Best Miter Bar Material for Tablesaw Sled

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 07-24-2014 11:56 PM 4088 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1317 posts in 2169 days

07-24-2014 11:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw sled miter bar

Hello again,

I have a project coming up that will require the construction of a new tablesaw sled. The sled I am making can only have one runner, so it has to be a very good fit.

I have tried QS hardwood with marginal luck, but my shop isn’t conditioned, so when it goes from 115 in the summer to 40 in the winter, there can be obvious problems with hardwood runners.

I have some 1/4” HDPE that I could make runners out of, but I have heard that the stuff swells when you put screws into the holes that hold the runners on. Obviously, I would predrill them, but I am still concerned about that.

The “adjustable” commerical ones all seem to be flawed in that the adjustments are not continuous along the entire length of the bar, so the bar doesn’t stay tight unless you have 2 points of contact with the sides of your TS slots at all times.

All that said, what have y’all had the most luck with when it comes to high performance sled runners?


-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

6 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11135 posts in 3662 days

#1 posted 07-25-2014 12:12 AM

Having a Shopsmith with odd ball sized slots, I am always in need of bars that fit. I’m in AZ so maple does work for me but for those instances where, like you, I want absolute accuracy, I go to a machinist and he mills it for me and gives me countersunk holes for attachment.
My last 4 cost me $68 for all 4. A bit less than what I’d pay from Shopsmith.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2924 days

#2 posted 07-25-2014 12:13 AM

I have made them from aluminum bar stock and they worked well but the latest ones I made were from that white plastic/nylon stuff that cutting boards are made from. It can be planed, drilled, sanded and is very stable. A little paste wax and they work super. It may be called HDPE. Several places sell it for facing tablesaw fences but the dollar store cutting boards work fine.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TheDane's profile (online now)


5574 posts in 3897 days

#3 posted 07-25-2014 12:16 AM

I have used 1/4” masonite (hard board). It is cheap, stable, and seems to wear pretty well.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View NormG's profile


6375 posts in 3238 days

#4 posted 07-25-2014 12:19 AM

If you have any hard woods: oak, maple, etc, use it, if your slots are 3/4 by 3/8, you can turn a 3/4 board on edge and it should have a greet fit. If it does, while in the slot, draw a line from one end to the other, then set your fence to just take the line off and it will be at the correct depth.

When gluing/attaching the runner, place 4 or 5 dimes equally spaced in the slot to raise above the table. Attach how you prefer and what method will be used to ensure it is square to the blade.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2169 days

#5 posted 07-25-2014 01:15 AM

GFADVM- sounds like you are using HDPE. I’m glad to hear that it is working for you. I may give that a run. It’s just hard to sneak up on that exact fit. How did you do it?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2924 days

#6 posted 07-25-2014 01:25 AM

I tablesawed mine a little thicker than I needed and then ran it through the drum sander taking small ‘bites’ until it was a perfect fit. It will also be OK to run through a planer.

My horseshoer gave me some 3/8×3/4 aluminum bar stock that was nearly a perfect fit for my miter slots. Just hand sanded a couple of tight spots.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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