Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #17: Still working on the sled.........some progress........

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 02-27-2010 06:18 AM 1471 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: Some work on the sled, and Sharp Objects......ouch........... Part 17 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 18: Sled mostly Done, Fence Calibrated, Dado Set in action......busy shop weekend. »

Today I got up pretty early and put the bolt holes in the main fence for my sled.

All 6 of them. Not as simple as one would like. I am not gluing the fence down, I am making it removable for additional items or replacement. These are 3 inch carriage bolts. Nuts on the top of the fence for easy accessibility. Carriage bolts because you can tighten the nuts without holding the bolt. Rudimentary.

I made one bolt tight with 5/16 inch hole on the end, since the bolts are 5/16, and the rest are 3/8 inch to enable adjustment. I should have made them all 3/8 inch, the tight hole was hard to negotiate and needed some enlarging.

The origin of the problem is the countersinking both top and bottom.

And then secondarily drilling the main hole. Hard to get everything to line up over a distance of nearly 4 inches. I accomplished it, with careful measurement and an assortment of drill bits….......shhhhhhh…..and a bit of filing. I knew enough to start the task early in the morning.

So it is done. I have also finished the main fence, the sled base and the short…… it the small fence with a couple of coats of clear Watco. The small fence will be installed tomorrow morning with 4 lag bolts. Not likely I will ever have to move it or replace it.

To align the sled fence, I just used my Vega TS fence, which aligns perfectly with the miter slots, and a large square. But of course I will test it, and because it uses bolts, I can adjust it. In fact, there was the slightest bit of cupping in the fence, so using one of my new Bessey clamps I pulled it right and adjusted the 6 bolts...........that’s why there are six bolts. Allows for maximal adjustment. OCD.

But I skipped a couple of steps. When you are working, and are OCD, things take time.

On Tuesday, I think that was the day, I put on

the rails (slides, whatever you call them that slide through the miter slots). Formed of a sandwich of 1/8 inch hardboard slightly less than 3/4 inch wide, and 3/4 inch wide aluminum bar.

Spot glued them together with Super glue.

Then glued them in place on the sled base again with super glue, after aligning the sled with the Vega fence. Then did a little filing, a little center punching, and they are near perfect.

The rails are fixed in place with wood screws through countersunk holes in the aluminum. Paste waxed the table saw and silicone greased the miter slots, and took the silicone grease off the next day and put on paste wax. Silicone is a no-no on the table I found out. Pretty smooth now, though.

Wednesday, I installed the T-track. OCD strikes again. I plan to use these T tracks for all kinds of things…...this sled is meant to be a jig platform among other things. I didn’t use slots, they can develop wear patterns …... DaveR …....pointed that out. But I am using 3/4” ply…...nahhh….0.7 inch ply. After routing for the T-track, I had about 0.3 inch of wood to use. I might use wood screws and even a little glue, but the latter would affect my ability to repair a wear item. Flat head machine bolts and countersunk nuts to the rescue. Tedious, 5 per T-track, but you are really going to have to do something strange to dislodge that T-track. All kinds of calculations and measurements.

So there you have it, tomorrow put the far fence in, make the kerf, and test and adjust the alignment. Then make the miter arms. The miter arms ought to be fun.

The sled, small fence not yet installed, but ready….......

The small fence…......

When the sled is done, I am going to make some router table modifications, and then I have to make a quick and dirty computer cart.

And then I am going to make the world’s most useful and interesting outfeed table, and the TS right extension router table.

......sounds like a lot of fun…...........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

12 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3228 days

#1 posted 02-27-2010 06:44 AM

Good progress. Nice looking sled so far…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3482 days

#2 posted 02-27-2010 07:05 AM

Jim, great writeup. You are about 3 hours ahead of me and my efforts to finish up. I used a piece of 4’ angle iron to persuade my slightly cupped fence to straighten up. I think the cup happened during the glueup of two 1×4 oak boards. I really like the hardboard and aluminium runners. I used a pair of Jet steel runners I bought at a 1/2 price sale a Rocklers. They are not full length, and are really miter bar replacements, but I’ll live with it for now. They are just screwed into the base. I noticed you have not cut your kerf. You are smart to have six adjustment bolts. You can only really align the fence once the kerf is cut.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#3 posted 02-27-2010 07:07 AM

I love it!! Engineering to the nth degree!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3161 days

#4 posted 02-27-2010 07:48 AM

Thanks, I am really pretty slow with this one, but it is a tool… know… to have good tools….....

