Monday, 23 February 2015

New Crosscut Sled.


First off using the table saw without a blade guard and riving knife (splitter) is illegal in commercial workshops in the UK. However as I work alone I can do as I please in the privacy of my own shop.
I will say though, I only use my table saw for crosscuts doing all my ripping on the bandsaw.
So with a high end table saw fitted with a rock solid sliding table why do I use a crosscut sled?
Firstly for a splinter free cut, to the both the left and right of the work as well as the rear.
Secondly it cuts dead square, the aluminium extruded fence on my Felder saw is very fiddly to set and once you tighten the knobs it flexes. The fence on my  planer thicknesser suffers from the same problem.
Thirdly it supports the work both sides of the blade which actually helps with safety as the off cut can be moved completely clear of the blade before removal.
Lastly it allows me to make cuts against a stop either side of the blade
None of this is new to woodworkers in the US.


Above is a shot of the adjustable support for the overhang from the sliding table.
Below you can see the zero clearance either side of the blade.


Although I've used a simple sled for a few years, there were two major improvements I wanted to make. Firstly I made it bigger, 3' to the left of the blade and 2' to the right with a 16' capacity. With anything greater than 3' I could use the telescopic arm and stop on the table saw fence taking it to 6'.
Secondly I was fed up of clamping on bits of wood as stops, then measuring, adjusting the clamp and so on until it was just right. So enter 'Flipstop'.


This is an industrial piece of equipment with a price to match but I've used it for many years on my drill press and it is superb http://www.flipstop.com/. Rock solid, easy to adjust and with no play whatsoever. The fence has elongated screw holes so you can adjust it until the scale reads absolutely spot on, no more tape measure! A pair of stops is very useful as you can retain a setting by flipping the stop arm out of the way. This is great when cutting box sides with continuous grain as you can alternate from one stop to the other as you work down the board. This will get plenty of use preparing the parts for the tool chest course in the summer for New English Workshop.


Here's my drill press setup, the stops are being borrowed on the table saw and are easy to swap over as needed, at £61.20 per stop I didn't feel like buying two more unless absolutely necessary!
So that just leaves me with the 'get out' that all the magazines over use over here, 'guards removed for clarity', what a load of b******s!


13 comments:

  1. A precision-made crosscut sled has been a revelation for my work. Compared to the shop beater-sleds I've experienced before, it's dead-square with absolutely no spelching at any edge of the cut. That is, it's completely suitable for producing clean and precise final cuts.

    That said (and as a woodworker in the U.S.) this post has me wondering: do commercial workshops in the UK use crosscut sleds at all? Sleds seem to play poorly with blade guards that I've seen, and can interfere with some riving knife designs as well.

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    Replies
    1. No commercial workshops use sleds as they would indeed foul the blade guard and removing it is illegal. I have never seen a sled in use in any workshop in the UK, commercial or not. If you were to see how flimsy the plastic guard is that we are supposed to keep in place you would laugh! All the best, David.

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  2. Any tricks on how u square the fence?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff, once the tight fitting bar is in the mitre slot and you've made the initial cut through the sled, the fence is screwed at one end and clamped at the other. Make a trial cut in wide material and flip the board and line it up with the blade slot. The deviation from square will be doubled, adjust the clamp and keep going until the reading is perfect and the fence is dead square. Attach with screws all along and then remove the clamp. All the best, David.

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  3. Any tricks on how u square the fence?

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  4. A load of b@#?$cks !!! Ha ha !!! You don't mince you words David, one of the things I find makes you a great teacher

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    Replies
    1. At first I filled in the gaps but then thought better of it! All the best, David.

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  5. Hi David,
    Been thinking of putting a crosscut sled on a feller table saw for a while and was just wondering whether you simply connected it using a wooden baton in the existing mitre slot on the sliding table or whether you used some form of attachment at the rear of the sled as well. Many thanks

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    Replies
    1. Yes it is just connected with a wooden baton in the mitre slot so that it can be easily lifted on and off. As there is only one mitre slot it needs to be a really nice tight fit. All the best, David.

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  6. I understand the benefits of ripping on the bandsaw, but it's always felt awkward doing so. I'm curious if you have any special outfeed table supports that you've implemented.

    On the tablesaw, the rip fence is nice and long (compared to a bandsaw fence) so you get great lateral support through the cut.

    But on a bandsaw, the fence is short, and the table is short. Therefore the workpiece support seems less than ideal for long rips.

    If you ever feel like writing a post on how you use and configure your bandsaw, I would be very interested in reading it.

    Marty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marty, as I work with solid wood rather than sheet goods, the ripping cuts I do are with boards that are long but not too wide. I use a roller stand to support the boards. I use a shop made fence which is the length of the table which helps, although it still requires good technique to keep flat. For boards that have already been planed I use a magnetic feather board which is very helpful in keeping the work against the fence and gives a very clean accurate cut, especially with a carbide tooth blade. I hope this is helpful. All the best, David.

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