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Best base wood for table saw sleds

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Forum topic by Slabguy posted 01-09-2014 07:55 PM 708 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Slabguy

24 posts in 426 days


01-09-2014 07:55 PM

I have read a bunch of different opinions on what is best to use for table saw sleds. Here’s the consensus I’ve gathered: MDF absorbs moisture too easily and will warp, plywood from Lowes is a terrible product and will warp, Lowes hardwood veneer plywoods have terrible substrate and will chip and separate. So, I’ve basically come to the conclusion I cannot build a table saw sled with a decent base. Just kidding, but really what do you guys recommend for crosscut, miter sleds etc…? Thanks.


13 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)

bondogaposis

2529 posts in 1009 days


#1 posted 01-09-2014 08:03 PM

I use whatever is on hand at the time, MDF, or junk plywood or sometimes even OSB. Usually warp-age is not much of a problem when you cut a piece of plywood into smaller pieces and then reinforce the sled w/ straight stock. My sled bases are 1/2” and will conform to the straight stock I attach them to and the runners add stiffness as well.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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hudub

1 post in 270 days


#2 posted 01-09-2014 09:43 PM

Mine is made out of melamine, no problems so far.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1438 posts in 455 days


#3 posted 01-09-2014 09:46 PM

Big Box hardwood plywood works just fine. I’ve used Baltic birch as well, but I can only get it locally in smaller sizes at Woodcraft, and it is expensive.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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MT_Stringer

1904 posts in 1889 days


#4 posted 01-09-2014 10:12 PM

1/2 inch Baltic Birch. I buy a sheet and use it for projects. 5×5 foot sheet.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 696 days


#5 posted 01-09-2014 10:20 PM

I have two in plywood, one in pine, and one that started life as a plastic-covered termite barf shelf. It’s just a sled – no need for exotic hardwoods or NASA approved materials, just a flat bottom, a stiff front rail, a straight back rail, and two strips underneath. (Also no need for .pdf plans or fancy mathematical equations.)

As for mdf – my sleds sit on the floor underneath the saw or under the jointer when not in use. There aren’t any puddles there or any other place in my shop. And except for the annual summer festival where I tie the hose to the tablesaw top and make a slip-n-slide for the neighborhood kids, that tool stays pretty dry too. But I suppose if you do your woodworking in an igloo or under camo netting in the rainforest then moisture might be an issue though, so if that is the case then indeed you should take water into account.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2835 posts in 1901 days


#6 posted 01-09-2014 10:20 PM

A sled is one of the most valuable additions to a saw. You want it to be accurate; keep it’s accuracy and be durable. That said, 1/2” baltic birch is the wood of choice. I’ve tried other materials, but they would eventually fail. My baltic birch sled is in it’s 5th year and still going strong.

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Slabguy

24 posts in 426 days


#7 posted 01-09-2014 10:27 PM

Thanks for the advice guys. I’m not operating in a rainforest or holding annual slip n slide festivals on or around my table saw so hopefully I’ll be good with plywood or MDF. I’ll look in to the Baltic Birch and see if I can get that locally too.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3365 posts in 1471 days


#8 posted 01-09-2014 10:55 PM

1/2” Baltic Birch here. Any cabinet grade plywood will work. The more layers the plywood has, the better.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 944 days


#9 posted 01-09-2014 10:57 PM

Another vote for Baltic Birch. Super stable.

-- John, BC, Canada

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

1786 posts in 846 days


#10 posted 01-09-2014 11:19 PM

I vote for Baltic Birch ply if you are sure this sled is the last one you will ever need.

I’d go with cabinet grade plywood if you’d like to use it for a couple of years while you are figuring out how you want to build your utlimate sled. That’s the thing about the sleds. Once you get used to it, you start to want more features but those features will depend on you and what ‘special’ tasks you use it for on a continual basis.

I’d go MDF if you are planning on parting with the table saw in the near future.

Have fun! The cabinet grade plywood on mine has not warped or separated and I use it a lot. No dainty treatment from me. My old MDF sled outlasted my HF benchtop. I gave it to someoe else who is still using it.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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sgmdwk

259 posts in 530 days


#11 posted 01-09-2014 11:31 PM

Baltic birch is fine stuff – and way too expensive IMO for a table saw sled. I use whatever I have on hand. My current crosscut sled – in use for three years – is made from a piece of plywood that started out as an orderly room sign board on Fort Lewis and was headed to a dumpster when I rescued it. I live in a very damp corner of the country but have never had a cheap plywood sled warp.

-- Dave K.

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BentheViking

1752 posts in 1222 days


#12 posted 01-10-2014 02:46 AM

Baltic birch or melamine. Ikea kitchen cabinet shelves are really inexpensive melamine options if there is a store near you.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View spcbike's profile

spcbike

23 posts in 632 days


#13 posted 01-11-2014 12:01 PM

Both MDF and big box cabinet grade ply.

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