Actually didn’t have too much cup, but I didn’t like it. Just the slightest bit of torque on the clamp brought it in line. The 6 bolts were the item here, but quite a bit of work. My fence is two pieces of 3/4 ply and a 1/2 inch piece of MDF, truly a bunch of riff-raff. But seems to be going OK. Understand the angle iron, got that as the main member on my table saw switch…........yah….a real anomaly, Details
...and the final…....Appearance

Ah shucks Lew…....................(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3112 days

#5 posted 02-27-2010 05:16 PM

hej Jim
after I have read and bringing my brain up to date with other sledges
I can only say yours look great so far
and I realy preciate that you still make picturebooks :—))

and from another blog I will hold you up on the promize if I ever get to Anchorage :—)
say hello to Sherie and have a nice weekend both of you


View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3170 days

#6 posted 02-27-2010 05:34 PM


You could write the phone book, and I’d hang on every word :-)

Nice progress!!

A bit of caution, though, and I would ASK others to confirm or debunk my understanding, here:

”Never use silicone-based wood cleaning products on your precious wood finishes!
Silicones impregnate the wood fibers and can prevent the wood from accepting a new finish. It keeps wood from breathing… so over time the finish will develops cracks.

It is almost impossible to refinish wood that has been treated with silicone! Attempting to apply a new finish to an apparently clean surface filled with silicone wax will create a surface with pinpoint spots or craters and fisheyes where the silicone residue has rejected the new finish. You must remove all silicones before doing any type of restorative work!

To remove silicones from a wood surface, use a cloth dampened with turpentine and sprinkled with powdered laundry detergent. Rub the surface of the wood in the direction of the grain to wash the finish. Change cloths frequently to prevent the dirt and silicones from being redeposited on the finish.”

You said you used silicone grease in the miter slots. I use paste wax.


-- -- Neil

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3161 days

#7 posted 02-27-2010 06:16 PM

Yes, made you another picture book. Nothing much exciting going on otherwise. Hopefully a quiet weekend with some shop time.

Thanks for the words about silicone. I didn’t use a spray, it was a stick used for drawers and such. I have removed it from miter slots and edited the blog post to reflect that. Don’t want to let anyone go astray.

It is not on any of the wood on the sled. But it might get on other pieces of wood run over the saw bare. I think I have read something like that also. Whew saved by Neil and the LJ’s forum, thanks again Neil…........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3161 days

#8 posted 02-27-2010 06:45 PM

Was going to add some general comments about the construction process of this piece, but I think I will use that stuff to pad another blog post later today or tomorrow…........(-:

My problem is that every time I add something the creative possibilities get reviewed by my OCD brain, and I think of 10 other things. It’s lots of fun.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3331 days

#9 posted 02-27-2010 11:24 PM

It will be fun to see the sled finished. You are definitely taking the right approach on this Jim. In order for it to do precise work it has to precise itself. All the time spent on making it will be repaid with accurate work on your projects.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3161 days

#10 posted 02-27-2010 11:37 PM

Thanks. I need to get back in the shop, but I am baby sitting my bird Kermit to keep him out of the cleaning ladie’s way. He hates the vacuum cleaner and squawks something fierce, it’s barely tolerable when he is going full blast.

I am in the process of drilling the holes for the screws for the little fence. Downsized my lag bolts, got worried about splitting the wood. The smaller ones I found are some left over stainless steel things from some project or another. They are just the right size.

So hopefully will make some more progress today.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3170 days

#11 posted 02-27-2010 11:57 PM

Buckle up, Jim.

In theory … there might be some high water heading your way :-(

ps: I may have actually heard Kermit….

-- -- Neil

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3161 days

#12 posted 02-28-2010 02:16 AM

Will try to get a blog out tonight. If you think you hear Kermit again, let me know, because I can’t imagine what the neighbors are hearing….....(-:

Reminds me of a summer day many years ago, like over 20 years. Sherie’s handicapped daughter Mychelle, my son Chris, and I were doing some fool thing, and Mychelle starts screaming over and over at the top of her lungs, because we were chasing each other and stuff. We had the door to the front porch open, and people over one block away called the police, afraid that something terrible was happening. Of course when the police came, we acted totally innocent, as those it were some one else…….....and birds…......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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