The pursuit of Excellence in Fine Woodworking

5 Cuts To A “Perfect” Cross-Cut Sled

The cross cut sled is probably the most important jig in your shop. I will explain the theory and calculations to enable anyone to get a sled dead on square. We’ll also show a few tips and techniques for constructing the sled.

You can purchase the full size mdf templates of the front and back fences at our store: Cross Cut Sled Fence Templates

Material List

Runners: 5/16″ x 3/4″ x 30″
Base: 1/2″ x 34″ x 30″
Front Fence: 1-1/2″ x 5″ x 30″
Rear Fence: 1-1/2″ x 5″ x 26″

Specific Tools Used

Mitutoyo Dial Calipers
4″ Brayer

94 thoughts on “5 Cuts To A “Perfect” Cross-Cut Sled”

  1. Dear Sir

    Are there PDF plans available to understand the size and amount of material needed for the cross-cut sled?

    Many Thanks

    Michael Pease

      1. Good day!
        Starting to become a fan and I’m sorry to hear you received negative comments about you formula for finding square! Well I have had the same frustrations to find square so to me you’re a hero!

        Question how do you store the sled when not in use? It’s large which I’ve never had a sled this size. I usually store on shelf brackets. But what is the best way to maintain the trueness of the sled?

        Thanks Scott.

        1. Hi Scott,

          I use the sled so much that it’s right next to the saw standing on the back fence straight up.


          1. William thanks so much! I’ve been looking at you sled for a few years now and finally made it! Having it handy by the table is a good idea. Would say for me the title should be “5 x10 cuts to a perfect cross cut sled” lol. I found the apple calculator wasn’t calculating proper until I hit the equals on each stage of the formula. That took a few cuts to figure out lol. Anyway thanks so much I’ve never been so square!

  2. Sir, the suggested dimensions for the sled are as follows:
    Runners: 5/16″ x 3/4″ x 30″
    Base: 1/2″ x 34″ x 30″
    Front Fence: 1-1/2″ x 5″ x 30″
    Rear Fence: 1-1/2″ x 5″ x 26″
    My question is what would be a suggested Base dimensions if I wanted to make a smaller sled. I can ratio the fence dimensions. Is there a practical lower size limit for the base. For example I am thinking of a 20×24 or a 24×24. Do these dimensions make sense to you? Pros and Cons of making it smaller.
    Enjoyed your video. Thanks

    1. Fit it to your saw. Having it wider means you will have better support for longer work pieces and the ability to clamp stop blocks along the fence. Larger from front to back means you can cut wider panels. You will also want to adjust the front to back dimension so it does not fall off the back of the saw if you don’t have an outfeed table.

      1. Thanks…As I started to work on a sled I am not clear on a couple of points.
        Standing in front of the saw (normal cutting position with the fence to my right) and I place the sled base centered on the blade kerf is the offset of 1-1/2 to 2″ accomplished by moving the base towards the fence (right)or away from the fence (left)? Does it make a difference?
        After the offset the rear and front fence are centered on the blade…is this correct?
        Appreciate your help.

        1. Hi Jesus,

          It does make a difference. You want to off set it away from the fence so that the shorter side will be be near the fence. The fence is offset and is center to the sled. Hope this helps.


          1. HI William,
            Yes that clears things up for me. Thanks for your quick response…appreciate it.

  3. So that I understand, is the fence you would be pushing on during use, the front or rear fence? Since one would be pushing the sled, I would think that would be the “rear” fence. When I look at the size descriptions above, it shows the front fence is longer (30″) than the rear fence (26″). But when I look at the pictures it looks like the longer fence would be on the end you’re pushing on which to me is the rear fence.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Myron,

      The longer fence that you’re pushing I called the front because I’m standing in front of it and the shorter fence is towards the back. Hope this clarify things. Thanks for the comment.

        1. Is the curved fence necessary? I don’t have a band saw to cut it nor will a handheld jig saw cut through 1 1/2” thick material. Maybe cut a square notch?

