I am wanting to make a planer sled for my DeWalt DW735 planer. But it occurred to me that I don’t know a dang thing about it. After much research here on LumberJocks, I have found some information but I am left with a few questions as well. Let me start with I am intending to use it for making face frames for cabinets as well as making cutting boards and misc. just want to see if I can make it projects. So the sled will need to be used for a variety of things and a variety of thicknesses.
1. Would it be better to make 1 sled say six foot and just use that or perhaps also make a couple of shorter sleds?
2. What do you recommend for material to make the sled from? I’ve seen plywood, MDF, and various particle boards. All seem viable but I would like to only have to make 1 so I want it to last.
3. I see where many people use two 3/4 sheets of material glued and screwed together for rigidity. Since the planer pulls the stock through the machine and the material slides on the bottom, is there an issue of sled weight?
4. What is thee best way to secure the stock to the sled? I want to make sure I’m not going to pitch a board across the shop.
5. I noticed on one persons design they included a rope running the entire length of the sled down the center. I assumed this was for being able to pull the work through the machine if necessary. Is there a possibility of the sled stopping part way through the milling process?
I think that covers it unless you folks can think of anything I might have left out. I want to make sure I do this safely and I have very little experience with planers. One more general planning question, though. Making thin stock. What’s a good rule of thumb for planning thin stock? I was wanting to try making some miter joint splines as I think they look cool but sending 1/8 stock or less through my planer makes me a little nervous. I always make very light passes through the planer no matter what the thickness but I can see where the thinner the stock the greater potential for problems. Any help and ideas would be greatly appreciated.