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I have used two table saw sleds made by other people. In both cases, the horizontal surface that the wood attaches too on either side of the saw blade tends to rise or lift up unevenly. Especially when clamped.

I can see that the wood is essentially just bending under pressure. But how do I prevent this.

What causes a table saw sled to be uneven on either side of the cut line?

(these sleds didn't have a cross piece on the opposing side a stiffener, I suppose to accommodate material deeper than the sled - maybe it's as simple as that)

  • I think I want to see pictures of these sleds you are talking about. Also want to know what they are made of specifically. – Matt Feb 25 '16 at 12:57
  • @Matt - The sled itself was made from 1/2" scrap plywood, though the runners were made of a hardwood (not sure what - dark colored). The person that made them had industrial design credentials and was something of a woodworker to my knowledge. Those were the only sleds I ever used and I didn't realize how key the stiffener was. – NipFu Feb 25 '16 at 22:46
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[T]hese sleds didn't have a cross piece on the opposing side, I suppose to accommodate material deeper than the sled - maybe it's as simple as that.

If that board is missing then it would be a large contributing factor to the sled overall flatness. That board sole purpose is to help keep the jig flat. Consider the following picture where a crosscuts sleds parts are labelled.

Cross cut sled anatomy

Image from familyhandyman.com

The board I believe you are referring to is identified as a stiffener in the above diagram. Note that I included the picture because of the label and not because I am promoting that sled design or style.

The absence of that board might not be the sole contributing factor. The choice of plywood will also play a large role in this. Near all the tutorials on building these sleds call for baltic birch plywood. While more expensive than your common plywood it is revered for its dimensional stability.

A lesser point would be if these were hand-me-downs or constructed just for you. If the former, where they were stored would be important.

[T]he horizontal surface that the wood attaches too on either side of the saw blade tends to rise or lift up unevenly

I could interpret that statement to mean there is an issue with the runners underneath the sled or that your mitre slots are not perfectly clean and it is affected by left over debris.

| improve this answer | |
  • As you mentioned, the stiffener was not there. I didn't know the names of sled parts. – NipFu Feb 25 '16 at 22:43

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