          1. The curve is just aesthetics and for hand positioning. You can make it with square notch.

  4. Hi William!
    Thank You for the detailed video and for simple and original metod “5 Cuts”! 🙂
    I was build my table saw from hand circular saw and from OSB pieces, from the remnants of laminate flooring and debris of old office desks. When I started working, it was not imagination that slots should be and how far from the blade. All done intuitively. Because I had no more precise tool, all the details I cut the same circular saw, using a guide line.
    When I put a circular saw into table, I started to build sled. Your video helped me a lot.
    And yesterday I finally made a “five cuts.”
    How do you think it passed my sled your test? My final piece has dimensions of 12.63 mm and 12.67mm. I’m pleased 🙂
    However, first I made a mistake and made correction in the opposite direction, increasing error.
    Now, thanks to you and Instrutstables (from which I came to your site) I can cut to within 0.04 mm
    Once again, thank you!

    1. Thank you for your comment. It never gets old hearing the 5 cut video helped someone. Congrats.


  5. Hi William,
    Made the sled and with the 5 cut process got within .002. I did make a mistake the first time which really confused and frustrated me. With the rectangular piece to the left of the blade I mad the first cut but I rotated the piece counter clockwise and continued doing that for the rest of the cuts. Error magnified! Looked at the video again and notice that the rotation is clockwise i.e the first cut line against the fence…end of problem. Might want to emphasis that a little more for us dummies.
    Thanks again,

  6. I’m working my way through building the cross-cut sled but have a question. I cut the runners and got the same sound when I lightly finger tapped them into the slots as on the video. Individually they seemed to move fine in the slots. When I attached them to the base the movement resistance is much more than the collective resistance to before they were attached to the base.

    I wonder if the miter slots are not “perfectly” parallel. Have you seen that before? My saw is a vintage Unisaw.

    I’ve tried marking sides of the runners with a pencil hoping I could determine where the rubbing was occurring but the maple is so burnished the pencil hardly leaves any graphite. I’m hesitant to just start randomly sanding the runners because I’m worried I’ll create excessive “slop” in the sled. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. I had this problem. Remember that screwing a screw into the runner makes them expand outward, making the fit tighter. This effect is very pronounced using HMWP skids that are sold for the purpose! Putting screws in from the top of the sled downward lessens the effect. If putting screws in from the bottom up, then make sure the holes you drill and the countersinking for the screw heads are very large compared to the diameter of the screws you are using.

  7. Thank you for the thorough video, Ive been impressed with the results that my crosscut sled has given me using your method! However, I’ve been thinking about how to alter the equation to dial in a picture frame jig sled to cut 45s instead of 90s. Any thoughts on how alter the 5 cut method and apply it to 45s?

  8. 9X and not even close. somehow every time i get close approximately .012 and once .007 the more i try to get it closer it goes astray. currently i’m chasing .020 back and forth.
    There has to be something I’m not doing correctly. ARGH

    1. Hi Don, Make sure your fence is flat. I had a similar situation. I check it by drawing pencil lines across my fence and took it to my jointer where I lay down some sandpaper and sand it slightly and to my surprise it wasn’t flat so I kept sanding it till all pencil marks are gone. My fence was convex so depends on where I was holding it my test piece was rocking ever so slightly altering my results. Hope this helps. Good luck.


      1. Thanks for the help sir!
        Special thanks for taking the time to help novices by making the video. Your time will help many. I’d love to take a class with you.

    2. Well I scraped all my previous work and started over. Build new sled n did 5 cuts. Was off by .002″ so I’m done! Good enough for a non-engineer and I don’t care what went wrong. All that matters is .002 baby

    1. Hi Edward,

      You can find the cut list and all dimensions in the video description. Just click on “show more” and you’ll see it there. Thanks.

