Router Sled on the table saw

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Project by jayman7 posted 11-13-2009 04:38 AM 14398 views 46 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m working on a couple of end tables, and I glued up the table tops (16” x 16”) a while ago. The tops started to move and warp a little and weren’t so flat anymore. I decided to build a router sled the other day to get them perfectly flat. The flattest reference surface I have in my shop is my table saw so I decided to utilize that. I glued up some 1/2” MDF strips for the rails since they are a pretty consistent width, and epoxied some rare earth magnets to keep them solid to the table saw top. For the sled I used hard maple to minimize any deflection. I applied wax to all the sliding parts to keep it moving smoothly.

Picture #1: The sled set up.
Picture #2: Rare earth magnets. They’re stuck to the table pretty good at 10 lbs holding power for each magnet. You can see I used blue tape and hot glue to keep the table top immobile.
Picture #3: I brought the 3/4” straight bit just barely below the surface
Picture #4: My whoopsie. I was pretty excited to use the jig that I didn’t bother putting stops on the end of the sled. Needless to say, it fell off and dug into the table top. Luckily it was only the bottom of the table top. :) I promptly glued some stops to the sled before jointing the top of it, but not before it fell off a 2nd time. :D
Picture #5: The end result. It left very tiny ridges at every pass but at least it was perfectly flat.
Picture #6: All it took was a quick sanding of 80 grit on my ROS and it came right off.

I flipped the board over and repeated it for the other side. My largest bit is a 3/4” straight bit so it took about 13 minutes to do one side. I might invest in a 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 straight bit if i end up using it a lot. Good thing about this design is that it takes up very little room in the shop since I use the table saw and not a large panel, and I built it all in an afternoon.

16 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4882 days

#1 posted 11-13-2009 04:42 AM

Jayman, this is a pretty interesting idea. This looks to be a well designed sled and will be a nice addition to your shop as you find other uses for it as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4225 days

#2 posted 11-13-2009 04:43 AM

Interesting sled, a good source of ideas. Thanks for the description…........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View DocK16's profile


1199 posts in 5147 days

#3 posted 11-13-2009 05:07 AM

You illustrated this technique much better than I did. I just used the same technique to flatten a workbench top. It works very well.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5387 days

#4 posted 11-13-2009 06:05 AM

so nice when a jig for something can be sooo useful, and have such few parts. Beats the pants off the routersled I remember in an old issue of WOOD I’ve been putting off making.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 4243 days

#5 posted 11-13-2009 06:36 AM

Very nice. It’s simple and very functional. Good idea!

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View hunter71's profile


3549 posts in 4247 days

#6 posted 11-13-2009 01:36 PM

I love to see people that will think out of the box. Very clever.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5307 days

#7 posted 11-13-2009 02:59 PM

Great idea.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View KevinVan's profile


91 posts in 4212 days

#8 posted 11-13-2009 03:10 PM

Nice and simple…I assume there is a slot that runs the length of the sled.

-- ALS IK KAN “to the best of my ability,”

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4256 days

#9 posted 11-13-2009 05:47 PM

This is great for anyone with a small shop. My only flat surface is also my TS.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4523 days

#10 posted 11-13-2009 06:06 PM

I like it. Your little whoopsie could be used to set a coin or some other means of makers mark. Then it will look like it was planned!!

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View Dennis_MGWW's profile


90 posts in 4478 days

#11 posted 11-13-2009 07:05 PM

Very nice! Using your tablesaw top as a reference is a great idea.

Great job!

-- Dennis,!/MpleGrvWoodwrks

View JoeinDE's profile


450 posts in 4384 days

#12 posted 11-13-2009 08:16 PM

This is a very useful little jig. Particularly since you could use taller rails (with magnets) for flattening thicker pieces. There have been some other jigs similar to this on LJs. I followed this one project to make that one the I use in lieu of a planer. I think GHazard references an earlier jig in his project as well. The only drawback is the time it takes to set up and use the jig(s).

Is the tape strong enough to keep your piece from moving? I have been using my jig to take off ~1/4 of material (more sometimes) and that puts a lot of torque on the piece that you are surfacing.


View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4395 days

#13 posted 11-13-2009 08:51 PM

Great idea with the magnets and using the saw table. I still haven’t tried this method, but probably should. I do have a jointer and planer, but can’t use them when the width is exceeded, so this method could often save the day. I can’t use the magnets though as I have an aluminum saw table. ( that’s Europe for you).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SawDustnSplinters's profile


321 posts in 4842 days

#14 posted 11-15-2009 03:17 AM

Jayman…looks good, never thought of using the only flat place in my shop I could trust :) Yea I made something similar last year for flattening big slabs of Pecan, cause the one thing I learned about Pecan is it will tend to cup and curl alot in the drying process, I don’t care how much you weight it down, it is all that sugar I guess…. I used a 4×8 foot sheet of 1.25 inch, pretty thick plywood as my table, and I made the slot in my jig wide enough so I could do two passes with a 3/4” bit, one to the right and then one to the left, taking out 1.5” of material in a pass and before I had to scooch on down and re-clamp,yes you have to clamp down good, and yes the router bit will leave those little ridges, and I also did make diifferent height rails like JoeinDE mentioned for different slabs, Hey Joe I was stationed at Dover AFB…..but the ridges are easily taken out with a good belt sander, grinder, hand held orbital’s, etc… Beats the heck out of buying a 40” planer or sander :) It is alot of work, you will definintely feel the burn like going to the gym and working the upper torso…but hell….it get’s it done…

Thanx for the post my friend..

-- Frank, Dallas,TX , , “I have a REALLY BIG chainsaw”

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4637 days

#15 posted 11-15-2009 08:11 AM

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