Built my first cross cut sled, now I need some advice.

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Forum topic by BTimmons posted 06-19-2012 08:30 PM 1888 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2303 posts in 2655 days

06-19-2012 08:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig tablesaw crosscut sled miter question

Here it is, in all its bare bones glory. I used the quick and easy sled building method described in the most recent issue of Fine Woodworking.

Now here’s where my question comes in. There’s a current project of mine that requires me to cut 45 degree miters to form corners on some oak window cornices. I considered pushing the boards along the surface of the table itself, but there is too much friction for me to keep a long board perpendicular to the blade. Hence the need for a sled.

Would it be extremely detrimental to this sled to cut a second slot at 45 degrees? I’m guessing this would leave a portion of the sled surface floating between the front and rear fences, between where the 90 and 45 cuts are made. Would that weaken the sled beyond all usefulness? I built this one with the 90 degree slot because, well, I need it anyway and I’ll get lots of use from it. But can I get away with using this for two angles? What if I only raise the blade in the center and cut through the rear fence only for the 45 degree slot, leaving the front fence intact? The rear fence is solid maple that’s about an inch and half thick, so it should be more than rigid enough, right?


Oh yeah, forget about building a jig to hold the workpiece at 45 degrees relative to the blade. One of the boards is about 6 feet long, I can’t have that sticking up in the air.

-- Brian Timmons -

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3817 days

#1 posted 06-19-2012 08:51 PM

You lose the zero-clearance feature of a sled when you start tilting
the blade. That’s the main issue. There are ways to prevent
bottom chipping even after widening the sled slot… you can add
a masonite face and an insert. You can rout a hole for a flush
insert. You can put masking tape on the board you are cutting.

In terms of weakening the sled it’s not a big deal with the design
you have. I’d recommend making a simple jig however that screws
to your sled. You’ve rejected the idea already but with clamps
holding the board the cut will actually be more secure than
if you made the cut horizontally with no clamp. The amount
of “stick-up” would be not be outrageous in a 72” board at
45 degrees.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2655 days

#2 posted 06-19-2012 09:23 PM

Hmm. I suppose if I went with the last route you suggest, at least then I won’t have to tilt the blade away from 90 degrees.

Or do you think I should just bite the bullet and make a smaller dedicated miter sled?

-- Brian Timmons -

View Bobmedic's profile


381 posts in 2971 days

#3 posted 06-19-2012 09:46 PM

Make the dedicated miter sled. I have one of each and they both give me great results. Miters have always been an issue with me and after I built my miter sled, no more issues. I cut miters that fit perfect every time and look like they were cut with a laser. I tuned my cross cut sled using the 5 cut method and after the first adjustment it was dead on, I got lucky. I would have been happy with it being 10 thou out or so but it was perfect. This miter sled from a fellow LJ works great.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2655 days

#4 posted 06-20-2012 12:23 AM

Bob, thanks for weighing in. The link is helpful, too. I guess I might just go with another sled. It’s extra effort, sure, but I think that attempting a “shortcut” would only cause headaches.

-- Brian Timmons -

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2860 days

#5 posted 06-20-2012 02:49 AM

If I understand your question, my answer would be to tilt your blade and use a long fence on your miter gauge.

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

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2655 days

#6 posted 06-20-2012 02:56 AM

Dude! That makes total sense and it’s a much more elegant answer to my problem. Thanks, now I wonder why it didn’t occur to me.

-- Brian Timmons -

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