  9. hi william,
    I just had to comment it went so well. First 5 cuts i got .564 – .523 so .01175 across my 24″ fence. I was going to keep it it was so close but i decided to try the adjustment anyway. cut my next 5. .280 – .280 i couldn’t believe my eyes. thanks!! so many great tips made it come out very nice. great upgrade my older sled. quick question william, would the error be across the distance of the perimeter not the length of the longest side x4? when using a rectangle that is. e.g. 20″x10″ (after 5 cuts) with overall error of say .05 would be .05 over 60″ (.05/60) rather than (.05/4/20=.05/80). thanks again william!!

    1. Hi Rob,
      The 5 cut method measures angles not the size of the board and the cumulative error is only on the last cut (5th cut) ÷ 4 angles not the size of the board. using your example of a 20″x10″ board, if your 5th cut was 20″ you will get a error ratio, if you cut it again 6th cut 10″ your error ratio will be the same as the 5th cut 20″ measured 1/2 way 10″. There’s a misconception of the 5th cut floating out there, that’s why I decided to make the video. You can test out your theory by using two different size board, you will get two different error ratio. So do you adjust your fence to error “A” from the first bd. or error “B” from the second bd? If you’re measuring angles then the error should be the same, your fence is off from 90 by “X” but if you measure the size of the board then different size board will have different result which cannot be. Hope this helps.

  10. william,
    thanks for your video. My sled came out to .011 across the sled upon first assembly. I used your method. and it was .000 when multiplied out 4 times on a 20″ section!! cannot say enough. thanks a lot

    1. Hi Rob,
      Thanks for the comment. It never gets old hearing people getting great results. Now you can have confidence that your cut will be as close to 90 as possible.

  11. I’m midway through making mine – VERY excited. I used the 1/4 hardboard and pattern bit method as well which worked out VERY well too! I’m curious about ‘finishing’ the sled. Would you advise for or against polyurethane for the sled body or fences? I’m wanting to make sure my Baltic birch stays good for a long time but i’m weary that doing so might make pieces slip.

    Also, I saw you answered a previous question in July 2016 addressing having the longer side of the sled opposite the fence. Could you explain why?

    1. Hi Michael,

      I don’t put any finish on my sled for reasons you mentioned, making it slippery. As for why I offset my fence, I explain that at 12:42 in the video.Thanks for your comment.

  12. Enjoyed the video. Could you use the five cut method to determine if your blade & fence were true to the miter slot?

    1. Not sure what you’re asking me but it’s hard to find a saw where the blade is perfect parallel to the miter slot.

      1. If the blade is not perfectly parallel with the miter slot, it will make your kerf a little bit wide. The 5 cuts method won’t help.

        The cut direction is always parallel to the motion of the sled (or to the miter slot).

        1. The 5 cut method is for squaring the blade to the sled fence. It has nothing to do with the miter slot and does not matter if the blade is parallel to the slot. Chances are it won’t be, it’s very difficult to get it parallel and even if you can you still have to take in consideration the run out of the blade. The 5 cut will take care of all that.

          1. William, you are a genius and I thank you for sharing it with us! I am almost finished building mine with your method. I”m going to tell everyone it is my “Willy, 5 Cut, NG Sled”

            Could be your rapper name if you decide to give rap a go or boxing! Now introducing… Willy, 5 Cut, NG… LOL

  13. Is the calculation written down somewhere? I keep having to rewatch the video and it goes by so fast.

    Let P be the distance from the pivot point to the adjustment point.
    Let D be the amount you need to adjust. (forward? forward as in towards the back of the saw?)

    Is it: D = (A-B) / 4 * P

    1. I’ve written it in the video description. Just click on “show more” and you’ll see the formula and cut list.
      (A-B) ÷ 4 ÷ Length of 5th cut x Distance between pivot point and the point of adjustment = Error

      If error is a negative number, you’ll have to move the fence forward and if the error is a positive number, you’ll have to move it back.

  14. Great video!! I’ve been working on my sled for two days – couldn’t get it square. Kept trying over and over with different boards but I was always off. Then I came across your 5 cut video and got it to 0.002 after one adjustment. Thanks so much – you have saved my sanity!!!

