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Make correct and secure crosscuts with ease – and set the stage for intelligent equipment

Most power-tool woodworkers have at the least one desk noticed sled. And whereas a sled could make your work safer and extra correct, a well-thought-out sled may do rather more.

Sometimes I name this one the “MegaSled,” different instances the “Super Sled,” as a result of its giant dimension makes it so versatile. In reality, it’s the proper platform for any variety of joinery jig attachments. Since designing the sled I’ve added jigs for reducing miters, splines, tenons, finger joints and dovetails, and I’ve plans for extra jig attachments sooner or later. It’s all attainable due to the sled’s fence design. In reality, you will note a number of distinctive and helpful options as you construct this desk noticed fixture. In this text, I’ll concentrate on the sled itself; within the subsequent article, I’ll cowl the jigs. Let’s get began! Most power-tool woodworkers have at the least one desk noticed sled. And whereas a sled could make your work safer and extra correct, a well-thought-out sled may do rather more.

Table Saw MegaSled Cut List

No. Item Dimensions (inches) Material Comments

t w l

❏ 2 Fence extensions 3Four x 3 1Eight x 22 34 Plywood A&B

❏ 2 Extension spacers 3Four x 3 12 x 6 Plywood C&E

❏ 2 Extension helps 3Four x 5 12 x 6 Plywood D&F

❏ 6 Fence assist blocks 3Four x 3 1Eight x 3 Plywood H-M

❏ 1 Fence face panel 34 x 3 1Eight x 36 Plywood G

❏ 1 Fence guard 34 x 3 1Eight x 6 12 Plywood N

❏ 1 Upper fence panel 34 x 4 12 x 36 Plywood O

❏ 2 Base panels 34 x 18 x 28 12 Plywood P&Q

❏ 1 End piece 3Four x 3 1Four x 5 Plywood R

❏ 10 Replaceable inserts 14 x 1 12 x 24 MDF S&T

❏ 2 Runners 1Four x 1 12 x 24 MDF or HDPE U

Cut the Parts

I don’t usually advocate starting a venture by reducing out all of the elements. It’s normally finest to chop every half as wanted (and ensure it matches earlier than committing) because the venture strikes alongside. But on this case, it’s less complicated to organize the complete cutlist on the outset.

As you do, use a pencil to label every bit with its assigned letter from the exploded diagram offered. I’ll refer to those letters as I’m going alongside.

Take care to chop every bit fastidiously. Check that your desk noticed’s blade is perpendicular to the desk. Square elements ought to be sq., each of their corners and on their edges. As you assemble the venture, use a mixture sq. to maintain every little thing true – additional care now will repay in the long run with an correct sled.

Also, select high quality plywood. While Baltic birch is all the time a superb selection for jig making, I’ve had good success with off-the-shelf, hardwood-veneered plywood from the house middle – however I don’t advocate construction-grade plywood.

Exploded View


The Base

Most desk noticed sleds are created from a single plywood panel, which is reduce in half the primary time you utilize the sled. But I made this sled’s extra-large base from two panels (P and Q on the drawings). As you’re employed on the 2 panels, remember that they’re mirror pictures of one another. As you lay out the dados, rabbets and slots, reference from the correct fringe of the correct panel and the left fringe of the left panel.

Begin by reducing a pair of 1⁄2″-wide x about 3⁄16″-deep dados within the backside floor of every panel, utilizing the areas offered within the accompanying diagram. Then flip the panels over and reduce 1-1⁄2″-wide rabbets alongside what’s going to change into the 2 interior edges as soon as the sled is assembled. These rabbets ought to be deep sufficient that your 1⁄4″-MDF inserts will lay in them flush with the panel’s floor. It’s a good suggestion to chop them with a number of incremental passes, checking the depth with one of many inserts as you go.

Dados & rabbets. Plow the dados within the bottoms of base panels, then the rabbets on the highest inside sides.

Place the 2 panels in your benchtop with the rabbets going through upward and touching one another. Mark the perimeters nearest you as “front” and the other edges as “back.” Now use a 5⁄16″ router bit to chop a slot down the middle of every of the 4 dados, starting 6-1⁄2″ from the entrance edge and 4″ from the again edge of every panel. The slots are for the T-bolts.

Slots. Rout slots down the middle of the dados, making a observe for the shaft of your T-bolts to run in. You may also want to spherical off the entrance corners of the panels, although it’s not strictly obligatory.

While you have got your 5⁄16″ router bit useful, reduce the slots within the fence extensions (A and B), centered 1-3⁄8″ from the underside edge; they begin 6″ from the skin finish and terminate 1-1⁄2″ from the within finish of every half. Now set these apart and find the higher fence panel (O). Along one in all its edges, reduce a rabbet to suit a bit of T-track. Most T-track is 3⁄4″ huge x 3⁄8″ deep, however take care to dimension the rabbet to your explicit model.

Fence extensions. Keep the slotted fence extensions shut by; you’ll quickly use them as spacers.

