Poll: How Do You Cross-Cut?

Last week, we asked you how you would rip a board to width. So once you do that, how do you cross-cut to length? For me, if the board is narrow, I use either my cross-cut sled or my sliding compound miter saw. If the board is too big for those two tools, I’ll use my tracksaw. So how’s about you?

Our polls are created by Tom Iovino of TomsWorkbench.com.

Category: Poll of the Week


  1. Mike C. October 31, 2012

    Usually a crosscut sled or miter saw, depending on the cut.

  2. It’s probably a 50/50 split between tablesaw with a miter sled and a handsaw, depending on how many pieces, how thick the piece, and how precise I need to be.

  3. Tim CHarles October 31, 2012

    I like the skilled karate chop one, and it has 9 votes!

  4. Dan R October 31, 2012

    Miter saw when not concerned about accuracy (or for from rough lumber before milling), but always table saw with sled or gauge if it’s going to be part of a joint. My miter saw is a 12″ – increases possibility of runout from the arbor, even when it’s well adjusted.

  5. Skilled karate chop……………….LOL!

  6. I very recently started using a crosscut sled but have used a miter saw and circ saw with a framing square for rough stock.

  7. Bob D. October 31, 2012

    For small pieces as picture frames I rough cut with the miter saw and trim with the mitter trimmer. For med pieces as cutting board I use my table saw with a cross-cut sled. For larger pieces as ply as you mentionned I use the tracksaw.

  8. Ray October 31, 2012

    I try to use a table saw for all crosscuts because of the accuracy I am able to achieve with that tool. If I had an upgraded miter saw I might sway toward that tool more, but as it is, my miter saw is only useful for rough cuts.

  9. Like most things, it depends on the size, scale, and intent of the cut, but I like a sled for accuracy and safety.

  10. Alan B October 31, 2012

    I voted for some other method since I use more than one method listed in the poll.

    My tablesaw has a slider attachment that will let me cross cut up to 38″. I’ll mainly use that for panels. For face frame parts or stiles and rails for doors I’ll use my SCMS.

    Now if I’m building a picture frame I built a sled specificaly for 45 degree cuts.

  11. Rob October 31, 2012

    I would rather have seen the table saw sled and miter gauge as separate options. Even a top of the line miter gauge has a hard time matching the precision and control of even a shop-built sled, IMO.

  12. Im in the same boat as most of you, where it depends on a few things.

    If the board is fairly narrow and not too long I will use my table saw with the cross cut sled, but if it is a bit long to manage on the table saw I will use the sliding miter saw followed up by the cross cut sled to make sure its a good cut.
    But if the board is too wide for either the miter saw or table saw I will use either a skilled karate chop or my track saw.


  13. James October 31, 2012

    I liek to use the tablesaw. I will rough cut first on the chop saw adn finish on the tablesaw.. for sheeted goods i’ll use the circular saw with a homemade jig… Its amazing what you learn from the net…

  14. Beechwood Chip October 31, 2012

    If the piece is small, move the piece past the tool (tablesaw).
    If the piece is large, move the tool past the piece (miter saw or circular saw/guide).

  15. jlaviolette October 31, 2012

    I spent a lot of time making sleds of various sizes, and making them really accurate. My miter saw is used only when cutting REALLY thick stock (3.5″+) that won’t go through the TS in one pass

  16. Chris October 31, 2012

    I usually a circular saw with a guide for rough lumber, the table saw to get “rough” joint edge and then, depending on the precision required, may shoot it on my shooting board.

    I’ve tried the karate chop but it hurts my head too much!

  17. Brian V. October 31, 2012

    I prefer to use my Festool TS55/MFT-3 combo. I spend more time working rather than cleaning up ala the router demo video on this site where it takes as long or longer to clean up as to make the cuts in the first place. Before that I have my small table saw with an over sized table sled with a routed t-slot in the fence for a stop block. I do still use if from time to time, but I try to use the Festool whenever I can.

  18. Steven Hsieh October 31, 2012

    For rough lumber, I use the radial arm saw to cut to a length that is manageable to use on the jointer. Unless its something that needs to be long.

    85% is using the table saw sled
    10% miter saw
    5% tracksaw

  19. Taylor October 31, 2012

    Kapex for the win!

  20. Clanger November 1, 2012

    I nearly always use the compound mitre saw. If I want super accuracy such as when I am marking off the edge (e.g. for a dovetailed joint), I will finish the edge off on a shooting board.

  21. For breaking down material for milling I use either jig saw or Pax crosscut 22-inch saw depending upon my mood and condition of arthritic shoulders.
    For finished cuts of wide material I use my cross-cut sled.
    Finished cuts of narrower stock I use Incra miter gauge on table saw.
    I have a compound miter saw, but that is reserved for construction projects and is buried deep in the garage.

    • Aaron Leeper September 15, 2014

      I agree. With Tom Buhl. I use my incra for narrow stick and a shop built sled for wide birds and sheet goods. I cut my rough lumber with the jigsaw.

      • Aaron Leeper September 15, 2014

        Lol. Darn auto correct.

  22. nikko November 1, 2012

    I usually find myself using the cross-cut sled, though on pieces over 3′ I do tend to favor the miter saw (unfortunately it’s not a sliding compound saw, so I’m limited on the widths I can handle). For small pieces I tend to favor the bandsaw, since it generally feels like a safer cut.

  23. Greg F November 1, 2012

    For the most part I use the table saw but I recently obtained a miter saw and will likely use it often for cross cutting.

