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Thread: Vertical Tablesaw Sled

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM

    Vertical Tablesaw Sled

    Here are some pics of a fixture I built almost two years ago, when I was first getting started back into woodworking. I posted this text and most of these pics at SMC, but I figured I'd add them to the bunch here.
    I wanted to do some miter joints with feather splines, so I figured I needed a jig for that. Jim Tolpin's Tablesaw Magic book has some good ideas for a vertical sled (that attaches to the "universal auxilary fence"), so I spent the last few weekends putting these two pieces together. I made a few changes to adapt to my fence, and added a runner to keep the sled in the right place, but it's similar to what's in the book. It's 3/4 ply (mostly birch) with a few coats of BLO followed by a few coats of clear poly, with a number of re-do and fix-it moments along the way.

    I'm happy with the way it came out. It's 90į square to the table, has absolutely no slop, and it runs smoothly on UHMD contact points.

    The first pic shows the aux fence. On its own it's handy for featherboards and other similar attachments. The lower piece of t-track was an afterthought (added for the runner on the vertical sled), and since its location potentially weakened the face of the aux fence at a stress point, I epoxied it in place, so it should be as strong structurally as the wood was in the first place. I tapped threaded holes in the top of my TS fence to receive the knobbed screws, but they're mostly for decoration. The aux fence fits my factory fence like a tight glove and doesn't slip:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a shot of the face of the aux fence. Nothin' fancy, but it's flat and square:

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    Here's back side the vertical sled, showing the clamp that contacts the top of aux fence. You can see some of the UHMD tape I used where it slides on the aux fence. You can also see the UHMD t-shaped runner that keeps it tight to the face of the aux fence:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's some more detail of the "runner" side of the sled:

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    Yet even more detail of the runner. I tapped threads in the UHMD runner, and used countersunk machine screws from the other side of the sled to attach it. The washers shim it all nice and vertical:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (I hadn't noticed that little chunk of blue masking tape on the mini-track until just now.)

    Here's the sled attached, with the rest of the feather joint jig in place:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a shot of the "mechanism" that keeps it all where it's supposed to be:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And the obligatory action shot:

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    I can tell already I should have mounted the lower mini-track on the sled about 2" higher off the table, since the screws are too close to the blade. (Contrary to how this picture looks, the blade cleared everything for this cut.) I'll probably just add a third track and not use the lower one. I can mount a variety of jigs onto the vertical sled, so I'm looking forward to seeing what other tricks it can do with it.

    And the end result:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I used this project as a learning exercise, and got some practice with a number of joint types, finishing techniques, and materials. And Heaven knows I need the practice.
    Several months after building this setup, I switched to the Incra TS-III fence system on my saw. It was easy to adapt the Tolpin auxilary fence to the Incra fence. Even though the Incra Fence is about 1/4" narrower than the original Ridgid fence, the built-in t-slots allow me to firmly attach the aux fence to the Incra fence and get the same functionality as before, with the Incra accuracy and repeatability. Also, since the Incra uses sliding tape scales, it's easy to "zero-out" the fence after attaching the aux fence and sled.

    - Vaughn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Arena, Wisconsin
    Wow Vaughn,
    Iím impressed!

    Did you machine the plastic strips that run in the T-track? How?

    Frank Chaffee

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Ha, there goes your cover of being a computer geek, now we have proof you know your way around a workshop!

    Nice job!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Chaffee View Post
    Wow Vaughn,
    Iím impressed!

    Did you machine the plastic strips that run in the T-track? How?

    Frank Chaffee
    Frank, I cut the "T" profile in the plastic strips with the tablesaw. I don't have pics (and no time right now to sketch any), but in essence, I cut the profile into the edge of a wider piece, then trimmed it off the bigger piece to end up with the "T". The "T" itself was on the "waste" side of the blade, and the part between the fence and the blade was big enough to safely handle.

    If I get some time I'll try to draw a picture or two.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Nice work Mr. Vaughn, that looks very handy.
    Thanks for the show.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Cool jig Vaughn. I'd like to have one of those in my shop.
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    --Winston Churchill, in response

  7. #7
    Steve Clardy Guest
    Looks great Vaughn

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I like. I'm not good at visualizing thingys and jiggys like that. Had no concept of what you were up to. But your final 'in use' picture brought it together for me. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Punta Gorda, Florida
    That is a better presentation than what is in the book. I can actually see what is going on and maybe duplicate the jig. Good job!!!!

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