T-track rabbet. Size the rabbet within the higher fence panel fastidiously in order that your T-track shall be flush with each the highest floor and the sting.

It’s time to start placing all of the elements collectively, so in case your two base panels have wandered off, return them to their former place on the benchtop, going through upward with the rabbets collectively. The fence assist blocks (H-M) should be positioned alongside the entrance fringe of the bottom panels.

Referencing from the left fringe of the bottom panel meeting, place one block 2-3⁄4″ away from that edge, one other 8-3⁄8″ away and a 3rd 14″ away. Place three extra of the blocks the identical distances from the correct fringe of your proper base panel meeting. This ought to go away simply sufficient area between the 2 interior blocks to suit the fence guard (N).

Get it sq.. Ensure your desk noticed sled shall be correct in the long run by taking care to sq. the elements up throughout meeting.

Secure all of the blocks to the bottom panels with glue, taking care that they’re perpendicular to the entrance edge. Brad nails pushed from the underside of the bottom panels will maintain the blocks in place because the glue dries, however take care that the 2 halves remained aligned as you progress them round your benchtop. At this level, solely the fence guard (N) holds the panels collectively. You can add extra assist by attaching the top piece (R) to the far aspect, centering it over the seam on the again edge between the 2 base panels.

Careful now. As you progress issues round throughout meeting, remember that the seam is supported solely by small blocks on every finish at this level, so take care!

The Fence

Next you’ll connect the fence face panel (G) to the rabbeted fringe of the higher fence panel (O), rabbet-side up, as proven within the {photograph} beneath, left. Before nailing the joint, ensure the seam is flush, and wipe away any glue squeeze-out. This shall be a crucial floor of your sled’s fence.

The fence face panel (G) and higher fence panel (O) collectively make up what I’ll name from right here on out the fence panel meeting.

Fence panel meeting. Here’s how the fence face panel and higher fence panel look when mixed to make the fence panel meeting.

Retrieve the slotted fence extensions (A and B). Place them on edge throughout the sled’s base towards the row of fence blocks, the place they are going to function non permanent spacers. Now run a bead of glue on the highest edge of every of the seven fence assist blocks (H-M), and alongside the decrease fringe of the fence face panel (G). Carefully set the fence panel meeting on prime of the blocks, with the rabbeted panel going through upward. The glued fringe of the fence panel will contact the sled’s base simply in entrance of the slotted “spacers.”

Those two slotted elements ought to be capable to slide easily out and in of the hole created. You don’t need them pinched in there too tightly – however you additionally don’t need any additional area.

From beneath the sled, shoot a number of brads by means of the bottom panels up into the sting of the fence face panel to safe it in place.

Space out. Use your fence extensions as non permanent spacers earlier than attaching the fence panel meeting.

Returning to the highest of the sled, verify the fence panel meeting for sq. earlier than the glue units up. If the face panel isn’t perpendicular to the bottom of the sled, nudge the rabbeted prime panel ahead or backward a tiny bit as wanted to appropriate it. Finally, take away the 2 fence extensions you’ve been utilizing as spacers…earlier than the glue dries and so they keep in there endlessly.

Secure fence. Here’s how the fence panel meeting seems as soon as it’s been secured in place (notice that I’ve already put in the T-track right here).

Now seize the extension helps (D and F). Fasten these to the underside edges of your fence extensions, as proven within the {photograph} at prime proper. Note their location close to the ends farthest from the slots, and that the 2 ensuing assemblies are mirror pictures. Also, notice that open area on the slotted elements above the items you simply related. There, glue the extension spacers (C and E) on edge, on prime of the extension helps. I believe it’s a good suggestion to shoot some brads by means of these assist blocks from beneath to bolster the joints. This completes what have now change into your fence slide-outs. Slip them again into their slots on both aspect of the sled when the glue is dry.

Look on the mirror. The fence slide-outs should be mirror pictures of one another.

Begin the {hardware} set up by securing T-track within the rabbet on the fence panel meeting, and to the highest edges of the extension helps in your fence slide-outs. Don’t attempt to drive the screws with out first boring pilot holes! You danger spreading the plies within the fringe of the fence face panel beneath, compromising its easy and correct floor.

On observe. After boring pilot holes, connect T-track to the fence and slide-outs.

Chuck a 1⁄4″ bit right into a drill. Withdraw one of many slide-outs a number of inches and place the bit within the middle of the slot, about 1″ from the top of the fence. Bore a gap by means of, then counterbore the outlet from the opposite aspect so you may slip a carriage bolt by means of the outlet, finding its head beneath the floor of the fence face. Repeat these steps on the opposite finish of the fence, then safe each slide-outs with washers and wing nuts.

Bore & counterbore. Bore a 1⁄4″ gap within the middle of the slot, then counterbore from the other aspect to create an inset for the carriage bolt head.

 Secure. The slide-outs are secured with wing nuts and washers.

Video. See how to make runners and use them to adjust your sled.
Videos: Watch an outline of the sled’s options and jigs, in addition to a scaled-down model: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGmQBMSXt4Y

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