Crosscut sled

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Project by Chris McDowell posted 10-09-2012 11:32 PM 3339 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This sled was basically free for me to make. I used whatever wood I had on hand. The majority of it is from a trash particle board bookcase. I know, I know, particle board is the worst choice, but hey, it’s all I had and my choice at this point was either 1) have a crosscut sled now or 2) wait until I could afford the materials for one and who knows when that will be. I chose the former. So, here it is in all of it’s particle board, pine, and MDF splendor.

A couple of valuable lessons I learned:
1. Never make a sled from particle board again, especially painted particle board. Glue barely holds.
2. Never use MDF for runners again, especially in the tiny miter slots on this Craftsman TS. The left one cracked almost in half. It took too long to get it the right size, so I just used it anyway. I’m hoping the screws keep everything in place.

The rest was just measuring and screwing. The alignment to the blade was not that difficult.

I wrote a blog series on this build that you can read, if you feel so inclined. Part one is here.

Thanks for looking.


So it turns out that what I was calling “painted” particle board is actually particle board covered in melamine. I didn’t know what melamine was before this month.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

12 comments so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7796 posts in 3394 days

#1 posted 10-10-2012 12:12 AM

I am glad for you that you recognized how to improve on your design/materials. Thanks for sharing, as it is important for all to understand the quality of alternative materials and techniques. Not that many folks step forward with their personal pitfalls/challenges in order to help others on a group to do better in the long run.

Truly a thank you for sharing, as this really is how we improve LJs for everyone.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 3873 days

#2 posted 10-10-2012 01:01 AM

Look great to me.. Whatever material you used as long as it functions is what really matters..
It’s like FLY fishing.. Some guys show off on how good they can present the fly.. impresses us people but the fish don’t give a diddly..
I like it..

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2627 days

#3 posted 10-10-2012 01:25 AM

Looks great

View kody's profile


180 posts in 2758 days

#4 posted 10-10-2012 05:04 AM

What a beefcake sled.That should last you a while.. Very nice work.

View Chris's profile


339 posts in 3838 days

#5 posted 10-10-2012 02:00 PM

Thanks for posting your lessons. I agree with you completely that a sled now that you may need to replace eventually is better than nothing in hand … particularly as you had the materials. The thing to be careful of is not to live with it past it’s useful life when you can use better materials in the future.

Of course, if it cuts square and isn’t broke, no need to fix it! Do watch the exiting blade though…

-- Chris

View Bubba84's profile


40 posts in 2561 days

#6 posted 10-10-2012 03:14 PM

We appreciate you sharing that awesome looking sled my friend. If you would have not mentioned it, I would have not known. I think it looks pretty awesome to me.
Nice job!!!

-- Russ and Christina enjoying life with our two poochies!! :)

View Grumpymike's profile


2417 posts in 2795 days

#7 posted 10-10-2012 04:48 PM

As you use this sled you will find things that you will improve on the next and final one … I’m on #3, my final, final one.
great sled, you will find yourself using it more and more in the shop.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View mIps's profile


200 posts in 2535 days

#8 posted 10-10-2012 05:59 PM

Nice! I hope to make one of these soon and was thinking of using Melamine coated particle board for the sled base due to its’ slippery properties. Any thoughts on this?

-- Be honest, honorable, kind, work hard, and generally be awesome.

View dustyal's profile


1310 posts in 3955 days

#9 posted 10-10-2012 09:01 PM

mIps: I used Melmine on mine… yes it is slippery… but I used PSA sandpaper on fence and that works nicely. I like the Melmine because I can write on it. It has held up fine.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2633 days

#10 posted 10-10-2012 09:27 PM

I guess I should’ve qualified my statement about particle board a bit. It’s mainly the fence I’m not too sure about. I’m just scared it won’t hold up to the stress of being pushed back an forth so much and that the screws will eventually wear out the particles on the inside and get loose or break out the wood. It’s pretty sturdy right now, though.

I’m actually rather happy with the base. I’m calling it painted, but it may be something else. It’s very smooth and hard. The base slides quite nicely.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View kiefer's profile


5671 posts in 3147 days

#11 posted 10-13-2012 01:28 AM

Thank you for sharing your adventure as there’s always something to be learned for all of us .
This maybe your first sled but you will realize the benefits and soon build a second and third with more features .
Working with what is at hand can be a good thing and lead to innovation .

-- Kiefer

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 2757 days

#12 posted 10-14-2012 05:46 PM

Nice job on the sled!

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