$25 Crosscut sled

After having a little bit of trouble crosscutting anything wider than about 7″ on my tablesaw I decided that I needed a crosscut sled.  Rather than spending over $100 to buy one I decided to make one myself using a 2’x4′ sheet of MDF and a 5/4″ thick stair step.  Total cost for the build was under 25 bucks.

I didn’t do a very good job taking pictures of the first part of the build, so I’ll do by best to describe the process with text.

The first thing I did was cut two 3/4″ slices from the end of the MDF to use as runners for the sled.  Then I cut a 16″ piece from the MDF using a circular saw.  This cut didn’t need to be exact (or even straight) since it would be trimmed later.  At this point I had the two halves of the sled.  On each half I cut a 3/4″ wide 3/8″ deep dado to hold the runner.  I screwed the runner down from the top of the sled making sure that the tops of the screws were below the surface of the MDF.  Finally I ran each half of the sled through the table saw using the runner as a guide, leaving me with two properly sized sections as seen below.

Sled sections cut to size with runners installed
Close up of the MDF Runner
Stair step which will be converted into a fence
The stair step has been cut down into three pieces which will be the sled fence
Squaring the fence to the blade. The fence will be screwed down from the bottom
Clamping on back fence. This one doesn't need to be square, it just helps hold the two sections together
Clamping and screwing down the second piece of the front fence