Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cross-Cut Sled Slot Repair

I have been enamored with the simplicity and never-ending usefulness of the cross-cut sled ever since I saw David Marks use one on Woodworks. I’ve built numerous sleds over the years but the one I made in this video has been with me since 2011! One of the primary benefits of a cross-cut sled is the fact that the base provides zero-clearance, supporting the work through the entire cut and producing near tearout-free results. Over time, regular use can cause that slot to widen. Accidentally using the sled while the blade is at an angle can also widen the slot. And as in my case, a new saw can certainly create issues where zero-clearance is concerned. So we have to have a reasonable way to repair the slot without rebuilding the entire sled. Here’s how you can fix it.

Tape Off The Slot

Using masking tape (I prefer the blue variety), mask off the underside of the slot making sure to wrap the tap up the fence boards of the sled. We want to make sure there’s absolutely no opportunity for leakage in the next step.

Fill With Epoxy

Using West System Epoxy (105 Resin, 205 Hardener, 404 Filler), fill the slot so that the epoxy sits just proud of the sled surface. Be sure to keep an eye on the slot and add more epoxy as needed. Clamp a caul across the surface of the sled while the glue dries to help keep the two halves of the sled flush.

Flush It Up

After the epoxy dries, use a card scraper or block plane to remove the excess and then switch to a sander for the final smoothing. If you’re good with a sander you can use it for the entire process, just be careful not to create any divots in the sled. The area near the fence will likely build up to some extent and you’ll need to use a chisel and a scraper to remove it.

Re-Cut The Slot

Remove the blue tape from the underside of the sled and place it back on the saw. Turn the saw on with the blade fully retracted and then slowly raise it up. The blade will cut through the epoxy creating a new zero-clearance slot. Boom! Your sled is repaired!

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