4 Table Saw Sleds That Will Improve Accuracy

Table Saw Sleds

Sleds are a very valuable asset. They provide a way to allow the work piece to travel parallel to the blade or cutter head to ensure an accurate cut on both large and small pieces, and even irregular shapes. They can have hold downs, clamps, and/or fences to hold the work piece secure during the cut, preventing the piece from flying off or moving out of parallel with the direction of cut. And most importantly, they help us keep our fingers away from the blade or cutter head. Have we ever had a small piece that needed just a “little cut here”, followed by a potentially stupid move?

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Some time ago, George Vondriska posted a video called How to Make a Shop Made Sled, using the Zero Play Guide Bar System from Micro Jig. If making snug fitting wooden guides for sleds is a bit challenging for you, this guide system is a good alternative. It’s important that the guides are a good fit for the miter gauge slot.

So let’s have a discussion about sleds. This article gives you an overview of my four favorite sleds. With a little imagination and ingenuity on your end you’ll be able to adapt those you need for use in your shop.

Table Saw Sleds

Miter Sled

The first one we all think of is the 45-degree miter sled. Mine is similar to the one George made, just bigger and I used oak for the guides. I found it useful to mark the location of the blade area with blue tape as a reminder where NOT to put my fingers.

Table Saw Sleds

Here I’ve added a piece of hard maple as a zero clearance fence.

Table Saw Sleds

This sled came in handy when writing the article Jake’s Tips on Making Miters to make cuts in very small and delicate 1/2” by 3/8” trim pieces on cabinet doors.

Table Saw Sleds

Panel Cutting Sled

The second sled, a panel cutting sled, is invaluable for cutting large pieces, such as plywood case parts and panel doors.

Table Saw Sleds

The fence is located at the top of the sled, perpendicular to the blade. The alternative is to place the fence at the rear of the base, but the size of the panel is then limited by the size of the base. Placing the fence at the top of the base allows for much larger panels to be cut. Note that I made the fence extra long to help stabilize longer panels. Making the panel sled for the left or right side of the blade is a matter of personal preference.

Table Saw Sleds

Crosscut Sled

The third sled is a small version of a very traditional design.

Table Saw Sleds

A cross cut sled can be small, like mine, or cover the entire surface area of a table saw table. It’s designed to give maximum stability and accuracy for any cross cut operation. The sled has a beefy fence at the front and rear edges of the base to keep the base together, since the base has been cut in two to accommodate full travel of the sled through the blade.

Table Saw Sleds

This smaller version was built to hold small pieces of irregular shaped feet for planter boxes.

Table Saw Sleds

As can be seen in this picture, by using the sled the foot can be oriented as needed to insure that the top and bottom are cut square to each other not to mention how secure the piece is and how safe my fingers are when making these cuts.

Table Saw Sleds

Adjustable Box Joint Sled

The problem I have always had with making jigs to cut box joints (finger joints), is readjusting the locator key to loosen or tighten up the fit of the fingers. So I decided to make a sled with two adjustable tables instead of an adjustable key.

Table Saw Sleds

By cutting slotted holes for screws in the base, the key can be moved back and forth to adjust the spacing between the fingers of the joint. I also made the key longer because I was making multiple small boxes out of oak, and wanted to speed up the manufacturing process (I have highlighted the locator key with black marker). As this picture demonstrates, by making the locator key longer, several pieces of wood can be clamped together at one time and cut on the sled. I was cutting up to 10 pieces of 1/4” thick oak at a time with this sled.

Happy sledding

Jake

SawDustbyJake.com

Discussion
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26 Responses to “4 Table Saw Sleds That Will Improve Accuracy”
  1. David

    I have a table saw but no channels to run the guides for a table sled. Will it still be accurate if I put the runners each side of the table?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      This could work assuming that the sides of your table saw are parallel with one another, but you will need to keep in mind the fundamental objectives of the design which is to deliver a cut that is perfectly square to one edge of your work piece. In order to do this, the rear fence of your sled (the surface that your work piece is placed against) must be perpendicular to the blade. If the sides if your table saw’s top are parallel with the blade, then it will be relatively straightforward to ensure squareness of the blade and fence on the sled. If, however, the sides of the saw’s table are not parallel to the blade (this is a likely situation), you will either need to adjust the saw so that these two items become parallel, or you need to add a strip in front of the sled’s fence that is perpendicular to the blade. This strip will become your new fence.

      Reply
      • Ray Kustush

        You could bolt a 3/4″ aluminum bar on top of the saw table parallel to the blade, using that as a guide for a dado (on the bottom side of the jig) to slide over.

        Reply
  2. Edward W

    I signed up as a premium member, logged in and wanted to build a sled for my table saw. When I clicked on the site pictures, all I got was bigger pictures.
    I went to the outdoor section for plans on bird cage building and it sent me to a place to buy cages? I want to have plans to build them. I want plans to make outdoor furniture!!! What good is the membership if I just need to buy the things already made? I can search the web for items to buy.

    Reply
      • David

        Sorry, WWGOA Team, but you need to check your web site. The above link just recycles to the article with all the photos; there are no plans for the sleds at that link.

        How about a direct link to the supposed plans themselves and not to a general videos/articles page?

        So far I’ve found my premium subscription to be a waste of good money. While some of the demonstrated techniques are interesting, general information without actual dimensioned drawings behind it is pretty much useless.

        Reply
        • WWGOA Team

          Hi, David! There are no plans that accompany this article but George is planning on reworking it to include more information, including plans. Essentially the one article is being split up into 3 new articles about table saw sleds that will each include a plan. First one will be out in January, others will be out in February and March.

          Reply
  3. Melvin

    I just became a premium member and I have the same problem as Edward w
    All I get is pictures
    I even clicked on the link in your reply to Edward

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      We are sorry that you are having trouble locating the plans. You may try clearing your cache/browser history or maybe using a different internet browser.
      We will be happy to assist you further, by contacting us at 1-855-253-0822.

      Reply
  4. Glenn

    I really want to make a miter sled. Are there any plans available? Better yet, is there a premium video, downloadable video or even a DVD on this sled? I have the DVDs about shop made jigs but this one isn’t featured.

    Reply
  5. vimeo.com

    Hello to all, because I am actually keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated daily.

    It carries pleasant stuff.

    Reply
  6. Rudolf

    I all the time emaled this weblog post page to all my friends, since if like to read it after that
    my contacts will too.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Gerald. These images have now been fixed. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
      Thanks
      Jean-WWGOA Video Membership

      Reply
  7. Blanca

    If some one needs expert view on the topic off blogging then i
    advise him/her to visxit this webpage, Keep up the pleasant job.

    Reply
  8. FRANCISZEK

    Hello. I want to build these Jigs but I can’t find the plans. I have a premium account and am logged in. Please help. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      I am sorry we do not have plans for this. Hopefully you can gain enough insight from the pictures to be able to build something comparable.
      Thanks
      Jean-WWGOA Membership

      Reply
      • Michael

        Reading earlier comments it was stated that you hope to have something for these in Feb. March. Now it is almost May and i can’t find any plans. Is there an estimated time? Would really like to make a couple of these jigs.

        Reply
        • Customer Service

          Hi Michael. Apologies but we have not yet completed this as our editorial plan has changed a bit with greater focus on classes and videos. We are still planning to update this article, but we do not currently have this work scheduled.
          Meanwhile, we are happy to answer any questions that you might have as you build one of these.
          Thanks
          Paul-WWGOA

          Reply