No woodworker can survive without having a table saw sled. As long as you have this accessory, you can easily make perfect square cross cuts! Moreover, it can also help in making smooth 45-degree miter cuts in different work pieces. Therefore, you should know how to build a table saw sled on your own!
We are all aware that a table saw is great for cutting long pieces of wood. However, you can also use this tool to crosscut wide pieces of wood with the same level of smoothness and precision. You can do this with a table saw sled. It is a cutting accessory that rides on the miter gauge slots. Specifically, it has a fence that is mounted to the blade at 45 or 95 degrees!
How To Build A Table Saw Sled
- 4×4 sheet of 3/4 inch plywood
- MDF or particle board
Step 1: Cutting The Pieces
- The first thing you should do is to gather the materials. If you can, use a nine-ply birch for a crosscut sled. However, you can also use any flat and smooth plywood! In fact, the trickiest part here is the constructing the cutting runners.They are the one slide on the tracks. They are also responsible for making the fence perfectly squared to the blade.
- Cut strips of plywood for the stiffener, blade cover, and front fence. The cut should be 1/2 inch longer and 1/4 inch wider than the exact finished size. In this way, you can be able to trim them.
- Clamp the mating faces with the use of a wood glue. You should do this perfectly, just like the surface of the top of a table saw. As much as possible, you should keep the layers intact while you are clamping them. You can start scraping the hardened glue after 20 minutes.
- After this, you should use the table saw to cut the pieces of about 1/4 inch. Use a pencil or chalk to mark the shape on the pieces, and then use a jigsaw to cut them. The curves should be smoothened with the use of a belt sander.
Step 2: Assembling The Base And Runners
- Make the runners by cutting strips of hardwood. If your table saw has a standard 3/4-inch miter gauge slots, use it to sand a 1×3 hardwood until it can slide freely into the slots.
- Create 1/16 inch strips from the 1×4 hardwood. Connect the pieces to the sled base by using a wood glue. Wait until 20 minutes until it dries. Afterward, you can already remove the assembly away from the table saw. Do not forget to scrape off any excess glue from the bottom of the base and the boundaries of the runners. Also, make sure you will clean any glue that is present in the slots of the table saw.
- Try sliding the sled in the slots. If you can notice that the sled cannot slide easily, check the runners immediately. Look for any darkened spots in where the metal has got in contact with the wood. Take an adhesive and use it to connect a piece of sandpaper (80-grit, preferably) to a block of wood. Use this in sanding the darkened areas so that you can remove any excess wood. Just repeat this process until the sled can slide smoothly into the slots.
Step 3: Adding The Stiffener And Squaring The Fence
- Attach the stiffener on the front boundary of the base through gluing and screwing. In doing this, you should be careful so that you can put away the screws away from the path of the blade of the table saw.
- Set the blade of the table saw to 3/4 inch high. Use this adjustment so that you can slide the base into the blade. You should stop cutting when you are at already 3 inches from the back of the base. Switch off the saw and wait for it to stop before you take out the sled.
- Position the back edge of the base with the fence. Make sure you will align them correctly. After this, screw them tightly at the right portion. Moreover, the blade cover should also be screwed the back end of the fence. Of course, you still have to be careful that the screws won’t get on the way of the path of the blade.
Step 4: Adding The Stop Blocks
- The stop blocks are necessary so that you can prevent the blade of the saw from ripping through the blade cover. Attach a piece of wood to the bottom of the sled by screwing it. Do this while the blade is half-covered by the blade cover and the fence. In attaching a stop block to the bed of the table saw, use carriage bolts instead of conventional screws.
This time, your table saw sled is already complete. You can test the performance of your new creation by pushing the newly cut edge against its other half. If you can notice that the two pieces perfectly fit without any gaps or seams, then this sled is ready to serve you.
Knowing how to make a table saw sled is essential for serious woodworkers. This accessory improves the versatility of their job, by enabling them to crosscut large pieces of wood! As long as you got this accessory, you can deal with any cutting projects on your mind!
Other than a sled, you can also use a fence for your table saw. We have a big list of the top 5 table saw fences on the market.