Vacuum Sled for Planer

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Project by 489tad posted 03-02-2011 11:22 PM 4457 views 18 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a few hours yesterday to try out an idea I had. A while back I made a bent wood laminated guitar stand. I am very pleased with it other than I did not have a way to finish the laminates to a consistance thickness. After glue up I could see little spaces between the laminations. My method was to use a palm sander to smooth out the band saw marks. Idealy a thickness drum sander would have been the ticket.

The vacuum sled is 1/2” plywood nested in dados. I sized it to a piece of scrap I had. Its 6” wide x 3” high x 33” long. I drilled 1/8” through holes on a 1” square pattern on the top of the sled. A hole accepts the Ridgid vaccum hose in the end. I waxed the bottom and taped off the holes not needed. I had some left over cherry from a recent project that was about 3/16” thick. The stock sucked right down on the sled and passed through the planer with no problems taking light cuts. About .015” a pass till the side was clean. Flip, make passes till the second side was clean the I took .005” a pass to see how thin I could finish. (I have a dial indicator on the back of the planer) I was able to get .035” thick when the tear out stated. At .055” thick there was just one little spot of tear out. The blades on my planer are factory original and about seven years old. I wonder what I could get with sharp blades. The thickness varies a few thousands over the length. The sled is currently not glued or fastened together so maybe thats where I’m getting that.

The process of running the stock with the sled is slow. Turn on the vac, turn on the planer, run the stock, stop the planer, stop the vac, disconnect the vac from the sled, carry the sled to the front, attatch the vac, turn on the vac, adjust the planer, turn on the planer run the stock through and repete. I’m thrusty now.

This was something I had to try. It only took me a hour to build. Is it the best way, probably not. In a pinch if you don’t have access to a thickness sander and there are not many pieces to run it could get you out of a jam.
Your questions and coments are welcome.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

14 comments so far

View adaughhetee's profile


103 posts in 1350 days

#1 posted 03-03-2011 12:24 AM

Great idea! I couldn’t imagine getting that thin of wood off of a typical sled with double-sided tape.

View KMT's profile


591 posts in 1329 days

#2 posted 03-03-2011 12:30 AM


-- - Martin

View Jonathan's profile


2605 posts in 1717 days

#3 posted 03-03-2011 01:21 AM

Wow, nice work and a great idea put into motion.

I’d like to see it all again with a set of new blades.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Splinterman's profile


23058 posts in 2028 days

#4 posted 03-03-2011 02:46 AM

Hey Dan,
Sweet idea….good one.

View NormG's profile


4208 posts in 1670 days

#5 posted 03-03-2011 03:24 AM

Wonderful idea. Great execution also, keep up the refinements

-- Norman

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 1937 days

#6 posted 03-03-2011 03:32 AM

Interesting idea….necessity is indeed the mother of invention….One of the fun things about woodworking is that there are so many ways to accomplish something useful….you just need a bit of ingenuity.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View tyvekboy's profile


571 posts in 1680 days

#7 posted 03-03-2011 04:35 AM

Another great idea that goes into my favorite’s box.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11559 posts in 1772 days

#8 posted 03-03-2011 04:50 AM

That is a very neat idea. I have often had a need for something like this!
Thanks for showing it to us all!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View bigike's profile


4031 posts in 1955 days

#9 posted 03-03-2011 05:04 AM

View 489tad's profile


2353 posts in 1678 days

#10 posted 03-03-2011 02:59 PM

Thank you all for the nice coments.
Ike, thanks for the link. The switch would save time in the process.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View stefang's profile


13104 posts in 2001 days

#11 posted 03-03-2011 05:18 PM

Well done Dan. I imagine your idea with the box and vacuum could be used in a number of ways.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JJohnston's profile


1580 posts in 1958 days

#12 posted 03-03-2011 06:00 PM

Good idea! Couple of questions:

1. Do the feed rollers on the planer pull it through, or do you have to feed it manually?

2. Why do you have to carry it around to the front every time? After you take the workpiece off, isn’t it low enough to just push back through?

-- "Sorry I'm late. Somebody tampered with my brakes." "You should have been early, then."

View 489tad's profile


2353 posts in 1678 days

#13 posted 03-03-2011 09:55 PM

JJohnston, the feed rollers do pull it through when they come in contact with the piece to be planed. I guess I could push it back through because the rollers never come in contact with the sled and with the motor off there should not be any danger of damage to me or the sled. \

Mike, the pieces do stick down. With the thin pieces I tried even the band sawed surface holds fast. For sandng, drilling maybe even routing? I know my wife would like me to use the vac as intended and clean up.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Chefshep's profile


121 posts in 1349 days

#14 posted 03-11-2011 04:44 AM

Just added this to my Favs… Great Idea!

-- Chefshep :) "When we allow our present to quarrel with our past, we risk jeopardizing our future.” - Winston Churchill

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