Sled from Patricle Board?

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Forum topic by patcollins posted 09-11-2010 05:15 PM 2880 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1685 posts in 2859 days

09-11-2010 05:15 PM

Would a sled made from particle board be ok, or should I stick to plywood or MDF? If not why?

18 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3868 days

#1 posted 09-11-2010 05:53 PM

I suppose it depends on what kind of sled … particle board doesn’t hold up well in snow!

Kidding aside, it really does depend on what kind of sled. A tablesaw crosscut sled might work fine with a particle board base. But if you are making a sled with clamps to hold the workpiece, the screws holding the clamps might have a tendancy to pull out. And if you were making a small sled, particle board might not have enough structure to keep it from breaking.

-- -- --

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5851 posts in 3188 days

#2 posted 09-11-2010 07:49 PM

Greetings patcollins,
I would advise heavly aganist using particle board, for a couple of reasons…..
(1) It would be awfully rough texture, and you need a smooth surface to lay your lumber or ply on…
(2) It might have a tendency to warp on you over time….maybe a short time…..not good…...if it gets wet.
I think I would stick to MDF or a good Birch plywood, and like the above post stated, the screws would pull out of particle board….It’s too flimsy for what you want to do….... it just won’t work very good…...
But….. one thing you can do…..make one and see how it holds up…the test of resist’ance…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3480 days

#3 posted 09-11-2010 08:03 PM

3/4” MDF, and wax it.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View patcollins's profile


1685 posts in 2859 days

#4 posted 09-11-2010 10:46 PM

Actually the piece of pb i got is pretty smooth on the flat surfaces, so I dont think that part would be a problem. Today Lowes didn’t have any 2’x4’ sheets of hardwood plywood so I saw the PB was like $5 so i grabbed it figuring I could use it for something else if it wouldnt work for a sled.

I wasn’t ready to buy an 8’x4’ sheet today.

View Tom Coster's profile

Tom Coster

120 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 09-11-2010 11:33 PM

PB is worthless. I can not think of one job that it excells. My guess is that it was invented to cut costs at the expence of quality. My house was built in ‘86. The top layer of flooring in PB. If you spill a glass of water you have a hump.

-- Tom, MI, SC

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3458 days

#6 posted 09-12-2010 12:10 AM

Jarrod might be right. I use PB too for certain jigs, like crosscut sled, box joint jig, router mortising jig…. Peter has a good point about how it should/can be used… it’s good for flat surfaces, but nothing where you’re going to be screwing in clamps, since it’s very weak that way.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2844 days

#7 posted 09-12-2010 12:57 AM

Particle board is just like MDF only it’s not been to finishing school—it’s less refined.

Any surface screw that’s involved in a TS sled would not have enough stress on it to pull it away. Typical screws don’t work well in the edge of PB (and I’m thinking of 3/4 thick as a default thickness here) but biscuits do.

Suppose you had a PB sled and were using stop blocks in it, and moving them about for various projects.
Know that a screw into the surface lifts flakes of surface material, so if you want your stop block to sit flush, just countersink the bottom side of the block slightly when you drill a clearance hole for the screw.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 3080 days

#8 posted 09-12-2010 01:07 AM

I like baltic birch for this application, MDF or particle board would be to heavy for this 71 year old to lug around for saw cuts. When I do use MDF, I have help lifting it on the bench. I can remember the days when I use to hang 5/8 X 12’ sheets of dry wall on the ceiling. Those days are all over.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View Tom Coster's profile

Tom Coster

120 posts in 2832 days

#9 posted 09-12-2010 01:51 AM

Is particle board small fiber? Basically saw dust compressed into a sheet? Maybe the stuff I am talking about is different. OSB= large chips. PB= saw dust. In my region, SE coastal, the PB has to be (IMHO) totally encapsulated or it will conform to an uneven supporting surface. In my experience: build a jig and lay it on top of say a screw driver, a week later it will be warped. One drop of water (sweat) and it will raise like a zit. Maybe in areas of the country that don’t have a widely fluctuating humidity have better luck with PB?

-- Tom, MI, SC

View patcollins's profile


1685 posts in 2859 days

#10 posted 09-12-2010 03:57 AM

Particle board that I got has particles a bit smaller than the grains of kitty litter.

OSB = strings glued together

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3717 days

#11 posted 09-12-2010 06:41 AM

Do you have MDF or psrticle board? Particle board looks like wood chips and would work as long as the surface is smooth enough and supported well with the fence. MDF would be a much better choice for a sled.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Tom Coster's profile

Tom Coster

120 posts in 2832 days

#12 posted 09-12-2010 10:49 PM

Sorry to confuse things… again.
Locally I have two sheet goods that are refered to as particle board.
1) OSB which has chips UP TO about an inch.
2) particle board which is dust and chip no bigger than about an 1/8”. Basicaly looks like saw dust from a table saw.

I think Lee hit it on the head about #2 being unfinished MDF.

My problem with warping is probaly due to the fact that I can’t seem to get the humidity level below 50% in my uninsulated shop without running my power bill thru the roof.

-- Tom, MI, SC

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3886 days

#13 posted 09-12-2010 11:33 PM

Particle board works fine for many applications. I would use it to make a TS sled or any lind of jig. Some have particle and chip board (OSB) confused. Oriented Strand Board looks like, and is, wood chips glued together in layers that are oriented in opposite directions for each layer.

Particle board is lighter than MDF and it will take screws better than MDF. It’s almost as smooth as MDF. Most melamine panels are particle board with a plastic coating. I always use confirmat screws when running into the edge of particle board. They were designed for this type of application, however, I normally use biscuits when building anything out of particle board. Particle board also takes wood or vinyl edge band tape very well.

Particle board will expand if it gets wet, but MDF will blister, so moisture comparison is pointless. If the application is subject to high moisture, I would not use either one.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Jonnyfurniture's profile


59 posts in 2821 days

#14 posted 09-13-2010 12:08 AM

I have used a mdf sled for over a decade with no problems but I have noticed short pieces of particle board bend up in only months sitting around the shop.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2836 days

#15 posted 09-13-2010 12:37 AM

I have used MDF and what I call particle board (larger pieces glued in) for table saw sleds and have never had any major problems. The one thing I have noticed is that it seems I have to use extra wax on them to make them slide easy, especially on the MDF. I think the nature of MDF soaks up the wax more than solid wood. I say this because I also notice that after having to coat it good several times, it eventually soaks up enough that it doesn’t require no more waxing than anything else. The only time I had a sled warp out of MDF was once I leaned one against the wall, then leaned more lumber against that, then more. By the time I needed the sled again, it had warped. I think the weight of the other lumber done it though, because that’s the only time it happened. Normally I hang my sleds on the wall. I drill a hole in a place on it that won’t hurt it and hang it from a nail on the wall so that it lies flat against the wall.


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