Why Build a Table Saw Sled?

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A table saw crosscut sled is an important accessory for your table saw. The device makes it easier for you to make perfectly square and replicable crosscuts more consistently than when you use a miter gauge. Since every table saw comes with a miter gauge, it is a great idea to build your own table saw sled.

Why Build a Table Saw Sled?

A table saw crosscut sled is an important component of your table saw. You should build a table saw sled if you would like your table saw to make perfectly square and repeatable cuts in a better way than the miter gauge that comes with the saw does. 

A table saw sled also enables you to make impeccable 45-degree miter cuts on both wide and small boards. Another reason to build a crosscut sled is that the device can improve your safety and accuracy, especially if you are working with tiny workpieces.

Table saw sled build to fit the blades

Reasons to Use a Table Saw Sled

A table saw sled helps you address the issues of bad friction when using a table saw, enhances your safety, and makes it possible for you to do a repeatable job with more accuracy. These points are discussed below.

1. Repeatability of Cuts

One of the benefits of a table saw is that you can make a lot of cuts in a short period of time. Often times, you need to make a series of cuts that are the exact same. A table saw sled is the perfect tool in this case.

A sled will make cutting such parts simple. You set your cut the first time, and then the sled allows you to quickly make the exact same cut over and over agin, giving you highly accurate results.

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2. Make Accurate Angle Cuts

Another reason to use a sled on your table saw is that the device makes it possible for you to make angle cuts with a high level of accuracy. Angle cuts are required when cutting pieces for items such as picture frames.

A miter gauge will not make angle cuts and friction makes it even worse if you try to make such cuts. While using a miter gauge, you can rotate the fence to make a cut, but as you slide the workpiece, it is likely to shift out of position.

A sled cures this problem because it has pivoting fences. The revolving fences act like large miter gauges but allow a more accurate angle setting with no grip issues.

3. Better Grip on Workpiece

Man using a table saw sled to make angled cuts on wood

If you are used to working with the miter gauge on your table saw, you know that the miter gauge is associated with poor friction against the table. All the workpieces that you use on a table are placed flat down on the equipment.

As more workpieces are pushed through the cut, they develop more friction and may slip out of position. This may affect your accuracy, especially if the surface of the work piece is slippery or rough. The problem increases with longer, heavier and wider workpieces.

Bad grip issues occur because the miter gauge is too small to be used for large tasks. In contrast, a crosscut sled has a larger base, which enables it to support workpieces as they are cut so that they do not come into contact with the table saw.

By eliminating friction and contact, you are able to work on your workpieces without experiencing issues like the pieces shifting out of position.

4. Enhanced Safety

If your workpiece is too small, you may end up injuring your fingers if you use a miter gauge. This is because your fingers come too close to the table saw’s blade. A scrap fence can give you come protection, but a crosscut sled stands out as a better option.

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It is only the base of the sled that slides during the cutting process, leaving the workpieces stationary. The back fence offers a clamping surface, thus protecting your fingers against any harm.

A finished table saw sled

Tips to Build a Table Saw Sled

You can make a table saw sled with these 5 simple tips:

  • Gather the necessary materials and make the pieces.
  • Cut and fix the base and runners.
  • Add the stiffener and ensure that the fence is square.
  • Check whether the fence makes a right angle. For 45-degree angle cuts, you will have to mount the fence diagonally to get the required angle.
  • Add the stop blocks to prevent the blade from cutting into the cover of the blade.

What Material Can You Use to Make a Table Saw Sled?

You can use any kind of flat plywood with smooth faces to make a table saw crosscut sled. There is no point in using nice wood, as your standard plywood will work just fine and not cost you a lot of money.

Conclusion

A table saw crosscut sled is advantageous over a miter gauge because it can help you consistently make square cuts and 45-degree cuts. You also get a high level of safety and accuracy by using a table saw sled. To enjoy these benefits, you can build your own sled.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.