When it comes to woodworking, making sure you have the perfect cut and measurement for each piece of wood. A 90 degree cut or square cut is absolutely essential in making sure your final product will be how you want it, and a crosscut sled will make it much easier for you to make sure you always get them. That’s why we’re going to be diving into how we make a table saw crosscut sled!
Necessary Tools and Materials for making a Crosscut Sled
The tools required and materials required for making a crosscut sled for your table saw is very minimal. Not to mention, this product will help ease your work in the workshop.
How to Build a Table Saw Crosscut Sled
Step 1: Making Your Runners
The runners are one of the most important bits of your crosscut sled. They will ensure how smoothly your sled will move across the table saw. So, let’s learn how we make them, shall we?
You’ll need to measure the depth and width of your miter slots on the table saw, and according to these measurements; cut two pieces of wood. These wood pieces should be cut to accurate measurements, because they’ll need to either fit in flush with the slots or be just below the opening of the slots.
Once you make your runners to the specified cut, you should be able to slide them in and out of the slots with ease and minimal resistance.
Step 2: Making a Base for your Sled
Having made your runners, you’re now going to focus on building the base of your crosscut sled. The importance of making a table saw jig such as the crosscut sled, is that it must always be able to make square cuts. Thus, you’ll have to make sure that the base you’re using is completely smooth and parallel to the table saw.
To make the base of the sled, place your runners in the miter slots on your table saw, and make sure to place something in both of your slots to raise the runners above the height of the table. After thus, you’ll place your base piece on top of the runners. Make marks on the piece where the center of the runners are, and draw a line from one end to the other.
This line will act as your marker to help you place your screws into the base piece to help attach your runners to it. For each runner, attach about 4 or 5 screws (depending on the size of your board) and ensure that they don’t mess with the fit of your runners. Following these steps accurately will provide you with a smooth and great base for your crosscut sled.
Step 3: Making and Attaching the Fences
As we have already mentioned, your crosscut sled will have two fences; back and front fences.
The back fence of a crosscut sled is probably the least important feature. However, it still has its merits, and is definitely needed. The back fence is there to help the sled not come apart. How?
Later down the line, once you’re done making the sled, you’ll need to raise your table saw, and the blade will cut down the entire sled from one end to the other. This will always act as the area for your blade to work in. Thus, this fence is there to ensure your sled stays in one piece.
Place your piece of wood at the back end of the base, and then fit it in with your screws. Again, 4 or 5 screws should do it depending on the size of your base. However, you need to remember that you don’t fit a screw in where your blade will be cutting through.
The front fence will be the most integral part of your crosscut sled, and you’ll need to be very cautious when making this. Best thing to do when making a front fence is, you attach a few different pieces of wood to each other to create a thicker piece. While doing this, be sure to have one piece offset from the bunch. Why?
This one piece you have offset will help you ensure that you create a completely straight fence. Once you’ve glued your pieces together, line them up against a parallel fence that comes with the table saw, and any bit that is not straight will become obvious to you. Use your table saw blade to then cut through this fence, to create a straight front fence.
You’ll also then want to place the front fence on the base completely square. You can do this by drilling your fence in on one side, and then pivoting your other side, while measuring it against something square on your base. While this works, some people also tend to follow the 5 cuts method.
Be sure to check your calculations and measurements one time or multiple times to ensure you’ve got a straight fence. Once you’re done, screw in the rest of the fence and of course, make sure to avoid the area your blade will be moving through.
Step 4: Raise Your Table Saw
Now that you’ve completed your table saw jig, and finished the making of your crosscut sled, place it through the slots, and fix it in place. Then raise your table saw to run through the sled and make a kerf through it, creating the slot for your blade. Now you can fit in any new piece of wood through this sled and get your work done with your table saw crosscut sled.
Tips for your Crosscut Sled
- Once you’ve attached your runners to the base of the crosscut sled, you might find it to be a bit rough. Running it through the slots in your table saw might not be as easy as when you made the runners. To fix this, you can apply some wax to the bottom of the base and the bottom and sides of the runners. Run them through the slots again, and you should find them easier to work with!
- After you finish making your front fence, you’ll probably want to add a chamfer to the edge facing the blade. You can use any sharpening object with a flat surface to chamfer the edge. This will help in avoiding the build up of sawdust when you’re making your cuts. An excess amount of sawdust can hamper your results and cause inaccuracy within your tool.
Now that you’ve learned how to make your own crosscut sled, we hope you’ll be able to have a much easier time with your woodworking! To give your crosscut sled that extra edge, do follow our additional tips. You now have your own DIY jig to help you make the perfect crosscuts over and over again.
Hey there, my name’s Braden Smith and all my lifeI’ve been passionate about woodworking. As such, I spent more time learning about and experimenting with power tools. Over time, I learned to help spread my knowledge by articulating my words thanks to my academic knowledge in the English Language as well.