Crosscut Sled Woes

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Forum topic by todd4390 posted 03-06-2015 10:56 PM 2148 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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136 posts in 1980 days

03-06-2015 10:56 PM

I’ve been trying to make one of these for a week now and every time I attach the runner to the plywood sled they bind and become very hard to push. I’ve tried maple, aluminum miter bar and the plastic material that is made for this and get the same results from each. What am I doing wrong. The runner slide pretty easily before I attach them to. The sled. I’m using countersunk 3/4” #6 wood screws to attach the runners.

16 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7480 posts in 2711 days

#1 posted 03-06-2015 10:57 PM

How are you attaching them (with glue while in the slots, measuring and screwing while off the table, etc..) and are you sure your miter slots are parallel?


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View pintodeluxe's profile


5987 posts in 3325 days

#2 posted 03-06-2015 11:06 PM

Make a sled with only one guide runner. The sled will sit on the left of the blade. Use adjustable miter bar stock for the perfect fit. My guess is that you are using two rails that are slightly out of parallel, and they are binding.
To attach the sled to the guide runner, first register it against the tablesaw fence, then lower it onto double-sided carpet tape on the guide rail. This will hold a square position as you screw the sled to the runner.

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

View TravisH's profile


684 posts in 2447 days

#3 posted 03-06-2015 11:07 PM

How are you attaching the runners from the top (through the sled) or have trying to go through the bottom to the top. Typically the cause is simply you are not mounting the runners parallel. Few ways to make sure either use double sided tape and/or pin them in place and remove if attaching runners by using screw through them and into sled top. If going through the sled into the runner can use same appraoach and then drill pilot holes and affix. Might want to clamp the sled down square to the table just incase you had a little play with the runner in the slot as you might mount one and then the play allowed it to shift slightly before attaching the other runner. Can always use a chisel or plane and take off a little where it is binding after but shouldn’t need to.

Very slight (probably not the case) that they are milled wrong in the table. Might want to check that out. Also make sure that they are milled vertical and that the runners aren’t being pulled up higher in the slot once affixed compared to your dry run of it sliding freely.

View DrDirt's profile


4592 posts in 4254 days

#4 posted 03-06-2015 11:23 PM

If you are using a flat head screw put in from the runner side…. try loosening the screw a little.
The head of the screw can cause the runner to bulge out a little.

What I did… I am using cherry runners (don’t like oak – it splits tooeasy) maple is great too.

But I get a good smooth fit, and make sure the runner has room under it. I put a few pennies in the slot to hold teh wood flush with the table top.

My base is MDF. I run a bead of glue (very small – - you want no squeeze-out) on top of the runners, then set the sled on top. After it dries, I take out the pennies, and make sure the sled drops into the slots and slides smoothly…. THEN I add the screws.

I went to this method because I found that driving the screw in from the top or bottom would either bulge them, or they would shift just enough to bind in the slots.

The glue method truly locks them in place.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1329 posts in 2447 days

#5 posted 03-06-2015 11:38 PM

It ain’t as easy as the videos, is it? I’ve had many crosscut sled woes as well. I’m just here to commiserate, I don’t have an answer…

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 1998 days

#6 posted 03-07-2015 12:20 AM

Watch how William Ng makes his sled on you tube. Works like a champ.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1734 days

#7 posted 03-07-2015 12:54 AM

I made it easy on myself, (ignorance can be bliss when rolling dice), I just held an over sized sheet on the TS and against the fence. Plunged the blade full hgt., then pushed it toward the end stopping about 4” short. I used my 12” machinist sq. against the blade and 4’ level against the sq. then clamped it. I clamped the rear fence to the level retracted the blade slide all back and clamped fence to sheet. Predrilled and screwed. I DS taped both runners lowered the sheet pressed removed screwed when done I didn’t even bother verifying for over a yr., and never would have if another individual hadn’t commented on their sled being Bjorked.

Say whatever, 1st timers, blind luck. Depending on the temp of my shop I range from .0015 to .0025.

-- I meant to do that!

View todd4390's profile


136 posts in 1980 days

#8 posted 03-07-2015 01:27 AM

I am screwing from the top side. Used the penny method, tried it without pennies and tried the glue method. Had this problem with all the methods. Have watched William Ng’s video at least 3 times along with another dozen videos. May just look into buying one after I check my miter slots being parallel.

View skatefriday's profile


452 posts in 1994 days

#9 posted 03-07-2015 01:29 AM

I followed the Wood Whisperer’s video instructions.

Used walnut for the runners. I had to do a lot of sanding
and marking with chalk to get them to run smooth, but once
that was done, it’s been good.

My ongoing problem is not being able to manufacture
a perfectly straight edge fence. I don’t have a jointer, so I
laminated two 3/4” pieces of plywood together. It’s pretty
accurate, but never machinist perfect.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3202 days

#10 posted 03-07-2015 01:32 AM

Hang in there Todd. When you get it done it will be worth the trouble! I used the method shown on the Eagle Lake Woodworking site and had no problems with my plastic runners.

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

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3483 days

#11 posted 03-07-2015 02:36 AM

Cherry is used in foundry patterns because it is so stable in the presence of moisture.
Tells me it should make a good material for runners.
Penny and glue method, then screw from bottom in counter bored holes with pan head screws.
Flat head screws with their tapered head bottom tend to spread the rails.

After all is said and done if there is a little binding going on a swipe or two with a shoulder plane will fix it.
Also a good idea to coat the runners with wax.

View skatefriday's profile


452 posts in 1994 days

#12 posted 03-07-2015 04:10 AM

What crank49 said.

View Robert's profile (online now)


3539 posts in 1993 days

#13 posted 03-07-2015 01:38 PM

No, its NOT as easy as they make it look!!!
My biggest hassle is not the runners, but getting the fence to 90.

Incra or somebody makes metal runners.

I periodically have to scrape the sides of the runners to keep them silky smooth.
I use an old, sharpened plane blade to scrape off where ever its rubbing it leaves dark marks.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Garbanzolasvegas's profile


356 posts in 1739 days

#14 posted 03-07-2015 01:54 PM

Sounds like you have a Ridgid Table saw! Meaning not only will the two miter slots be parallel to one another they will NOT BE STRAIGHT! they are a crooked as a dogs hind leg

-- If you don't Play, you can't win

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1848 days

#15 posted 03-07-2015 03:28 PM

I cheated when I made my sled. I cut the plywood bottom to the dimension I wanted. Cut the runners from some prefinished hardwood flooring remnants to fit nice in the slots and predilled them and put double stick tape on the runners. Using my nicely squared to the blade table saw fence as a guide I lowered the plywood onto the double stick taped runners and pressed down. Made sure the sled slid nicely. Carefully removed it and screwed in the runners. Then I removed the runners and took off the double stick tape. Glued the runners to the sled and screwed them in and made sure they still slid OK in the slots. Worked like a charm once glue dried.

I bolted in the front and rear fences with slightly oversized holes so I could square them up to the fence. It worked.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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