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    Ultimate Tablesaw Crosscut Sled Fence





    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    A sturdy, accurate (meaning it cuts perfectly square, at 90-degrees) crosscut sled is perhaps one of the most useful workshop jigs a woodworker can have. A crosscut sled paired with a tablesaw allows a woodworker to make square crosscuts with ease. Repeatable crosscuts at a precise length can be accomplished by using a stop block.

    Most folks usually clamp a stop block to their crosscut sled’s fence to accomplish this, and that’s a great method, but I conceived of an even quicker method. By attaching a bit of T-track to my crosscut sled’s fence, I can easily slide a semi-permenant, repositionable block to wherever I need it. In doing so, I avoid fumbling around with scrap blocks and random clamps. Instead, my stop block is always at the ready. A threaded T-bolt extends out from the track, and through the stop block, and a star knob is used to ratchet things down.


    A Couple of Caveats

    I don’t want to cut through my metal T-track when making crosscuts and this means that I have certain limitations as to the maximum blade height I can use with this rig. Also, if you have a SawStop tablesaw which uses blade braking technology, this might not be a good idea. If the blade contacts the aluminum, it will complete an electrical circuit in the saw, causing the brake to go off. Keep that in mind. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using a SawStop to craft my custom fence, but I won't be using the fence with this saw.

    Once you've wrapped up construction, consider writing a note on the top edge of the fence reminding you of the maximum blade height that is permissable before you begin to cut into the aluminum T-track. For example, on mine I might write: "Blade height no higher than 2.5-in."

     

    Replaceable Fences

    It’s common for woodworkers to switch between a variety of blades on their tablesaws: dado sets, crosscut blades, rip blades, thin kerf blades—and every time you do, the custom kerf sawn through your crosscut sled’s fence won’t be perfectly matched to the new blade. This can cause blowout at the back end (by the fence) of your cuts. This is something I pondered after I built the fence. To remedy this, I went back to the tablesaw and notched my fence in order to allow me to slip in new 1/4-in. thick auxiliary fences that can just be screwed right to the permanent fence. As the auxiliary fence kerfs get worn out, it’s easy to unscrew the old fence and pop in a new one.


    How to Make

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeCutting grooves with a dado set on a tablesaw

    Cut the T-track Groove: I began by cutting a groove into my fence stock, about a 1/2-in. down from the top. To do this, I used a dado set in my tablesaw. You could also use a router for this step.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeT track and star knob

    Pre-drill T-track for Mounting: Next, I slide a length of T-track into the slot and pre-drilled 4 countersunk pilot holes, evenly spaced along the length of the track.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeAttaching T-track to a tablesaw fence

    Attach the T-Track: A few stainless steel screws were then used to attach the track to the fence.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeTablesaw stop block

    Prepare a Stop Block: Next, I fashioned a stop block using an offcut from my fence, pre-drilled for a T-nut and got my star knob ready.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeCutting grooves with a dado set

    Prepare for Auxiliary Fences: After the track was attached, I realized it would be a good idea to hog away an area so that the fence could accept 1/4-in. thick plywood inserts that would act as replaceable auxiliary fences.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlarge

    Your Auxiliary Fences Need a Home: Here's what you should be left with. That 1/4-in. deep by about 3-in. wide area I took away with the dado set will house my auxiliary fences. This will allow me to freshen up my fence whenever I notice blowout becoming an issue on cuts.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeRipping plywood

    Cut Plenty of Extra Fences and Store Them: I cut several replacement fences to keep on-hand in my shop.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeCrosscut sled fence

    Slide in a Fence: Once the fence is attached to the crosscut sled, I can slip in a new auxiliary fence.

    Cut the T-track Grooveclick to enlargeUsing a stop block

    Slide on Your Stop Block: Then it's just a matter of attaching my stop block and I'm ready to make accurate, repeatable cuts on my tablesaw.



    Ed_Pirnik