Walnut Slab Coffee table #2: The Router Sled

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Blog entry by ilyac posted 09-08-2014 01:06 AM 2155 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Slab... Part 2 of Walnut Slab Coffee table series Part 3: Finished Planing »

After a few feeble attempts at using a belt sander and a hand plane ( as if that was going to work) I decided to build a router sled. I don’t have much in the ways of a work surface that can accommodate a piece this size so I fashioned up a few sawhorses, a bed to hold the slab, and then the router sled itself. The whole thing took me an afternoon and is made of MDF.

Because the slab varies in height so much I wanted a easy way to adjust the sled potion without having to move the walls of the bed. So the sled is attached to two guides each with tracks to hold the sled and led it slide up and down. I can go from 2-1/2” clearance to about 7-1/2” (if I ever decide to work with more uneven thick materials), and can accommodate a piece up to 3’ wide.

Its a little wobbly, so I can think of a few ways to stabilize, and leveling the whole thing is still a chore, but overall i’m pretty happy with the set up. After going down the whole length I can pretty quickly hand plane off the score marks between passes. (The picture shows progress on the more flat side being worked on, the hard part is yet to come.

4 comments so far

View JeremyR's profile


12 posts in 2331 days

#1 posted 09-08-2014 04:38 PM

Looks really nice! What bit did you use? How did you determine how much wood to remove?

View ilyac's profile


56 posts in 2957 days

#2 posted 09-09-2014 01:56 AM

I am using this bit. It’s a 1-3/4” diameter flute from Amana. It’s cutting very nicely so far.

As for how I figured out how much to take off…I’m just taking off layers of 1/8” at a time until I get it flat with no more gouges.

View FlyFisher70's profile


12 posts in 2197 days

#3 posted 10-16-2014 07:55 PM

The slab looks great. How powerful is your router? I am trying to determine if a 1-3/4 HP Porter Cable router would get the job done, or if I need to find something bigger…

-- Woodworking; there is no app for that.

View ilyac's profile


56 posts in 2957 days

#4 posted 10-19-2014 08:31 PM

I used a the Dewalt DW618 (2-1/4 HP). I am not sure how well the 1/2 HP difference will make, but I had no issues with mine.

You can always play it safe and get a smaller bit (compared to the massive 1-3/4 diameter one I used), or just take shallower cuts. I took off between 1/8 and 3/8 at a time, 3/8 seemed to be pushing my luck though. I would do shallower cuts if your slab is in better shape than mine (I had to take off a lot of thickness in spots), and a smaller bit if you’re working with a smaller piece.

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