  15. Thanks for this video! I have a few questions:

    1. Can you share the material dimensions for the plexiglass?
    2. If we don’t have a flat 8/4 board, do you have any recommendations on the glue up?

    1. The plexiglass is a quarter inch thick and customized to fit in what ever slot you’ve cut. If you don’t have 8/4 board you can use your table saw or jointer top. Anything you that you trust is flat will work.

  16. Thank you! Thank you! Made so many mistakes, but learned so much from it. Mine was more like 30+ cuts to a perfect sled, but finally got to .002 (calling it good). Never made a crosscut sled before and I’d call myself a novice at best. Your video was highly informative, easy to understand and the best I’ve seen on getting precision from crosscuts! Thank you so much. Now I just need to add the plexiglass/rear guard.

  17. Hi. Great videos. Thanks so much for taking the time to pass on such great knowledge. I am totally new to woodworking and just built my 1st box, albeit using pocket hole screws ( i bet this is swearing to you guys).

    I am trying to build the sled using your method. However i seem to keep getting stuck. Is the final number you are after after you use the formula above or is it just between the measurement of A and B?

    I have been trying to build the sled but I keep going from +005 to -007 after my 5th cut. This is with the formula.

    I hope this makes sense.

    1. Hi Lee, After the 5th, If you are 10/1000 or less measuring between A and B, It should be fine because it’s only 2.5/1000 off per cut. Hope this help.

  18. Hi William. Thank you so much for replying. Turns out I am way off at .029. Think I must have some play in the rails. Will start all over again as I cannot put any more screws on the left hand side of the fence. Again thanks for the video and reply.

    Regards Lee

    P. S. Love the look of the workbench class. Shame it is in the states.

  19. Hi. So I built another sled today. I have after my 3rd adjustment, a difference of .010 over 17.93 inches.

    Is this good enough?

    Thank you!!!

  20. Hi for some reason I cannot sign up to the website. When ever I try to type in a password the register button disappears

  21. Hi. I am now trying to register to your website with a PC and I still am not able to register. When I go to click on Register it disappears?

  22. Sir,
    Very nicely done! Starting to assemble a sled for an Oliver 232. I cut ipe for the slots but am considering using 1/4 Baltic or marine ply, clad both sides with Formica. Your thoughts on that?

    Also thinking about a second wider sled as I have an extension on the right and occasionally cut longer pieces of salvaged dimensional cypress and southern yellow pin.
    I’m going to look for more of your tutorials.


    1. Hi Bill, If you can glue the formica on both sides of the runners and get a perfect fit that would be plus. Better wear and tear and and a slick surface.

  23. Hi William. Unfortunately I am still having difficulty registering to your website. I really want to get this sorted so I can start doing some online courses.

    This is what happens: I type my email address in and as soon as I start typing a password the register word word disappears. Now this happens on an Android tablet, smartphone and Pc running Windows 10.

    Can you help please!

    Regards Lee

    1. Hi Lee,
      We’re working on the smart phone and tablet issues. It should work on your pc. Online classes will be uploaded soon. Thanks for your patience.


  24. Why not use the offcut from the 4th cut to calculate the fence error? Why make a 5th cut?

    My reasoning is as follows. When you start, all four angles of the board are undefined. After the first cut, one of the angles is defined by your fence angle, call it X. The other 3 angles are still undefined. After the second cut, two angles are defined (both X). But after the third cut, ALL FOUR ANGLES ARE DEFINED: three are X and the other one is 360-deg minus 3X. So when you make the 4th cut you are converting the (360 – 3X) corner to X, with the offcut angle making up the difference.

    In fact, every cut after the 3rd cut (i.e., the 4th cut, 5th, 6th, etc.) will produce an offcut with an angle equal to 4 times the fence angle error. If my logic is sound, then just save the offcuts from the 4th, 5th, and 6th cuts and they should all measure the same angle. But if I am right, there is no need for a 5th cut. Just stop at the 4th cut. Or if you want to keep cutting, save all the offcuts starting with the 4th offcut and average the angles to get your error.

