Best Cross Cutting Sled for Table Saws
Anyone who does carpentry on a professional or DIY basis will sooner or later use a table saw and discover the need for a cross cutting sled for table saw. If you are familiar with both, you can skip the next couple of paragraphs because I’m going to get down to the basics for the complete carpentry newbies.
What is a table saw and what do woodworkers use it for?
In layman’s terms, a table saw is a workbench with a circular saw protruding at the center. This saw is mounted on an arbor and connected to a motor. The table provides support for the piece of would you are cutting.
While the circular saw is rotating, you move the piece of wood you are cutting across the table and, presto, the wood is cut. The cutting process is safer thanks to the support of the table itself, and faster because the rotating blade saws the wood in a matter of seconds. In most table saws, the height of the saw is adjustable to suit the thickness of the wood.
But, when sawing wood, you don’t just need to worry about the thickness of the wood, you also need to cut at specific angles, and that’s where the cross cutting sled comes in.
What do you need a cross cutting sled table saw for?
A cross cutting sled comes in handy when you need to cut a piece of timber at a specific angle. It sits on the table saw, with the saw protruding through it. The piece of wood you are cutting is attached to the sled at the desired angle to make precisely the right cut. When using a cross cutting sled, you can make perfect cuts without tear-outs. The process is very safe because the sled provides further support.
Typically, a cross cutting sled is at a 90-degree angle, but you can cut at any angle by making the desired adjustments. Using clamps, you fix the wood to the sled to ensure it doesn’t move during the cutting process. You can also add stops which are small pieces of wood if you want to crosscut several pieces of the same length.
Generally, the sled sits and slides in the table saw’s miter gauge or in two miter tracks. As you saw the piece of wood, the sled moves with it, providing extra support as well as the precise cutting angle. The use of the cross cutting sled makes the process even safer because the chances of the piece of wood moving or of a kickback are slim to none.
Where do you get a good cross cutting sled?
If you’ve recognized the benefits of using a cross cutting sled, you’ll want to know what the best cross cutting sled for table saws is. During an online search, you’ll soon discover that many DIY enthusiasts and carpenters suggest making your own cross cutting sled. On YouTube, you can find tons of instruction videos on how to make a cross cutting sled.
We wanted to do two things. Ultimately, we wanted to review a cross cutting sled for table saws and pitch it against making your own. Let’s begin by reviewing the Rockler Table Saw Cross Cut Sled.
Rockler Table Saw Cross Cut Sled
The Rockler Tablesaw CrossCut Sled is durable and built to last. Reasonably priced, this cross cutting sled delivers all the necessary functions—ease of use, durability, functionality, and value for money.
Using the easy-to-understand instructions you get on delivery, you can set this cross cut sled up within minutes. All the parts and accessories are sturdy. Put to the test, this sled makes precision cutting easier and safer.
Measuring 23-3/4" x 23-3/4" and featuring a thickness of half an inch, this sled is made from melamine-coated MDF. The 1/2° graduations and the hair-line indicator allow for precision setups.
Safety is guaranteed thanks to a durable aluminum fence as well as an adjustable MDF fence. All the components slide smoothly across your table saw, and this effortless sliding is further enhanced with the use of self-adhesive, low-friction tape.
The right edge works as a zero-clearance chip breaker, while the MDF and aluminum fences provide stability. You can remove the MDF fence altogether.
To eliminate movement, the manufacturers have included spring-loaded ball bearings in the miter bar. These bearings allow tension adjustment.
Setup and use are easy, and the cutting process is precise and safe. Many users report ditching their miter after purchasing the sled. It’s just the right weight and size to cut at your desired angle and tearing is not an issue. The graduation and hair-line indicators really help to get the cutting angles right.
All in all, this cross cutting sled is excellent and well worth the cash. Let’s look at the main advantages and disadvantages.
- Easy setup thanks to excellent instructions
- Excellent 1/2° graduations
- Slides smoothly across table saw
- Combines well with clamps and miters
- Steady aluminum and MDF fence
- Removable MDF fence
- Easy to use
- Delivers precision cutting
- Cost more than a DIY sled but not if you include your time investment
Making your own cross cutting sled
There’s no shortage of instructional “how to make a cross cutting sled” videos. You’ll find instructions for making very basic, as well as highly sophisticated cross cutting sleds. The process is quite straightforward and obviously quite popular.
To begin with, you’ll need to choose a design, and this will determine just how fancy your sled is going to be. Templates are available to download online, and a simple Google search won’t leave you wanting.
After that, you need to get down to making your sled. Most DIY enthusiasts use MDF as the main material, which is inexpensive, so you won’t have to spend large amounts of cash.
Seeing as you are making it yourself, we can assume that the process will be quite easy for you. Nevertheless, making a more sophisticated sled design takes a considerable amount of time.
All the guys who have uploaded “how to make a cross cutting sled” videos must be applauded as they bring you through the process step by step.
Buying the Rockler vs. making your own cross cutting sled
If you only consider the cost of the materials, then making your own cross cutting sled is less expensive. However, if you include the time and trouble, you’ll probably spend less buying the Rockler. Whether you make one or buy this one depends on your enthusiasm and desire to make one rather than buy one. If you love the process, go for it, but if you’re a little unsure, don’t bother.
After all, the Rockler Table Saw Cross Cut Sled features everything you need and is available at a reasonable price. What you’ll get is a precision, durable sled that will function just the way you want.
DIY sleds don’t always stand up to scrutiny as minor flaws can reduce the quality of the cuts you’ll eventually make, using your self-made sled. Still, if you love the idea of making your own, no doubt it’s doable as so many have shown us on YouTube.
If you do a lot of woodwork, you are going to need a cross cutting sled for a table saw. Without hesitation, we’d recommend the Rockler Tablesaw CrossCut Sled because it’s excellent value for money and will function perfectly.
What’s the use in investing time and money in making your own, if the Rockler is available at such a reasonable price? Wouldn’t you be better off spending that time working on some other woodwork project?
- 1 What is a table saw and what do woodworkers use it for?
- 2 What do you need a cross cutting sled table saw for?
- 3 Where do you get a good cross cutting sled?
- 4 Rockler Table Saw Cross Cut Sled
- 5 Making your own cross cutting sled
- 6 Buying the Rockler vs. making your own cross cutting sled
- 7 Final thoughts