Cross cut sled dilema

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Forum topic by out2sea71 posted 05-11-2009 02:02 PM 1803 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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36 posts in 3881 days

05-11-2009 02:02 PM

Good day all
I have been working with wood for a few years and I have always thought about using a cross-cut sled to make sure my panels are square. I even made one once but it was so unwieldly that I burned it. My question is as follows: How does the sled support the panel when the wood is placed into it when the panel exceeds the distance from the blade and the end of the table? For example, say a 30 inch panel would have to start from my lap. AM I suppose to use a support roller or extension feed-table? Thanks, Les

-- kein Schaden ohne Nutzen

12 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117337 posts in 3780 days

#1 posted 05-11-2009 05:53 PM

I guess it would depend on the size of your table saw. My table saw has 54” to the right of the blade and when i use my sled I just use a piece of plywood the same thickness as my sled to slide my wood I’m cutting so it remains parallel with the saw blade. If your saw is not that wide then you will need a small table or perhaps a roller stand if you have one that won’t tip over to support your work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4421 days

#2 posted 05-11-2009 06:14 PM

I think your problem illustrates a basic point…. crosscut sleds are limited in what size material can be cut with them, unless you build some sort of elaborate infeed/outfeed setup.

Also keep in mind that a crosscut sled only guarantees as much squareness as it is built with.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4068 days

#3 posted 05-11-2009 06:16 PM

Extensions and rollers are a good idea for that if you need it. Jim’s right, though. It depends a bit on the table size.

I’d venture that you want the sled to have some heft to it to help keep it secure when you are working. Light weight things tend to fly around easier.

There are a lot of designs out there than give you some options on support on both sides of the blade. The regular sleds I’ve seen use a bracing to not only square your workpiece to the blade but also bridge the sled to the other side of the blade making it all one piece. If weight is a concern, you can make a half-sled that only supports up to the blade itself. In both cases you can make the sled itself as long as you want (if you can find stock long enough). If you make it too long, though, you will need to find some way of supporting the sled itself.

Danny Boy

-- He said wood...

View ChuckM's profile


615 posts in 3869 days

#4 posted 05-19-2009 02:49 AM

When I have to handle a stock too big for my tablesaw, I use a circular saw with a shop=made square jig or ripping jig.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3556 days

#5 posted 05-19-2009 04:04 AM

Yeah I think he’s referring to crosscutting a wide board and not a crosscutting a long board where supporting the drop off is the issue.

My sled is 4’x4’ along the lines of David Marks large one and because the blade comes up through it I’m limited to crosscutting a ~24” width. When I have to cut wider I do the same thing Chuck mentioned.

You could make one longer, say 5’. that would get me 36”, but I think that would become unwieldy and I don’t know that I’d want to do that even if supported by infeed rollers.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View out2sea71's profile


36 posts in 3881 days

#6 posted 05-19-2009 02:28 PM

I am sorry I was not clear I was talking about cross-cutting a wide, not a long board. I jusgt wanted confirmation that there had to be more support than provided by the sled. I thought I was doing something wrong. I just expanded my tablesaw to a full 36” to the right of my left-tilt blade and I am pretty satisfied with it. Thanks for all of the feedback. Les

-- kein Schaden ohne Nutzen

View stefang's profile (online now)


16144 posts in 3537 days

#7 posted 05-19-2009 05:16 PM

I think I might have seen a solution to your problem in an old issue of Fine Woodworking. As I remember it was a table that attached to the operator’s end of the saw. It was a frame that swung out with hinges at either side of the saw cabinet and was supported by legs at the other end that swung down into place. It was actually designed to support full plywood sheets and so was pretty sturdy. (Picture a frame attached at one end to the saw and the back with legs). It could be swung down or easily removed when not in use. I would also think that you could run your sled on it without problems. Hope this helps.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View out2sea71's profile


36 posts in 3881 days

#8 posted 05-19-2009 06:14 PM

Thanks Stefang. That is more along the lines with which I was fumbling. I will try to search myself but If you or anyone else can remember the issue I would appreciate it.

-- kein Schaden ohne Nutzen

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3957 days

#9 posted 05-19-2009 06:30 PM

The best thing I have seen for this was invineted by a fellow LJ…cost a bit but it is worth the safety improverments it brings to the table (Pun intended)


-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View patron's profile


13640 posts in 3544 days

#10 posted 05-22-2009 03:19 PM

if you have the room put lower cabs around saw to table hight and put in drawers , you get better top and more storage for tools/supplys . can use those adjustablt cab/kick legs to fine tune top .

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

View kimball's profile


323 posts in 3500 days

#11 posted 05-23-2009 08:00 PM

I have had this problem also and you just gave me a solution.
I have what is called a courtesy table (CT). It is the same height as my table saw and acts as a table extension for cutting plywood sheets. I use it on the side of the table saw as extra support for cross cutting or in front for length cuts.
Now for the solution: Rout 2) 3/8”x3/4” dadoes in the CT to correspond with the miter gage tracks in the table saw. Clamp the CT to the table saw so that the dadoes match up and you have increased your miter gage tracks by the width of your CT and your sled is supported on both sides.
I’m on my way to my garage now. Thanks,

View kimball's profile


323 posts in 3500 days

#12 posted 05-23-2009 08:08 PM

By the way, my CT is 24” W. X 48” long and is covered by formica. I will be spraying my dadoes and the bottom of my sled with silicone (be sure to clean the silicone off before usaing the Ct as origionally intended).

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