Tips and Jigs for the Shop #10: Sledding on the 4th of this a Jig, or an Antic?

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 07-06-2010 01:27 AM 2103 reads 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Tool Totes - Shop Tote for Small Tools and Instuments Part 10 of Tips and Jigs for the Shop series Part 11: I designed, built it, use it..........but WHAT IS IT? »

This is a long convoluted story from the project side, but pretty straight forward as a blog.

I made a panel sled…....a 3×3 foot monster.

One sided, blade to the left, fence at the front. The sled is not finished off, meaning, I am going to put a little oak on the front, the rabbeted pieces are already cut and sized, and give it the ubiquitous coat of WATCO. In my shop, WATCO is the rule for jigs and fixtures.

Here is the underside.

It only has one working slide. The slide on the edge is to make it level for the outfeed table….......
Large but light, 1/2 inch MDF and my aluminum and hardboard sandwich slides.
The sled is just to the right of the blade, hence only one slide.

Fence Detail: (see pictures down the page)
The aluminum angle fence is attached with screws and bolts at the ends. The bolt near the blade is actually run through a threaded hole in the aluminum angle. The end bolt goes through the edge slider for strength and has an oversized hole in the angle for adjustment. The other screws in the angle are through oversized holes in the angle aluminum. All screws and bolts are fixed with lock washers.

Notice the front projection for the slide. When I start a cut the slide is fully engaged on the TS top, front to back.

My runners are made from 3/4 inch by 1/8 inch stock aluminum, glued to 1/8 inch hardboard, about 1/16 inch narrower than the aluminum with CA glue. The slide is also screwed, the edge slide is not. Aluminum because it is easy to work, including countersinking the screws, steel would be nicer….....a compromise, the slide is glued to the MDF or plywood with Titebond III

This looks like a great way to build a sled for panels, quick, relatively light, and accurate, it is simple, quick, and cheap.

Note the support, a piece of aluminum tubing in some already dadoed oak, that was waste. The tubing is not attached, it rolls and slides with the wood.

Why did I make this unwieldy beast? Well it is a long story. It is about sleds.

Once upon a time…... there was this novice LJ, who decided to make a crosscut sled…......simple….......and when the LJ buddies, gurus, and experts got through with it… became a super sled. Almost done. Except for the miter arms. So routing the oak the for the arms…....

no matter how I clamped it, the oak jumped around and I got lousy slots.

The problems was layers, I needed room underneath, because it was a through slot, and that meant layers of clamped guides. Bad.

So not knowing there was a slick method to make slots on the router table, I decided to make a project table, reversible, one side for through cuts, the other side absolutely flat with reference angle corners to do glueups, setups, whatever.

Now, once finding the way to make the slots, already well on my way with the project table, I said to myself:

’This project table is a great idea, I am going to go on and finish it’.

It is a convoluted strange variant on Bricofleur’s Rout through Jig,,

Thanks Serge!!!

(I didn’t realize this until I was half way through it, and it was obvious that the general idea came from him, I had favorited his jig).

Now the project table top is reversible in my standard 2×4 foot project table base, so it already has prebuilt legs. So I finished it off. Lot of glueups. Needs a little metal to make it robust, meaning nails and screws, but heavy and absolutely flat…...........and but…......

.........the sides were not straight and the corners therefore were not reference angles….... I wanted that.

So, to the rescue, the Quick and Dirty Panel sled.

So today, I finished the sled….......

This is basically using the TS as a Jointer.

I had to use a run off fence to guide it because the table top was longer than the sled. Check out the Rockler fence clamps….....

So I ran my project table top through the saw, using the sled, all four sides….......

But….....checked it out…..........

PERFECT STRAIGHT SIDES AND ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ANGLES FOR REFERENCE AT EACH CORNER…......ALL RIGHT!! overview of the sled with the project table on it….........

Notice the project table way in back. It is used for an infeed table, just supporting the corner as I get started.

Another view of the sled in action, note the clamped stop block. When I turned the project table top crosswise that was not possible, but it still worked well….......

I am really excited….....this Q&D sled worked out great…...... blog is the project table top, essentially complete. A real oddity.

Hope you enjoyed sledding, on the 4th of July…...........(-:


Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

27 comments so far

View lew's profile


12859 posts in 4263 days

#1 posted 07-06-2010 02:10 AM

Now that’s a sled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just one question- where will you store it ;^)

BTW, I have the same table saw fence.

Great blog and project, Jim

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4268 posts in 3672 days

#2 posted 07-06-2010 02:25 AM

Thanks for the view. The sled is big, but with the run off fence, using it as a jointer, it will go to 4 feet, 3 feet without.

I noted your VEGA fence in some of your pictures. Great fence, accurate, easy to install, and flexible. I was torn between the more expensive fences and this one, but this turned out to be perfect. I also use the ‘Finger Saver’ they sell, I used it today.

Right now the sled is propped along with the crosscut sled against some shelves. They will end up in different places. Fortunately I have the garage, and it has a little wall space.

