Crosscut Sled – The Ultimate Guide Part 2 – The Build

crosscut sled

If you read the introduction to this series, then you are probably all fired up to build your own crosscut sled.  In Part 2 – The Build, I’m serving up several videos to walk you through building different variations.  I’ve ordered them so that they increase in complexity as you scroll down the page.

There are hundreds of videos online (nearly every woodworking YouTuber has done a crosscut sled video) so I tried to cherry-pick the most helpful ones for you. If I’ve left one out that you found and liked, let me know in the comments.

I’ve included links for key parts used for each of the sleds.  All of the links that lead to Amazon are affiliate links so if you plan to build one of these sleds it would help me out if you purchased the parts using the links provided. 

Basic

The Wood Whisperer, aka Marc Spagnuolo, builds a very basic, no frills crosscut sled in this video.  In his typical style, Marc is very thorough about explaining the process.  I also like how he talks about some of the issues that can arise while building the sled – and how to fix them.

If you just watch one video in this post, it should be this one.

After Marc gets the sled built he uses the 5-cut-method to ensure it is set up for a perfect 90° cut.  Once he has his sled dialed in he then gives a few examples of the types of cuts that can be made on a simple crosscut sled.

 

Basic +

Steve Ramsey, from Woodworking for Mere Mortals, also builds a simple crosscut sled but he goes with a very wide base and uses steel angle iron to reinforce the long back fence.

During the build Steve uses a different, but very common way of attaching the runners to the base and adds a block to the back fence for safety.

Being a card-carrying member of the Jimmy Diresta School of Perfection, Steve uses a framing square to line up his fence and according to the look of satisfaction on his face – it’s good enough.

Parts

 

Adding Stop Blocks

Now that we’ve got the basic sled idea down, let’s start looking at some variations.

How about a really wide crosscut sled with an integrated stop block?  Over at ShopBuilt, Ryan shows us how he reduced the overall bulk of the sled and created his own simple T-track.  I really like his method of making the T-track, especially since it’s done entirely on the table saw.

Parts

The following video steps things up just a bit.  While the design of this crosscut sled is still quite simple, John Malecki – a former NFL offensive guard turned woodworker, uses a stop block kit on the back rail.  This kit is basically a super-fancy stop block system.
John also demonstrates yet another way of installing the runners under the sled.

Parts

Adding Clamps

The next two videos show  you different ways to add a clamping system to your crosscut sled.  The ability to clamp small workpieces down to the bed of your sled greatly improves the chances that you will finish the cut with all of your digits still attached.

First, Linn – from the Darbin Orvar channel – takes a very DIY approach.  She creates an expandable clamp system running on aluminum tracks that are mounted to each of the fences.  While screwing that clamp up and down every time may be a bit cumbersome, you can’t beat the price.

Parts

Next, Mike and Lauren (but mostly Mike) puts a T-track on the rear fence and retrofits some clamps to slide on it.  They are a bit pricey at $25 apiece, but what good is safety equipment if you don’t use it?  I know that for me, the quick action and firm hold of these clamps would mean that I would use them.

Parts

The Joy of Woodworking Hobby channel demonstrates making a micro crosscut sled with toggle hold down clamps.  I can see this little guy being a big workhorse in the shop.  While it only has one runner, it is designed so that it can be used on either side of the blade.  The clamps can be moved also making this a very versatile jig.

Parts

Conclusion

In this Part 2 of the series, we covered how to build a crosscut sled and make some basic modifications like adding stop blocks and clamps.  If you build one of the basic models, it will probably keep you happy for a long time.  But, at the same time, you will probably realize why folks have made some of the mods listed above.

Coming up in Part 3, we’ll start to explore some of the add-ons that you can make.  Be sure to check it out to take your game to the next level.  There will be miters and tenons and box joints, oh my!

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