This is a basic and simple cross cut sled for the table saw that is nice and sturdy and features an adjustable stop block and a measuring tape so you easily can set up repeated cuts.
While I built this sled for my Sawstop jobsite saw, it would be very easy to adjust the position of the runners and the size of the sled to fit any table saw you have to work with.
Step 1: The Parts
For this build I used 1/2inch (12mm) baltic birch.
- 1 Main board: 35 1/2 x 20 inches (902 x 510 mm)
- 4 Fence boards: 35 1/2 x 4 inches (902 x 102 mm)
- 2 Runners, approximately 1/2 inch deep x 3/4 inch wide
We cut up the main board using a circular saw, and the fence boards using the table saw. The runners are made with camaru however you could use any strong hardwood you have on hand. The runners get a lot of stress over time so you definitely want to make sure you don't use a soft wood.
Step 2: Adjusting the Runners
Make sure the pieces for the runners fit nicely, but not too tight so they can't move easily. It's better to cut them just a touch too big, and then sand down to the perfect size.
Put the runners in the spaces in the table saw, place the main board on top, and adjust it to the correct position. Then mark out on the main board, back and front where the runners will go.
Step 3: The Fence
There are four pieces for the fence, since we're using 1/2 inch baltic birch. To make them a little thicker and more substantial, we double them up. To do so, carefully clue the sides together, position perfectly and nail together.
Step 4: Curve the Back Fence
I decided to add a slight curve to the back fence, mostly to make the sled lighter. To do that I measured out two points, and placed a flexible ruler in between the two to get a nice curve. Then the excess was cut away on the bandsaw.
Step 5: Attach the Fences
The back (curved) fence can now be glued and stapled in place, and also secured with screws.
I will not be gluing down the front piece though, I want to make sure it's perfectly straight in relation to the blade, and have the flexibility to adjust it. So securing the front fence with screws, and make sure to countersink first, so no screws are protruding, since this side will be riding on top of the saw.
Step 6: Predrilling Runner Holes
Using the marks I previously made on the table saw, draw straight lines across the middle where the screws will attach the runners.
Step 7: Secure Runners
Then place runners in table saw, add glue, place the sled on top carefully and screw down through the pre-drilled holes.
Step 8: Adjust the Front Fence
First make sure your blade is absolutely straight at 90 degrees.Then make the first cut, but down cut through the front fence. At this point make sure the fence is 90 degrees in relation to the blade, possibly make some corrections by screwing it in place at the new measurement.
Step 9: Cut Through Fence
Now you can raise the blade and cut through the front fence as well.
Step 10: Protective Block
To protect against the blade, it's nice to secure a block of wood in the back of the fence so the blade won't stick out on the other side. Pick a chunky piece of wood, clamp and screw in place.
Step 11: Finish the Sled
To protect the sled against the elements and wear and tear, it's nice to add some protective finish. I used de-waxed shellac. On the underside I added mineral oil wax polish on the runners and the entire board. This is to make sure the sled glides nicely on top of the sled.
Step 12: Route Fence
To add the adjustable stop block, position the sled hanging down with the front fence leaning on a surface, with a scrap piece of material underneath, screw or clamp in place. Using a router and a 1/2 inch bit, route a section on the right side of the blade in sections, lowering the blade a little at a time.
Step 13: Stop Block
Cut a piece of plywood in a smaller section to function as the stop block. Mark out where the routed hole is on the fence, and drill a hole through.
Add a bolt and a knob through on the other side to secure the block in place.
Step 14: Add the Measuring Tape
Prepare the surface on top of the front fence, if not completely smooth, do a little planing. Then secure a measuring tape on top, with zero being placed at the cut.
Step 15: Watch the Video
To see all the details, and how the sled came out, make sure to watch the video!