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Cross cut sled - advice needed

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 06-21-2012 03:19 PM 1054 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 936 days


06-21-2012 03:19 PM

I am taking the plunge into shop made jigs. I have hacked together some one-time use stuff for cutting mortises and what not, but nothing I could use repeatedly. The sled I am making is 36” long and 24” deep. I am using 1/2” BB for the base, and random other wood for the rest. I have a few questions regarding final construction:

1 – the rear fence is going to be as long as my table and extend past the platform. I have laminated two pieces of 3/4” BB plywood for a total thickness of just under 1 1/2”. Is that thick enough, or should I add another to get a little over 2”?

2 – should I finish the base at all? I will sand the bottom smooth and I keep my TS waxed up good (Johnson’s 2 to 3 times a week). I will put a coat of wax on the runners. I don’t want to run into a situation where I get finish transferring to my work pieces either form the sled or the saw that I cannot sand off.

3 – making the initial cut. I’ve seen people put the sled on the saw then raise the blade into it. I have visions of the piece climbing the blade and getting thrown back at me while I am working the knob. Does it make sense to attach the rear fence first then send it through the blade?

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts


10 replies so far

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bunkie

411 posts in 1835 days


#1 posted 06-21-2012 03:28 PM

The latest issue of Fine Woodworking (July/August 2012) has a very interesting design for a crosscut sled (actually two versions of the same design).

I found the approach rather innovative.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 936 days


#2 posted 06-21-2012 03:30 PM

I’m loosely basing mine off of the “supersled” from eagle lake woodworking. I’ll check out that article too.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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bunkie

411 posts in 1835 days


#3 posted 06-21-2012 03:35 PM

The cool thing about the FWW approach (and how it relates to your questions) is that they build the sled from two separate base pieces, so there’s no cutting the blade slot.

There’s also a new approach to squaring the back fence to the blade.

Finally they recommend building two examples, one for boards and another for sheet goods. I like this because using a full-size sled to cut a 10” board is a little unwieldy.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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BTimmons

2140 posts in 1173 days


#4 posted 06-21-2012 03:36 PM

I recently made my first sled, too. I had no problems with raising the blade slowly into the sled. The weight alone should be enough to keep the whole thing steady enough to eliminate any danger of kickback. If you did manage to raise the blade fast enough somehow, I imagine that the sudden resistance would cause the tablesaw’s circuit breaker to flip off, rather than grabbing the sled and throwing it at you. If you’re still worried about it (and you likely shouldn’t be), just clamp the sled to the tablesaw when you raise the blade.

As bunkie mentioned, the latest issue of FWW is where I got the methods to make my own.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

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Rex B

314 posts in 938 days


#5 posted 06-21-2012 03:39 PM

Here’s what I think:

  1. I think 1.5” of baltic birch is plenty thick for the fence, as long as you use enough screws that it won’t flex along its length.
  2. When I built my crosscut sled I finished it with Varathane floor varnish. It’s an idea that I got from Matthias of Woodgears.ca. The floor varnish is harder and slicker than normal varnish, and it has worked great for me. I haven’t had any problems with finish transferring to other things
  3. I may not be understanding your design correctly, but when I built mine I attached the front fence before making the initial cut, because it is not as critical. Then I pushed the sled over the blade but stopped before cutting all the way through, and squared the rear fence to the cut.

Good luck! You will love that sled, I use mine on every project.

-- Rex

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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 936 days


#6 posted 06-21-2012 03:44 PM

Yes, that is what I meant. I think what you are calling the front fence I am calling the back fence (the one furthest from the operator). I’ll look into the floor varnish option, Thanks!

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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Mainiac Matt

4160 posts in 1016 days


#7 posted 06-21-2012 03:46 PM

I used 1/2” melamine for the base of my “down and dirty” sled and I would NOT recomend it….

nice and slippery on the table…. but it’s also nice and slippery when you try to screw down the fence… major pain in the butt…. and now after using it about ten times…. it slipped out of square.

There’s several good build videos out there…. the wood whiperer being one.

I’d suggest making your sled just over 24” wide inbetween the fences, so you can cut a 24” wide panel.

I’ve seen people put the sled on the saw then raise the blade into it.

if you put some downward pressure on the panel off to the side, you can raise the blade through it with no problem at all.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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Rex B

314 posts in 938 days


#8 posted 06-21-2012 03:46 PM

Yep, we are referring to front and rear differently! Just realized it.

-- Rex

View bunkie's profile

bunkie

411 posts in 1835 days


#9 posted 06-21-2012 03:52 PM

The FWW approach is to glue and nail the fence in place and, while the glue is still open, make test cuts and then tap the fence with a mallet to make adjustments. Once square, clamp it down and secure it with screws. The nail will bend slightly allowing for the adjustments.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 936 days


#10 posted 06-21-2012 03:59 PM

Yeah, I don’t like that idea. Then I have to clean dry or half dried clue of critical points where work piece meets fence. The screws and 5 cut method is the easiest for me I think.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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