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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Build a table saw sled

My old behemoth 
A table saw sled is one of the most useful jigs to have in your shop.

Over the past couple of years I have had a number of people ask me to make a video showing how to make a sled. You've probably seen me use mine many times.

I decided to make a new sled to address some of the problems I have experienced with my old one. The main problem with my old sled is that it is just too big for my table saw. It's got a whopping two feet of space in its bed and is too heavy. I made the mistake of using half inch plywood for its base, causing a little bit of flexing. Three-quarter ply will be much more stable. Almost every time I use the sled, I need to also use a stop block. It has always been a pain to find a chunk of wood and clamp it to the fence, so my new sled features a built-in, sliding stop block.

I will still use my old table saw sled from time to time, but this smaller, streamlined version will rule.

New, streamlined sled


  1. Hey Steve,
    That's something I need to make. I saw another one where he put T-slots in the bottom for using a fence that could be set at any angle to the blade and locked down. it also had a stop block on it as well as a sliding extension It was actually much bigger than either of yours but he had a bigger table saw also. Here's a link to it in case you want to check it out. http://eaglelakewoodworking.com/post/Super-Sled-Crosscut-and-Miter-Sled.aspx

  2. great project...but what would i do if my crappy table saw has miter slots that are slotted for a "t-slot" style miter gauge?

  3. Thanks Steve, you always make any project look easy by breaking it down to basic easy to understand sections. It always gives me the confidence to try. keep it up

    Ray UK
    PS sent as anonymous as thats the only way i can send a post

  4. Nice simple sled Steve, likely the only thing I would change is the width of the 3/4" datto, If you make it a little smaller the head of the T-bolt won't turn all the way around, so it will always be easier to tighten

  5. I never saw the purpose of a table saw sled. What exactly do people do with these things that I can't do with my radial arm saw?

  6. Your information and videos hold a special place for me. My father was always buying tools for one project or another, however, he was always buying some of the most inexpensive tools. He was always trying to do the most with the least.

    You are helping me achieve this with far better results!

  7. Paul said...

    I never saw the purpose of a table saw sled. What exactly do people do with these things that I can't do with my radial arm saw?

    Thats why they build it for a table saw and not a RAS cause not everyone has a RAS its not like when you buy a table saw they give you a RAS....

  8. I don't know I got my RAS for $20 so it was almost like it was given to me :) All I do on my tablesaw anymore is rip. Although when I moved I brought my RAS to my new place first and had to rip a piece of wood, and RAS works OK for that too! I don't even take the rip fence off my tablesaw anymore and can't even remember the last time I put the miter gauge into the slot either.


    Probably a good thing I don't take the fence off the tablesaw too much anymore.


    Because it keeps on growing!


    I still have to mount a slicker board on the other side for the router table.

    My RAS shows up here a lot:

    1. I use my sled for 18" - 24" deep shelves.

  9. Well, Steve once again you finally convinced me to just go ahead and do something. I have been looking all over the place for tablesaw sled information the past month or so and with the little Ryobi I had it was just needed. Your video prompted me to just go and build one based on yours. I used some scrap wood instead for fences and MDF for the base since I had it on hand. I'll post pics over at LumberJocks. As I am not sure how to post them here.
    Thanks for the incentive.

    Chris L.

  10. Hey Steve,

    I watched your video and made a sled. It works great and I have a lot more confidence using my table saw also. Thanks for the great video.

    Michael Dower

  11. I have a contractor's table saw. It has a sliding table on the left side and no slots. The miter guage connects to the slide table. The problem I find is the sliding tabe is actually a bit higher then the rest of the top of the saw. I did a project were I was making panels with 1/4 inch plywood and riped 1 by 6. As I set the saw blade heigth for the end tongues of the 1 inch pieces the difference in the top surfaces made the width of the cuts very in accurate. The answer would be to bridge the two surfaces with a sled. I am looking for ideas to make an accurate sled on a saw with this table configuration. What do you think?

    Love you videos and attitude about handling projects when things do not go as planned.


  12. Wow Steve, I think I have the same crappy table saw you do. I guess I am a mere mortal too. :)

    I think I'll be starting on one of these sleds as soon as I finish my coffee. :)

    Thanks for all the great info on your site and in your videos.


  13. I'm setting up a small shop and really like you table saw sled. I am going to build one for my shop. Reading the comments some people posted about radial arm saw saws I wanted to also state that not everyone has the room for one, or the money, and this sled gives one a viable option to the RAS. Nice work, I enjoy you videos, Dave

  14. Hello steve Edwin King here. I built a sled from watching your vido. The only problem I had was the sled would tilt forward when moved past center. This caused a distraction and a little scary. I mounted a U-shaped gaurd on the back fence which rides on the bottom edge of the table. now when the sled passes center of the table, and wants to tilt the gaurd wont let it happen. P S I did the same for my miter sled.

    Love watching your vido's keep them coming. Edwin King e mail elkpop@bellsouth.net

  15. Hi Steve,

    Great Videos thanks ...
    I am looking to build a Ripping Table Saw Sled, that is very accurate. I have not seen very man ripping sleds, the few I found are really made for squaring off a lumber, or as tapering jigs.
    I need a sled that will help me cut some 4/4 lumber into 2" wide x 24" long strips, then turn those 2" strips on their side to cut them in half. The 4/4 is S3S so the actual thickness is 13/16", divied by 2 = 13/32". I plan to use a Tenryu RS-25540-U Rapid-Cut; 10" X 40T; 5/8" Bore; ATAF Grind; C.T. Saw Blade for these cuts. it has a .079 kerf.
    I do not trust the fence on my table to do this, I love my Table saw, a Ridgid R4512, but the fence as some issues with accuracy. You can use it but you need to align and check every time you move the fence. So the sled should use the miter slots for baseline.
    Right now, I am thinking I will just create a cross cut sled, and modify it a bit for ripping. I am planning to use brass setup bars for the measurement, somehow I would like to attach the set bars somehow to the sled.
    I need to make a lot of these, so I wanted to make a sled, that is accurate, does not use the Table Saw Fence and the measurements built in to sled to limit the amount of time I need for setting up the cut.

    Any suggestions ?

    1. Repair or replace your rip fence.

  16. Hi Steve,

    This was the first of your videos I discovered, and since I FINALLY purchased a table saw with standard 3/4 slots I decided to go ahead and build the sled. The construction was a breeze, and I loved your method of making the T-slot for the stop block. What brought me to a screeching halt though, was the T-bolt. I took one from my Bench Dog feather board that I never use, but it was too short for the double-thickness MDF block. I took my sample bolt to numerous stores around town; the Big Box home improvement, the Mom and Pop hardware store, even a specialty Bolt & Supply store. (The lady at the counter did a face-palm with a big sigh and said "We don't stock those, try the internet.") Amazon has what I need for $1.50 ($8.00 SHIPPING!!!)

    As I'm sitting here typing, I'm wondering, "Why do I need a 1 1/2" thick stop block? What's wrong with 3/4"? My 1 1/4" bolt would work just fine for that. What do you think?

  17. Great stuff Steve.....this will definately be my next project. Thanks for the help. Chuck F.

  18. Hello all, i have a very small shop so i purchased a Cel Power8 workshop. Not a bad little setup but more important it is small. But... one of the guide channels does not run true can one of these sleds run well on only one guide?

    Thank you

  19. Great videos Steve! T slot bolts has anyone ever considered using Johnny Bolts?
    The Johnny bolt is used to hold down a toilet.