If you have ever used workshop tools, then you are likely to have come across different varieties of these tools. The operations of workshop tools are as different as their names are. These tools make the work easier for both the homeowners and the craftsmen. If you handle them with necessary care, you will find them to be among the easiest tools to use. This includes using the right tool for the work at hand and using the skills you have. This improves their efficiency.
Sometimes it is impractical when you have to buy a workshop tool that you need or hire someone to build it for you, yet you can make one. Some tools are easier to build. You don’t need to rush to the stores that sell workshop tools every time the tool develops a problem and stops working. There are some tasks that are easier to take up. You can save money as well as get some skills while at it. This can make you an expert within no time.
Building a workshop tool may seem to be farfetched idea, until you try it. For example, you can build a table saw sled even without any skills. A table saw simplifies the work by reducing large pieces of wood to the desirable sizes. A table saw sled on the other hand, crosscuts the large pieces of wood easily and accurately.
You can make a table saw sled that will still perform efficiently. Therefore, you don’t have to worry on whether the sled will work like the rest. With simple instructions that guide on how to go about the project, you will be amazed with the outcome. You will also get a tool that you can use as often as possible.
You don’t have to worry about how long it will take especially when you are doing it for the first time. Rushing to finish building the job might lead to undesirable results. Your focus should only be on making it the best way you know how. The guidelines below will come in handy when building a table saw sled.
What Do You Need?
The material to be used should be cut from hardwood scrap. Hardwood performs better for workshop tools than other type of woods, therefore, it is preferred over others. In addition, it doesn’t shrink much as the rings grow. This does not have a negative effect on how tight the fit is. However, you can still use the hardest woods you have if you don’t have any exotic hardwood.
Other tools and materials include:
- A flattened plywood that is at least ¼ thick
- Tri square
- Drill bits etc.
Calipers will provide you with the right measurements of the table saw mitre track required. On the other hand, a tri-square will come in handy. It will be used in aligning the fence of the sled to the table. In addition, your table saw should be calibrated.
Step by Step Guide
1.Take the measurement of the mitre track
You should know the track dimensions of your mitre before you make the cuts. The standard dimensions of most mitre tracks is 0.75 in width and 0.375 in depth.
2. Cut track
The table saw should be set in such a way that it is on the dimension of the track width. On the hardwood scrap, make a rip cut. On the mitre depth, set your fence. Run the hardwood you have cut on through a second time after fitting the fence to your mitre depth. Tidy up the surface of the table saw as well as the mitre track of any pieces of wood or debris. This will help you get accurate assessment.
3. Test fit
Take the hardwood you had previously cut and place it on the mitre track. Test the fit. Push the hardwood in line with the track. Check whether it will stick or not. Wiggle the hardwood in a contrary direction to the track. This tests the amount of play or slop that is there. Here, you should get a snug fit without a rough glide, so it should be very smooth. In addition, it should have no play.
If you get stuck while doing this, check whether there is debris and clear it off. You can get the correct fit if you use a sand paper on the hardwood sections.
4. Attaching together
Use the track you have cut to create a sled base. It doesn’t have to be square in shape. Attach the hardwood to your mitre track using the wood glue. After this, set the plywood on top of the hardwood track. Let it dry.
5. Secure track
When the glue on these materials dries up, slide them from the mitre track. The plywood should be flipped over. Drill pilot the holes lengthwise on the hardwood. Countersink the holes. Ensure the hardwood is secured to the plywood by use of fasteners.
6. Partial kerf cut
Make a reference cut. This is done by ensuring the sled is placed on the mitre track while the plywood is set directly over the blade that has been lowered. Start the saw. Make the cut by ensuring the blade is slightly higher than the plywood’s base surface.
Prepare the sled back fence using the tri-square so that it is square and perpendicular to the saw’s blade. Through the plywood, extend the blade up, de-energize the saw, set you tri-square against the blade’s face. Glue the back fence and attach to the plywood.
Check whether the back fence is square. Let the glue dry. Flip the sled over. Create holes, countersink them and use screws to attach the back fence. With the blade raised higher than the plywood’s surface, pass the sled through the blade completely.
Use the 5-cut method to determine the deviation from the perpendicular. After using this method, you will determine how accurate your sled should be. Check the adjustments you want by using the 5-cut method.
The table saw sled is easier to make. The instructions provided here are very basic. You can customize your sled the way you want. Once you make the sled, you can use it just like you use other tools. Don’t keep it in fear that it will not function as you desire. You will enjoy making cross cuts using the tool you have made yourself.