  24. Jamie Lennox November 1, 2012

    I crosscut a number of different ways: on the compound sliding miter saw to oversize rough boards (I would love to obtain Festool’s Kapex); with Festool’s plunge cut saw and guide rail; and perhaps the best way is on the “ultimate crosscut sled” as described by John McCormack in his August 2008 Fine Woodworking cover article. I affectionately call it the “Stealth Bomber” since it resembles its shape and it is also quite “bomber”, meaning accurate. I constructed one this past summer for my brother’s woodshop. It is made out of 3/4″ mdf with a hard maple fence and a stable plywood fence behind it. The sled rides on top of the table saw and a support rail on the left of the saw. It also can ride on an in-feed support for ripping large plywood sheets.

    Since the sled is kind of heavy to lift off the saw, I decided to land “the bomber” into a docking hangar by sliding the sled over the out-feed table and setting it down into an embedded & lockable station on the opposite corner from the table saw. I traced the docking station on the out-feed table and cut it out so the sled embeds and locks into position making it flush with the table saw top and keeping the sled’s fence completely out of the way. No need to get a hernia by heaving it off the table saw, in fact “the bomber” has never left the table saw. It easily parks itself out of the way for other operations like ripping. The widest piece I have crosscut is 36 5/8″. It makes cabinet parts dead-on square. I also modified McCormack’s design by adding a telescoping flip stop to the Kreg’s Top Trak that is affixed to the top of the maple fence so that you can repeatedly and reliably crosscut longer pieces than the five foot fence. McCormack’s article is excellent with a step-by-step guide on how to build the “Ultimate Crosscut Sled.” Check it out!

    • Fred Freitag IV, IV January 19, 2013

      I like Jamie Lennox’s comment. That’s basically what I do, however, my crosscut sled is much smaller – I haven’t the space to store the “Ultimate Crosscut Sled” anywhere that it wouldn’t get banged up rendering it either useless and a waste of time to build OR spend to much time re-calibrating it back to “square”.

      I can’t remember where I got my crosscut sled from from – but it’s a great plan and I can crosscut pieces to 36″ wide easily.. It’s something like the “Dubby” or Rockler’s crosscut sleds. But it all depends on the size of the piece(s) that I’m cutting – I use a tablesaw, a sliding mitersaw, and/or Makita plunge saw with aluminum track – as to which one I use.

      When cutting small parts (I thought I would insert this although the commentary has been about crosscutting large pieces) – I use the “Universal Table Saw Jig” on my TS and love it because it’s so accurate and easy to set up PLUS it’s so safe (I do have the Osborne Miter Gauge but don’t use that very much although I do like it). I also have the Incra sled and use that for the next size up when needed.

      So, bottom line is – is that it all depends on what size piece(s) I’m cutting and/or piece(s) I’m cutting from that determines what I’ll use and how “repeatable” I need the cut to be.

  25. I have a sliding table saw, Mini Max, and I don’t know how I ever got by before without
    it. It is easy to tune and best of all it stays that way and is always dead on.
    Brad the tool model ;)

  26. jHop November 2, 2012

    Here, I have no grey area. I use a hand saw to cross cut. Every time, all the time. 23 hour service.

    It’s faster for me, I prefer the feeling of the hand saw, and I get more practice squaring a board afterwards. (Sorry, Bob & Shannon, that advice sinks in mentally, but my body has been defying my mind’s authority for 30-something years now and it’s not about to stop just so I can cut a board straight…er… Much to my dismay…)

    Seriously, though, my shop is not organized around power. The only 2 outlets I have are at least 10 feet away. It actually is both easier and faster (and lately far more accurate) for me to reach for a hand saw than plug in a circular saw and line up a guide.

  27. Michael November 2, 2012

    Mitre saw for 95%, panel saw for sheet goods. If the cut needs to be super accurate I will then use a shooting board and well tuned plane. This method is reserved for mitred box sides to eliminate gaps.

  28. Andrew Levine November 5, 2012

    I’ve been saying, “I need a miter sled.” for months now…

  29. I use what ever is convenient at the time since most of my crosscuts for joints will be cleaned up on a square or mitered shooting board anyhow

  30. Danny H. December 4, 2012

    I split between my slide miter and my sliding panel saw with a slight edge to the panel saw.

  31. Tristin K. December 6, 2012

    Miter saw, almost always

  32. Peter December 18, 2012

    I always use my apprentice: I find it so much easier on my old hands these days.

  33. Charles Jackson III February 4, 2013

    I use a 9” DeWalt MMB 23 RAS for my crosscuts.

    • Harold April 2, 2013

      RAS are RAZZ!!! I love my Rockwell/Black & Decker RAS. It was my dad’s and I believe he bought it new in 1967. It was his pride and jooy – and mine too!

  34. I have a Felder K700 sliding table saw that I use for all crosscutting and ripping operations. I’m totally spoiled!


  35. muddlermike April 10, 2013

    it really depends on the wood and where I’m at with it. if it fits in the CMS, then fine, but I might use the TS, a circ saw, or hand saw…

  36. Rough lumber cutting: if it is too crooky, unstable or too long and heavy for the saw table with sled, I’ll just take the Skill (Makita) saw or slide mitre saw.

    Fine cutting: on the mitre saw if few pieces of different lenghts. Definitely on the table saw with sled for pieces of same length.

  37. Scott T August 28, 2013

    I ruff it with my miter saw or radial and then to final lenght on my cross cut sled.

  38. lynxsg August 30, 2013

    When I see the results of this poll (29% ripping on the table saw), it makes me think the powered mitre saw is not as essential in all those shops as the poll results indicate.

  39. lynxsg August 30, 2013

    I don’t like the mess the miter saw makes in the shop for just a few cuts … always use the tablesaw when I can.

  40. Ken December 5, 2014

    Radial arm saw. Quick. Easy. Done.

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