Table saw sled - Need help

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Forum topic by 1yeldud1 posted 11-07-2013 11:36 PM 2118 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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301 posts in 3069 days

11-07-2013 11:36 PM

Purchased a used powermatic 2000 table saw. I am in need of building a new set of sleds for this saw. I in the past used 3/4 inch MDF for these sleds. I was wondering if I am using too thick material. What is the consensus from the members of lumberjocks for the proper thickness and what material to use for the cobstruction of these sleds (crosscut, 45 degree, ect.) Thanks for your help and suggestions

16 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#1 posted 11-07-2013 11:38 PM

Most of my sleds are 3/4 ply ,the disadvantage is MDF is heavy.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3069 days

#2 posted 11-07-2013 11:47 PM

I have a set of sleds that I built for a Ridgid table saw – I used some 5/8 and some 3/4 MDF for all of these (mostly because I had to purchase a full sheet at my lumber yard) – Didnt know if plywood would be as stable as MDF I kept the MDF waxed and had pretty good luck except when I dropped or banged the sleds into something. Then I had to cut a small amount off of these or chamfer the edge to make them work.

View CharlesA's profile


3329 posts in 1824 days

#3 posted 11-07-2013 11:53 PM

My former sled was 3/4 MDF. My new sled, over twice as big, is 1/2 hardwood plywood, and it is great. I can’t imagine how heavy a 3/4 MDF sled would be of that size. The 1/2 has served me well.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Woodmaster1's profile


984 posts in 2614 days

#4 posted 11-08-2013 12:47 AM

My sled is 3/4” birch plywood.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2717 days

#5 posted 11-08-2013 01:43 AM

My “Super Sled” has a 1/2” Baltic Birch ply base and has held up very well.

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

View Scott's profile


121 posts in 2251 days

#6 posted 11-08-2013 05:29 AM

Same here, 1/2” birch ply for my large crosscut sled. Miter sled I used 3/4 on because that’s what I had on hand.

Only reason I can think of going thicker than 1/2” is if you wanted some flush mount t-tracks installed for some reason.

View Andre's profile


1888 posts in 1833 days

#7 posted 11-08-2013 06:47 AM

I use 1/2” (Baltic) for base and 3/4” for fence(with T-tracks stops), and oak for rails.
Tried some 1/4” hardboard on one sled for the base which was fine as long as it was on the

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Woodbum's profile


813 posts in 3092 days

#8 posted 11-08-2013 12:50 PM

For me too, 1/2” Baltic birch ply for the base. For the fences, I laminated 4 layers of Baltic birch plywood. I made sure that the runners, made of hard maple, were cut with the grain running vertically so that when they swell or shrink with humidity ( and they will) the fit remains the way they were originally cut and fitted. I set the rear fence using the Wm. Ng 5 cut method. Very accurate results if you faithfully follow William’s method. The sled is large and some would say cumbersome, but it works very well for me and has lasted quite a while. I am satisfied with it.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View ADHDan's profile


800 posts in 2135 days

#9 posted 11-08-2013 01:25 PM

I have three crosscut sleds – one small and one large sled that straddle the blade, and I recently made the Simple Crosscut Sled from this design: I like that I can use that sled without having to lower the riving knife, and the lack of a rear fence gives it a lot of versatility for cutting large panels.

I used 1/2” or 3/4” melamine for the bases, depending on the size of the sled. I like the smooth slide. Not sure whether it’s ideal material long-term, but I made the big sled 1.5 years ago and it’s still holding up nicely.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View TeamTurpin's profile


85 posts in 2088 days

#10 posted 11-08-2013 01:48 PM

My base is 1/2” birch ply. I hang this on the wall, so I wouldn’t want anything heavier.


View BigMig's profile


440 posts in 2640 days

#11 posted 11-08-2013 03:22 PM

I used 3/4 baltic for the base and 3 layers of the same for the fences. Quite solid.

I departed from convention and used aluminum t-track for the runners. they work GREAT, won’t warp, bend, crack, nor split. I used the stuff from rockler because I was struggling with getting some hardwood the exact right width and thickness and placement. With the Rockler track – I got it mounted correctly quite easily.

Now – many months later, still performs flawlessly.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3769 days

#12 posted 11-08-2013 03:30 PM

Use the 3/4

I used 1/2 inch Baltic Birch – and it has curled along the saw Kerf on the right hand side.
Nice and flat at the rear fence and the front rail – but in the middle it developed a hump – just enough that it catches when i slide stock across it.
I am just “dealing with it” as with most things, Making new stuff tends to always be ahead of rebuilding old jigs – that still are working.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View tool_junkie's profile


325 posts in 2556 days

#13 posted 11-08-2013 03:36 PM

Mike, I would like to see some pics of your sled with t-track runners. Can you please post some?


View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3069 days

#14 posted 11-08-2013 06:10 PM

sounds like I need to look for some good plywood for my next series of sleds – Thanks Guys for the input on this subject I do appreciate your input – this is a great web site to find GREAT information !!!

View mrbreezeet1's profile


60 posts in 2179 days

#15 posted 11-14-2013 03:22 AM

I ordered the 1/2” thick phenolic covered plywood from Rockler.
Have not built the sled yet.
When using hardwood for the runners, with the grain running vertical, is there any swelling in humid conditions?
Are you guys having good luck with the hardwood runners?

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