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How do I prevent the blade from cutting into the "fence" of my table sled?

enter image description here

Wood rails engage slots in the table saw.

I see no way of raising the sled by much.

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  • 3
    Is your concern safety, or the blade cutting the fence apart? For the former, it's fairly common to build a box at the back of the sled into which the blade can travel without being exposed, thus keeping hands away from spinning metal unless you cut all the way through the box as well. For the latter, make the fence tall enough that it won't be cut through at the highest blade setting you intend to use (with some amount of space above that height to preserve strength).
    – keshlam
    Dec 12, 2022 at 21:24
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    1) YouTube is full of videos on "how to built a crosscut sled". Watch a few, you'll see how people manage this. 2) Let me introduce you to Woodworking, our sister site where woodworking questions are explicitly on topic and there is a wealth of woodworking knowledge.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 13, 2022 at 14:29
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    Here are a couple of YT videos: King's Fine Woodworking, 3x3Custom, 731 Woodworks. Also the definitive guide on squaring the fence to the blade to ensure you get accurate cuts.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 13, 2022 at 14:38

5 Answers 5

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This is supposed to happen

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Sleds are partially sacrificial. That's the whole reason they're made out of softwood and not steel.

What to do about it depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

If you're worried about the sled breaking, especially what with that knot there, then go ahead and sister it with taller timber such as a 2x8 set alongside the 2x4 (not stacked with it). Although you could just double it with a 2x4 that doesn't have a knot right there. I myself would glue and screw, but you do you.

If you're worried about the blade coming out beyond the sled and biting a careless thumb, I would seriously work on my body-awareness and sense of craft (or get a SawStop)... but OK then. In that case, add some timber to create a bunch of empty space between the active surface (the other side of this pictured 2x4) and the place the saw will actually be going.

Maybe a V-shaped guard cut out of 2x4 and topped with a piece of plywood. Or simply sister the visible 2x4 with a couple more 2x4's on the inside, although this would narrow the width of the sled.

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    +1 Absolutely supposed to happen. 20 years' experience in a cabinet shop, I made and used sleds like these many times on table saws for cross-cuts, when a chop saw wasn't the correct way. A tall-enough back edge prevents trouble from the blade going though it. Dec 13, 2022 at 0:21
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    "I would seriously work on my body-awareness and sense of craft" = "git gud". Probably fair, but harsh.
    – William
    Dec 13, 2022 at 22:36
  • @William good point. They don't need to do that, they could just get a SawStop. (deluxe table saw with an emergency blade brake... an explosive, destructive, one-shot blade brake.) Dec 14, 2022 at 7:15
5

How do I prevent the blade from cutting into the "fence" of table sled?

Well, that depends on whether or not you need to cut through your entire work piece.

All sleds that I've seen have the slit in the front and back. If you find that your sled is buckling then reinforce the fence by making it taller or screw on a metal angle bracket.

Option 1

Clamp your workpiece forward like this:

enter image description here Source

Option 2

Add blocking so that your cut is finished before you get to the fence,

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Option 3

Add stops at the bottom of the sled which don't let you push the fence into the blade.

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  • If I add stops, then the rail is not engaged. Guess it's time for another picture. :-)
    – fixit7
    Dec 12, 2022 at 21:20
  • I do not need stops at the bottom of the sled because there are 2 rails on the bottom of the sled that run in the groove in the ACTUAL metal part of the table saw. They keep the sled aligned so it does NOT hit the blade. I am going to reinforce the the "back side" of the fence with another piece identical in size. I have not decided if I will use hot wood glue or use screws. I will also not ever move the blade any higher. I am happy with the cut thickness as it is.:-)
    – fixit7
    Dec 13, 2022 at 2:10
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    @fixit7 PLEASE do not use your table saw while you're taking these steroids! We want you to maintain all your fingers so you can come ask more questions!
    – FreeMan
    Dec 13, 2022 at 14:31
2

To prevent the cut at the rear fence you can

  • limit the travel of the sled/tray with stops (illustrated in yellow) attached to the bottom of the sled, and with arms extending the sled where needed to reach past the table top

They are drawn on both sides, and you choose which one or both you'll use. On the left of the pic (the front) I have them on an arm, on the right (the back) I have them right under the sled platform.

  • pre-cut the fence (green) to the blade height, and ensure there is enough bridging (red) at the top of the fence to maintain a strong and stable sled

You can reinforce the bridge with a strip of additional lumber (nailed, screwed, glued), a metal bracket (screwed), or just ensure the fence is tall enough already or replacing it if necessary with taller lumber now or when it breaks.

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  • From what I see, your stops shown are on the wrong side. I could attach stops on the other end and they hit the wall. I have locking castors holding up the table. I will add a new picture. @P2000
    – fixit7
    Dec 12, 2022 at 21:10
  • @fixit7 I drew them on both sides, you choose which one. On the left of the pic (the front) I have them on an arm, on the right (the back) I have them right under the sled platform. But you get get the idea.
    – P2000
    Dec 12, 2022 at 23:59
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A work in progress, but I am happy with the results.

enter image description here

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    Please don't add "thanks" as answers. Invest some time in the site and you will gain sufficient privileges to upvote answers you like, which is the Home Improvement way of saying thank you. You might want to edit this into your question, and accept one of the answers.
    – Machavity
    Dec 13, 2022 at 13:32
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    Except, @Machavity, it's usually not considered Kosher to edit the original question with "what I did" info. An answer is the way to go, just don't say "thanks". I'm sure fixit has up voted all the answers that he found helpful and will come give a check mark to the one that was most helpful.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 13, 2022 at 14:33
  • So what was the actual issue that you solved? Was your rear fence not strong enough once it got cut or are you trying to avoid cutting your fingers? If the latter, then that solution won't address the issue.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Dec 13, 2022 at 19:36
  • @MonkeyZeus I am happy. You may want to avoid over analyzing things.
    – fixit7
    Dec 13, 2022 at 19:42
  • @fixit7 it's not about users over analyzing things, this site is about providing useful information to others about how to fix/improve things. Your picture and text are incredibly unclear about how you're going about fixing/improving your crosscut sled, and leaves the reader to make assumptions and wild guesses. MonkeyZeus was asking you to remove the assumption & guesses by telling us what you're doing.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 14, 2022 at 13:09
-1

To answer the question as explicitly asked:

How do I keep my table saw blade from cutting into my crosscut sled fence?

Buy a piece of 1/4" steel and bolt it to the front of the fence. This will, 100% guaranteed, prevent the blade from cutting through the fence.

It will also, 100% guaranteed, ruin every saw blade that comes in contact with it, bending teeth on cheap, non-carbide tipped blades, and breaking the carbide off of carbide tipped blades, sending the carbide around the room in random directions and at high speed.

After replacing several blades and picking chunks of carbide out of arms, faces, and walls, you'll get really good at stopping before the blade hits the fence.

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  • You are so not funny. :-)
    – fixit7
    Dec 17, 2022 at 5:09

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