  25. Hi William, thanks for the video! I love anything that can make my woodworking more precise and reliable. One question though, where did you get the offset numbers? I’m trying to figure out a good size for my Craftsman contractor saw and can’t figure out why the offset has to be between 1.5″ and 2″. My tabletop is only 27″ x 40″.

  26. Hi, William. Thanks for sharing your techniques with us! I’m excited to build my own sleds and introduce some more precision into my work. One question, how did you figure the offset numbers? I’m trying to figure out the right size for my Craftsman contractor saw, and I’m a little baffled why the offset needs to be between 1.5″ and 2″. Any insight? My tabletop is 27″ x 40″ and the blade is 19″ from the left edge.

    1. Hi Ryan, The offset is so that you can use the fence to continue with length. If you don’t offset enough the sled will hit the saw fence. The number is not that important. Just use 1-3/4 and you’ll be fine.

      1. Thanks, William. Can you offset too much? What if I used an offset of 3 inches? What would be the downside to that?

  27. Thank you for the wonderful instruction. I refer to it with each sled I make. Question: does the match change if I am making only a half sled? If so then how?

  28. Well I finally got around to building the cross cut sled. After the the 5th cut I have .155-.157 / 4 = -.0005. If I understand the concept then I’m good to go. My 5th cut was 24″ long so -.0005 /24 = -.0000208 per inch. Slightly low but I think well within tolerance. Am I right?

  29. Hi William. Thanks for the awesome video!

    I am just having a challenge installing the runners on my sled. When I install them as you have suggested using a shim underneath the runners to make them proud of the table, after installation of the runners, the sled is binding on the table and is almost impossible to push through. The runners are cut perfect and run in the miter slots individually just fine. I am not sure what the problem is or what I am doing incorrectly.

    What could the problem be and how do I resolve it?

    Thanks for your help,

    1. Hi Andy, A couple of things comes to mind. First pre-drill the holes for the screw and make sure the screws are not too big where it spreads the runners. That might make it tight. Secondly when you’re installing the screws make sure you’re not pushing in the center of the base between the two runners. If the shim for the runners are too thick and make the runners too proud off the top, when you put pressure in the middle or between the two runners, it puts a curve in it and when you release the pressure it springs open causing it to spread wide and makes it tight. Try that and see if it helps. I don’t see any reason it should be tight.


  30. Hi William,
    Thank you for your response. I did pre-drill and I am using the screws you recommended in the video. I may have pushed down in the middle. Not sure. I will do what you suggested and see if it corrects the problem.

    Have a fantastic day, Andy

    1. Hi William,
      Sorry it took so long to get back with you. I wanted to share what I discovered which should help others. The issue that I found is the runners had split ever so slightly when I screwed them down. This was caused by using a non tapered drill bit when drilling the pilot holes. I installed new runners using a tapered drill bit and not it all works. Thank you again for your help.

      Have a fantastic day, Andy

  31. Well, completed sled construction today and went through seven successive attempts to get a perfect 90 degree cut. Best I could get was 0.016″ in 18″ in 4 cuts or 0.004″ off in 18″ in one cut. Some things I have learned is that wood screws do not do well when screwing edgewise into plywood. Maybe William’s was easier because he used some really expensive baltic birch plywood to make his fences from–you know with some eight or ten plies. What I used had only five plies, and it seems to make a difference when putting the screws in when calibrating the fence. There are “voids” between the plies, and these can throw off the screws when you put them in, even if putting in a new hole. My sled has some ten or so holes in the side opposite the pivot, so I decided to stop with the above error still there. The last adjustment I did simply by clamping down the pointed block and hitting the fence toward it (going up) with a rubber mallet. Doing so actually changed the alinement of the rear fence by about 0.0160″ with the just the pivot screw and one other screw STILL IN THE FENCE. Clearly, I have reached the limits of repeatable measurements with the plywood I used. If I did this again, and I may at some time in the future, I’m using 2″ thick poplar vs. plywood for the rear fence!
    Very frustrated right now. Time for a cool one.

