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Table saw sleds: 1 or 2 runners; metal, wood, or UHMW plastic?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 09-26-2012 03:13 PM 4240 views 2 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Brett

621 posts in 1340 days


09-26-2012 03:13 PM

I’ve seen many different plans for table saw sleds, some with one runner and others with two. And the runners themselves may be made from wood, UHMW, aluminum, or steel.

Which configuration (one or two runners), and which material, do you prefer?

-- More tools, fewer machines.


10 replies so far

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#1 posted 09-26-2012 03:23 PM

Definitely 2 sliders. One slider can act like a fulcrum. Any lateral movement (pushing unevenly on one side for example) could lift it it out of the miter slot or eventually cause it to break loose. I made mine from maple and so far so good. It was easy to fit, easy to attach, easy to replace if I ever need to, easy to adjust after attachment to get that exact fit, and I had plenty laying around. I have not needed to make any adjustments for seasonal movement and it’s not showing any signs of excess wear. I would consider using WHMW as it is obviously more stable if I wasn’t so cheap.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View thebigvise's profile

thebigvise

190 posts in 1558 days


#2 posted 09-26-2012 03:28 PM

I agree with 2 sliders. I used aluminum bar stock, then tapped the sides for nylon set screws for micro adjust capability.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View jmos's profile

jmos

681 posts in 1027 days


#3 posted 09-26-2012 03:35 PM

I concur with 2; too much chance of movement with one.

I used two incra steel runners on my old sled, they worked well. I recently rebuilt my sled and used oak, they also work well. Toss up I’d say, and the oak is cheaper.

I seen some posts on issues with plastic; it deforms a bit when you tighten down the screws and causes issues with fitting. Not a show stopper, but something to watch for.

William Ng has a nice youtube video on making and adjusting a crosscut sled. Talks about best grain orientation if you’re making wooden runners, along with a lot of other things. Worth a look. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbG-n--LFgQ&feature=g-user-c

-- John

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#4 posted 09-26-2012 03:36 PM

Paul, that’s a great idea. Where do you get the nylon set screws? do you find they wear down over time?

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11659 posts in 2345 days


#5 posted 09-26-2012 03:38 PM

I’ve used hardwoods and also the UHMW runners , and I believe that two are best , but not always necessary depending on the size of your sled. If your sled is covering most of your table top , then certainly use two of them. I have a smaller sled that I square up cutting boards , etc., with and it is fine with just one runner : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View WoodWorkWarrior's profile

WoodWorkWarrior

46 posts in 730 days


#6 posted 09-26-2012 04:06 PM

I would use 2 runners. I build a sled with UDMH runners. Tip on the material – check out mcmaster.com. They have this stuff for a decent price. I bought a 1’x2’ sheet of 3/8” thick material so I could make several TS accessories (other any accessory with a miter track).

jmos’ comment about the plastic deformation is true, however it can be mitigated with some added functionality. I started with the large blank and drilled a few holes along one side 3/8” from the edge (half of the standard 3/4” miter track). I used #10 brass inserts in the holes. Then I ran the edge (trimming about 1/64”) through the table saw to remove any potential bulge from the brass inserts. I then cut the 3/4” runner from the large blank and waalaa, perfectly strait and flat with inserts. It’s a bit more work, but it also adds some benefit when you attach the runners to the sled. Often people will put the runner in the tracks with double sided tape and drop the sled on top, then screw it in. I put small counterbored holes in my sled. Drop the runners in the tracks, put the sled over it, then just screw it down with #10 screws. The screws and inserts can be found at McMaster for a couple bucks.

I was also thinking about the fact that I may have to adjust my runners if I move from a warm and dry climate to a cold and wet climate (something that is very possible still). With the couterbored holes, I have just enough room to adjust the runners (won’t need much).

My sled runs really smooth, I like the UDMH. It’s a bit more work, and a couple more bucks, but imo worth it.

-- Jason

View thebigvise's profile

thebigvise

190 posts in 1558 days


#7 posted 09-26-2012 05:27 PM

Regarding lumberjoe’s inquiry about the nylon set screws, they—and the taps—came from MSC Industrial Supply www.mscdirect.com. The aluminum bar stock came from Airparts Inc. at www.airpartsinc.com. I considered buying the ready-to-use miter bars from Incra, but I just felt like doing more of it myself.

By the way, I’m not surprised to see so much interest in this thread. Certainly, the table saw and the crosscut sled are at the heart of many, if not most, shops. It’s easy to develop some real experience with various approaches.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3768 posts in 2025 days


#8 posted 09-26-2012 06:05 PM

I have one steel runner and it does cause issues! I used this as it was ground to fit my table saw by a friend of mine who was a machinist about 40 years ago.

Next time I will use two aluminum runners since aluminum on cast iron are good bearing surfaces!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 906 days


#9 posted 09-26-2012 06:27 PM

Thanks Paul. I’m going to consider that option. I agree with you 100%. A table saw sled opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me that were simply not possible before, or no where near safe. I have several sleds now and can think of a few more that would be useful

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1234 days


#10 posted 09-26-2012 07:44 PM

Two runners, aluminum. I like incra’s miter sliders or their glide lock bars.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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