Thank you all, for the feedback. A lot of great information, some of which raises questions. Here are some of my take-aways, comments and questions:
1) First, I do plan on starting simple and small and figure out what works and what I need,
2) I do plan on using both miter slots,
3) I like the idea of the box or block on the exit side to shield the blade and I have incorporated it into my design,
4) I definitely like the 5-cut method of getting the near fence square and will do mine that way,
5) I have two push block accessories, one of which is a MicroJig GRR-Rip Block, but not the one DRTom pictured. The other is a Bench Dog product,
6) The saw came with a push stick but I think I want to make one or more that can be sacrificial for thinner pieces,
7) I have an Angle Cube, similar to the Wixey but had not considered using it on the saw blade. I've found it to be quite accurate and use it on other machines/setups,
8) I have a good quality miter gauge (Incra 1000SE) with an aluminum fence, but either need to make a whole new fench for it from wood or make an end plug from wood so it doesn't trip the SS safety brake.
9) I like the idea of travel-limiting stops, but will save that for when I have figured out some of the basics (and if JOAT can provide more info),
10) I like the notion of the saw blade that creates a flat bottom, such as the Freud Glue Line. I have only the stock blade that came with the saw now.
I am curious about some of the comments/recommendations.
1) I think I get it about not making bevel cuts (blade at an angle?) with the same sled for 90º cuts. It is because the different angles would ruin the zero clearance slot of each. Is this correct? If not, could someone please explain? If that is it, this is where it seems replaceable panels/inserts might allow for using the same sled,
2) I do not get it about not using the sled for miter cuts. I've seen a couple designs that incorporated an adjustable angle fence and I know Rockler sells one (Tablesaw CrossCut Sled
) that I have actually used at a pattern-maker friend's shop,
3) I agree that it would be nice to see some photos and have more information about the bridge to keep hands away from the blade and how the travel-limiting stops are implemented.
On the notion that a sled might be a bit heavy, I had thought of previously and have seen one YT video, a guy who put a bunch of holes in a sheet of BB plywood and sheathed it on both sides to lighten it. I have on hand some resin-impregnated honeycomb
sheets that I plan on using to make light weight table tops and an extension for my router table. It seems that if a sled were too heavy, these honecomb sheets could be used very nicely to make one that is very rigid but also much lighter. This also is for a later time, after I've figured out a bit about using sleds, if I even find it necessary or desirable. I can also see using it for constructing the fences, if one were to take it to an extreme.
Finally, at the risk of inciting a flame war, in regard to the safety brake on the SawStop. I am not concerned about what others think. I know what is important to me and I can only speak for myself. Table saws scare me. Other saws scare me also, but not as much as table saws. When I was making the transition from a RAS to a table saw, I commented that table saws scare me. Someone commented back that if I used a RAS for so many years without incident, I would do well with a table saw. I'm not sure that transfers but I am sure that it is incumbent on all of use to maintain the highest diligence of safety awareness and practices when using any of them.
In regard to bringing my granddaughter into woodworking, I am enjoying it, but she is not yet that interested. She is too young to use any power saws, but has shown great interest working with me on more simple tasks. I plan on slowly introducing her to hand tools that are sized for kids. I plan on making her, her own small workbench with a small woodworking vise. I have a kid-sized hammer for her and will get her hammering nails and sawing random slots in scrap wood. Going to try to keep it very simple and fun for her.
Thanks again for all of your comments and input,