Make Multiple, Accurate, Cross Cuts: Safely!
Trying to crosscut large pieces of wood with a small, wobbly miter gauge is never accurate and just plain DANGEROUS!
Many woodworkers build a double runner, Table Saw Cut Off Sled for their shop. They do this because it has excellent zero tolerance cutting and is a safer way to cross cut larger pieces.
I built mine mostly for making accurate and repetitive cuts of large workpieces. In my opinion, it’s the safest way to cross cut sheet stock.
Making A Table Saw Cut Off Sled
I setup my Table Saw Cut Off Sled on a dedicated table saw in my shop. I have the table saw on a mobile sled so I can wheel it out of the way when not in use.
I also screw a long length of plywood off the back of the sled and use a block of wood and a C clamp as a stop block. This is extremely useful when making repetitive cuts like building a book shelf and shelves. Read more here.
If you buy a sliding table saw attachment plan on spending anywhere from $400 to $800 dollars – or you can build one.
Cut Off Sled Considerations:
A Table Saw Cut Off Sled is basically a double runner cut off sled is a large deck [any size you want] with two runners installed on the bottom. The runners slide in the table saw miter slots.
A large rear fence is set to be 90 degrees and is higher than the blade can go. The forward fence is also installed at 90 degrees to the table and is taller than the blade as well. The reason behind having these rails taller than the blade is to keep them from being cut in half as well as keeping you hand high and away from the blade.
When making the deck I take super care to make sure I end up with a perfectly square plywood deck. I use clamps to hold the deck to the table saw top and use the table edges to double check for square.
I made my two runners out of oak. I place dimes in the slots then measure for my rails, ripping them 1/32 less than the slot width. This way I keep the rails from rubbing on the bottom of the slot. Make sure the rails fit tight but still slide nice.
Once the rails are made I place them in the slots and then square my deck on the saw table top. Check and use the table edge as a reference for square. Once square I take a brad nailer and tack the deck to the rails. Flip the deck over, and trace the rails with a razor knife. I remove the rails and brads, add glue and secure the rails to the deck with short countersunk screws.
I then add the rear and front rails using glue and counter sunk screws. TIP: When making your sled make sure you’re rear fence is exactly 90 degrees to the saw blade.
Once the sled is complete I turn on the saw and raise the blade. If you’ve done it right you’re fence and saw kerf should be perfect at 90 degrees.
Use butchers wax to lubricate them, the sled bottom and the saw table top.