The Table Saw Sled pictured above is the basis of our "Table Saw Jig Collection".
The other three jigs in this collection are desinged to mount on this basic sled.
Table saws are excellent for ripping long boards. But we also need to make a variety
of different cuts on smaller work pieces. While the basic miter gauge that comes with
a table saw enables us to make simple crosscuts and miter cuts, it's difficult to
achieve the accuracy we need because the blades always tend to move the wood while
the cut is being made.
For really precise work you need to:
Make or buy a table saw sled that enables you to position your work piece accurately
for the cut.
Securely clamp your work piece in place so it will not move while the cut is being made.
Make sure the miter bar on your sled fits snugly in the table saw slot so there is no
side to side movement of the sled.
Keep your hands safely away from the blade.
The basic Table saw sled or some may call it a "table saw jig" is shown above.
We also offer free plans for a tapering jig accessory, tenoning jig accessory,
and safety handles that work with this basic sled.
The piece of plain MDF board on the left of the saw blade is called the
"Zero Clearance Side Extension". This part is to support the cut-off piece of
wood at the same level as the top surface the jig itself.
The plans below provide a parts list, parts drawings, and detailed instructions
for building this sled. Plans for the Zero Clearance Side Extension are at the
bottom of the page.
Step 1 - Cut the Parts You'll Need
One 12" by 24" piece of 1/2" MDF board
One 12" by 3" piece of 1/2" MDF board
One 12" by 2 1/4" piece of 1/2" MDF board
Four 8 1/4" by 5 5/8" pieces of 1/2" MDF board
One 12" by 24" piece of 1/2" MDF board
One 3/4" by 24" by 1/2" piece of hardwood or UHMW plastic
Three 12" long pieces T-Track (should be 1/2" thick)
Two 7 1/2" long pieces T-Track (should be 1/2" thick)
Step 2 - Measure the Miter Bar Slot Distance
The miter bar needs to be placed so that the edge of the table saw sled is flush with
the edge of the saw blade. This serves two purposes:
It minimizes splintering on your workpiece. (Works like a zero clearance table saw insert.)
You can see exactly where the blade will make the cut.
The drawing above shows a quick and easy way to accurately measure this distance. The correct
distance is indicated by the blue arrows.
Step 3 - Cut the Slot for the Miter Bar
First, cut a piece of scrap wood to the exact width of your miter bar slots. It
should fit snugly in the slot so it slides easily but has no side to side movement.
This is the exact width of the slot you'll cut in the next step. You need to cut
a 1/8" deep slot down the bottom surface of your sled's base as indicated in the
drawing above. The width was determined in the previous step. The distance of
the slot from the edge of the sled base, (indicated by the blue arrows), is the
measurement you made in Step 1.
Step 4 - Attach the Surface Tiles and T-Track
Note the arrangement of the surface tiles and t-track in the drawing above. Using your
choice of either contact cement or glue, attach the surface tiles to the top surface of the
sled base. These tiles must be positioned so the t-track fits between them. Ensure the screw
holes, (red arrows), are above the miter bar slot,(blue arrows).
Position the T-Track as shown. Note the gap at the ends of the center pieces of T-Track in
the close-up image, (green arrow). This provides an opening for inserting T-Track bolts.
Step 5 - Attach the Bar for the Miter Slot
When the glue is dry, position the miter slot bar in the slot on the bottom of the
table saw sled base as indicated by the green arrow.
Using the holes already drilled in the surface tiles as guides, drill through the
sled base and the miter slot bar with a 3/32" drill bit. (These will be the pilot
holes for the miter slot bar.) Next, remove the miter slot bar and countersink
the four holes in the surface tiles for #6 flathead screws. Now, enlarge the four
holes in the tiles and sled base with a 9/64" bit. (This provides the correct
diameter holes for the screw shanks.)
Finally, attach the miter slot bar with 1 1/4" #6 flathead screwsas indicated
by the blue arrows.
Step 6 - Apply Sandpaper to the Surface Tiles
Finally, cut pieces of 120 grit sandpaper to the size of each surface tile and
apply it to the surface tiles with contact cement. The sandpaper helps hold the
workpieces securely in place.
This completes your table saw sled. Now you're ready to make the Safety Handles
and Side Extension.
Safety Handles for Your Table Saw Sled
Table saws can be extremely dangerous. This is especially true when working with smaller
work pieces. That's why you need to keep your hands well clear of the blade at all times.
These two handles not only make a convenient way to push the sled while sawing, they
keep your hands away from the blade too.
Different types of cuts require the handle to be in different positions on the Table Saw
If you're making taper cuts on a relatively long work piece, you need the handle
to be off to the side.
But, if you're making a cross cut, it is more convenient
when the handle is centered on the sled.
Special Hardware You'll Need
For this project, you'll need:
Four small 1/4" threaded knobs. (Assuming your T-Track uses 1/4" bolts.)
Four 2 1/2" long by 1/4" T-Track bolts and washers.
Note: If you have a bench grinder, you can create your own T-Track bolts from
carriage bolts by grinding the sides and top of the carriage bolt-head
so the head of the bolt slides smoothly thru the T-Track.
