Ditch the miter gauge to increase the accuracy of your benchtop tablesaw.
If you have zero tolerance for tear-out and inaccurate cuts, you ll enjoy the results you get with this zero-clearance crosscut sled designed by WOOD. magazine reader Dan Pacht. He uses the sled to increase the precision of his benchtop tablesaw. It replaces the wobbly miter gauge, and reduces tear-out by closing the gap in the saw s wide-open throat plate. You also could modify the sled for use with a stationary tablesaw.
Start by cutting a 1⁄4 " hardboard base to size. Now square the edges of a pine 2x4, ripping it to 3" wide. From it, cut two 24"-long pieces, and glue and screw them together to form an L-shaped fence assembly. Then glue it to the hardboard base.
Next, make a pair of hardwood runners to fit your miter-gauge slots. The runners should fit snugly but still be able to slide.
Place the runners into their slots and run a small bead of glue along each one where the sled s base will cover them. Center the base/fence assembly side-to-side on your saw s table. Square the sled s fence to the saw blade by placing a framing square against the fence face and along the face of the blade. Allow the glue to dry.
Drill countersunk pilot holes in the base, and drive screws through it into the runners. Turn the sled over, and screw each runner into the base/fence assembly. Add a screw eye at one end of the fence so the sled can hang when not in use.
Note: This sled is designed for 3⁄4 "-thick stock. To safely cut thicker stock, add a 1-1⁄2 x3x4" block behind the fence, aligned with the saw kerf, to encase the blade.
Finally, make the optional stopblock if you wish, and you re ready to go. Simply place the runners into the slots, and raise your blade 1-1⁄4 " above the saw table. Glide the sled forward until the top of the blade cuts into the fence and then back out of the cut. Now crosscut your workpiece.
If you like this project, please check out our 330+ paper and downloadable woodworking project plans at the WOOD Store.