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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.


Comments (9)
rbeline_sr wrote:

One of my co-workers was looking over my shoulder while I was looking at this and said what a great idea! So I made a copy of the pdf file for him and another for myself!

4/18/2011 04:58:23 PM Report Abuse
bllknndy wrote:

Same thing I submitted a couple of years ago and got paid for it. The idea was eventually made into a full page article, don't remember which issue. bllknndy (also St. Petersburg, FL)

4/8/2011 08:19:15 PM Report Abuse
jskomer wrote:

View doesn not enlarge when clicked upon.

4/7/2011 04:23:05 PM Report Abuse
Gee-Dub wrote:

All my sleds have this feature. I make up the inserts by the batch and always have them handy. Many cuts are "standard"; 80T x-cut, 24T rip. 3/8", 1/2" and 3/4" dado, 45*, 22.5* and so on. I write on the sets of parts with a felt pen for ID and use a bit of wire to keep the left, right and fence inserts together and ready for use. I can't imagine bothering to make a sled without this feature.

4/7/2011 01:33:20 PM Report Abuse
dave275 wrote:

is there a pdf of the sled design itself?

4/7/2011 10:31:24 AM Report Abuse
Natrous wrote:

Cool idea. I might try this the next time I make a sled.

4/7/2011 10:30:57 AM Report Abuse
fortinneal wrote:


4/7/2011 10:18:48 AM Report Abuse
ttwitewolf wrote:

Thanks Marlen, These are better than the previous enlared photos.

4/7/2011 10:16:45 AM Report Abuse
Marlen_at_WOOD wrote:

Please note, we've added a PDF for the two illustrations for a larger view of this project plan. Marlen @ WOOD

4/6/2011 04:37:02 PM Report Abuse

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