I was amazed that I actually got that project table totally squared away. I built this sled for the job, but I was still pessimistic. In any case it is a cheap and simple sled, probably for large panels only. My super sled should do the rest.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View lew's profile


12859 posts in 4263 days

#3 posted 07-06-2010 04:13 AM

My fence slides on a round “tube” at the operators end. It has a micro adjustment knob built in but the micro lock often slips and is difficult to lock- a sharp wrap with a push stick usually does the trick. Have you experienced this?


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4268 posts in 3672 days

#4 posted 07-06-2010 04:17 AM

Haven’t had any problems, but I don’t use the micro adjustment lock much. Only easy fix I can think of is cleaning it. In some reviews, from years ago, I noted various issues, but nothing recent.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4085 days

#5 posted 07-06-2010 04:24 AM

Looking forward to more Jim ,super looking job

View Troy's profile


186 posts in 3571 days

#6 posted 07-06-2010 07:04 AM

Wow, it’s like “Stone Soup”, only with wood. A hundred ingredients later and this is the result; well done. I hope to see it in person soon.
I am convinced that over time, the real appreciation for this advanced divice will increase over time and use.

-- Troy Bouffard || Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired) ||

View stefang's profile


16732 posts in 3842 days

#7 posted 07-06-2010 10:55 AM

Great result Jim. It’s great to have dependable accuracy and I’m certain you will use it a lot for that reason. It looks robust and should serve you well. Excellent blog. Fun to see what you are doing over there. Thanks for sharing this.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3617 days

#8 posted 07-06-2010 01:47 PM

Awesome sled Jim. I am glad you finally consider your Magnum Opus complete. Upon first viewing, my first thought was that you approached this with the question “What would Paul Bunyan use?”

This sled does it all and I can definitely understand your glee.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3623 days

#9 posted 07-06-2010 02:58 PM

now I can finely set my bottle with nervetablets away
I have set here in my chair waiting to see the reveal of this
and it looks great Jim :—)
I´m sure it will serve you well the next many years
every great things take time and is worth waiting for
it has been a pleasure to follow the blog with all your thoughts about it
thank´s Jim for sharing them

best thoughts

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4268 posts in 3672 days

#10 posted 07-06-2010 04:57 PM

All, for clarification.

This Panel Sled was built to work on the project tabletop to basically joint it and square it. Although large, it is not particularly heavy because it does not have wooden fences, and is only 1/2 inch thick.

The project tabletop, should be done this week, although I will make some fences and jigs for it.

My Super Sled, is a whole ‘nother animal. It is in use, but the miter arms aren’t complete. I will finish those arms as soon as the project table is done. My SuperSled is made of plywood and has the front and back fences and slots for the miter arms and/or holddowns. It has two slides in the normal fashion.

So finally I will finish 3 shop projects in the next week or so. I have two days of call this week, so may be a little busy. But I am well rested and hopefully will get a bunch done this weekend.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4268 posts in 3672 days

#11 posted 07-06-2010 05:36 PM

Thanks for The comments. These projects have come on real slow due to a busy June at work, especially with weekend call. I really didn’t recover until yesterday. Boy, getting old is the pits.

The project tabletop should be very useful, and will never be put away, because it just replaces an already existing project table top. Those old project tables have lift off tops. The new tabletop will function the same way with the flat side, but has the added function of multiple miter slots, and reference straight sides and corners. The new top is 1 inch thick, two layers of 1/2 inch MDF. I have to cut a few more miter slots, I was waiting to get the edges trued up. The other side with the elevated sections, is for through cuts and routing, and will accept all kinds of jigs and fences. I still need to make some long fences for it, although a piece of wood with a couple of holddowns would work in a pinch.

Fortunately I like shop projects, because that is all that I have accomplished for awhile, except for those planter stands. Like I said to a1Jim, getting old gets in the way of getting things done, especially when work competes for time and energy. Already have someone in labor this morning, and a couple of other people to see in the hospital as well.

David Craig
As noted above, this Panel Sled was build to true up the project tabletop, which was originally started to do the through routing of the miter arms for my Super Sled. I could have rigged up a jointer fence for the TS as an alternative, but this Panel Saw method is extremely accurate up to 4 feet. I have the stuff purchased to make a jointer fence for the TS, as well, but probably won’t do that for a while.

Thanks for following this rather complex scenario. One shop project keeps leading to others, but now all three of them should be finished up over the next week or two. I have the coming weekend to work in the shop, but the following weekend my daughter and family from Fairbanks will be down for a visit.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3623 days

#12 posted 07-06-2010 06:50 PM

great news for you , now you stay out of the shop that weekend :—)
and enjoy them full time ,you deserve it


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4268 posts in 3672 days

#13 posted 07-06-2010 07:35 PM

Thanks Dennis, we always have fun with the grandchildren, and my daughter and her husband as well. It should be a good weekend.

Take care.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4754 days

#14 posted 07-07-2010 01:39 AM

Job well done Jim.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1589 posts in 4073 days

#15 posted 07-07-2010 08:39 PM

Now that is quite the sled Jim. If I understand correctly, you can joint your large sheet goods on your table saw? Sounds like a good jig to have around!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

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