Introduction: How to Build a Crosscut Sled With Flip Stop Block (+ Free Plans)
After I made my table saw fence for my homemade workbench I realized that I also need to build a crosscut sled as soon as possible.
A crosscut sled is a MUST HAVE for every table saw. This accessory makes cross cutting operations much more accurate, cleaner and most important safer.
The design is very simple, and in this Instructable I’m going to show you how to build it.
Watch the full video for detailed explanation!
You can find a FREE PLAN for this crosscut sled on my official website.
Here are the materials I used:
- Plywood board, 21 mm thick (your local hardware store)
- MDF sheet, 8 mm thick (your local hardware store)
- U-shape aluminum profile
- Wood glue http://amzn.to/2fshgMw
- CA glue http://amzn.to/2jyID9u
- T-track kit http://amzn.to/2i47GAR
- Nuts and washers http://amzn.to/2hlYzyJ
- Butterfly bolt http://amzn.to/2Aiv7kb
Types of tools I used:
- Circular saw http://amzn.to/2fRs8nD
- Router http://amzn.to/2xAOiCh
- Cordless drill http://amzn.to/2frP8MD
- Hacksaw http://amzn.to/2Amhezg
- Caliper http://amzn.to/2jzhQtq
- Clamps http://amzn.to/2ho27Rb
- Countersink drill bit http://amzn.to/2yKLRRp
- Router bits http://amzn.to/2jxyaLt
- Square ruler http://amzn.to/2Asz723
- Self-adhesive measuring tape http://amzn.to/2nifu7u
Let’s build it!
Step 1: Creating Miter Slots With a Router.
This is a homemade workbench, and I don’t have miter slots. So, I created them with a router.
First, I traced some parallel lines making sure they’re square with the front of the table top. Clamping two pieces of scrap wood as guides will help me make accurate cuts.
The width of the slots is 15 m, and the depth is 10 mm. The diameter of the router bit is 12 mm, so I need to make 2 passes to get the desired width.
I’m cutting the U-shape aluminum profile to size with a hacksaw and then I’m attaching it into the slots. To do that, I pre-drilled some holes and used some countersunk screws as they need to sit flush with the surface.
Step 2: Making Hardwood Runners and a Base.
I’m using 8 mm thick MDF for the base, and cut it 70 by 50 cm on my table saw.
For the runners, I’m using beech, so I’m cutting 2 strips 13 mm wide and 8 mm thick. I should be able to push the runners back and forth very easy, but I need to be careful because they should fit in the miter slots without causing side-to-side movement.
To secure the runners to the bottom of the base I’m using some washers to raise them a little bit higher.
I’ll place these runners above the washers, apply a wood glue and place the MDF on top. The goal here is a base that is flush with the table saw top and with the runners as well.
Once the glue has cured, I flip it over and screw at least 5 countersunk screws in each runner to secure them permanently. The excess length of the runners I cut with a handsaw.
Step 3: Making the Back and the Front Fence.
I cut the plywood to the right length and width and attached the back fence first.
Working on the Back Fence.
To secure it to the base I applied a wood glue, placed it on the sled and clamped it down. I want the fence to be flush with the edge of the sled, but it doesn’t need to be perfectly square and it also doesn’t need adjustment, so I’ll insert some screws.
With that done I raised my blade, pushed the sled forward and made around 80% of the kerf cut throughout the sled.
Working on the Front Fence.
The front fence is made out of two plywood stripes, one 8 cm wide and the other 6.6 cm wide, as it needs a 21 by 14 mm rabbet along one of its edges which I’ll use to install a stop block on it.
On the bottom inside edge of this fence I made a small chamfer. It will serve as a dust channel when I’m making cuts on the sled.
It is extremely important the front fence to be square to the blade, so I’ll get it 90 degrees to the blade with a square ruler. After that, I’ll clamp it in place, pre-drill, and drive two screws in to secure the fence in place.
Then I continue the kerf cut throughout the whole sled.
Step 4: Applying the 5 Cut Method to Check the Squaring.
You can find complete explanation on my official website.
To test the squaring I’m going to apply the 5 cut method. I took a larger piece of MDF scrap and marked all 4 edges with numbers from 1 to 4, then started cutting. I made small cuts on each edge, rotating the MDF piece clockwise. When I got back to the first edge I made a fifth cut around 2 cm wide and took this off cut. I measured it with a caliper to see the error in the squareness.
The width of the top portion is 2.490 cm. The width of the bottom portion is 2.513 cm. I subtracted the bottom from the top and the result is - 0.023. I divided that by the 4 angles that are in this rectangle, and the result is - 0.00575. I divided this number by the length of my fifth cut which is 36 cm, and got -0.0001597. Then I multiplied that number with the distance between my pivot screw and the point where I’m going to make an adjustment (which is 60 cm). I got -0.009582 (or -0.00377 in inches), which is awesome. I’m happy with the result and I won’t make an adjustment here.
How to Make the Adjustment?
If you got a negative number, you need to raise your fence up on the adjustment side, and if you got a positive number you need to move it down.
Also, don’t reuse the old screw hole. Instead, drive a new countersunk screw to secure the fence.
To secure the fence to the base completely I’ll insert more screws on the bottom.
Step 5: Attaching a T-Track on the Front Fence.
Now it is time to attach a T-track for the stop block.
I used a white aluminum curtain track for this purpose. I cut it to size and used a CA glue to make a good contact between the track and the fence. After that I secured the track in place with some screws.
Step 6: Adding a Blade Guard for Safety.
The blade is protruding out of the back when making cross cuts. I cut 3 squares out of plywood, glued them together and attached this blade guard on the front fence with a wood glue only.
This guard will act as a reminder to push the sled from the sides of the guard when cutting.
Step 7: Making an Adjustable Stop Block.
To make repeated cuts possible I made a stop block out of plywood. It consists of two parts.
The first part is made out of two plywood pieces which are glued together. I needed to remove 12 x 41 mm of it on the table saw. On this piece I made 2 holes because I need to use 2 bolts to connect it with the other part of the stop block and with the T-track.
The other part is made out of 3 pieces of plywood. I made a hole in the smallest one, and I joined all the pieces together with a wood glue and some screws.
I’m installing the stop block onto the T-track and with a bolt and a butterfly. Then, I’m connecting the two parts with a longer bolt and the two parts of the stop block together and tighten them with washers and nuts with rubber seal.
Step 8: Attaching a Measuring Tape on the Front Fence.
The last thing I want to do is to apply a measuring tape on the front fence. I attached it with a CA glue. To determine the starting point of the tape I took the thickness of the stop block into consideration.
Step 9: Time for Some Test Cuts.
Now I can make some test cuts to check how it works.
I can make little cuts, I can also cut larger pieces, and I can use the stop block as well to make repeated cuts at a perfect 90 degree angle. Most important, I’m protected from kickbacks.
I really like how this crosscut sled came out.
Don’t forget to watch the video for full explanation.