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Thread: Tablesaw Crosscut sled

  1. #1

    Tablesaw Crosscut sled

    Hello,
    I am preparing to make a tablesaw crosscut sled. I am not sure what material to use for the runners. I would like advice/opinions on using the steel runners like the ones sold by Incra as opposed to using hardwood for the runners. If you have made these sleds I would like your insight.
    Thanks, Jack

  2. #2
    I have sleds with Incra aluminum rails, UHMW rails and QSWO wooden rails. All have performed well for years. More important to me as my sleds evolved are adjustable fence,

    b-2009-bev-sled-how-to-002.jpg

    replaceable fence and base inserts and a good safety area for the blade to stay covered at the rear. Here's an old one but, has most of the features I still use.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 09-09-2017 at 6:34 PM.
    Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

  3. #3
    Glen,
    Thanks for the information. You correctly point out other important features that are just as critical as the runners. Thanks, Jack

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack dempsey View Post
    Glen,
    Thanks for the information. You correctly point out other important features that are just as critical as the runners. Thanks, Jack
    Is this going to be a production tool or for hobby use? Assuming the latter I would go with oak and wax the runners. You should go with double runners regardless.

  5. #5
    I have used left over engineered hardwood (basically plywood) for runners with good results. I attach them with screws (no glue) so they can be replaced if they wear but after about 5 years of hobby use they are still good.

  6. #6
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    I prefer wood for this kind of application...you can zero in on the exact width and depth you need based on your saw's specific slots and any variances from "standard". A stable wood should be used, however. QSWO was already mentioned and that's a good choice for this. And, of course, wood is usually less expensive than buying metal components.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    I have used left over engineered hardwood (basically plywood) for runners with good results. I attach them with screws (no glue) so they can be replaced if they wear but after about 5 years of hobby use they are still good.
    +1, we have used a similar sled for years with success

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack dempsey View Post
    Hello,
    I am preparing to make a tablesaw crosscut sled. I am not sure what material to use for the runners. I would like advice/opinions on using the steel runners like the ones sold by Incra as opposed to using hardwood for the runners. If you have made these sleds I would like your insight.
    Thanks, Jack
    Jack
    I just used some scrap hardwood from the shop. I think it's jatoba. Making runners from steel would be nice, but you would have to drill and tap in place through the face of the sled.

    Here is a video that covers making a basic, highly accurate sled. (I think the sled in the video is too big personally, but I have a crosscut slider on my table saw, so I don't need a crosscut sled for panels. It also covers the 5 cut method to set the fence.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbG-n--LFgQ
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 09-09-2017 at 9:51 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  9. #9
    Steel runners would just screw up your table saw top.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    Steel runners would just screw up your table saw top.
    I have to ask how? Most saws come with mitre gauges that have steel bars for the slots. That said I just use hardwood and by the time it is worn enough to affect the cut the sled itself is cut up enough (fence and slot) to warrant making a new sled.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Tell us oh great one, how so?

    Delta had it wrong for 70 years with steel miter gauges on the Unisaw?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    Tell us oh great one, how so?

    Delta had it wrong for 70 years with steel miter gauges on the Unisaw?
    Use your head! A miter gage is easily placed directly in the slot because it is very visible for that operation. A sled's runners are totally hidden from view while the sled is wiggled around to find the slots.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Never had that problem with either. I've always placed the sled or mitre gauge past the blade and slid sideways until it drops into the slot / slots, then draw it back. I'll admit to a few scratches and dents to the top but they are all over it, after all it is meant to be used, not caressed. Each to their own though. Thanks for explaining your reason.

  14. #14
    Thanks for all of the explanation and advice. I think for me the first sled will be wood runners, probably quarter sawn oak. One thing that I have learned will be that there will probably other sleds that follow for particular uses. So thanks again. Jack

  15. #15
    I generally use UHMW plastic for runners, unless you want to spend the money for the adjustable metal ones. Lee Valley and other companies sell it. Link.
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 09-10-2017 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Missing word.

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