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Thread: using a router sled for surface planing

  1. #1
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    using a router sled for surface planing

    Vaughn had posted a pic of a router sled setup in a thread that I can't find now. I'm about to try this for my first table top glue-up.

    I went and picked up a couple pieces of 1 by 2 pine furring, I'm about to go edge joint them and screw them together for passing through the planer. If I'm not happy with those results I'll see if I have some shelf-grade pine laying about and use that instead to make the frame for the sled. At $0.89 per furring strip, if I don't like the results I'm not out much, and for right now I'll just custom build the box to be just big enough to allow for the piece to be shimmed into place with a scrap spacers to keep the router from eating my frame.

    However, before I actually do any routing I'll check back and see if anyone has better ideas in this thread.

    I don't have a specific thickness needed for my tabletop, I just want it to be flat and reasonably parallel with enough thickness to not be confused with a piece of veneer.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Hi Mark, I thought for sure I had snagged a copy of Vaughn's picture but I cannot find it??? Given the span of your table top I don't know that 1-1/2" furring strips will be rigid enough to not flex under the router sled movement. I would test flatten a piece of scrap to be sure you don't end up with a very large bowl .

    If you don't have any ash, hickory or other hard wood available I would at least double your 1-1/2" dimension. Since the router bit never touches them you could reinforce the frame with angle iron if it were nice and straight (old bed frame parts?).
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 05-30-2009 at 04:41 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Here's a copy of the picture.

    Dan
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails CuttingBoard.jpg  
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for finding the pic Dan!

    Glenn, I just finished dimensioning the furring strips. Right now they are ~3/4" wide by maybe an inch tall. I was planning to just do screwed butt joints to make the frame. Would investing in a set of steel corner reinforcement thingees help?

    Were you talking about the router base plate flexing? I was figuring to run the router across the 18" section of the tabletop. To figure out how long the base plate needs to be experimentally, could I just use my long ruler, hang it a bit off the edge of the frame, mark a bit past the middle from the frame it is hanging off and then slide the mark to that frame piece and add a couple inches for safety?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kosmowski View Post
    Thanks for finding the pic Dan!

    Glenn, I just finished dimensioning the furring strips. Right now they are ~3/4" wide by maybe an inch tall. I was planning to just do screwed butt joints to make the frame. Would investing in a set of steel corner reinforcement thingees help?

    Were you talking about the router base plate flexing? I was figuring to run the router across the 18" section of the tabletop. To figure out how long the base plate needs to be experimentally, could I just use my long ruler, hang it a bit off the edge of the frame, mark a bit past the middle from the frame it is hanging off and then slide the mark to that frame piece and add a couple inches for safety?
    Dan, thanks from me too.

    Sorry Mark I was mis-thinking, I think(?). Your frame will be supported by whatever surface it sets on. I was thinking of a frame suspended over the piece as opposed to straddling your material and setting on a benchtop or other surface. Sorry about that .
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  6. #6
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    This is a good way for me to flatten my workbench top someday.
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  7. #7
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    Glenn, that is ok - I might go with a couple pieces of 36" angle iron for the router baseplate. So good idea from you!

    Rennie, first, pass the salt, would ya? Next, will your benchtop have flat and square sides? If so, maybe you could just screw on some wood to the ends and sides to make the sled frame if the bench is already built and has a large irritation factor to take the top off. Just a random thought from someone who know less than most the posters here, so use your own judgment.

  8. #8
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    Dan found the picture, but I just attached a few more to give you some ideas. One thing I was glad to discover was using the wedges to keep the cutting board from moving within the frame. I also used a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper glued to the surface below the cutting board. The white piece you see in the pics is a piece of melamine covered particle board. (Actually two pieces glued together...leftovers from a router table extension I built a long time ago.) I only used it to raise the cutting board a little and get it closer to the router bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kosmowski View Post
    ...maybe you could just screw on some wood to the ends and sides to make the sled frame if the bench is already built and has a large irritation factor to take the top off. Just a random thought from someone who know less than most the posters here, so use your own judgment.
    The side rails can be pretty much any material, as long as they are a consistent height. You probably want at least a bit of a gap between the edge of the surface you're trying to flatten (benchtop) and the rails. Otherwise, cutting the very edges of the benchtop will require cutting into the side rails that are holding the sled level.

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  9. #9
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    i think your way over thinkun this glue up mark..vaughns sled trick is good for alot of things but you shouldnt need to do this.. you can be that far out in your glue up i know your a chemist so that tells me your used to be real close on anything you do.. so you should be fine at just a little plane work and some craping and then sand it ready to go.. KISS.. vaughns sled as its place but you shouldnt need it here.
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  10. #10
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    I agree with Larry. For a 2 or 3 board glue-up, the router trick is probably overkill. Out of all the cutting board I made, I only used the sled a couple of times. (Cases where I had end grain that wasn't going to do well in my planer, or that would be too tough to sand flat.) The rest of the time I got things flattened out with a belt sander followed by a random orbital sander.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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