There are so many sleds out there. I have done so much homework to find my preference of a sled and attributes that make it so versatile. This sled is my version of what I think the perfect sled is. Welcome to my article of the Ultimate Crosscut Sled with DUST COLLECTION!
Step 1: Break It Down!
1. Break down a piece of 3/4” plywood to a size to your preference. This is to be oversized and later broken down to final size on the table saw.
Step 2: Set Up the Runners!
2. The miter runners I am using is a solid aluminum 24” miter bar that you can find at Rockler. With so many adjustment screws it will prevent slop in your cross cut sled.
Step 3: Mill Up the Fence!
3. Using hardwood, ash in my case, cut two pieces for the long half and cut two more short pieces for the top of the fence. These are oversized first and can be cut down to final thickness later.
Step 4: Glue It Up!
4. Now just laminate the pieces together
Step 5: Raise the Runners!
5. In order to attach the miter bars in place effectively, I need to raise the bars off the surface of the saw. This way the plywood sits on the bars only and not the saw. This will give the best way to glue the bars to the plywood.
Step 6: Glue the Runners!
6. Use super glue to adhere the the bar to the plywood. I use the fence on my saw, as I know that it is parallel to the blade. Let cure and then remove it from the saw.
Step 7: Countersink the Runners!
7. Counter sink and pre-drill holes for screws to secure it.
Step 8: Dado the Base of the Sled for T-Slots!
8. Using the dado stack, carve out the slots for the t-track on the sled base, in your desired spots. Mine are appx 4" to either side of where the blade kerf will be.
Step 9: Backset and Cut the T-Slots to Length!
9. Back set the t-track 1 1/2” from the front end (this is not the fence edge). Take an exactoknife and mark the t-track so it can be cut flush with the fence edge of the sled base.
Step 10: Biscuit Join the Stabilizer!
10. Using biscuits, join the stabilizer bar to the base (opposite edge of the fence) with plenty of glue!
Step 11: Create a Dust Channel
11. Using the router and a chamfer bit, create a dust channel for the dust to escape when cutting. This is only at the base of the blade side of the fence.
Step 12: Groove and Assemble the Fence!
12. Using the dado blade, cut out the channel for the t-tracks on both the long and short pieces of the fence. Then glue them together in line with the blade kerf that you will create later.
Step 13: Create Round Overs on the Base!
13. Using a quart can, create curves on the stabilizer and the base of the sled. Pre-cut the cross grain with a knife and cut the curves with a jigsaw.
Step 14: Round Overs of a Different Kind.....
14. Then round over the edges of the sled except for the fence edge.
Step 15: Create Your Pivot Point
15. Measure 1” from right edge and 3/4” from the back edge. Make a hole at that intersection for a screw to create a pivot point for the fence.
Step 16: Square It Up As Much As Possible!
16. Using a framing square, line up the fence as close as possible to the blade. This will make the 5 cut method easier to accomplish.
17. Clamp and screw it down on the other end of the fence. Then cut through the fence.
Step 18: 5 Cut Method
18. Now it is time to do the 5 cut method. Using a board that is roughly 12-13” square in size. Make a cut on all four sides, turning the board clockwise for each cut, and on the 5th cut slice off a strip appx 1” in width.
Step 19: 5 Cut Formula!
19. Utilizing this formula, it will determine the margin of error to adjust the fence into squareness.
"Top - Bottom / 4 / length of strip x the length of the fence from the pivot point to the end of the fence = margin of error” A negative number the fence must move towards the blade A positive number the fence must move away from the blade.
Step 20: Adjust for the Margin of Error!
20. Now select the feeler gauge that = the answer you got from the formula. Remove the Cut a piece of wood with a fine tip and place it at the end of the fence with the feeler gauge in place to move the fence where you need it to go. Make a new hole in the bottom of the fence and sled and retest the 5 cuts to see if your margin of error decreased. Goal is below 10 thousands of a inch (0.010”).
Step 21: Anchor the Rest of the Fence!
21. If you have the fence within your desired range, then secure the fence completely.
Step 22: Finish the Kerf!
22. Now raise the blade up to its highest point and rerun it through the fence.
Step 23: Install the Rest of the T-slots!
23. Now place t-slot in the fence in the middle and top. Accommodate for the blade kerf.
Step 24: Chamfer the Ends!
24. Using a file, match the chamfers on the fence to the t-slots.
Step 25: LASTLY, ADD DUST COLLECTION!
25. Now to protect your hands from the blade on the other side of the fence, make a blade guard. It is nothing more than an enclosed box glued to the back of the fence. However, drill out a hole that will accept a 2 1/2” dust port on the right side of the box. This will enable a feature that no other cross cut sled will have, DUST COLLECTION!!!
Step 26: Utilize Your Versatility!
Now you can utilize clamps and stop blocks to take full advantage of all the features you have now created on your “perfect sled”. Enjoy and thank you for reading and watching.