Instructables
Picture of Easy and Precise Table Saw Sled
I have bought a Makita MLT100 table saw (TS) for my small workshop.  The mitre tracks on this TS model are very small and the mitre gauge that is delivered with the saw is almost unusable because it has so much play in the tracks.  The TS was useless to make any precision square cuts.  The set up time of the mitre gauge was unbearable for poor results.  However, since I've added this sled made out of scraps, my TS has become my go-to tool for presision cuts.  It works like a charm and I'm now quite happy with this saw (cost vs quality). I will probably make a larger sled one day to cut bigger panels. 

This is a simple sled that you can make in less than 2 hours. It does not have the little bells and whistles like a T slot for an adjustable stop.  But that is easily compensated with a block of wood and a a small clamp...

There are plenty of youtube videos out there on how to make TS sleds.  I just tried to integrate a number of features I liked and document the right tricks that allow you to have everything squared easily for a precise sled.  The steps described in this instructable can be used on any TS that has mitre tracks.

I used my TS for 2 months without a sled and I can tell you this sled has been a life changer in my shop.

Step 1: Cut the guide strips

In this step, you need to take some hardwood scraps and cut thin strips that will fit in the tracks perfectly.  The strip thickness should be less than the depth of the track.  You don't want the base of the strip to rub or rest on the bottom of the track.  The final strip should be longer than TS table top. 

I used some short pieces to set up the fence and sneak in on a snug fit. then I cut the long strips.
 
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chobbs19572 years ago
Built mine today from your plans! I used pine plywood, as that was what I had, and it was hard to get it smooth enough to glide.

I sanded and sanded the runner strips, sanded and sanded the bottom of the sled, as my pine was a little rough.

I decided to paint it, and wound up with a pretty doggone smooth finish on the bottom, and should have after all that sanding plus a couple of thin coats of paint. It wound up being a color of red that matches my Skil unit nicel.

Next, I used steep wool to remove some spots from my tablesaw top. Then I added a coat of wax.

I cut a lot of 1/2 inch fence panels into 1/2 inch simulated lots for birdhouses, and look forward to a test run with it!

Thanks for your Instructable. I'll try to add a couple of pics sometime over the next couple of days.

Keep 'em coming!
Here is mine. Copied yours, as I said, and thanks a lot!
IMG-20120807-00485.jpgIMG-20120807-00486.jpgIMG-20120807-00487.jpg
domino88 (author)  chobbs19572 years ago
Wow! excellent! I'm so happy this was useful to you. You made my day. It looks great. I think you will experience a big change just like I did: making square cuts each and everytime becomes so easy and so fast... Thanks for sharing
yoyology2 years ago
This is a great instructable with clear steps, but I have a question. Do you only use this sled for straight cuts? How do you do miters?
domino88 (author)  yoyology2 years ago
Hi Yoyology,

This type of sled is typically called a crosscut sled and yes, it only makes straight cuts. This means that it is meant to cut hardwood across the grain. This being said, if you have a small plank of 10-15cm and you would need to remove 1 cm in the sense of the grain, the sled is actually a safe way of doing the cut rather than use the TS fence to make a rip cut. I will try to add one step on tips to use the sled.

In terms of mitre cuts, you could easly make a version of the sled with the fences set up for 45 degree angles. The base will be the same. I plan to make on and I will post an instructable. I have a mitre saw, so it has not been a priority. A sled would be more accurate than the mitre saw however. Here are some links:
- complex version: http://www.woodsmithshop.com/download/511/table-saw-miter-sled.pdf
- simple version: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/23206

I will make the simple version...
rimar20002 years ago
Very good work!
domino88 (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Thanks Rimar!