no frills cross cut sled w/ a twist

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Project by Mainiac Matt posted 04-05-2012 01:41 AM 3082 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally had to have a sled to make the final length cuts on the glued up top of a hope chest for my oldest daughter.

Nothin’ fancy… just a plane Jane utility sled.

38” x 27” between the fences, 1/2” Melamine, 4/4 salvaged Mahogony fences joined and planed dead flat.

We have significant seasonal humidity changes so I shied away from using solid wood runners, and I had extra T-slot track that was dead straight so I used that for one track and a stick of 3/4” x 1/4” UHMW for the other.

We had a little debate at work about whether to use MDF or Melamine and a guy from the millwork dept. who used to work for a hardwood lumber dist. and really seems to know his stuff said the Melamine stays flat better. I thought it would also slide with less friction… More on that.

the twist…

I can stay late and use the CNC table router at work for personal projects, so I thought I’d try something a little different and routed 1/8” deep dados for the runners and then routed the perimeter in the same set up. My theory was that this would gaurantee the runners were square to the back edge so that I could simply flush mount the fences and be good to go…..... NOT!

I got the dado width spot on for a friction fit with the T-track…. but botched my measurement of the spacing between them. So I transfered the correct location to the bottom, clamped on a straight edge and used a hand router to widen the right dado. Her is where I discoverd the down side of a slippery surface…. it’s very hard to clamp anything to it and not have the clamps slip :^(

Next challenge was that the UHMW was a shade too wide for the miter slot. So I played around with trying to scrape it and file it and then pulled out my #4 Bailey and discovered that you can plane a super thin see through shaving off UHMW like cutting butter :^)

Despite my best efforts to clamp and screw the fence flush to the rear edge, the rascal slipped on me and my first 5-cut test showed I was off by .039” over 17” :^(

Never fear… using William NG’s formula I’ll dial this sucker in with one adjustment…... NOT!

I overshot the first adjustment, but managed to get within .008” over 17” after the second adjustment, so I called it good ….. and no, the fence is NOT flush with the rear edge of the board …. so much for my CNC shortcut.

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

3 comments so far

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


601 posts in 3209 days

#1 posted 04-05-2012 02:53 AM

It took me 3 attempts to get my sled aligned via 5 cut method

My brain doesn’t work upside-down and backwards…...... and the first attempt was the wrong way !!!

So back to the original hole and started over.

I snuck up on it with one more and then the next was on the money.

Precision attempts is kinda fun, isn’t it.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7704 posts in 3103 days

#2 posted 04-05-2012 01:37 PM

I love to see a home made jig!

Thanks for posting!
Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
New episode of Blue Collar Woodworking is now online!

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View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2992 days

#3 posted 04-06-2012 12:47 AM

I used the Eagle Lake method to get my fence square and lucked out. The 5 cut method looks very good and his video was excellent. Enjoy your new sled.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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