MBW “Shorts” Extended Crosscuts

September 29, 2013

Once in a while I have a few crosscuts that exceed the capability of my table saw miter gauge or my crosscut sled and since I prefer to use my table saw for crosscutting versus my miter saw, because of it’s accuracy and versatility, I found a technique that works and is super accurate.

There are any number of ways to attach an extension arm to my sled so I could clamp on a stop block to make multiple cuts that are repeatable and equally accurate, but they can get in the way and or even just clumsy.

This technique is as simple as they get and can be easily adapted for use on just about any miter gauge or crosscut sled and requires nothing more than a pencil.

Some of you have already been asking why I don’t simply mark the length on the board and then register THAT mark against the sled’s kerf? The reason is simple, since making the sled I’ve used a couple of different blades on my tablesaw.

At some point one of those blades was thicker than the current one I have mounted on the arbor. The result is that the kerf has been altered slightly, widened to be exact. But it’s not enough to make me trash this sled and build a new one.

So rather than doing a number of test cuts to ensure it’s lined up properly, this little trick takes care of business for me.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Paul in Oz says:

    Hi Matt,

    Just watched your MBW short showing the cross cutting sled trick. How does this help? Why not measure the timber to 52 inches and align the tick mark with the right hand edge of the saw kerf in the sled?

    If the kerf in the sled is too sloppy stand a piece of MDF on edge along the back of the sled and fasten to the sled with screws or clamps. Then cut the MDF – one now has a tight kerf to reference where the saw will cut.



  2. Paul in Oz says:

    Okay, I should have read the preamble.

    On a different note, I’m glad you’re building a bed. It is on my “to do” list.



    • Matt says:

      Hey Paul,

      Thanks for reading my show notes for “why” I’m using this technique. Like I mentioned, the kerf of the sled has been a little altered due to multiple blades having been used.

      I know a lot of woodworkers would prefer to make a replaceable backer board or an interchangeable insert, but since this technique works so well and my cuts are equally accurate and repeatable I’m going with it LOL.

      As for the bed, I’m really excited, this should be a great build and something I can’t wait to show off.

      Thanks for watching!

  3. Larry Thayer says:

    Thank you. Good stuff.

    When I was looking at your sled, I noticed you don’t have a lot of material over the area where the blade travels holding both halves of the sled together. Am I not seeing something that firms up or strengthens the sled around the area of the cut?

    Second, When I was young I had trouble making one line to designate the length of a board. I’d make the line then go over it and make it darker (and wider) or make it at a slight angle and not know later which part of the line I actually meant to use. Especially if I went away from the mark and came back, I was asking myself if I was going to use the center of the mark, the left or right side, or the end of a mark that was closer to the scrap end or the “keeper” side.

    My dad showed me how to use an arrow or “mountain” to point to the exact area I wanted to use for length. Do you use some method, other than a knife mark which I assume would be most accurate, to make your pencil marks?

    Thanks again, Thayer

    • Matt says:

      Hey Larry in this situation the front and back fences of the sled hold the table of the sled in position.

      On the bottom of the sled both fences have multiple screws keeping them locked in place so there’s no movement. It’s actually been very rock solid.

      As for the pencil marking, I frequently use something much like the arrow you described. Obviously in this particular video I just used a line, in subsequent uses I’ll probably mark it better.

  4. John Fitz says:

    This is a pretty cool trick to compensate for an inaccurate kerf cut. For cases where consistency is absolutely critical, I probably would still use a stop block – or, using your method, clamp the first piece to the sled and just line up all the other pieces flush against the far end. No sense measuring and marking multiple pieces when you can use the first one as a guide.

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