3rd time is a charm (rookie)....

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Project by DrewT posted 04-05-2014 05:02 PM 3640 views 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Uggh such a frustrating process when you’re new at this stuff. I made this for a TS3650 I picked up off CL for $100. After 3 tries I finally made a useful sled….the others were disasters and scary haha. Best fence accuracy I could get to was .002 with the 5 cut method – then came tears of joy!!

I made 2 stops cause they seem to work well as hold downs. Runners had to be sanded for about an hour to slide at but there was no play once complete. Used poplar for the fence and birch ply for the base. I need more tools really tired of crooked wood from HD!!

Ive made nothing but jigs with my tools just so I could get to know them and yet I’m still scared of my table saw – missing the blade guard and has no splitter or riving knife mechanism. I experience kickback for the first time from a 1/4” piece of hard plywood. Had it hit me any lower my wife wouldve left me if you know what I mean. Bruise lasted 2 weeks haha.

I need to make a zero clearance insert for the saw but don’t have a bandsaw….any advice to get the correct thickness would be welcomed!!

Thanks to all the jocks for all of their posts I’m getting better at this….I absolute love it so far.

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4347 days

#1 posted 04-05-2014 05:44 PM

Glad it worked out Drew.The 3 times is a charm method happens a lot as your learning and later too.:)
Seeing that the saw cut comes all the way out the back of the sled makes me wonder if your cutting little tiny pieces of wood that you have to cut that far. As a safety measure lots of folks put some kind of block or box on in the area were the blade could come through the back fence as a safety device. Hope you don’t mind the suggestion?

Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about:


View Jos's profile


59 posts in 2352 days

#2 posted 04-05-2014 06:10 PM

Like how you designed it with handles in a safe location. Nice.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1389 posts in 2404 days

#3 posted 04-05-2014 06:41 PM

So I’ll second what Jim said.

-- Jeff NJ

View Jamie Gielens's profile

Jamie Gielens

11 posts in 2580 days

#4 posted 04-05-2014 11:48 PM

I’ve got a Ridgid similar to this one. If you have access to Lee Valley Tools, they sell a zero-clearance insert for this saw. If not, use a jig saw and 1/2” MDF (this is right on the thickness for this saw) to make you insert! Check the internet as there are lots of homemade splitters, etc., out there. Most of them are incorporated in shop-made zero clearance inserts by simply making a slit in the outfeed end of the insert and inserting a splitter made from plastic or ply. Lee Valley also have a splitter system available but I don’t know what you would do about a guard.

-- Jamie - l'atelier Orion

View ChipOffTheOldBlock's profile


65 posts in 2509 days

#5 posted 04-06-2014 01:10 AM

Nice sled. I also made 2 sleds before I finally got one right. You might want to try a jigsaw to cut the ZCI, or just buy one. I still need a bandsaw but a jigsaw is usually an acceptable substitute. Just need to carefully sand.

-- "Excellence is a thousand things done just a little bit better"

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2594 days

#6 posted 04-06-2014 11:31 AM

Very nice sled Drew…a good sled is a must have item in a woodworking shop. Great job and thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 3130 days

#7 posted 04-06-2014 12:33 PM

I’ve made my zero clearance inserts out of hardboard or mdf that is the right thickness. Trace it and cut it out using a jig saw, scrollsaw, band saw, coping saw…whatever you’ve got on hand that can cut curves.

Hardboard and mdf come in a wide range of sizes, and you can always shim it to final dimensions using tap on the bottom edges.

-- Steve

View WannaBBetter's profile


80 posts in 3572 days

#8 posted 04-06-2014 02:01 PM

I’ve made ZCI with a router …tape your insert to plywood,MDF or what you want …use pattern making bit

-- I cut it three times and it's still too short

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3636 days

#9 posted 04-06-2014 02:55 PM

Congratulations. It will be a great addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bit101's profile


106 posts in 2646 days

#10 posted 04-06-2014 03:29 PM

Jigs are a great way to learn your tools, for sure. You can probably get official parts on line for kickback pawls, guard, riving knife. I use all of them whenever possible. Minimally the knife, but if you can rig up a splitter, that should help anyway.

View whope's profile


187 posts in 3215 days

#11 posted 04-06-2014 05:18 PM

I’m a bit nervous every time I turn on my table saw. Better that than complacency. That leads to missing fingers.

Nice sled. I need to make one myself. May just copy yours.

-- Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with an axe.

View Jerry's profile


3388 posts in 2418 days

#12 posted 04-06-2014 10:05 PM

This is a really nice crosscut sled, much nicer than mine. I’m going to shamelessly copy your stop block system, I’m so tired of clamping and unclamping…

On the kickback thing, I’m sure you know this, but on the off chance you do not, it happens because of improper alignment of the fence or the wood pinching the blade.

If the wood gets pinched between the blade and the fence, kickback is inevitable as it is if the wood closes on the far side of the blade and pinches it..

I make it a habit to check my fence every day to make sure it’s perfect, I never stand in the line of fire if I can help it, and I always wear face protection when sawing. You might think that’s overkill, but I’ve seen what kickbacks can do.

You are right to be afraid of your table saw, but as the old saying goes, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not going to get you” so it’s important to never even plug that thing in until your setup is complete, because switches can and DO fail at random times. Your saw could come on unexpectedly if your switch fails while it’s plugged in.

Replace the riving knife and saw guard if you value your body parts. You don’t get a second chance when things go south, there is no “undo” button on the table saw. Sorry to sound so stern and opinionated, but it’s just my way of trying to make sure you stay healthy.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2387 days

#13 posted 04-06-2014 11:14 PM

Nice job Drew, I like those handles as well.

View DrewT's profile


33 posts in 2679 days

#14 posted 04-07-2014 01:55 AM

Gentleman thank you for your feedback and advice.

So I made a ZCI and it fits nicely without the blade….needs some sanding to fit flush with th e table but I cannot get the blade down far enough to finish installing it.

Any suggestions?

View DrewT's profile


33 posts in 2679 days

#15 posted 04-07-2014 02:19 AM

I was thinking along those lines but wanted confirmation – thank you!!

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