View Full Version : Panel sled vs Crosscut sled

John Schoenauer
03-29-2005, 09:41 PM
Can someone explain what a panle sled is and how to make one? I know what a crosscut sled is. What is the difference? The panel sled that can handle 4' X 8' sheets should be a usefull tool but I can't quite understand how to put it together. Pictures would be nice.
Thanks John Schoenauer

03-29-2005, 09:54 PM

A panel cutter only has one runner. I believe they are normally built to run in the miter slot to the left of the blade, but I made mine to run in the slot to the right of the blade so I could get the extra support from my table.

I have never heard of a panel cutter that could handle full sheets of ply. That task is normally reserved for sliding tables. Mine is probably one of the bigger ones you'll find (2' X 4') and I can handle panel as large as 30" by 60", but not full sheets of ply.

Here's a link to mine that may help provide some visual aid:


Bob R

03-29-2005, 11:11 PM
bob is correct .. most of the time the panel cutter has the fence on the rear side of the table to crosscut wider pieces ...

Steve Wilson
03-30-2005, 03:54 PM
Not really any difference between the two. There is a practical limit to the width of cut you can make on a cabinet saw before your sled gets to be too big or heavy to handle; with the sled I designed that limitation was around 26". On the otherhand, a not overly large sliding table saw (8.5' sliding table) can easily handle 4'x8' sheet goods in either dimension, or even longer panels when cutting across the width. Besides capacity a sliding table saw can be easily setup to be more accurate than a panel or crosscut sled. My sliding table saw is presently cutting to .004" per 8' length of cut - which is good, although I could improve it if I had too. Basically I can cut up panels for a tall bookcase and they will be dead on square during assembly and need hardly any clamping pressure.

John Schoenauer
03-30-2005, 09:48 PM
Thanks for your input. Even with a cut of 24"to 30" the runner would have to be quite long. What material should the runner and sled be made of? What are the dememsions of the sled and runner?
Thanks again John Schoenauer

03-31-2005, 10:33 AM

I used Incra's 24" "miter slider" on mine. I used a hardwood originally, but it kept wearing out.


Bob R

04-09-2005, 04:47 AM
You may be confusing a crosscut sled with a panel saw.


John Schoenauer
04-12-2005, 08:54 PM
Thanks again for your input. I know what a panel saw is, I have used one, I also know that I can't justify one. I just kept reading comments about panel sleds but could not quite figure out what the difference was between that and a crosscut sled.
John Schoenauer

04-12-2005, 09:51 PM
Mine has the fence at the leading edge, and to me it seems more flexible than having it at the back. Why do you say having it at the back lets you do wider panels?

Re: doing 4x8 panels: if you come up with a panel sled that can do them, contact me privately, together we'll make millions!


04-12-2005, 09:55 PM
Like Bob, I started out using hardwood but in the rainy season it didn't fit in the slot anymore and I figured if I made it fit in the dry season it would have too much slop, so I switched to the Kreg aluminum thingamajiggies. Chose Kreg mainly because a) it was available at my local woodworking supply store, and b)had set screws to get good fir in the slot.


04-12-2005, 10:01 PM
Been meaning to post about this - I wanted to get a panel saw, this is the poor man's panel saw. My experience with it so far is...YOU NEED THIS IF YOU CUT 4x8 SHEETS!!!


I also got the smart table top, comes apart and stores in a relatively small space.


04-12-2005, 11:30 PM
WOW - that looks really good! Maybe you should start a new thread and give everyone a review of it. There may not be too many people still reading this one. That looks real tempting to me. Thanks for posting the link.

05-28-2005, 07:50 PM

Hey guys, I am new here and I was reading through some prior topics and ran across this one about crosscut sleds and was interested because I just built one. Then I read your post about the Eurekazone EZ Guide and had to respond! I play around on the side with somw woodworking, and I cut a fair amount of 1/2" & 1/4" multiply birch and maple veneer plywood. I rip sheets 8' long and as narrow as 2" to as wide as 18".Doing this by myself is cumbersome at best.I looked at panel saws but they were too expensive, and I found Fesstool, and EZ Guide. I tried a Fesstool at Woodcrafters Store and loved it, but not the saw that you have to purchase. I love what EZ Guide looks like it can do. I have already designed a permanent horizontal cutting table to mount it to, but I thought I would get a response from some folks that have it before ordering.
What is your experience? Any problems?

05-29-2005, 01:51 PM
I use the Kreg slider, after my hardwood swelled in the winter months and no longer fit in the miter slot!

I personally find that having the fence at the leading edge of the sled works well. I feel that I get better support as I near the blade, and am supported by my outfeed table on the back end, allowing me to cut wider panels. The main advantage to the fence at the back might be to tame tearout, also an advantage of the crosscut sled.

I have not been using a crosscut sled for a while but I am starting to make rails and stiles and drawers, making this seem very advantageous.


06-06-2005, 10:29 AM
I started with a very simple panel sled, able to cut off a 30" door, using a piece of 1/2" ply, a rear rail and a hardwood slider. My slider, too, kept binding up, so I removed most of it and replaced it with the tee-slot aluminum slider. It lets me hang the sled off the back of the saw, a great advantage. Best and highest use? Trimming the top and bottom of raised panel doors after glue up (IMHO). Hence panel sled?

06-07-2005, 10:45 PM
Just finished building a new crosscut sled from some left over 3/4" 15ply birch veneer plywood. Dimensions are 30" deep by 45" wide. I use both miter bar grooves on each side of the saw blade. I used some ripped down 2x4's to 2" tall by 45" long, and have them on each side of the sled. Ripped down some hard maple for the sliders. I laid the sled on the saw and squared it to my fence and saw blade. Then I slid the runners in and temporally screwed them from the top side, then flipped it over to screw them in from the bottom side.
Waxed the heck out of the slidders and it works great!

Steve Wilson
06-02-2010, 09:03 AM
Here are a couple of pictures of the panel cutting jig I built for a Powermatic 66. Overall the panel cutter is 42" wide and 36" front to back. That's enough to cut a 30" wide panel. The design is a combination of ideas I got from the Incra and Woodhaven web sites. The track material is from Incra and the miter runners are from Woodhaven. The base of the panel cutter is 1/2" Baltic Birch plywood with a piece of Formica laminated on the bottom. The horizontal supports are 1 1/2" x 2" pieces of hard maple. Both horizontal supports have T-track in them for mounting clamping jigs and guards.