Safety Handles Parts List
One 2" by 11" piece of 3/4" wood for the Side Handle Base.
One 5 1/5" by 5 1/2" piece of 3/4" wood for the Middle Handle Base.
Two 5 1/5" by 5 1/2" pieces of 3/4" wood for the Handles.
Safety Handles Parts Drawings
A free full size cut-out pattern for the Handle in PDF file
format is available. Download link is at bottom of this page.
Drill the Required Holes
On the Each Handle Base:
Drill two 1/4" holes for the T-Track bolts as indicated by the red
arrows in the drawing above.
Drill two 5/32" holes for the Handle mounting screws as indicated
by the green arrows. These holes need to be countersunk for No. 8 flathead screws.
Assemble the Square Base Handle
Apply glue to mating surfaces and secure the Handle to the Base with 1 1/2"
No. 8 flat head screws.
Note: The Handle should be centered front to back and side to side.
Insert the Track Bolts
Insert two 1 1/2 T-Track bolts from the bottom as shown to the left.
Attach the T-Track Knobs
Attach the knobs to the T-Track Bolts as shown. You need to use a flat
washer under each knob.
This completes your table saw sled.
Now you're ready to make the Zero Clearance Side Extension.
Making the Zero Clearance Side Extension
The side extension is important for two reasons:
It prevents the end of the workpiece from breaking off before the cut is finished.
(It provides a surface on the left side of the saw blade that is the same height
as the surface of the table saw sled.)
It's minimizes tearout on the left side of the saw blade. Having a supporting
surface against the edge of the blade helps the blade make a clean cut. Otherwise,
the blade's teeth tend to push the wood fibers in a downward direction which
tears fibers away from the wood.
The Side Extension is quite simple to build. It's basically just two layers of 1/2"
thick MDF board with a strip of wood to sit in your saw's miter gauge slot. This keeps
it in a fixed position so it doesn't move while making cuts.
Since the table saw sled has sandpaper glued to the top surface, you should add the
same thickness of sandpaper to the bottom surface of the side extension. This makes
it exactly the same height of the sled's surface. (I'm sure it goes without saying,
but if the sandpaper were on the top surface would make the workpiece hard to push.)
Step 1 - Measure the Length & Width
Determine the width and length of your Table Saw Sled Side Extension as shown in the
image to the left.
The length is the same as the front to back measurement of your table saw. The width
is the distance from the left edge of your table saw's blade to the left edge of your
Step 2 - Cut the Side Extension Parts
Top Surface and the Base. These are two identical pieces of 1/2 thick MDF board.
The length and width are the measurements you made in Step 1
Miter Slot Strip. This can be made of any wood you have available. The length is
1/2" longer than the length of the Base and Top Surface pieces.
Stop Tab. This piece is the width of the Miter Slot Strip and 1/2" long
by 1/2" thick.
Step 3 - Measure the Miter Bar Slot Distance
The wooden miter slot strip needs to be placed so that the edge of the sled
extension is flush with the edge of the saw blade.
The drawing above shows a quick and easy way to accurately measure this
distance. The correct distance is indicated by the blue arrows. You will cut a slot
in bottom of the side extension base to accommodate this strip in the next step.
Step 4 - Cut the Slot for the Miter Bar
Cut a 1/8" deep slot on the bottom surface of your side extension's base as indicated
in the drawing above. The width of this slot is the same as the width of your
table saw's miter gauge slot. (Indicated by the red arrows.)
The distance of the slot from the edge of the sled base, (indicated by the blue arrows),
is the measurement you made in Step 2.
Step 5 - Attach Base and Top - Drill Small Holes
With contact cement or wood glue, attach the top surface to the base as shown to the left.
Be sure the edges of the Top Surface and base are flush on all four sides. When the glue
is dry, position the Miter Slot Strip so it is flush with the end of the base at the rear
and sticks out 1/2" in the front as indicated by the blue arrow in the drawing.
Clamp the Miter Slot Strip in place and drill four 3/32" holes completely through the
Top Surface, Base, and Miter Slot Strip. These holes should be placed directly above
the slot for the Miter Slot Strip. The outer holes are 2" from each end. The two center
holes should be equally spaced between the two end holes.
Step 6 - Attach the Miter Slot Strip
Remove the Miter Slot Strip and enlarge the four holes though the Top Suface and Base
with a 9/64" drill bit. This makes the holes the proper shank hole size for #6 wood screws.
Next, countersink these holes on the Top Surface for a #6 flathead wood screw. Position
the Miter Slot Strip as in the previous step and secure it with 1 1/4" long #6 flat wood
Next, attach the Stop Tab with a 2 1/2" long machine screw with the appropriate
nut and washers. (In dicated by the blue arrow.)
Step 7. Attach Sandpaper to the Base
Finally, turn the assembled side extension upside down and glue pieces of 120 grit
sandpaper to the bottom surface of the base with contact cement.
This ensures the top surface of the side extension is the same height as the top surface
of the sled and still permits the workpieces to slide easily.
This completes your table saw sled side extension.