Cross Cut Sled w/ Finger Joint Jig Insert

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Jan 25, 2018


Cross Cut Sled w/ Finger Joint Jig Insert
Cross Cut Sled w/ Finger Joint Jig Insert thumb Cross Cut Sled w/ Finger Joint Jig Insert thumb Cross Cut Sled w/ Finger Joint Jig Insert thumb


  • Man these old jigs take up a lot of space!
  • Grrr, warped and unusable!
  • Let's make a new one.
  • Some scrap plywood (from failed attempts at kerf bending)
  • Cleaning up the edges.
  • Some scrap 2x4's
  • Jointing the faces smooth.
  • Squaring up the ends
  • Routing a chamfer.
  • This will let dust collect there and not affect the workpiece's contact with the square face.
  • Creating a low profile notch in the back fence.
  • A nylon threaded insert (just in case, since it'll be close to the saw blade)
  • Drilling a hole for the threaded insert.
  • Hammering in the insert.
  • Some oak for the runners
  • Cutting just proud of the width of the track.
  • Sneaking up on the correct width for a perfect fit.
  • Marking the correct height.
  • Again sneaking up in the correct width for a perfect fit.
  • All major parts ready!
  • Runners in place.
  • Using fence (know to be square with the blade) to line up the sled onto the runners.
  • Super glue for an immediate connection.
  • Could/should use wood glue if you're not in a hurry.
  • Predrilling, countersinking, and adding screws to fasten more securely.
  • Test fit. Good!
  • Adding the front fence
  • Using T square against edge that was referenced against the fence (should be square)
  • Not entirely important, the front fence will not be used to reference cuts off of.
  • Predrilling, countersinking, and adding long screws.
  • Cut through most of the way
  • Use the cut line to get the back fence as square to it as possible.
  • Predrilling, countersinking, and adding long screws.
  • 5 Cut Test (link in the description). If not square, adjust as necessary.
  • Once the fence is square, secure it down with lots of screws.
  • Wax the bottom of the sled for good movement.
  • Test run. Perfect! Crosscut sled function is good!
  • Now lets make a finger joint module!
  • Cutting some hard maple to act as the body of the module.
  • This module will be able to slip into the slot that was cut into the bottom of the back fence.
  • Marking the height of the notch.
  • Slicing almost all the way through.
  • Leaving a small lip on the back edge.
  • This will hold the finger joint template and slip into the slot in the back fence.
  • Cutting another slide of hard maple.
  • The slice is exactly the size of the blade's kerf.
  • Cutting out a piece small enough to fit into the fence's notch.
  • Gluing the slice to the body of the module.
  • Cutting scrap 2x4 for a safety block.
  • Marking an arc that will let the block pivot.
  • Cutting off the waste.
  • Hogging out a recess that will let the finger joint module clear.
  • Cutting a notch that can hold the finger joint module when not in use.
  • Safety red
  • Lining up with the blade's path.
  • Predrilling
  • Overdrilling the block's pivot
  • Fastening with a long screw
  • A home for the module
  • A thin strip of maple
  • Predrilling mounting holes
  • Gluing on an offset strip
  • Assembling the spring latch
  • How it works
  • With the recess exposed, you can now insert the finger joint module
  • There is enough wiggle room to adjust the spacing as necessary
  • Replace the safety block
  • Secure the finger joint module with the eyebolt
  • A test run
  • Awkward angle to maneuver, but it's a perfect fit!
  • Resetting to the cross cut function
  • Voila!

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My old crosscut sled and finger joint jig were garbage. Since space is precious, I decided to make a new sled that combined both functions. I'm a little gun shy to go all out with a t track system and all the bells and whistles since (in my experience) sled jigs are basically consumables (you have to remake them from time to time).

This is your basic cross cut sled, you can find a million tutorials on how to make one, but I cut out a tiny recess in the back fence that can receive a tiny finger joint cartridge that slips in, converting the cross cut sled to a finger joint jig.

In the past, I've found that making a really accurate & simple finger joint jig is pretty difficult, especially since I do standard kerf width fingers (no dado stack, I like the look and strength of all the little finger joints, etc). Getting things lined up PERFECTLY at that small scale is tough. This cartridge idea solves some of that, since you can loosen the eye bolt, nudge the cartridge left or right as needed, and secure it back down.

Making the cross cut sled safe while being able to access the slot for the finger joint cartridge as well posed another challenge. Here is where I channeled my inner Matthias Wandel. I made the safety block in the back able to pivot out of the way to expose the slot for the finger joint module but held it in place with a thin strip of hard maple acting as a spring latch. The safety block has a little slot to store the finger joint jig module.

I made the slot wide enough so that if, eventually I do get a dado stack and want to do bigger finger joints, I'll be able to fashion a wider finger joint template and still be able to chuck it into the slot.

The 5 Cut Method:

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