The table saw often serves as the centerpiece of most workshops from where most of your woodworking activities emanate. Thus, purchasing a table saw is always a smart option when you want to make precise cuts on wood. Besides, if you are desirous of raising your level of woodworking a notch higher, you need to have the right accessories for your table saw.
Table saw accessories come in a wide variety of forms and designs. Yet, one excellent table saw accessory you should always have at hand is the saw sled. The sled can help you make those crosscuts with ease, accuracy, and greater safety. Moreover, you can buy an off-the-shelf table saw sled. You can also build your saw sled customized for your table saw.
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Facts About Using Table Saw Sled
The table saw sled features a movable contraption that you can slide in the miter gauge slots. The front of the sled comes with a wooden fence where the workpiece rests. Setting up the workpiece against the front wooden fence helps prevent the workpiece from slipping. Thus, you can ensure a clean and perfectly square cut from your table saw.
Table saw generally comes with a miter gauge for crosscutting. Yet, this miter gauge isn’t accurate and safe. So, if you can make an excellent sled, it will be best for your use. Besides, you can purchase a factory-built sled, but it will only add up to your expenses. Moreover, it might not perform well compared to a nice custom-built sled.
Building your sled will not consume much of your time. You can make it in just a few hours. Furthermore, you don’t need to buy materials for your sled. You can use scrap wood around 3-foot long and five-foot-long 2×6 lumber.
Major Uses of Table Saw Sled
As mentioned above, table saws come equipped with a miter gauge for making angled cuts and crosscuts. So, you may ask why you would still need a sled. Well, there are several reasons for using a table saw sled, and below are the following succinct reasons:
Enhances Miter Cuts
One of the apparent advantages of using a table saw sled is in the field of making miter cuts. The table saw sled can quickly enhance your miter cuts. Remember that it is always challenging to lock the miter cut’s precise angle because the workpiece tends to slip.
If such a slippage happens, you need to redo the cutting process repeatedly. Yet, you can breeze through the cutting process with ease and precision with an excellent table saw sled.
Table saw sleds usually come with a protractor to let you make the desired miter cuts. You simply need to lock in place the angle on its protractor, and clamp the wood piece to the back fence of the sled. In this way, you can make the cutting process safer and more accurate.
Serves as a Miter Gauge’s Replacement
The crosscut sled functions differently compared to the miter gauges. It comes with a more extensive base for supporting workpieces while cutting. The workpiece will not touch the saw table if you clamp it to the sled. Thus, its use reduces friction that often causes the shifting of workpieces.
The crosscut sled also improves the safety level of your work. If you’re crosscutting a small piece of wood, you will find it hard to hold the small wood piece without getting your hand too close to the saw blade. Of course, you may use a scrap fence for clamping the small workpiece in place. Yet, professional woodworkers will tell you that a crosscut sled provides a better option when cutting such a small workpiece.
You can let the workpiece sit on the sled and let the sled’s base do the sliding for you. You can clamp the small workpiece onto the back fence of the sled to keep the workpiece from moving and your fingers away from the saw blade.
Allows for Better Grip
As mentioned above, you may find it hard to grip workpieces when cutting them. Besides, not having a good grip might lead to losing your grip on the workpiece, leading to crooked cuts or injury. Such a problem might also get aggravated as the workpiece increase in dimensions.
So, it will be best if you use a table saw sled. The table saw sled lets you have a full grip on the material you are cutting.
Lets You Make Repeatable Cuts
The good thing about using a crosscut sled is that it allows for repeatability. If you are engaged in making repeatable cuts, you will find the use of a sled very useful. As a woodworker, you will often make repeatable cuts, such as making a chair, drawer box, and many other pieces of furniture. Using the crosscut sled, making repeatable cuts becomes a breeze, especially if you equip your sled with an adjustable stop.
With this adjustable stop, you simply need to set the stop anywhere you want to index your cuts’ length or width. You can also make repeatable angled cuts using the sled. Aside from using an adjustable stop, you can also clamp a scrap block of wood onto the fence to serve as an adjustable stop.
Provides a Higher Level of Safety
Statistics show that around 67,000 injuries happen every year due to table saw use. Most of these injuries include lacerations. So, using the table saw is risky and injury-prone if you are not using the necessary accessories when cutting.
If you use a crosscut sled when cutting, the risk level gets reduced because the sled improves the safety level of the table saw. The saw blade spins at a tremendous speed of around 3,500 RPM. So, if you are not extra careful, within a split second, you might get injured.
With the use of the crosscut sled, you can lessen the risk of injury. You can set the wood piece comfortably in place without holding the workpiece. Moreover, you can position your hand away from the saw blade using the sled. You will also not hold the workpiece, and you can clamp it to the sled.
The sled, however, slides along the table while you cut. The workpiece also doesn’t touch the table while you cut. So, the cutting process is almost frictionless. Hence, the sled can undoubtedly make the cutting process safer and less risky.
Without the crosscut sled, you will be holding the workpiece as you push it against the miter gauge and the table. So, the cutting process produces much friction between the table and the workpiece. If you can’t grip the workpiece well, it might slip out of your hand and get misaligned. So, you sacrifice accuracy as well as safety when not using a crosscut sled.
The use of the table saw sled comes with many advantages. It makes the cutting process smooth and easy. So, if you still don’t have a crosscut sled, it will be best to make one for your use with your table saw. In this way, you can enhance your woodworking tasks and raise your level of woodworking skills a notch higher.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.