My first successful sled

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Project by Duckster posted 12-10-2014 12:27 AM 2526 views 5 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well finally, after building several jigs for my table saw, I finally build a crosscut sled that I will use. I have made several before but I couldn’t seem to get them square enough. I had seen several sleds here on LJ’s and one of my buddies, Rick, encouraged me to build one and I have. I have made a few jigs out of half inch before and it seemed to warp after just a few months. I live within a mile of the Gulf Coast and we live with high humidity. The saying here is that even plastic will rust here.
Back to the sled. I built it with a 3/4” base. I also used 3/4” aluminum rails underneath. I chose to use 3 pieces of 3/4” on both ends of the sled.
I used the five cut system to set it up. After 1 adjustment and after 20+ cuts, it is within 1/1000th of an inch from being true square. I know my chop saw is not that close.
Now I’m going to make me a miter jig to work with the sled.
I finished it off with two coats of shellac.

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

13 comments so far

View MilFlyer's profile


948 posts in 2960 days

#1 posted 12-10-2014 01:39 AM

I can completely relate to your issues with previous jigs. I’m still at the point you seem to have passed. I’ve made a couple of sleds so far and each seems to have an issue of some sort. Glad you were able to put together one that works well for ya! Good lookin’ design as well.

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View JFred's profile


230 posts in 2833 days

#2 posted 12-10-2014 01:52 AM

I like all your add features, Nice Job

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2882 days

#3 posted 12-10-2014 02:51 AM

Nice clean design but it looks like it must weigh a ton. With me, weight is an important factor. Both hands have a lot of trouble with arthritis. My wrists keep getting weaker and my thumbs are getting useless. I don’t have the strength and chores like opening a mayo jar present too many problems. Looks like I couldn’t lift your sled./ Glad you can use it and that it is as accurate as you say. It sure is a good safety item for the shop.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Duckster's profile


439 posts in 2638 days

#4 posted 12-10-2014 03:18 AM

Well Wrangler I can understand your condition. I’m still getting around pretty good but not like 10 years ago. It probably weighs around 35 pounds. I didn’t weigh it. I do like it though. I really like the 0 clearance off the blade. I cut a lot of narrow pieces and I get tired of loosing them down the saw.
JFred thanks for the cuddos. The hold down really works great and it keeps all 10 of my fingers on my hands.

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7177 posts in 4482 days

#5 posted 12-10-2014 05:15 AM

Hey Duck…...Looks like a job well done…And from your description, it sounds like it’s dead-on….Hope it turned out like you wanted it to….Nothing worse than trying to use something and it’s out of kilter….I’ve always said that nothing’s worth a damn, if it don’t work right…..I believe you got it right, this time….Stellar job…

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Ken90712's profile


18082 posts in 4476 days

#6 posted 12-10-2014 10:05 AM

Well done, built mine and used the 5 cut method as well. As the Woodwhipser would say thats crazy good! Enjoy it will be a fav of yours I’m sure

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9999 posts in 3616 days

#7 posted 12-10-2014 06:47 PM

The 5 cut method has kicked my but twice now…. I know I’m doing it correctly and am not holding out for perfection, but I always seem to overshoot the small adjusments.

I’ll soon be giving it another try.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Duckster's profile


439 posts in 2638 days

#8 posted 12-11-2014 12:29 AM

It can be tough, trust me I have done it before and like you I got frustrated. I don’t know rather you have calipers or not. I didn’t have them before and I was not happy. To tell you the truth I think about half of it is luck

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

View George_SA's profile


458 posts in 3501 days

#9 posted 12-11-2014 12:21 PM

If you have a dial indicator, here is an alternative alignment method to the five cut method. This works for me and it gives super accurate results.
1) Video Squaring a Table Saw Sled Fence
2) Description Squaring a Table Saw Sled Fence

Good job on the aluminum rails. I also live near the coast in KZN South Africa. Wood movement is a real problem on sleds.

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

View Duckster's profile


439 posts in 2638 days

#10 posted 12-11-2014 01:13 PM

I watched the video, and it’s pretty cool. Much easier than what I went thru. I don’t have a dial indicator but may have to get me one. I was in SA 4 years ago on a hunting trip. We were in Cookhouse SA. Beautiful country.

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

View Richard's profile


1957 posts in 3978 days

#11 posted 12-11-2014 07:11 PM

Looks like you got this one dialed in pretty good. But if you have that much humidity you may want to use something other than shellac to coat it with as shellac is not really good at protecting from moisture.

View Mork's profile


307 posts in 4063 days

#12 posted 12-15-2014 02:31 AM

Squaring your cut off sled simplified (and reliable)

Rip a scrap parallel using your fence (maybe 2 foot wide), lay it in the cutoff sled in the other direction and cut off a small strip, now flip the wood end for end (so what was the far end is now against the cut off sled fence) and cut off a 1 inch strip.

Now measure the ends. Any error will be doubled. Example: If one end is 1 1/8” and the other is 1” the sled is 1/4” out of square in 2 feet.

This has work perfectly for me.

I have never had to deal with major humidity. Kentucky is humid but my shop is also in an air conditioned basement. Thankfully!

I like your stop adjustment although you might consider running it out to the end of your fence. My larger sled is 4 feet wide and I can’t begin to count the time when I have needed a stop just past 2 feet. I’m sure you could use a rod with a stop on the end and extend the stop 3 or 4 feet if needed.

Maybe someday I’ll modify mine.

Thanks for the post!

View Mork's profile


307 posts in 4063 days

#13 posted 12-20-2014 02:20 AM


I agree, that’s a great way to square a sled. Although I never trusted my square 100%. I should probably invest in a good one.

Flipping the wood is a good alternative and also a good double check.

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