The table saw is one of the most used tools in my shop. And in this tutorial, I’m going to be showing you how to make three different jigs to use on it.
I also have FREE plans for these builds here: https://bit.ly/3dklum3
Thin Strips Jig
The first one is a jig to rip thin strips down. The second is a classic cross-cut sled. And the third is a miter sled that will get you those perfect 45’s.
The first one is the jig to rip thin strips down. It can be a little scary cutting thin strips as you have to get your fence so close to the blade. This jig keeps your hands and fence well away from the blade, but still gives you those nice thin strips.
Building this jig will be easiest if you make the width an even number. I made my board 4” wide. The shoe should be made the same height as the jig (I made mine 1/4”). You don’t want any fasteners in this shoe as it is sacrificial. You’ll eventually replace it when it gets too chewed up. So instead of screws, I’m using a quick setting wood glue.
I attached a handle to the top. Super simple!
Cross Cut Sled
Now we’re going to use this jig to help us make the second jig, the Cross Cut Sled.
When you’re at the table saw, you can make two different cuts. A rip cut, which goes with the grain, or a cross-cut, which goes across the grain. When you make a cross-cut on a board that is longer than it is wide, it can create kick back. And that creates a dangerous situation. By using a cross cut sled, you can nix using the fence and instead use the sled to push the wood through at an exact 90 degrees.
The cross cut sled has two runners, making the sled stable and ensuring a 90 degree cut. I’m going to start by making the runners slightly large, and then sneak up on the cut so I can get them the perfect width. They also need to be just slightly under the height of the table.
I’m going to use my Thin Strip Jig, and since I made mine an even number, all I have to do is add the amount that I actually want to cut. Since the Jig is 4” and I want these runners at 3/8ths, I’m going to set my fence at 4 3/8ths.
I’m going to use these hex nuts just to prop up these runners so they are temporarily above the level of the table saw right now.
I applied super glue to the runners and then placed the base of the sled on top of it. This is just to quickly hold the two together so you can then pop it out, countersink and screw the two together from the bottom.
Now we can raise the blade up to cut half way through the sled. Then attach the leading fence, who’s main job is to keep the sled together across the cut I just made.
You want to raise the blade high enough so you can set the fence up against the bade and not the teeth. Then you can square the back fence up to the blade itself.
I used a quick setting wood glue to hold it temporarily and then I secured it with screws.
The front fence on the Cross-Cut Sled is the important one because it is what is going to reference your material to the blade at an exact 90 degrees. To do this I’m going to flush it up with my hand and only put in one screw to create a pivot point. That gives me some adjustment room to square it up to the blade. You can then secure it with screws.
This next step isn’t necessary, but you can install a chunky block to the back (where the blade comes through) as an additional safety feature.
Keep in mind that this is a bare bones cross cut sled that you can make in under 30 minutes. There are a ton of features that you can add on to it, such as a built in stop block, that can make this sled even more functional.
The third jig is going to be a Miter Sled. This is a jig to help you make perfect 45 degree cuts, or miters, anytime. No matter how great your miter saw is, it will never compete with the accuracy that a Miter Sled for your table saw is.
The beginning steps are almost identical to the cross cut sled. You need a base and runners. If you are going to be making multiple jigs around the same time, you can go ahead and cut all of your parts at the same time to eliminate having to reset your fence. A lot of people use hard wood for their runners. I’m using plywood, but both are acceptable options. For the base, I’m using MDF as it has the advantage of staying flatter. I then screwed in the runners.
To make the fencing for the Miter Sled I used two pieces of plywood glued together. I then pushed my sled base half way through. I then took my speed square (as I know it is at a 45 degree angle) and referenced off the blade to draw a 45 degree mark.
Now I can take my fence material and glue it as close to this line as I can get it.
You want this fence to overhand your kerf line so that after you secure it in place, you can run the sled through the blade and cut it at an exact 90.
Now I can set the second fence next to the first and use the table saw to make its cut.
I’m then apply glue to the second fence and use an accurate 90 degree angle to line it up to the first. Then you can flip it over and secure it to the bottom with screws.
Just make sure that when you are cutting pairing miters, you use one fence to make once side and the other to make its pair.
And that’s it! Keep in mind that these are bare bones sleds to to get you going. You can always incorporate add ons to upgrade your sleds and jigs further.
I hope this project helps you out!
Don’t forget that I have FREE plans for these jigs here: https://bit.ly/3dklum3
Things I Used in This Project:
- ISOTunes Ear Protection: http://bit.ly/2rVobCD
- Titebond Quick and Thick: https://amzn.to/2KflUe0
- Titebond Instant Bond: https://amzn.to/2sCXvI9
- Bessey Clamps: https://amzn.to/2YZ0Dxk
- Woodpeckers Square 1281: https://amzn.to/2F43pvp
- Speed Square: https://amzn.to/2Dp2jss
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