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End Grain 11-18-2007 11:36 PM

Making a table saw sled
 
Does anyone have a materials recommendation for a homemade table saw sled that will ride in the miter slot and pass over the blade? So that it's consistent dimensionally and remains true and accurate.

PK. 11-18-2007 11:50 PM

I use hickory, hard maple or whatever hard tropical wood laying around to make the rails that the sled rides on. I have a sled I made using the pre-made metal rails that have the little adjustment screws and that works well too. I prefer the wood because it's cheaper and I can glue and pin it on.

If it's a sled that uses both miter slots, I lay the rails in the slots, put 3-m double-sided tape on and then lay the sled top, I like 3/4" mdf, on the top of that. It usually sticks well enough to carefully lift the thing up and mark lines where they are. Then I just glue and pin. Using the pins you can set the thing back down on the saw and make sure it's lined up well and if it's not, then it's easy to pull it apart without busting the rails like brads might.

End Grain 11-19-2007 08:30 AM

Thanks for the tips, PK. Much appreciated. BTW, is there any benefit at all in my using laminated layered wood (looks like plywood but stronger) for the sled's body over MDF? The local Rockler here in PHX occasionally has a few odd size pieces of it, but it is much more expensive than MDF.

NateHanson 11-19-2007 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by End Grain (Post 74872)
Thanks for the tips, PK. Much appreciated. BTW, is there any benefit at all in my using laminated layered wood (looks like plywood but stronger) for the sled's body over MDF? The local Rockler here in PHX occasionally has a few odd size pieces of it, but it is much more expensive than MDF.

Not sure what this "laminated layered wood" is that you're talking about. That's the definition of plywood. I'm guessing you're looking at a premium grade ply, like baltic birch, or ApplePly. Those are great for furniture, but they're not more stable than MDF. I'd use MDF for your sled, and hardwood for the front and back edge, and for the runners.

Remember to make the front and back tall enough that there will be lots of strength even after you've cut through them with the blade at full height. They should be about 5" tall for a 10" saw.

PK. 11-19-2007 10:58 AM

It could be lumber core plywood. I wouldn't use that for sleds.

Nate's right about the mdf. It's just perfect for this sort of thing.

joasis 11-19-2007 04:43 PM

I prefer using nylon strips, since they glide well in the slots. A plastic shop can sell you a piece and you can cut your own. I use melamine board, white side up, for the sled body.

You may be interested in checking out our sister forum, www.woodworkingtalk.com

End Grain 11-19-2007 05:58 PM

Thanks, folks, for the tips and the info. Much appreciated. :)

Spyko 12-08-2007 07:28 AM

To get the rails nice and straight on the bottom of your sled you can use your saw's fence. Assuming your fence is set perfectly parralell to the blade just put the rails in the slots and the sled in it's position on the table. Pull the fence against the sled and lock it down. Now pull the sled and the rails off the front edge of the saw and fasten from below. Repeat this at the back of the saw. Flip it over and add a fastener in the middle and you're done. For the body I use the melamine, but white side down because it slides so easily. Good luck!


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