FINALLY, a cross cut sled

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Project by Michael Wilson posted 01-01-2013 07:44 AM 2341 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First of all, Happy New Year everybody \o/

Well I finally went and did it. I got badgered in to making a cross cut sled.

As you can see, it’s about as basic as it can reasonably be. The front and back piece are laminated 3/4” birch ply (pieces from the stack I’d made to serve as components to a workbench) so they’re particularly stout.

The base is awfully big, I’ll probably cut down 5-6” off of that right side. The thing is huge and heavy.

The bottom rails I made out of some maple I had laying around. I ripped them to about 3/4” wide and brought them the rest of the way into line with a little thickness planer.

I was surprised it was as easy as it was to make, though when I put the first two screws in each rail it slid fine, but started binding when I put a few more in. So I noodled with it a bit and improved it, but still didn’t get it quite as smooth as it had been. I’ll take a hack at it tomorrow.

I used the 5-cut truing method after seeing the wood whisperer video on making these, and was able to get it within 0.004 across something close to 20” which is going to serve me just fine as a first sled.

I do plan on making a ‘left side only’ sled (similar to the one Matthias uses.) The idea of finished pieces being able to fall off the bed and away from the blade appeals to me.

The saw gave me some problems. It’s a little SkillSaw with a cast aluminum table that has a bit too much texture for its own good, so it’s not really a very smooth travel. Plus the slots had little tabs built into them so it started as a t-slot arrangement. After some consideration I just took an angle grinder and ground the tabs down so they were flush. I couldn’t think of a single advantage of having them there.

If you haven’t done this I highly recommend it. Check out the wood whisperer video (easy enough to find online) for 20 minutes of smartsauce.

I’m already planning an array of ancillary jigs and attachments for specific projects.

Enjoy o/

11 comments so far

View JSB's profile


737 posts in 3089 days

#1 posted 01-01-2013 08:16 AM

You will get good use out of it for sure! I would recommend not cutting it down. I made a similar one and wish I would have made it just a tad longer on either end. Also, when you make the left side sled toss around the idea of putting the fence in the front of the panel instead of the rear. I made one this way and absolutely love it. I have turned all of my jigs around so they reference the front fence of the sled. Dont forget a 90 degree miter sled as well! Jigs are so much fun ;)

Good job on your build. They are worth their weight in gold.

-- Jay -

View Goatlocker's profile


59 posts in 2983 days

#2 posted 01-01-2013 01:31 PM

Looks good, I just completed a similiar one myself a week ago.

-- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent - Thomas Jefferson

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3202 days

#3 posted 01-01-2013 01:36 PM

great build,i agree with jay i wouldn’t cut it down.i made one awhile back and wish i’d made it longer.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4588 days

#4 posted 01-01-2013 04:45 PM

Happy new year
Nice sled.


View Chris Moellering's profile

Chris Moellering

227 posts in 3659 days

#5 posted 01-01-2013 05:21 PM

Looks like it should give you years of use. I second the front fence orientation on the left-side fence.

-- Grace & peace, Chris+

View Michael Wilson's profile

Michael Wilson

588 posts in 3502 days

#6 posted 01-01-2013 05:43 PM

Hey, thanks everybody.

When you say ‘front fence’ orientation, do you mean the one distant from my position at the saw? It makes sense in one regard, but it strikes me that it would be a massive headache having to maintain pressure on the workpiece to fight the blade direction and keep it stable against the reference fence.

ALso, this thing is really heavy and once I push it to its full functional extension it REALLY wants to fall off the back side of the table. I was thinking about counterweighting it, but I suppose this just means it’s time to suck it up and build an outfeed table of some kind.

View Squirrel's profile


10 posts in 3108 days

#7 posted 01-01-2013 06:35 PM

Safety tip: The only thing your sled needs to be safe is another small block of 2×4 (or a box) covering the spot where the blade pops out on the rear fence. I can see the blade kerf in your pictures and I wouldn’t want to see a finger cut because of the exposed blade…

-- Brian

View Michael Wilson's profile

Michael Wilson

588 posts in 3502 days

#8 posted 01-01-2013 07:16 PM

Yeah. That’s smart. I’m planning to put a temporary rail of some kind across the top as well. Something I can keep there while cutting sufficiently thin stock.

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 4015 days

#9 posted 01-02-2013 04:00 AM

Great sled, will greatly improve you cuts

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Izzy Swan's profile

Izzy Swan

148 posts in 2765 days

#10 posted 08-10-2013 11:23 PM

You did it right big sleds are the way to go!

-- Izzy Swan - A Creative Thinkers approach to Woodworking

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25937 posts in 4117 days

#11 posted 10-27-2013 04:00 PM

Nice sled, Mike, You’ll get a lot of use out of it. Next thing you probably have is a miter sled!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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