Crosscut Sled: USE BOLTS

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Project by NiteWalker posted 02-06-2012 07:44 AM 7679 views 47 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I decided to build a new crosscut sled since I had a bit of shop downtime and because my miter gauge with plywood auxiliary fence wasn’t giving me the results I desired. I wanted something that would give me better, more predictable results.

I figured it would be an easy, few hour project.

For the most part it was; I had the basic sled put together in about 2 hours, maybe less. I cut the bottom, used the rear fence from my old sled and glued and screwed a new front fence together (so I wouldn’t have to wait). I used 1/2” baltic birch plywood for the bottom and a double layer lamination of bb plywood for the fences. For the runners I used UHMW. The runners were a bit undersized so I shimmed them towards the blade with masking tape when screwing them in place so I’d have a snug fit regardless of size.

My real problems came when it was time to adjust the front fence square with the blade. For some reason, I just couldn’t get it right. I called it a nite, went upstairs and relaxed for a bit before doing some research online to make the adjustment process easier and more efficient. I tried doing it the way Marc did in his crosscut sled video, but after a few rounds of screwing, unscrewing and drilling holes, the bottom of my sled was beginning to resemble swiss cheese.

I figured that there has to be a better way and did a bit more looking online.
I came across Gary Rogowski's crosscut sled article and as soon as I saw how he attached the front fence to the sled base I knew that was the way I wanted to go.

In the article, he used a thicker front fence and used hex head bolts to hold the fence in place. With the through holes drilled oversized adjusting is as easy as loosening two bolts, make necessary adjustments and tighten the bolts when it was squared up. I left the middle bolt loose until I got the fence square to the blade then tightened it.

It’s square, and will likely stay that way, but even if it doesn’t, adjusting it takes only a few minutes.

I plan to build another very soon.
The width is fine, I just need it longer. For this one I used scraps.
I also plan to use some incra miter sliders I have.

So for anyone building a new sled, the biggest thing that made the whole process a lot less troublesome for me was using hex head bolts to secure the fence instead of screws.

Thanks for looking. :)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117655 posts in 3998 days

#1 posted 02-06-2012 07:52 AM

Gary’s a very good woodworker he’s a good guy to get advice from.

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 02-06-2012 07:55 AM

I agree completely. His video, “Router Joinery” is still one of my favorites. The router table design he used in the video is as simple and effective as they come.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View rmac's profile


221 posts in 3481 days

#3 posted 02-06-2012 08:58 AM

Amen to the bolts. For a really easy way to see if the fence is square (and fix it if it isn’t) check out this video:


-- My table saw laughs at hot dogs.

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3755 days

#4 posted 02-06-2012 01:37 PM

Adjustable fences are always better and you have accomplished that with your sled. Looks like a winner.

Just to mention another easy option that doesn’t require bolts (not necessarily better). You can use a double fence. The front fence secured to the base and a second fence secured to the first fence. The idea is that the second fence can be shimmed to the perfect angle before screwing it tight, and it can also be easily readjusted.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 3114 days

#5 posted 02-06-2012 03:00 PM

Excellent job.
My sled has the swiss cheese holes in the bottom as well.
I will use your method the next time for sure.
Thanks for posting.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View Ken90712's profile


17689 posts in 3610 days

#6 posted 02-06-2012 06:30 PM

Nice work.

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

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3096 days

#7 posted 02-06-2012 06:37 PM

Good work and thanks for sharing

View mcgriffith's profile


87 posts in 2818 days

#8 posted 02-06-2012 06:51 PM

This is such a good idea. I just had to buy a new Table saw and the old sled wont work on it. The new table is larger and the tracks are further apart and they have the little extra groove at the top. I may have to make all new ones or maybe I will get to remove the old ones and modify them a little then mount them to a new sled. I really like the deisgn you used, and I am thankful to see it so I can use the same. I hate swiss cheese – holes on wood and the cheese.

Thanks for sharing this. ...mike…

-- Michael TX, Not even my wife understands my sense of humor.

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2776 days

#9 posted 02-07-2012 01:21 AM

I also had to build a new sled this weekend. After getting the runners right I got them attached to the base. Slid it onto the saw and sliced through with the blade getting it about 2 inches out (no fences installed at this point). Then using about 3 or 4 small dabs of quick curing epoxy set the rear fence square using my steel square. Waited 5 minutes, slipped it all out and turned it upside down on my workbench and clamped it for good measure. Drilled some pilots and screwed the rear fence down.

Downside is that its not adjustable.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 2998 days

#10 posted 02-07-2012 04:30 AM

@GW, I saw your video and intended to true up the fence that way, but I don’t have a magnetic dial indicator base. :(

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View DaytonHM's profile


129 posts in 2763 days

#11 posted 02-07-2012 04:42 AM

I have been a part of this community for less than two months. You guys and gals have literally built a woodworking COLLEGE here. I am simply astonished at the know how and resources available. Last year I was thinking it would take me forever to pick through all the internet trying to find what I needed to improve my
work. I have a police officer friend that told me about LJ’s, I thought, yeah another jumbled website I’ll lose interest in. I am so very thankful for all of you and your willingness to share your skills so freely. I’ve been on the internet almost since its inception, talk about paying off!

God Bless Ya Folks!

-- DaytonHM Dayton Va.

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 3424 days

#12 posted 02-07-2012 08:06 AM

How did you get the base with all the holes out of my garage. My dog is slipping…

Thanks for the ideas.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View mrbreezeet1's profile


61 posts in 2574 days

#13 posted 11-18-2013 04:05 AM

did you use 1/4” studs into the inserts, with washers and nuts on top, or are they 1/4” bolts?

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 2998 days

#14 posted 11-18-2013 04:08 AM

The washers and nuts are on the bottom in counterbored holes. I just used through holes drilled a bit bigger in the fence for adjustment.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View mrbreezeet1's profile


61 posts in 2574 days

#15 posted 11-18-2013 05:22 AM

OK thanks, need to figure out what I’m going to use for the fence.

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