the FLAW with Ultimate crosscut sleds

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In “Making a Crosscut Sled That’s Light and Accurate,” Scott Walsh tackles the challenge of creating a new crosscut sled that combines the best of both worlds: the large capacity of a heavy-duty sled and the ease of use of a smaller, lighter version.

He aims to construct a sled that’s not only easy to handle but also precise and reliable for various woodworking projects.

Scott starts with a sheet of three-quarter-inch Baltic birch plywood, known for its stability and flatness, making it an ideal choice for a sled base.

He emphasizes the importance of using high-quality plywood to ensure the sled remains flat and stable over time, which is crucial for accurate cuts.

To enhance the sled’s stability and ensure it remains straight, Scott glues two fence pieces together and clamps them to a level.

He humorously suggests that if you doubt the level’s straightness for woodworking purposes, you might be better suited for machining, highlighting the practical accuracy needed for woodworking compared to the precision required in machining.

Addressing the weight issue, Scott plans to make the sled lighter by cutting off a corner of the base that doesn’t contribute to its functionality.

This modification aims to reduce the sled’s weight without compromising its stability or capacity.

He also considers drilling holes in the base to lighten it further but decides against it, prioritizing ease of use and sufficient lightness to prevent complaints.

Scott opts for aluminum miter bars instead of wooden runners, citing their adjustability and reliability across different seasons. He explains that wooden runners can swell or shrink with humidity changes, affecting the sled’s movement in the miter slots.

Aluminum bars, adjustable with an Allen key, offer a more consistent and reliable fit throughout the year.

The video also touches on the debate over sled size, with Scott advocating for multiple purpose-built sleds over a single massive one.

He argues that smaller, task-specific sleds are more convenient and accurate for most projects, challenging the notion that bigger is always better.

Scott’s approach to sled construction is practical and thoughtful, focusing on creating a tool that balances size, weight, and accuracy.

His tutorial provides valuable insights for woodworkers looking to build or improve their crosscut sleds, emphasizing the importance of quality materials, thoughtful design, and practical modifications to enhance usability and performance.

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