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Thread: Material and Size for Crosscut Sled on Unisaw? MDF, Birch? 3/4 vs 1/2?

  1. #1

    Material and Size for Crosscut Sled on Unisaw? MDF, Birch? 3/4 vs 1/2?

    I made a sled for my bosch 4100 jobsite year ago out of 3/4" melamine with plastic runners and a 1.5" oak fence. It was nice but heavy.

    What would be the ideal size for my first sled for my 3hp Unisaw? Making cutting boards, cheese boards etc. My miter saw is a hassle to setup so likely cutting material with crosscut sled more too.

    I'm trying to decide between mdf, birch or melamine. Finding melamine coated MDF would be nice.

    I'd like to add a single t-track on the sled so I'll likely need 3/4" right? Would 3/4" MDF base with 1.5" oak fence be too heavy if it's say 30" wide x 25" inside depth?

    I don't think a 3/8" miter track will fit well in 1/2" mdf.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
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    13,619
    Patrick, I made my full-size sled out of 3/4" melamine covered partial board. The sled has been rock solid and I love the 24" crosscut capacity but it is a tank to lift on & off the table. If I were to remake it I would use 1/2" BB. My runners are surface mounted to the sled bottom so making it out of 3/4 or 1/2 material would not make any difference.
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  3. #3
    Any plywood would work. But birch and MDF are heavy. The fence need not be that heavy 1.5" oak, either.
    Anything is possible when you don't know what you're doing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Peters Creek, Alaska
    Posts
    310
    I made mine using both Baltic birch and BORG birch.




    I figured the first one wouldn't be my forever sled so I used some leftovers: a piece of ½-inch BORG birch ply for the base and some ¾-inch BB for the fences. I think I have about 28 inches of capacity so it's a little beastly but not too bad. I put a single Kreg miter on it without problems.
    Brett
    Peters Creek, Alaska

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  5. #5
    I used a quarter sheet of 1/2" maple faced ply from one of the Borgs.
    Lee Schierer - McKean, PA

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  6. 3/4 is ideal but 1/2 plywood will works for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Irish View Post
    I made a sled for my bosch 4100 jobsite year ago out of 3/4" melamine with plastic runners and a 1.5" oak fence. It was nice but heavy.

    What would be the ideal size for my first sled for my 3hp Unisaw? Making cutting boards, cheese boards etc. My miter saw is a hassle to setup so likely cutting material with crosscut sled more too.

    I'm trying to decide between mdf, birch or melamine. Finding melamine coated MDF would be nice.

    I'd like to add a single t-track on the sled so I'll likely need 3/4" right? Would 3/4" MDF base with 1.5" oak fence be too heavy if it's say 30" wide x 25" inside depth?

    I don't think a 3/8" miter track will fit well in 1/2" mdf.

  7. #7
    I have several made of 1/2 or 3/4" birch ply. The largest is 8' wide for trimming and dados tall carcase sides.

    I make quick and dirty sleds regularly for special tasks.

    I have found it easier to start with separate pieces for the left and right side. I attach one runner to each piece and trim each to size on the saw using its runner.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    3,002
    My first sled was made from domestic 3/4 Birch plywood. It was so heavy and clumsy that I abandoned it after a few months and built one from 1/2 Birch. It saw 11 years of use before I sold it along with the table saw it was built for. So far as I know, it is still in service.

  9. #9
    I have several sleds of different sizes and purposes. Since I use them frequently the weight difference shows up for me. Although their are lightweight composites, some MDF and PB can be half-again the weight of an equal thickness Baltic Birch ply. BB ply is often heavier than thick layer shop grade ply but, I prefer BB ply (or maybe it is just what I keep around). I make my fence dimensions to fit my other jig stuff; stop blocks, hold downs and such).
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Thompsons Station, Tn.
    Posts
    68
    For 1/2" you might consider MDO plywood. Good stuff!

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