Table Saw Crosscut Sled - Via Cessna Pilot Barrys Blog

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Project by Brad_Nailor posted 02-18-2011 02:59 AM 7671 views 8 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Table Saw Crosscut Sled - Via Cessna Pilot Barrys Blog
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I have always wanted to build a cross cut sled for my table saw, but I always thought it was a pain to get it properly aligned to the blade…that is until recently when my buddy Cessna Pilot Barry posted a great how to blog on how to build a crosscut sled. It was everything I like in a jig/shop fixture. Simple, not fancy, but accurate and useful..and you didn’t have to invest a ton of money or time to make it. I followed his instructions and ended up with this..

It’s made of 3/4” MDF for the floor, with hard maple for the back fence and Spanish cedar for the front fence. the runners are made out of 5/8 Baltic Birch.

It was really easy to make. Everything except the maple was scrap..I didn’t have anything 8/4 long enough so I bought a piece out of the scrap bin at my hardwood dealer. I was going to make the runners from rift sawn oak, but I read a FWW blog about building a sled and the author suggested using Baltic Birch for stability and I thought it made allot of sense. I cut the runners following Barry’s suggestions, sneaking up on the final width a bump at a time. I did find that they went from snug to a tiny bit loose after a while once mounted to the floor, and slid back and forth on the saw a few hundred times!. It was real easy following Barry’s method to square up the fence to the blade..worked perfectly. After I completed the sled, I measured the side to side movement with my caliper. My calipers smallest graduation is 1/64”. The indicator moved less than a quarter of 1/64” that would be less than 1/256” side to side movement?...Not bad I think!. There is more slop in the miter gauge that came with my saw, and that is pretty tight. After a good waxing it slides like silk through the saw.
I also had to route some grooves in my outfeed table so I could use the sled. That was pretty straightforward, until I realized I had sunk screws in the plywood top, and then covered it up with hardboard! I had to set my router depth to leave a skin of hardboard then cut it out with a sharp chisel, to make sure I wasn’t going to slam a screw..that would have been ugly!
So, I am thrilled with my new sled. I think I will add some custom accessories to it like hold downs for small parts. That is one of the main reasons I built this sled. I have a really nice cross cutting setup, with a Kreg stop fence. ....but it’s a little limited when working with small parts, or anything over 16” wide.
So I recommend anyone procrastinating about building a cross cut sled…go to the blog….build it!


11 comments so far

View DaveTPilot's profile


282 posts in 4183 days

#1 posted 02-18-2011 03:38 AM

Cool. That should last you a long time.

-- How valuable is time to a person who spends his disparaging the beliefs of others? --David Berthelette

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 4799 days

#2 posted 02-18-2011 03:48 AM

Looks good Dave. Keep us posted on the birch runners, I never considered using plywood. Enjoy

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 4152 days

#3 posted 02-18-2011 05:36 AM

keep in mind barry’s procedure only works to square the sled up if the blade is EXACTLY aligned to the miter slot. even 0.001 difference at the blade will have an effect on the squareness of your cuts

View rmac's profile


235 posts in 3945 days

#4 posted 02-18-2011 05:53 AM

Okay, somebody has to be the bad guy here. I volunteer.

That big red mark is very nice, but you really need to do two more things in the interest of safety:

1. Put a box or a block of wood on the back of the fence so that the blade is completely enclosed at the end of the cut.

2. Arrange some sort of a stop so that the sled can’t go far enough to cut through the back of the box you added in Step 1. (You may be covered on this already when the sled runners hit the ends of the slots in your outfeed table.)

By doing those two things, you will eliminate some of the possibility for human error and maybe save yourself a thumb. By doing them NOW, you will save yourself from having to come up with some lame excuse for why you didn’t.


-- My table saw laughs at hot dogs.

View mikeytheeye's profile


5 posts in 3554 days

#5 posted 02-18-2011 12:28 PM

I agree with Russ.

I built one very similar to this years ago, and I thought simply marking the “danger zone” would be enough.

The first time I actually used it, I came within an inch of cutting off some fingers. It was THE closest I had ever been to doing this and left me shaken enough to walk away from the shop for an hour or so.

Do whatever you need to do to block that area!

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 4194 days

#6 posted 02-18-2011 03:34 PM

Great build on the sled Brad. Simple, functional, serves a purpose…what more could you ask for? You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
I have to agree with Russ and mikey. The sled I built last year took a tumble and the protective block snapped off. Still need to get that fixed. But, with the internal guide, it isn’t crucial because the blade doesn’t come through the fence 99.9% of the time. But still…safety never hurts

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View rmac's profile


235 posts in 3945 days

#7 posted 02-18-2011 05:34 PM

CessanaPilotBarry said, ” I don’t agree with the value of the stop, though. Different blade heights cause the blade to stop in different spots on sleds.”

True enough. So you design the stop and the back-of-the-fence blade enclosure for the worst case, which is when the blade is elevated as far as it can go. This is a zero-cost insurance policy against losing a thumb. I don’t see why anyone would choose to do without it.


-- My table saw laughs at hot dogs.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4558 days

#8 posted 02-18-2011 06:20 PM

Neat idea.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4843 days

#9 posted 02-18-2011 08:25 PM

Thanks for the comments guys. I was considering adding a block to the back where the saw blade exits. I might still do it…I am still deciding. I can see where if you were engrossed in your project and not paying attention you might let your thumbs dangle near the blade exit area. I am pretty good about planning cuts before I make them and making sure my fingers aren’t were they don’t belong..but like I say to all the anti Saw Stop activists on here “accidents happen”. One of the reasons I made the rear fence a little higher than it probably needed to be was to keep my fingers away from the blade. I think I will be using this sled to cut mostly thinner, smaller pieces.


View tedth66's profile


458 posts in 4075 days

#10 posted 02-20-2011 07:40 AM

Outstanding crosscut sled Nailor. I hacked one together long ago and it has served me well.

-- Ted

View kiefer's profile


5802 posts in 3552 days

#11 posted 02-22-2011 04:27 AM

hi guys
i came across some laminate flooring sheets
a flloring contractor gave me 4 of them about 3/8” thick by 48×36
made a sled from one and it works great for that had to square up the sheet first
its the pallet top sheet
used pl premium to glue the fences to the base and some 2” deck screws
next i am going to make a zero clearence insert for my table saw
great stuff and cheap


-- Kiefer

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