you’ve had your fun, now get back to work!
Well I’m back from a much-needed and very fun family vacation – not the Caribbean, but close enough. With all that fun and relaxation behind me I’m eager to get back to work on some projects. I’ve got some quick shop projects to do and then it is on to the bedroom suit build for my oldest daughter (Victoria). I can’t help but be a little anxious about this because I know that colder weather is coming and “woodworking season” will be wrapping up (well, mostly – unless I’m willing to get out in a cold shop). [in case you don’t know this about me, I’m a winter wimp.]
should have saw that coming
I had used an inexpensive Craftsman table saw for many years and had the opportunity to upgrade to the Rigid hybrid table saw a little better than a year ago. After using it for some time I started reading reviews from people who had experienced some issues with that particular saw. In a panic I quickly put the micrometers and calipers to mine – fearing I had just spent a lot of money on a lemon – but soon realized that I had one of the good ones (insert sigh here).
If you look at some of my older post you might see my newest table saw – when it existed as a Harley Davidson. After years of trying I managed to sell it which gave me a little cash to upgrade once again. Nothing was wrong with the Rigid (which wasn’t that old), and in many ways there were features I liked about it (like it’s mobility feature – remember I have a garage shop), but I saw the rare opportunity to step up once again – hopefully for the last time (or at least for quite some time). So I plopped a few bucks down on the Grizzly G0690 cabinet saw. I debated getting the G0691 which is the same saw but with a wider rip capacity (which would have been awesome since I cut a lot of sheet goods) but I figured moving that thing around and storing it away when I needed to would be difficult (and I sometimes have to do that in a hurry – like a pending tornado). I had to wire in 220V to the garage and I replaced the 6′ cord that came on the saw with a 20′ cord and a twist lock plug. Thus far the saw has been a dream to work with. But with a new saw – new jigs are often required.
You can see my table saw review here. I’m not getting paid by Grizzly to review this product and I’m not endorsing it (but if anyone from Grizzly is watching – I’m open to sponsorship negotiations 🙂 )
now for some wood shop sledding
I hade made a nice crosscut sled for the Rigid but let it go with the saw when I sold it. As much as I’d had liked to keep it, it didn’t fit the tracks on the new table saw (you’d think there would be an industrial standard for that). So I’ll need to build a new one – this time I think I’ll upgrade it a bit. I’m also considering a panel sled. I was going to make a deeper crosscut sled but figured that if I was cutting something that deep, I’d likely need to be using a panel sled anyway.
There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of table saw crosscut sled designs out there – some simple and some more complex – and although a simpler one would probably be good enough for what I do (my last sled was pretty simple and it worked fine), I decided to over complicate my design [boy is that just like me]. I’d love to give credit to those to whom I “borrowed” design elements, but that would likely be an extensive list – but definitely David Picciuto at the drunken woodworker from where I got the extension idea.
the fatal flaw – well not fatal, but definitely threatening
I didn’t document the sled build much (there are tons of vids and blogs out there that do that for you) but I do want to note a flaw in my design that I had to correct.
I’m one of those guys (both in what I design at work and at home) that believe my next project will absolutely be my best project – definitely better than my last. By that I mean we should always be learning and applying that new knowledge as we go – not just in woodworking, but in everything.
My original design had a back fence (yellow in pic below) that was just one piece of 3/4″ plywood with a piece (green in pic below) of 3/4″ ply on top that would accept a track (blue) for a stop block. My previous crosscut sled (the one I gave away with the old saw) had two pieces of 3/4″ ply glued together for the back fence. This made a dead flat and rigid fence. After trying to calibrate the new fence to the table saw blade (I used the 5-cut method) I noticed that I never could get the alignment right – then I noticed that the new fence (the one with only one 3/4″ ply) was not flat. I must have tweaked the fence (yellow) when installing the top board (green).
I like the design (more on that later) so I decided to re-design the fence. The front fence (on the far end of the crosscut sled (not shown in pics above) – which has no other purpose than to keep the deck together after you cut through it) was built using two 3/4″ plywood boards glued together and it was dead flat. So, I decided to change my plans to adapt, or re-adapt, this style to the back fence [why didn’t I stick with what I know and do that in the first place?]. So I doubled up the back fence and kept the style – of course, this meant I had to re-build the entire back-end of the sled – live and learn 😐 . This also means I’ll lose an additional 3/4″ of deck space – but I can live with that.
features – track & stop
In all the pics you will see a blue track that I installed on top of the rear fence. This will allow me to install and use a stop block to make repeatable cuts. This will also allow me to make other jigs that I can mount to the sled. The track I used can be purchased here.
features – extension wing
One of the most elaborate design features (that I “borrowed” from David Picciuto at the drunken woodworker) was the extension wing. This feature allows me to extend the deck and the repeatable stop beyond the main deck. (The extension wing had to be remade to fit the new fence style mentioned above.)
The extension wing can be locked in place with a carriage bolt that will go through a recessed hole in the rear fence and locked down with a butterfly nut on the back.
features – blade/dust guard
If you really want to be creeped out – try Googling table saw injuries. The extension wing feature added a nice feature that will come in handy as I try to keep all my fingers (you see what I did there?). One problem with my old sled was that, even though I had an 1-1/2″ back fence, the table saw blade would still come through the back of it. This always concerned me and I even painted the area it came through red as a visible reminder to keep my fingers clear. The new sled, because of the extension wing sliding mechanism, has a thicker back fence. This allows me to “box in” the area where the blade comes through and hopefully help me keep my fingers away. It also helps keep the dust coming off the blade down. I’ll likely end up painting that area red still.
if you are interested – SketchUp
You can find my SketchUp file for this crosscut sled, as well as other designs (but not all) on my SketchUp page here.