  32. Oh, after the brute force method using the mallet, I clamped the rear fence down and put in three more screws to make sure it stayed where I had it. This worked.

  33. While I am commenting, I am thinking that perhaps a metal bar embedded in the rear fence sticking out horizontally an inch with a tapped, threaded hole in it, combined with a small angle bracket that is attached to the sled base with a non-threaded hole in it. With this you could use a machine screw adjustor that would pivot the rear fence about the pivot screw like it was a micrometer dial, allowing minute adjustments in the angle of the rear fence that can be locked by installing more screws once an exact position is achieved with the adjustment mechanism and then the rear fence clamped firmly before screws are put in through the base into the rear fence bottom. This, I think, is what I pursue with what I have already built.

  34. Well, today I did my micro-adjustor to replace the difficult to execute screw moving technique to come to a final acceptable position of the rear fence. After thinking on it all, I bored a ¾” vertical hole of a depth about in inch short of the bottom of the fence plank. I drilled a 5/16″ horizontal hole through the center line of the vertical hole through the fence. I put a (terminology here tends to vary some) a cross threaded (¼”-20 NC x ¾” diameter barrel lock cylinder down the vertical hole so that the cross threads could be accessed via the horizontal hole. I installed a standard 90 degree steel angle bracket in a rabbeted trench under the bottom of the sled base at the front edge (front being in front of the blade) and drilled out the top hole so that a bolt could be passed through it. Using a three inch long, ¼”-2O hex bolt with two nuts on each side of the angle bracket hole that then was threaded into the barrel lock cylinder through the horizontal hole in the fence. The two nuts serve as “locking nuts” that can be cinched with a small open end wrench while screwing the bolt in and out of the barrel lock cylinder threads will move the fence either forward or back about the pivot screw in manageable increments without using screws from under the sled bottom into the fence until the fence is where it is wanted. This worked! Turing the bolt after loosening the locking nuts produces a very small movement in the fence about the pivot. Warning: Care must be taken to make sure that the vertical hole into which the barrel lock cylinder is inserted is a very close fit. If it is not, then your mechanism will have backlash in it and will be useless. On turn of the bolt moves the far end of the rear fence, theoretically speaking, 1/20″, a half turn 1/40″ and one quarter turn 1/80″ corresponding to 50, 25 and 12.5 thousands of an inch respectively, but even ⅛ and 1/16 turns are easily made making a very small adjustment easily done by a fractional rotation of the hex bolt. This, by the way, solved my problem with plywood piles “pulling” the fence randomly when a screw was inserted to anchor it in place. I found that this phenomenon occurs even when you clamp the fence before putting an anchoring screw in the pivoting side of the fence. This is difficult to describe without being able to illustrate, but I make the comment to let any that wish to know that it can be done.

  35. I would like to know if any of you can give me a source for reasonably priced good steel screws. The ones now sold at Lowes and Home Depot are, I do believe, made of case hardened peanut butter! They strip out when using an impact tool, and, of course, you can solve it by not using the impact tool, but I do want to use the tool because of the speed and convenience of doing so. If anyone knows, I would appreciate the info. I have a bucket full of stripped out headed Philips head screws with round pits in their tops. The ones sold commonly are, I think, called “Duralast” or “Everlast” or the like–certainly a misnomer of order one!

  36. William, thanks for the videos. Very helpful and was able to turn out a sled with .0015″ accuracy. AMAZING FIT when cutting 2 boards on the same side of the blade. Now that I have it, I see some enhancements I want to make including a smaller scale sled and adding hold downs. I took the same 5 cut approach last night to my 12″ mitre saw and now have it dead on vertical and horizontal. Look forward to creating the box joint jig this weekend. My wife and daughter have a curio shelf they want me to make that would look good with box joint ends.

    1. Hello Mr. Ng,
      Thanks for your crosscut sled YouTube video ! I’m in the process of building it.
      Do you offer a video on the Gand held jig you used to push small stock through ?
      May I ask where your school is ?

