crosscut sled - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-30-2017, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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crosscut sled

Have seen plans for homemade crosscut sleds and wonder why they need a back/rear fence when the wood being cut is braced up against the front fence. Is is for stability of the construct?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-30-2017, 08:32 PM
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Yes, but ......

Technically, it's not necessary to hold up the rear of the sled if it's made from 3/4" material or a stiff substrate. The miter slots glides will keep the sled "on track". I made a "sled" using two standard miter gauges with a 1 x 4 bolted across the faces. It worked just fine:

Obviously, I can't cut miters on with it, but it makes for a real square precise cut.

Here's one without a rear fence:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-31-2017, 03:48 PM
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Stability mostly. I've also found that it helps prevent the sled from racking and binding in the miter slots. Course, you can avoid that with a thicker rear face, but I like the added stiffness

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-31-2017, 04:47 PM
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racking . . . sticking . . . unpleasant other things . . .

or, one can use just a single miter slot guide.

well, tacks come to brass,,,, (typically) the right side of the sled does nothing except support the cut-off piece in the vertical plane 'until the bitter end' - whether the right side is perfectly square to a 0.001 degree is completely irrelevant - the right side cut-off is just floating along until the last fiber is severed. yes, there is also front-to-back / lateral stability provided by the rail extended to the right of the cut.... which is likely important if you're trying to cut a 5' length _exactly_ right on the first-and-only-pass. which I never indulge myself in.... I do a 'rough' cut then nibble it down to the precise dimension.

then again, I've been labelled weird . . .

a sled with a back and leading rail provides stability to the two flat sled pieces.
whether it's a single miter or both sides miter slot design.

in the photos above, do note the dimensions of the back rail for the 'single rail' sled options - especially the thick/wide back rail. glued down that makes for some serious stiffness from the left-sled-flat to the right-sled-flat.

the back + front rail design does has an advantage when the sled is dismounted from the saw table. seriously less 'flapping-in-the-wind' with a back + front design.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-31-2017, 04:47 PM
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Using a variety of table saw sled ideas, including other TS jigs/fixtures are usually designed/built by the individual woodworker with specific TS needs. What is comfortable and safe for one worker may NOT be the best end result for another! Do what YOU feel is comfortable for YOU, but be safe.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-01-2017, 08:02 AM
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The primary purpose is stability. Not only while in use but also while moving the sled around the shop. If the only connection between the 2 sides of the sled is the connection above the kerf on the back fence it will twist when you take it off the saw. Drew at the Rockin H chanel built a sled with only a back fence but did not cut the base of the sled all the way through.

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post #7 of 8 Old 02-01-2017, 11:39 AM
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I have tried the twin-crosscut-fence system and it works quite well. Also, with a little math and an adjustable angle guide, the twin-fence system can be employed to make angle cuts. 45s are obviously the easiest and, for me, the most commonly used.
The downside is that 1x stretcher and 2-screw fasteners are not really a stable platform for cutting very wide or very long materials accurately at either 90 degrees or odd angles. This is due to the commercially available method(s) of attaching fence extensions to crosscut fences. A length of square tube might increase the rigidity some, but I haven't tried that. Also, and I have tried this, increase the cross member to a 2x4 or 2x6 and overside the fence mounting slots to accept 1/4-20 bolts and install threaded inserts into your 2x stock. Stop your insert mounting holes about 1/2 way thru the lumber. Strong, rigid and quick to disassemble.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-01-2017, 12:44 PM
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I built the sled from Family Handyman, with sizes slightly adjusted. I made one miter track out of some scrap HDPE I had from a previous project. I only used the left miter slot and it worked just fine to crosscut a bunch of lumber this past weekend. Bottom and fences (both front and back) made from scrap 3/4" plywood.
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