The Saw Stop Tune-up a month or so ago has been great, but it did have the effect of rendering most of the cross-cut sleds unusable. (Most had been in poor shape even before this.)
Chase Wilson (@jiggliemon) made a nice new sled with many features, but we saw people keep trying to use the old ones, to their frustration, plus there was some risk they could damage the guide slots if people forced them through. So we went ahead and removed most of the old sleds.
We kept one old sled: Bob Levine (@Bob) had made a simple but solid right hand side only sled, and he’d kept it adjusted; we tested it the other day and it still cut square,
That left us with only two sleds, and I had need for a left hand side only sled. So I made one, entirely from materials taken from the scrap cart. And I did an experiment with it. I tried a technique of my own devising to make it square by construction, right from the start, rather than testing and adjusting the fence iteratively as is usually done. It seems to have worked; my test cuts seem perfectly square. I think that should remain true as long as the slide stays tight, but unlike more traditional sleds, if it gets off, it’s done; there’s no way to adjust the fence to be square again. So it is use at your own risk. (Of course, that’s true of everything here to various degrees.)
We currently don’t have any sleds that can be used with dados or for bevels. If you have need of such a sled, you’ll have to make it yourself. You can do that from scratch, but the old sleds may be a good starting place, as I kept all the materials from them. The old metal rails are on top of the stewards cabinet (back right of the area behind and left of the wood lathes), and the wood pieces from them are behind the door in the small storage area right next to that cabinet. But they cannot remain there long; that area is over-crowded already. If those pieces aren’t used within the next month, they’ll be put on the scrap cart.
My student in last night’s Woodshop Mentor Series class used your new sled to square up medium sized mdf panels. I didn’t have my reference square with me but it appeared accurate using an Asmbly square that I checked for squareness. Not having a back fence was helpful with the larger panels. Good job!
Quick suggestion on runners for future sleds- Using oak like you did works very well and I’ve used it myself, however over time the wood will expand/contract with humidity changes. As a result the runner will periodically be loose or tight. UHMW works well as it is dimensionally stable and self lubricating, however it can be a pain to cut to the exact miter slot dimension. The MicroJig miter bars (see @jiggliemon’s sled) have become my go to as they are easy to set up, and squareness of the sled can be adjusted from the top without having to move the fence.
Hmm, a “MicroJig miter bar” sounds like something that costs money. My budget was: stuff I could take from the scrap bin. I didn’t know it was oak; I just picked something that looked hard and was close to the right size to start with.
It’s worth saying, from my experience, I’m not sure “time” needs to be considered all that much. My sled had a dado-blade ran through it in less than a month. Perhaps it would make a lot more sense to build a solid sled fixture that enabled “quick sled™” creation. At the rate and extent that nice things get destroyed, perhaps the real win would be to optimize for consumability.
When I designed the sled that I did, I was considering reasonable use and wear and tear. I think If I were to do it over I would assume unreasonable use – wear and tear – and intend on building much simpler sleds every quarter or so utilizing the scrap (like Ethan did). With all that said, being able to count on a square sled is priceless. I don’t very much trust the fence with as much tension-deflection that it has.
That certainly explains the “no dado blade” writing on the fence I calibrated the fence when we replaced the top but would not be surprised if it is no longer in alignment. Such is the reality of many people with vastly different experience levels using the same tool. I used to spend a lot of time making super fancy sleds. Now I make sleds extremely simple so I can attach hold downs, clamps, jigs etc and then toss them when they’re torn up.
I did glue mine, but only because its interlocked, CNC-squared design meant it could never be adjusted anyway. Screws really are the way to go, and you should look at some videos or such to learn about squaring the fence; as Chase said, it can be quite involved.
There are knobs and other random potential sled parts in the stewards closet (e.g. track if you are making a sled that involves that sort of thing). Also saw some old sleds in the little bay closet area that could be upcycled potentially.