table saw sled -- how big should it be ?

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Forum topic by mikefed posted 12-16-2012 06:37 PM 11385 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2795 days

12-16-2012 06:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I resently retired and decided to “really “learn how to use all the power tools I’ve been collecting over the years. A Craftsmen 10” table saw , 8” benchtop Delta band saw, 8” benchtop drill press , small Roybi router table ,Dellta 10” compound miter saw , 4” X 6” belt/disc sander and a bench grinder. This dosn’t include all the hand power tools that acculated over time. I have enough “stuff” to build almost anything. My first project will be a table saw sled . If it isn’t square ,it won’t fit together right .

The saw, is an older Craftsmen 10” ( contractor saw ?). The table is 17 3/4” by 26 ” with a slide out extension fence on the right ( additional 12 ” ) . There are numerous examples on the web on how to build and set-up a sled but nothing about what size it should be in relation to the saw table itself.

Does size matter ? To small to be practical or too big and unwheelding . What would be just right ?
Any suggestions ?

21 replies so far

View madts's profile


1911 posts in 2897 days

#1 posted 12-16-2012 06:45 PM

Figure out what you will be making. That will determine the size. I have 3.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Rick  Dennington's profile (online now)

Rick Dennington

6751 posts in 3752 days

#2 posted 12-16-2012 07:41 PM

It’s hard to describe what size to make to someone…..For instance, I have 4 sleds, and they all do a pretty specific job at hand…..I have a large one for wide and long panels, a medium, a small medium (?), and a small one for short and narrow boards, or small panels, etc….So for me to tell you what you need is impossible w/o knowing exactly what type of work you’ll be doing and remember….one size does not fit all……maybe a couple to start out with, and find out what fits your work and how much room you have in your shop for storage …..that’s one thing a lot of people over-look when building sleds…..

-- " There's a better way to do it.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View a1Jim's profile


117781 posts in 4134 days

#3 posted 12-16-2012 07:46 PM

Rick +1

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3788 days

#4 posted 12-16-2012 11:48 PM

I based my sled on the projects I have been building. Namely the toy box. The sides and top have a max width of 18 inches or thereabouts. So I made the sled 20 inches so I could cross cut the panels to their correct lengths.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3422 days

#5 posted 12-17-2012 02:15 AM

In the August issue of Fine Woodworking they have a sled build. There are two versions.

A narrow (shallow) sled handles almost all tasks . Dimensions 48” wide x 16” deep x 3 inches high.

A deeper version for sheet goods measures out at 40” wide x 27 1/2” deep.

Fine Woodworking August 2012 No 227

View EWJSMITH's profile


157 posts in 4384 days

#6 posted 12-17-2012 02:51 AM

The one I have is about 36” wide and 24” deep. I built is for doing the panel work on a bar I had built where the widest caracase piece was 22”. It suits my needs just fine. But I do wish I had it wider at times to allow for better support of longer panels.

Size it to your most common use/needs and I think you’ll be happy. But I know one thing, once you start to use a sled you’ll wonder how the heck you ever used a table saw without it!


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3247 days

#7 posted 12-17-2012 03:27 AM

A consideration for you saw will be the depth front to back as your blade is pretty close to the front of your saw making it hard to crosscut wider boards. The “Super Sled” on Eagle Lake’s Woodworking is a very useful size and the instructions for the build are excellent. I built my first one too shallow front to back so learn from my mistake :)

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

View MrRon's profile


5781 posts in 3801 days

#8 posted 12-17-2012 07:45 PM

I believe it was Mark Twain who said in response to a question “how long should a man’s legs be?”, the answer was “long enough to touch the floor”. That kind-a-goes for sleds and many other items, such as height of a workbench and width and height of a shop door. As was stated by others, determine what it is you will be making and tailor your sled to accomodate it.

View mikefed's profile


2 posts in 2795 days

#9 posted 12-17-2012 08:51 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions .
Will probably start with a medium size one to start. I can then build ‘em bigger or smaller depending on what my actually needs turn out to be. Even Goldilocks had to look around untill she found one that was just right .

View BigMig's profile


473 posts in 3171 days

#10 posted 12-18-2012 08:06 PM

I found that just building ONE (26” depth) allows me to do small parts or large without the shop space required to house/store several sleds. Sure it’s big, but there’s only one. And fine tuning the 90 degree cut only needs to be accomplished once, so I can move on to real projects – and get beyond jigs.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Hoosier25's profile


18 posts in 2684 days

#11 posted 12-18-2012 08:15 PM

Consider putting te Fence on front of Sled, rather than back. Doubles the width capacity without giving up anything. (Norm’s orginal cut-off sled, only for left side of blade)

Make out of baltic birch, light weight and strong

-- Roger

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4143 days

#12 posted 12-18-2012 08:18 PM

I still don’t understand why the usa manufacturers don’t sell table saws with sliding tables or at least add ons for your existing eqipment.I have always had a slding table and wouldn’t like to work with a sled seems like old technology to me sorry for the rant I am just dumbfounded at the reluctance to stand by or adopt new technology or ideas. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View MrRon's profile


5781 posts in 3801 days

#13 posted 12-19-2012 09:39 PM

Scotsman, Sliding tables are expensive and have been put on saws here. They also take up a lot of room. A sled is simple and cheap to make.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 2806 days

#14 posted 12-19-2012 09:45 PM

I built something like the super sled and I love it. It is huge though and too big for about 50% of what I do. Like many others I have multiple sleds of various sizes for various things.


View pintodeluxe's profile


6012 posts in 3371 days

#15 posted 12-19-2012 09:49 PM

Not as big as you might think. Mine has only one metal runner, and sits on the left side of the blade. It is about 24” deep x 30” wide. It has a built-in stop block for repeated cuts.
I use it for cutting panels, and wide stock that my miter saw can’t handle.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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