975 posts in 1469 days


#13 posted 962 days ago

Is this the sled Rich? At the present time it is $139.99. Rockler ha sales all the time though. Even at the present price though, it still is pretty cheap if it’s a good sled. It is WAY cheaper than the Incra I have if I had bought the Incra new.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View 1yeldud1's profile

1yeldud1

289 posts in 1669 days


#14 posted 962 days ago

Rich – I built my first sled and I have not touched my miter gage since. I am on my second sled (built a 2nd one that is fixed at 90 degrees – just a little more refined) and I also built one that is adjustable, like yours, and I built a sled to do picture frame type work. My projects are much more accurate than before – One of the best moves that I have ever made – thanks to the guys and gals on lumberjocks that inspired me to build these projects – Im shure you will fall in love with your “sleds” !!!!!

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1306 posts in 1436 days


#15 posted 961 days ago

Good topic Rich. I use a sled very often and your accurate in your perception of being most suitable for panels. Mine will take up to 23 inch wide panels. I also use the mitre gauge friquently for smallish,repetitive cuts off a gauge block clamped to the fence. I use the gauge block on large panels as well when I have several of the same length. I have enough other options that I do not use the large sled to attempt any mitre cutting on the table saw but will on occasion use the mitre gauge for some situations. The thing about sleds that really worrys me is that I see many folks put a lot of time and expense into making them with t-slot stops, adj. mitre angle stops,etc. For what its worth, I still have all of my complete fingers and have been cutting wood with spinning blades for 41 yrs now because of a few rules I follow: I never reach over the blade, If I do cut a mitre on the table saw it will be long point first (many sleds I see allow short or long point) and I never will mitre with a pieace captured by a stop. And btw whoever mentioned that osborne setup, thanks. I looked at the sight. I would have ordered one but I have a one inch slot so Im out of luck on that one.JB

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