How To Cut A Crosscut Sled For A Table Saw
Did you know you can crosscut long pieces of wood with a table saw and make an accurate table saw sled? Usually, a table saw sled is popularly known for ripping long pieces. Therefore, owning a table saw can help you create perfect boards designs. Additionally, you can create 90-45 degree miter cuts, especially on narrower boards.
Similarly, a table saw sled is designed with a fence mounted precisely ninety or forty-five degrees to the blade. The mounting primarily allows the accurate square cutting or perfect cutting of forty-five degrees miter cuts on board. So, a table saw crosscut sled is an ideal tool for making more straightforward and consistent, repeatable, and square cuts, unlike a miter gauge.
However, it can be challenging to make a crosscut for a table saw, especially if you are a beginner. Likewise, not all professional woodworkers can make the perfect crosscut for a table saw. You may need relevant skills and experience to execute the entire process. Additionally, making two miter slot bars aligned together is another hassle that needs guidance and proper coaching.
If you’ve ever tried making crosscuts for a table saw and adjusting the miter bars in their proper position, you know how complicated the process is. Nonetheless, don’t worry; if you are looking forward to making a perfect crosscut sled for a table saw, you are at the right place. In this article, I will walk you step-by-step on making a crosscut sled for a table saw effortlessly. Before that, let’s discuss the basic precautions you need to adhere to when making a crosscut sled for a table saw in the comfort of your working space.
Top precaution when making a crosscut sled for a table saw
To prevent accidents in your working environment, you must observe the following;
- Before using the table saw sled, ensure you remove the blade guard on your table
- Don’t put your hand close to the path of the blade
- After you are done with crosscutting, ensure to turn off the blade completely
- The blade should be adjusted to ensure no more than ¼ in is seen above the sawing board
Working with sharp objects might result in accidents unknowingly. Therefore, you must always be alert when making cuts using a table saw sled. On top of that, you can primarily use a table saw sled to make the following cuts;
- 90-degree crosscuts
- 45-degree miter cuts
Suppose you’re craving to make either a ninety-degree crosscut or a forty-five miter cut. Follow the following guide to get in-depth procedures to execute perfect crosscuts and miter cuts.
How to make a crosscut sled for a table saw for 90-degree crosscuts
You might be required to make different cuts using your table saw. Here are the steps you’d be needed to follow when making 90-degree crosscuts;
Step 1: Collect all the relevant materials for the work
Every cutting project might require different types of material to make the project successful. And so, making 90-degrees crosscuts is not exceptional. Therefore, collecting all the essential materials before making crosscuts on any board is something you’d consider first.
Therefore, top-quality materials such as nine-ply birch are used for crosscut sleds. However, it is not a must-have tool to make your crosscuts perfect. Any flat plywood is recommended, provided it comes with smooth fences.
Contrary, you might have smooth plywood and still encounter challenges when cutting runners that ought to slide smoothly into the tracks. Generally, this is the most demanding part most woodworkers encounter in their construction journey.
Thus, to accomplish cutting smooth runners when constructing your sled, here are the key pointers to note;
- Cut the plywood strips’ for the front fence, stiffener, and blade cover. The cuttings should be ½ in longer and ¼ in more comprehensive than the completed size to ensure an ideal trimming.
- On the mating faces, spread the wood glue and fasten them together.
- Try to maintain lined-up layers as you fasten the faces to make them perfectly flat.
- In case there are partially hardened, glue the wood scrape them off.
- Pass the piece of wood through a table saw to delete ¼ in of it.
- Finally, you can soften the curves by using a belt sander.
Other essential materials and tools in your project include wood glue, screws, two wood pieces for runners.2 wood pieces for back fences and sled front. In addition, a screwdriver, drill, and bits are some of the essential tools to collect for the success of your crosscut sled.
Step 2: Cut and assemble the base and runners
After material collection, cutting runners from the strips of wood will follow suit. And so, hardwoods are of different inches and sizes. If you’re having a standard ¾ in, 1×3 hardwood board or wider miter gauge slots, cut them until they slide smoothly into the slots.
Also, in the case of narrow slots, you’ll be compelled to cut the 1×3 to cut off its thickness. Once you are done cutting the exact measurements of the runners. Try to attach the strips to the base of the sled. Allow the glue you’ve used to attach the strips to rest for roughly 20 minutes.
Then remove the assembled materials from the table saw sled and scrape off the extra glue from the bottom and runners edges. Additionally, any glue that has stuck into the table slots will have to be removed. Attempt to slide the sled into the slots back and forth. In this case, your slot needs to slide easily.
If you find difficulties when sliding your slot, examine the runners for darkened areas, especially where they came into contact with the metal. To sand the darkened areas of the slots, attach some pieces of sandpaper to a square-edged bock of wood using a spray adhesive. Repeat this step until your sled slides smoothly.
Step 3: Add the square fence and the stiffener
The third step is to glue and screw the stiffener. This step ensures the screws are away from the table saw blade path. Then, adjust your saw blade to ¾ in high and set the base into the blade. It would be best if you were careful when adding the stiffener and the square fence in this process.
Therefore, immediately you reach 3 inches when cutting the back of the base, turn off the table saw before removing the sled from it. This might help you avoid unnecessary damages when operating your table saw sled. Then, match the fence with the back edge of the base and use a screw to fix it correctly.
Step 4: Check the position of the fence
Here you’ll be checking whether the position of your fence is in the right place or not. Thus, this process will be done by cutting some pieces of plywood. So, having a clamp in place, place a more comprehensive piece of plywood or 12-in of wood o the sled. Then cut into two pieces. On top of that, you’ll be required to examine the accuracy of the sled. This is done by simply flipping one side of the piece and pushing the other fleshly cut edge of the wood against the other half.
Therefore, how will you know the sled is perfectly cut? Generally, when the two pieces of plywood fit without any problems and no gap is left, in this case, the sled is squarely cut, and therefore, you can drive three other screws into the fence to hold them firmly in place. If the pieces are not in position, you attempt to adjust them by tapping the clamped end of the fence using a hammer to make it in the correct position. Repeat step 4 until there is a finely cut.
Step Five: Install stop blocks
Stop blocks installation is set in this step to stop the blade from cutting through the blade cover. So, you can finish the sled by installing the stop blocks. This is achieved by screwing the block to the bottom of the sled. In addition, you can utilize the carriage bolts to attach some stop blocks to the table.
Table saw sled for 45-degree miter cuts.
If you already know how to make a table saw sled for 90-degree crosscuts, making a crosscut for a table saw sled for 45-degree miter cuts is somehow straightforward. Thus, you can make a table saw sled for forty-five-degree miter cuts by following the following steps;
Step 1:Establish the base
In this step, ensure you identify and mark the center of the base. Then add some glue to the entire base on the strips and the runners. Align the marked place on the center of the base with a saw blade. Maintain the miter base flush and the runners with the back of the table.
Step 2: Add the fence
After establishing the base, consider applying some glue to the sled base and the fence blank. Line up everything. For instance, the blank with the saw kerf the two other corners with the back edges of the saw table. Fasten it in place using a paint can for about fifteen minutes.