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Crosscut Sled

I would venture to say that almost any woodworker with a table saw either has made or at least heard of crosscut sleds. Some are of very basic construction and others are designed for multiple functions in mind. As it is with most woodworking philosophies there are many opinions on the subject. Purists might choose to quickly build a specific sled, quickly and with a single function and purpose in mind. Others would prefer the sled to be flexible and adaptable to many functions and purposes. What’s my opinion? Well I fall somewhere in the middle, here are my criteria.

  • At this point I really do best with an actual plan. I may stray from it but I need something to get me started. Preferably the plan is free.
  • It needs to be relatively easy to build because I’m not that skilled.
  • I’d like it to do more than crosscut a piece but it doesn’t have to perform “every” function.  But if I’m going to build one it will hopefully serve multiple purposes.

If all else fails, it gives me some quality time in the shop to grow as a woodworker.

Of the 3 (free) plans I have collected, I opted to attempt the “Precision Crosscut Sled” as published by Woodsmith.PLANS (plansnow.com). They do charge for plans (this one is normally $6) but they also throw out the occasional freebie to keep us all looking.

Woodsmith Precision Crosscut Sled

The feature possibilities with this plan are.

  • Adjustable “zero-clearance” base. So one doesn’t need a new sled for every blade set. (Think dado stack).
  • Optional box joint jig with micro-adjuster
  • Optional fence extension for longer stock
  • Reasonably compact design

That said, many of the fancy features of this setup are simply precision Kreg accessories which I have not ordered yet. I’ll have to see how much I can afford to spend on these parts but on the bright side, they can always be re-purposed and used on other shop jigs should this project not be fully successful.

One of the interesting nuances of this build is that the pictures are drawn for a right-tilt table saw and mine is a left-tilt. They have a drawing for that also but all the dimensions are on the former drawings so I’m doing a bit of flipping about. It’s worked out so far, I hope that continues. So far, I’ve cut  and shaped the base pieces; cut the small dado  and milled a miter bar. I’ve also cut and shaped the primary fence pieces.

Stock Cut for Crosscut Sled Build

The project calls for the use of several threaded brass inserts which I have but unfortunately, I have no tools to install them. I need a properly sized tap and an insertion tool and I have neither on hand. Well, it’s always something, the plans are free but the build hardware will cost a small fortunate.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: , ,
  1. November 13, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I just found your blog. I NEED me a new cross cut sled so thanks for posting about it. Did you like the plans you got. I may download it later today.

    • November 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

      The plans came with a fee but I used one of my “download two plans for free” options to get it. I had no issues understanding or reading the plans and I’m a beginner. I did have to transpose the build to the alternate left-tilt version for which they have a picture but the dimensions as shown are for the right-tilt.

      The front and rear fences are fairly low which as built will limit the thickness of what can be cut. However what I like most about this best is that it is extremely lightweight so it’s easy to get on and off the saw during your project. The adjustable mouth promises to be useful as well.

      It’s my first sled so of course I’m glad I built it, but I may not be the best judge of overall rating.

      I also really liked and am considering building the “Super Sled” design by John W. Nixon of Eagle Lake Wooworking.


  2. November 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

    The Super Sled looks pretty sweet. Thanks!

    • November 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      I’ll need to revisit the videos and plans but I had the same impression. I liked the idea of being able to clamp up just about anything to the sled inviting many jig possibilities.

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