  37. Hello Mr. Ng.

    Thank you so much for your excellent and nicely detailed videos. When I need technical explanations of woodworking techniques, I seek out your videos first.

    That being said, I’m going to post something many will find dumb coming from a woodworker. I live in the US. So I measure using US Customary Units. As much as I love the metric system with its simplicity, my tools are not made for this. This brings me to the difficulty I had calibrating my crosscut sled using your system.

    Once the initial squaring of the front fence to the blade is complete, and measurements were taken of the 5th cutoff piece., my fence repositioning ~based on MY calculations ~ were always wrong. It took several attempts to realize I was not determining correctly whether the error difference in the cutoff piece was a negative or a positive number.

    In MY mind, I assumed any number with zeros to the right of the decimal point would be considered a negative number. See what I mean by DUMB? I’m not used to working with metrics and those .00 numbers had me confused. I understand now how simple a concept this is. And that if the number you are subtracting from is larger, the result will be a negative number, and vise versa. Duh!!

    I say all this suggesting you perhaps add this simple clerification to future videos that this may apply to. You know, for the fellow clueless like me! I should also note that as a result of this epiphany, my crosscut sled ~ built using your videos ~ now has a margin of error of. 004!

    Thank you sir for your huge contributions to the woodworking community. I hope this post might help others who ~ like me ~ are metric challenged.

    – Dean R –

  38. My first measurement after the initial 5 cut was .005. I decided to not adjust further – not least of which because I had cut all the way through on one of the test cuts and so had no choice (It is hard not to do that as there is little margin for completing the cut without going all the way through). I would think .005 is quite acceptable but if I had it to over again I would probably go for an adjustment as my feeler gauge has a .005 spacer.

    For the dust shield, I used Lexan polycarbonate. The local plastic shop (Superior Plastic Fab., Garden, CA) told me that polycarbonate was much tougher and more flexible than acrylic. It is the stuff they use for bullet-proof glass – they actually has a 1″ or so thick piece on the counter with a bullet embedded in it! No worries now about a piece of maple flying at me. That glue that Wiliam uses is excellent but you gotta be careful you don’t spill a drop or two on the panels like I did – those spots will be permanently smudged – no wiping off like wood glue. I also wonder whether it wouldn’t have been better to butt the Lexan corners against the fence without clamps in order to obtain a flush fit. I had trouble keeping the panels flush along their entire length and with all those clamps. Anyway, still works and looks great.

    William – this is one great video and I thank you for it.

    1. Hello Mr Ng,

      First off, Thank you so much for the very detailed video, and sharing of all of your knoweledge.

      I just have one question, which may be very simple answer, but I can’t seem to find clarification on it anywhere I look. So I figured I would come straight to the source.

      In your writings, and in the video, and in just about every explanation I seem to be able to find, you state that if you can get your sled dialed in to .001 in. after the 5th cut, you are good. My question is, where exactly are you deriving that .001 in. error from? In other words, are you looking for only a .001 variance in measurements from the top of the 5th cut and the bottom of the 5th cut? Or are you finding that error variance after the compounded error is divided by the 4 angles? Or is it after it is then divided by the length of the 5th cut? Or after the final calculation of multiplying your error/in. By the length of the fence?

      I have done this method numerous times and just seem to be chasing calculations, and I’m just not sure where I should be stopping to determine the final error. I hope this question makes sense, and would greatly appreciate your insight on this clarification.

  39. Hello Mr Ng,

    First off, Thank you so much for the very detailed video, and sharing of all of your knoweledge.

    I just have one question, which may be very simple answer, but I can’t seem to find clarification on it anywhere I look. So I figured I would come straight to the source.

    In your writings, and in the video, and in just about every explanation I seem to be able to find, you state that if you can get your sled dialed in to .001 in. after the 5th cut, you are good. My question is, where exactly are you deriving that .001 in. error from? In other words, are you looking for only a .001 variance in measurements from the top of the 5th cut and the bottom of the 5th cut? Or are you finding that error variance after the compounded error is divided by the 4 angles? Or is it after it is then divided by the length of the 5th cut? Or after the final calculation of multiplying your error/in. by the length of the fence?

