Quick & Easy - Crosscut Sled

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Project by Rick posted 08-20-2010 03:40 PM 5315 views 8 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The trick here is to use your existing mitre gauge to quickly make your sled square to the blade. This project is assuming you already have your table saw blade and mitre gauge properly aligned.

I made my sled with lumber I already had laying around.
With this sled I am able to produce precise square corners.

I have checked my results in the following 3 ways:
1.) with a 12 inch engineers square
2.) by measuring corner to corner of both opposing corners. The 2 measurements are equal, therefore my corners are square
3.) mark the 4 sides of a test piece 1,2,3,4. Cut side 1, then 2, then 3 then 4. Finally mark A on the top of side one and B on the bottom of side 1 then cut off a nice strip of side 1. Using your digital caliper measure the thickness of A and B. If they are the same then you are making perfectly square cuts.

I’m going to take you through the easy steps I took to make this sled.

Step #1 – plywood base
I set down a piece of 1/2 inch plywood. (would have preferred 3/4 but 1/2 is what I had) I butt up one end of it to my tablesaw mitre gauge. I also lowered the TS blade all the way down and placed the plywood just over top of that also.

From Crosscut Sled
Step #2 – mitre slot guide
I had purchased, for use with many other jigs, a long strip of 3/4inch plastic that fits perfectly in my mitre slot. Found here:
I moved my mitre gauge as far back in the TS mitre slot as I could while making sure it was still secure in the mitre slot. I then placed a long strip of this plastic in the mitre slot under my plywood. I drilled 4 holes through the plywood and into the plastic then secured it with 5/8 inch screws.
From Crosscut Sled
Step #3 – install sled fence 90 deg to blade
Since I know that my existing mitre gauge makes perfect 90 degree cuts I use it for a foolproof method of installing the sleds fence ensuring 90 degree cuts on it as well.
I had a big piece of poplar laying around which looked like it would make a solid enough fence for my sled. (you would preferrably use a hardwood that will have less chance of warping in the future)
I jointed 2 sides and ran it through the planer. I applied some packing tape to the face of my nice mitre guage so that glue wouldn’t stick to it. I then put glue on one jointed edge and a little on the plywood and placed the poplar fence in place and held it firmly against the mitre guage with clamps. Once the glue was dried I put screws through the bottom of the plywood up into the fence.
From Crosscut Sled
Step #4 – install remaining mitre slot guides
Now that the fence is installed I can remove my mitre guage and install plastic mitre slot guides along the remaining length of the sled. The first piece I installed is holding the sled firmly in position so you won’t need to worry about messing up your sled’s orientation to the blade. Cut the plastic guides to lenth and install them in front of the first one and behind the first one where the mitre guage was.
From Crosscut Sled

Tips: #1. CRITICAL. Make sure that the first guide you install is not loose in the slot AT ALL. If it is then make another one. This first guide helps keep your sled in secure orientation to the blade while the mitre guage has been removed and you are installing the remaining slot guides.

#2. I did use my block plane to take 1 shaving off of my plastic mitre slot guides. They were too tight to begin with.

10 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5014 days

#1 posted 08-20-2010 04:00 PM

Thats a great idea.

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4552 days

#2 posted 08-20-2010 04:17 PM

You’re right. You should not use this method unless your mitre gauge is already square to the blade. Mine was and my sled alignment was confirmed with my first cut being perfectly square.

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4552 days

#3 posted 08-20-2010 04:34 PM

If you already have your blade parallel to your mitre slot then you can align you mitre fence square to the blade. I am achieving perfectly square cuts with this process. What more can you want?

Note: This project is assuming you already have your table saw blade and mitre gauge properly aligned.

View Ken90712's profile


18106 posts in 4530 days

#4 posted 08-20-2010 04:38 PM

Nice project, I like my sleds wiith no open end right of the blade.

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

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4552 days

#5 posted 08-20-2010 04:51 PM

There is no need to align tool (B) with the longer process (X) when you can use tool (A) which is already aligned with process (X).
This is what makes this particular process quick, easy and precise. As earlier stated, this fact is proven with the square cuts I have been achieving.

View mafe's profile


13695 posts in 4431 days

#6 posted 08-20-2010 05:15 PM

Hi Rick,
Nice sled!
Who came first? The hen or the egg?
You two make me smile, thank you both.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4552 days

#7 posted 08-20-2010 05:18 PM

I do not see how I could have a discernible amount of cumulative error with this process.

I have previously, as any woodworker should, aligned my tablesaw blade to my mitre slot.

I align my tablesaw the exact same way you do. I use a dial gauge mounted in my mitre slot to align my table saw blade by moving the trunions.
Since my blade is now aligned to the mitre slot I can now align my mitre fence to either my mitre slot or to my blade. Either will be fine, granted you have Precisely aligned the blade to the mitre slot. Now you can be sure every piece of wood you place in front of the mitre fence will be cut square.

Now I can align my sled fence to the mitre fence, granted the faces of my sled fence are perfectly parallel.
The sled will now produce the exact same square cuts your mitre gauge produces.

Smart design is Simple design. No need to redo something you’ve already done.

View Paul's profile


226 posts in 4793 days

#8 posted 08-21-2010 05:54 AM

I never thought about checking my sled with a dial indicator. I will check mine tomorrow. I use my sled as much as I use my fence.

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 4514 days

#9 posted 08-21-2010 03:29 PM

nice sled…....great tutorial!

something I should probably consider building …......just another item to add to my list!

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View jagans's profile


20 posts in 4353 days

#10 posted 11-05-2010 04:05 PM

Nice Job. Too bad you don’t have a Radial arm saw. With it, the saw moves, not the work, and you are looking at the cut line, not hiding it on the back of the work. Nice fence on the table saw for ripping short pieces of wood though. Now before the Table saw nuts go nuts, I have two radial arm saws, a 1960 Rockwell Super 900, and a 1972 Dewalt 7790. Both index back to 90 degrees perfectly square, and mitre perfectly as well. Yes, you need to set them up properly, but once accomplished, stay true. Oh, and with the right blade, they make a hell of a milling machine for metal. ;-)

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