Bandsaw Safety Sled



Over the years I've had a few dax-dirtying incidents while using the bandsaw to break logs down into turning blanks and a recent near disaster for a couple of blokes at the club spurred me to build this sled I've been contemplating for a couple of years now.

The sled basically does away with my primitive and none too safe 'V' block I used for cross-cutting round logs, and also my awkward and slow old sled I used for getting two flat sides on a log to go against the fence for ripping. Neither of these jigs were of any use when I wanted to get a flat face on awkward shaped logs and freehanding them with the 1-1/3tpi bi-metal blade was just too scary - this sled lets me get a straight cut safely and easily.

The sled also provides a safe, quick means of slicing large round bowl blanks into several large round platter blanks or to slice off a slab to make a lidded bowl from a round blank - tasks that were too tricky to think about before I got the big Jet bandsaw and made this sled.


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Out with the old...

...and in with the new!

Making the sled...

The most important criteria for this jig was speed - if it took too long to lock a log in place, I wouldn't be bothered using it and would take risks. While I achieved a reasonably quick action clamp, had the UniStrut been of better quality, it might only take 1/2 to one turn of the handle instead of 1-1/2 to 2 full turns to lock onto a log. The very poor quality of the UniStrut actually made the whole thing difficult to produce - the inner lip that the dogs lock onto varying up to 3mm over the 1100mm length and galvanising lumps up to 2mm thick in places.

The holes drilled along the back of the Unistrut serve to allow sawdust to drop through and to reduce overall weight.

I didn't actually have to buy anything to put this together as I had all the necessary bits hoarded already, including the remains of an old 'F' clamp I used for the screw.

I've glued 120 grit emery paper on to the faces of the jaws for good grip as well as tapping several holes to take spikes for logs that don't present a big enough surface area for the grit to hold. Though I'm not sure I'll ever need it, the design allows the clamp to hold from 1000mm in length right down to zero.

The clamping action is similar to many commercial 'F' clamps. The first half turn or so tilts the 'dogs' backwards until they bind on the rolled lip of the UniStrut so that any further turning of the handle pushes the jaws into the log.

The clamps are 150mm high which is enough for most saws but mine has a cutting height of 460mm (minus 23mm for the sled) so I made some extra grippy extensions for the rare occasions I want to hold round material that big. (I knew that old Jacksaw my son 'used' would come in handy one day!)

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Using the sled...

I have even had small logs like this piece of Yellowberry Bush catch and roll into the blade when crosscutting - very upsetting experience! I spend a lot of time cutting small egg blanks to turn and trade and the sled allows me to hold them securely with fingers nowhere near the nasty bits!

Getting a slightly bigger log ready to resaw is easy as with the sled.

At left, docking the ends if need be.

At right, taking the first slice off one side.

Adjusting the saw to minimize drift will be important while the sled is using the mitre slot to guide it, but once I start cutting green timber, I may have to remove the guide bar and steer it by eye as the sap and crud build up on the blade tends to cause lots of drift problems.

At left, taking the second slice off with the first flat down on the sled.

At right, the resulting billet ready for slicing using the normal rip-fence.

...and finally a way to hold those mongrel root-balls safely!!!

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