    I have done this method numerous times and just seem to be chasing calculations, and I’m just not sure where I should be stopping to determine the final error. I hope this question makes sense, and would greatly appreciate your insight on this clarification.

    1. YES! Geoff’s question, I believe is what we’re all asking.
      Is the “Holy Grail” of .001″ or less:
      *The final error ratio that we want to arrive at once we calculate (a-b) divided by 4 divided by the length of our 5th cut?
      *The amount of error when multiplying the ratio by the length of the fence to the adjustment point?

      Thank you so much!

  40. I recently re-entered the world of woodworking and am so happy to have discovered your website. Thank you for your wonderfully straight-forward videos. It is a pleasure to watch you work.

  41. William,

    I want to thank you, the generosity you show sharing your knowledge is above and beyond. Thats what we do when we are passionate about a skill, art, talent, call it what you will. To show my appreciation, I recently purchased the sled templates, the 2″ and 4″ brayer from you store. The glue application using the bayer was amazing, fast, clean and an even coat of glue with very little effort. Will never use another plastic or metal spatula type of glue applicator again.

    On to sharing my experience building the sled. Im fairly new to all this so I’m learning as I go. My first error (learning experience) was getting the vertical grain on the runners, for what ever reason my first set of runners I cut with the grain horizontally, I should have turned right instead of left! When attaching the runners I wasn’t careful enough taking into consideration soft spots in the plywood and went too deep on one screw, fixed that with a little wood putty. Upon my forth attempt of the fifth cut, measurement A 0.0955 and measurement B 0.096, good enough for the girls I go out with! I did give out a wahoo in your honor.

    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Bob,

      That’s a human hair off per cut. Depending on the length of your cut, I would leave it alone.

  42. William,
    I love your stuff and would love to attend a class one day. I just upgraded my table saw, again, and always go back to your video on the 5 cut method. I do this each time for a refresher. It is to the point it takes me 2 tries now. The first time I set the fence with a square, perform the 5 cuts, adjust the fence and am good to go. I am getting very proficient at doing this and got it to .002 last night. Again thank you for taking the time to make these videos and share your knowledge, good day sir, and be safe!

  43. I am having an issue that hopefully someone can help me with. I can get the fence really dialed in with this method. But as soon as I put in additional screws to secure the fence permanently, the setup is no longer square. After I put in the additional screws they pull the fence out of square. I am clamping the fence to the base, I am pre-drilling and countersinking the screws. I have even tried to clamp the fence to a straight edge that is clamped to the base to try and keep it square when I put the screws in but it is still getting pulled out of square. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  44. I used your five cut method. It was easy and gave me a final error of less than .0001.” Ignore the critics you talked about on your miter sled video. You nailed this for me.

  45. Thank You! I just finished using your 5 cut method on my first table sled! I have gotten sled plans from another site but his explanation of your 5 cut method is no where near clear enough. It took me 4 tries as I was .2 off on initial placement of fence… with that much movement it took me 4 rounds of the 5 cut method to get to a-b=0… thank you again for your clear and concise explanation.

  46. Hello Mr. Ng.

    After watching the follow up video to this, I was inspired by you to write this simple app that can be run from anywhere. It does the math for you and tells which way to adjust the sled for correction. It is free and can be used by anyone.


  47. I’m wonder if you could use the principles here for a “5 line method” to check a square for perfect squareness? I know there’s a 2-line method that most people use to check their square, but this would be more precise, wouldn’t it?

  48. Hi William,
    I built a sled for my table saw today. I had previewed your video as well as others including Matthias Wendel, a famous Canadian woodworker and video maker.
    Matthias just uses squares to align the main fence on his sled. I used two large framing squares, one in the sawcut and one against the front fence. I was confident that it would be OK. Surprise! I checked with your 5 cut method and ended up having to reposition the 30″ long front fence by 0.050″. Without your technique, I would never have had an accurate sled! Thank you.

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