New Crosscut Sled

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Project by HokieKen posted 11-05-2015 09:08 PM 3370 views 15 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my second sled build. I wasn’t happy with some things on the first so I attempted to fix them with this one. So far, so good!

The base of the sled is 1/2” MDF laminated with Formica on both sides. The bottom side is waxed and, let me tell you, waxed formica just glides over cast iron! The front fence is 2 layers of 3/4” plywood I salvaged from an old bookcase. The back fence is red oak I salvage from a coffee table a local business was throwing away.

The base is topped with 1/8 hardboard that is captured in rabbets at the bottom of the fences. The 2 pieces can slide independently as seen in the 3rd photo. This allows me to move the hardboard for different kerf blades, dadoes, and bevel cuts so I always have zero clearance. There is a replaceable insert in the fence that attaches with 1/4” screws into tee nuts in the fence so I always have zero clearance on the back of the cut as well. I put leveling screws under the insert so I can make sure it’s always flush with the fence too.

The rear fence has t-track for a stop block. The stop block is walnut with an hdpe key to prevent rotation. The fence is held to the base with 5 socket head screws that thread into tee nuts in the bottom of the base. The bolts are counterbored and the bolt hole on the left is a tight fit and acts as a pivot. The other holes are drilled oversized for adjustment of the fence. When I squared the fence up, I tightened the left bolt down and snugged the rest. I used the 5-cut method and attached a dial indicator to the base using one of the t-slots. Three 5 cut tests got me to .002 error over a 12” board. I tightened the rest of the bolts down and am very pleased with the accuracy.

The 4th pic shows the bottom of the sled. The runners are oak and are screwed into the base and housed in 1/8” deep dadoes. You can see the bottom side of the T-slots are just shallow 3/4” dadoes. The thru slots are 5/16”. I use tee nuts, like the one in pic 5, that I’ve modified to work with these slots. They’re just regular 4-prong tee nuts with 2 of the prongs ground off. The flange rides in the bottom dado and the 2 remaining prongs catch the sides of the thru slot when tightening down to prevent rotation. I had originally planned on using commercial t-track but I was leery of sinking a 3/8 dado into the 1/2” mdf fearing it might weaken the stiffness of the base too much and allow flex. I don’t know how this type of t-slot will hold up over time but for now it’s working surprisingly well.

I will eventually make a miter bar to use with the t-slots for angled cuts and a right angle miter jig. But, for now the only action the slots have seen is hold-downs.

One final note on the sled construction… I built the sled base in 2 pieces with the runners loose in the slots. After I had the runners installed, I trimmed each piece to final length and shimmed the runners out so they were tight to the outside of the slots. I then installed the front fence to fix the 2 bases in relation to each other. This worked extremely well because it eliminates binding due to both runners being tight to both sides of the slots (overconstrained – an engineering no-no :-)) and gives the HW runners room to expand. But there is almost no slop at all because the runners are in full contact with one edge of the slot. I put my dial indicator on the base using one of the t slots and set it to 0 on the side of the blade and then wiggled the sled as much as I could to measure the slop. The most I could get was ~.0035” with both runners fully engaged. That, obviously, increases when the sled is partially hanging off the front or back of the table. But even then, it’s plenty good enough for woodworking! I was extremely happy with how precise I was able to get this sled. Now if it stands the test of time, I’ll be even happier!

Thanks for looking and questions and comments are always welcomed and appreciated!

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

8 comments so far

View fivecodys's profile


1773 posts in 3131 days

#1 posted 11-05-2015 10:50 PM

Nice sled Ken,
I never thought about securing the fence from the top. Very clever!

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 4162 days

#2 posted 11-06-2015 01:06 AM

Nicely made sled you got there and I am glad to see you used the sliding bottom method which I developed some time ago and used on V! and V2 of my sled design .
Take a look here
and here of videos which may give you more ideas .


-- Kiefer

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 2671 days

#3 posted 11-06-2015 03:32 AM

good design for the fence.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View HokieKen's profile


22008 posts in 2633 days

#4 posted 11-06-2015 01:17 PM

Nicely made sled you got there and I am glad to see you used the sliding bottom method which I developed some time ago and used on V! and V2 of my sled design .
Take a look here
and here of videos which may give you more ideas .


- kiefer

Yes! I’m sorry but I forgot to credit inspirations in my original post. The projects Klaus linked above did indeed inspire parts of this design. I’ve seen the sliding bases a few places online but I liked his method the best. Check out his sled(s)!

There’s no way I can credit everyone who’s sled I looked at for ideas but there were several here on LJs and a bunch of others on other sites.

Nice sled Ken,
I never thought about securing the fence from the top. Very clever!

- fivecodys

That just made sense to me for ease of adjustment. If you look at Klaus’ sled in the links above, you’ll see that it’s not my original design. There are other sleds on LJ that use that method as well. You might like the micro-adjust that Klaus and others use as well. I just didn’t think it was necessary since it’s not an adjustment that’s made often.

Since I didn’t credit anyone in the OP, PLEASE feel free to comment and link to your sled if I used something you did before me! I will just say that there is nothing at all about this sled that I didn’t “steal” from somebody else’s design. The only things that may be unique are (1) running the “loose” guides on the outside of the miter slots rather than the inside. It’s easier (and just as good) to use the inside because you can use clamps to pull them together while you attach the front stiffener. The reason I used the outside is because my slots are worn in the center from the previous owner – Don’t use guides that are harder than your table! – and the wear was mostly on the inside edges so the outer edges were the straighter surface. (2) The only thing entirely unique to this sled (at least that I’ve seen in all my research) is that I put formica on the bottom. The only reason for this was because I’ve found MDF to be much more stable and durable when both sides are laminated so the material remains balanced concerning moisture absorption.

good design for the fence.

- WoodNSawdust

Thanks! Like I said above, I didn’t come up with it but it does work extremely well. The nice thing about using HW instead of MDF or ply for the fence, and attaching it in this manner, is that if it does go out of flat, it’s simple to pull it off, plane the face back flat, put it back on, and re-square it.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View jeffswildwood's profile


5159 posts in 3472 days

#5 posted 11-06-2015 01:24 PM

Nice sled. Should work very well for you.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View bearkatwood's profile


1837 posts in 2507 days

#6 posted 11-06-2015 02:38 PM

Very nicely done.

-- Brian Noel

View drewpy's profile


1098 posts in 2852 days

#7 posted 11-06-2015 03:49 PM

Great sled and nice ideas. Great work.

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4499 days

#8 posted 11-07-2015 05:27 AM

Great looking sled, made out of re-purposed materials makes it even better

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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