A Very simple Router Sled for Planing.

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Project by MarkTheFiddler posted 11-24-2014 02:14 AM 1818 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I have seen some really sophisticated and scientific looking router planing jigs in some of your projects. They seemed to rely on a very level and large surface to ride on. I would have preferred to make one of those. I don’t have ea big enough workspace footprint to make a nice work bench yet. Therefore, It had to be the basic planing sled for me.

I got the idea from wood whisperer. 100% credit goes to his router sled video. Thank you sir!

This basic sled relies on having 2 sacrificial rails to ride the sled on. The sled just has a smooth surface (track) to slide the router back and forth on and 2 side stretchers to keep the the plywood base from sagging. The side stretchers also serve as a fence to limit router movement.

You may notice that one of my side rails is incorrectly screwed into the side of my plywood. I really should have all the screws going from the bottom of the track into the stretchers. There is a really good reason for that. I totally messed up and cut the track too narrow. Those screws are about an inch away from the router blades. I was very close to cutting into a large piece of plywood for a a wider track but did the math and proceeded. Remember, measure twice then screw up anyway.

As for the rails on the sides. I made sure I was exactly 3\8 of and inch above the edges of the desktop surface. I used a thin strip of wood as a spacer. It made the task of camping the rails much easier. The spacers came out after my clamps were in place.

Don’t worry about running your router into those rails. You can still use them several times then flip them over and use them again.

I recommend that the rails protrude several inches beyond your workpiece. It will give the sled support as you near the ends of your work. You’ll also need to make sure your clamps are lower than the edges of the rails. Otherwise your sled will bump into them.

Watch the wood whisperer video. He will step you through using a jig like this to plane your workbench. I’ll find the link and post it for you a little later.

Right now I have to take my daughter’s BOYFRIEND home. Grrrrrr

Edit: As promised
174 – Flattening Workbenches and Wide Boards With…:

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

10 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9325 posts in 3470 days

#1 posted 11-24-2014 06:01 AM

Very good!

I quickly made a jig like that to flatten some boards a few years ago…

Works great BUT, be sure you DO NOT TILT the router while planing… You will not like the result… :)

COOL way to flatten boards… Works great!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1606 days

#2 posted 11-24-2014 06:48 AM

Howdy Joe,

Good advice sir. I’m actually trying to think of way to tilt the router that would mess up the work surface. Tilting it could certainly wreck the sled.

By the way, you can probably see from the images that have a big Baltic birch plywood surface I’m working on. That will be my son’s new desktop. It’s starting to look good. That router sled really helped. My new planer made really short work out of the drawer fronts. I feel like I made good progress today. I guess I’m about half way done with the build. I hope it looks great. I’m not mixing a lot of different species in this one.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9325 posts in 3470 days

#3 posted 11-24-2014 07:00 AM

OK, Mark…

Here is the Project where I made the router planing jig... and the problem I ran into when I Tilted the router ever so slightly… Click little Arrows on Left & Right sides of pictures to see next pictures…

I hope this clears it up… Maybe my Jig was not exactly the same as yours… but it worked… :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1606 days

#4 posted 11-24-2014 01:17 PM

Howdy Joe,

Thanks for the link! I love the shelf. Our sled designs are slightly different but use the same concept.

Your fix for the gouges was brilliant and beautiful. Those dovetail inserts really step the piece up. I think you had a subconscious desire to use that solution. You may have had a smile on your face as you intentionally titled the router. That shelf is some incredible woodworking sir. I really appreciate the share.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View geekwoodworker's profile


348 posts in 878 days

#5 posted 11-24-2014 01:23 PM

Looks good Mark and functional too. I built one of these many years ago and it worked really well. I plan on making another one some day but not until it is needed this time.

thanks for posting.

View Oldtool's profile


2361 posts in 1608 days

#6 posted 11-24-2014 01:54 PM

Nice sled and technique, the Wood Whisperer method is a great way to true up table & slab tops, and can be adapted to joint boards on a flat reference.
I too made such a jig, but made mine for strictly for “jointing” or trueing up one side of a board, because I don’t have a jointer. It relies on my work bench for reference, and can handle boards slightly less than the length & width of my bench.
This is what is so great about woodworking, it offers many situations requiring creative thinking, and there is usually more than one solution.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View GrandpaLen's profile


1643 posts in 1690 days

#7 posted 11-24-2014 04:18 PM

So you’re NOT going to stain every other ply for contrast??? ...just kidding. ;-)

Love the sled, K.I.S.S concept, no bells or whistles, just flat and true.
Waiting patiently for, the ‘Rest of the Story’, as Paul Harvey used to say.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

Edit; the way, ”Right now I have to take my daughter’s BOYFRIEND home. Grrrrrr”
In a few short years your daughter will have her drivers’ license and she can chauffeur the boyfriend everywhere he needs to go. :-/
...just sayin’ :-)

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9325 posts in 3470 days

#8 posted 11-24-2014 04:34 PM

Hi Mark,

Actually Mark, I was devastated when I gouged the wood like that… I had NO IDEA what to do… and I didn’t want to scrap the wood and start over… it just came to me… Thank God!

Yes, our jigs differ a little… I spent about 5 min. planning it because I had to flatten it to get the dovetails to work & I didn’t have a planer, jointer, etc. & was not skilled enough to use a hand plane… We do what we have to do… When we have to do it… LOL

I though the way I used dovetails to hold it all together was unique… I dreamt about it & worked it out… It worked!

I’m glad you liked it & recognized what I did… Have a good one…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1606 days

#9 posted 11-24-2014 09:44 PM


I’ve got to grin. All of you recognize that this post is not about fine woodworking. It’s about, finding solution to a problem and making it work. I think the only reason I posted this jig is because it worked so well and I didn’t have to build an apparatus with variable height adjustments and. I needed the job done and saved more time making the jig and planing the desktop than I would have spent sanding all the bumps down.

The beauty of it is – I have a new jig.

By the way, I finally gave my Bosch Router a workout. I love it!

Len – Bite your tongue! ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View majuvla's profile


8684 posts in 2285 days

#10 posted 11-25-2014 12:08 PM

Always nice to know about such simple ideas.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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