Suggestion for finishing Crosscut Sled

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Forum topic by Matt in Franklin posted 01-10-2014 12:51 PM 3532 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 1641 days

01-10-2014 12:51 PM

I recently built myself a new crosscut sled dedicated to smaller cuts so that I didnt have to drag out my larger primary sled when I needed to trim small stuff.

Since the sled is smaller and since this is my second try at building a sled, I decided to get “cute” with it and trim out the edges and rails with red oak. The board itself is birch plywood 3/4”.

I figured the final step should be to give it some kind of finish to both protect it, make it more durable, help it slide better and also to allow the red oak trim to really stand out from the birch.

So, what should I do/use?

Thanks to all in advance for your suggestions!

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

15 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2066 days

#1 posted 01-10-2014 02:48 PM

to allow the red oak trim to really stand out from the birch.
Joe shakes his head and walks away muttering under his breath. He gets to the end of the driveway, turns around, looks up and yells It’s a jig! Joe then drops his head and resumes his slow shuffle down the sidewalk, muttering to himself as he slowly finds his way to the corner liquor store. It’s still early, but Joe knows he will need two jugs of Ripple to make it through this day.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1963 days

#2 posted 01-10-2014 02:54 PM

I’d just do paste wax. I would worry about other stuff sticking, and I know paste wax won’t stick.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#3 posted 01-10-2014 02:58 PM

please forgive joe
he’s running out of meds

just wax the bottom
so it slides good
maybe some spray rattlecan finish
of your choice
don’t want tthe finish to bleed into the boards you cut
or it can mess with them later

welcome to LJ’s

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2398 days

#4 posted 01-10-2014 03:40 PM

Another vote for paste wax. That’s all my crosscut sled has, and I’ll reapply every so often to the sled and the table. Like buttah.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Garry's profile


103 posts in 1744 days

#5 posted 01-10-2014 03:53 PM

Ha ha! Some people are just looking for an excuse to drink. ;)

It’s your shop and your toy. I think a few coats of varnish would be fine and look great. Give it some time to set up good, then apply paste wax. I don’t see how it could hurt anything.

-- Garry, North Carolina woodworker and engineer - The journey you're preparing for has already begun.

View Sanding2day's profile


1013 posts in 1875 days

#6 posted 01-10-2014 05:00 PM

Welcome to LJs Matt… Would certainly agree with the repeated paste wax recomendation but also understand the desire to improve the appearance of the shop toys. Had my sled as pictured below for a few weeks before throwing some poly on the front which certainly improved its appearance.

Click for details

-- Dan

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2605 days

#7 posted 01-10-2014 06:09 PM

Shellac, then paste wax on the bottom and runners.

The shellac gives plenty of protection. I prefer zinsser sealcoat. It’s cheap, wax free and works great for sealing and providing some durability. It will also give you the effect on the oak you want. Dries super quick.

Wax to keep things running smooth.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3770 days

#8 posted 01-10-2014 06:31 PM

perhaps a nice faux finish – some glazing tints, to make it a Louis XV style… maybe multi color milk paint, with strategic distressing to let colors through….

Nah – Rattle can Shellac/Lacquer/Poly clear finish – which helps prevent moisture issues and warping over time, and then wax the bottom.

As Joe said – it is a jig – no reason not to have it nice, but knoing it will get cut up and knocked over – should prevent one from going crazy with it.

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4950 posts in 3988 days

#9 posted 01-10-2014 07:49 PM

Shellac and wax.
Nothing else needed.


View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3259 days

#10 posted 01-10-2014 08:23 PM

I am with Joe! Make that three Ripples. :-)

My sled doesn’t have anything on it. In fact, I just dismantled it to make a modification or three so it will soon be capable of making zero clearance dadoes or single cuts.

I have some cabinets to build. I will put the finish on them. :-)

Good luck with your sled. ->wax on, <-wax off. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3613 days

#11 posted 01-10-2014 08:35 PM

I like my pal Joe, get him one on me, and make it scotch .just the very the best there is. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 1641 days

#12 posted 01-10-2014 09:54 PM

thanks so much for the entertaining responses.

I think I’ll wipe on a couple coats of shellac and then hit it with a spray satin poly that I have in the shop. Then I will use some johnsons paste wax on the bottom to get it gliding along.

I will try to remember to post a picture when it’s completed.

Dan, I really like the idea of the miter sled “insert” that you have in that picture. I dont think I’ll have enough real estate to do that for this sled I’m working on, however my bigger primary crosscut sled may be getting a new accessory :-0

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 1641 days

#13 posted 01-13-2014 12:57 PM

All, here is the nearly completed board. I will add a project to LJ once I am complete.

I ended up just wiping on 3 coats of clear shellac and stopping because I liked the results. It looks nice and it really makes the surface of the board easier to slide parts around on.

The only thing left I want to do is go to Woodcraft and get a T-track for the top of the rail that I will use to add an extendable stop block arm and other accessories.

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2138 days

#14 posted 01-13-2014 04:21 PM

I wax the bottom and that’s it…

I like the traction provided by unfinished wood, and it’s a jig.

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 1641 days

#15 posted 01-13-2014 04:39 PM

personally I find it more difficult to make adjustments with the stop blocks as well as with the work piece if the surface is unfinished (like my larger cross-cut sled). On this new sled, the stop moves glass-smooth.

The other thing I noticed on my larger sled is that dust tends to be harder to clean off the surface of the sled when it isn’t sealed. Even when I used my extractor hose to suck up the dust, I still find it hard to clean it all off. With this new sled, it cleans and wipes off easily.

Yes, it’s JUSTa jig. But with all the “wearable” parts such as runners, back fence and blade guard all made so that they can be replaced over time, I plan on using this for small parts production for a long long time. The three coats of shellac took me all of 30 minutes total sanding/application time and it was completely cured and ready to use in a single afternoon! I think that makes the result well worth it.

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

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