Sacrificial insert saves sled's integrity
My tablesaw crosscut sled has been one of the most useful tools in my workshop. However, I've also found that unless I use the same blade each time, the kerf widens and I can't rely on the sled anymore for chip-free cuts. And I can't make bevels or dado cuts without trashing the sled. My solution was to create sacrificial inserts that cover both cutting areas of the saw.
To apply this idea in your shop, first determine the maximum cutting width of the saw from a 45° bevel cut to a full dado stack at 0° bevel. Then, set back the 1/4"-plywood sled bed 3/4" from each side to create a shoulder for the insert. Do the same thing to size and locate the vertical sacrificial insert for the rear fence. Attach the inserts with wood screws, being sure to keep the screw heads below the surface of the insert so they won't accidentally scratch a workpiece.
You can now install different inserts for each blade, bevel angle, or dado size. When either insert no longer provides the needed zero-clearance, simply replace it.
--Don Mullikin, St. Petersburg, Fla.
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