Making A Norm Abram Style Cross Cut Sled Homemade Machines & Jigs

A few years ago I made this Norm Abram style (so called since he’s the only person I’ve seen using this type) and it has become indispensable in my shop:

However, my table saw has changed four times since I first built it and I’ve adapted it for each. The miter slot in my newest table saw is farther away from the blade than on my blue-topped saw, so I need to remove the cleat that rides in that slot and reposition it.

I just popped it off using a chisel and scraped the glue off the bottom of the sled. I reused the cleat, since it was a good fit in the miter slot. Here I’ve lined up the table saw fence on the other side of the blade to put the sled against, and weighed it down until the glue set:

After about 30 minutes, I took the sled up and used bar clamps to solidly clamp the cleat in place:

I then left that to dry for an additional hour before making the first cut and installing the fence cleat. I also took the time clear coat the sled to keep it clean and looking good.
The water based poly also made the base slide smoother and built up the miter cleat slightly for a perfect fit, since it was just a bit loose before.

The dimensions are fairly arbitrary, but mine feels good – 18″ deep, 28″ wide and I used 1/4″ plywood for the base and the miter slot cleat, The fence cleat is 1/2″ plywood:

After lining up the sled with my framing square, I did the 5-cut method to check how close it was. I guess I got lucky, since it was nearly perfect the first time. Here’s that final cut squared off the first cut:

And measuring across the panel shows it’s as close to identical as I’ll ever need:

I made a video showing the build and quickly going through the 5-cut method:

Unlike most table saw sleds, this one is thin, lightweight and very convenient to use and store when not needed. However, here’s a word of caution about this type of sled – it’s best suited to trimming the edge on wider panels to make them square (Norm called it his panel squaring jig), and shouldn’t be used as a regular table saw sled that supports the stock on both sides of the blade. It will pinch the blade and cause a kick back if you try to cut a panel near the middle.