Shop-made router-planer sled

  • Advertise with us
Project by bues0022 posted 12-13-2010 08:03 PM 29915 views 41 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a few projects running right now, and the lumber I purchased for them was rough cut. I’ve never worked with rough cut before, so I never had the problem of planing down to flat wood. I have a planer, but it’s only a 10” – not nearly enough for this 14+ inch wide slab.

It’s made from 3/4” hardwood plywood for the base. The router runs on 1 1/2” angle iron which is lag-bolted into a sanded smooth 2×4. I have oak “runners” that glide along my rails. Rails are some aluminum I-beam levels that I found on sale at Menard’s. Finally, since my rails bring the router too high to plane the boards, I have strips of pine that raise the workpiece up an inch from the plywood. While unintended, it also gives a side notch for chips to go into during routing which keeps the piece a little cleaner. The plywood base is 4’ long, and I can handle a slab about 20” wide.

I was worried about the board moving during routing – it was cupped pretty bad – so I made some “tack strips” to hold the wood in place. Three drywall screws are embedded into a piece of oak with less than 1/16 sticking out. This is pounded into the end-grain, and clamped to the plywood. I can actually lift the entire sled up just from the workpiece – it’s going nowhere! The last picture are the Ash slabs that I finished using this sled (pic #4 is before)

Problems: The router doesn’t slide all that well on the angle iron, if I push laterally too much the router plate starts to rise up the fillet in the inside corner of the angle-iron, the 2×4 sides would be too short if I was working with a thicker slab (couldn’t capture the rails), and the distance between 2×4’s is about 1/32 too big.

Improvements: I have some Teflon sheet with one side treated so it will actually accept double-sided tape. I plan to tape a strip onto the horizontal portion of the angle-iron to reduce friction. Additionally, I plan on gluing a 1/4” strip of wood to the vertical portion of the angle iron making a perfect 90 degree non-filleted corner. I also plan on taping Teflon to that also. Replace the 2×4 with a slightly trimmed-down 4×4 to allow for more vertical height – should I need it. I will also coat my oak runner with teflon, and fill my gap between the 2×4 and the rails with teflon to snug that up a bit. It should be smooth as butter after all of that!

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

13 comments so far

View BigTiny's profile


1684 posts in 3865 days

#1 posted 12-13-2010 10:52 PM

You can also get teflon tape to slide things along smoothly. Saves a step.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View joey's profile


396 posts in 4881 days

#2 posted 12-13-2010 11:45 PM

I once had a very large 26” x 84” natural edge slap top to surface and I used two 8’ levels and angle iron just like you and ran in to some of the same problems as you. After some brain storming I came up with a sled type carriage for my router that rode in the angle iron that used some four old roller blade wheels to roll on and then I used four more to wheels ride on their side to keep it centered and miss the fillet on the iron. after a little adjustment it all rode back and forth very smooth and easy in the track with no side play at all. That was a long time ago and I forgot about that jig so thanks for reminding of it, and good luck with future projects.


-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25767 posts in 4082 days

#3 posted 12-14-2010 02:28 AM

For the side ways sliding, I would put the angle iron open side down, with the V up and have wheels with bearing in them with a 90 degree groove in them to ride on the angle iron. That makes them self centering.
It looks like you index it lengthwise and then run it across? Is that right? You could mount angle iron on the sides with the open side mounted on some straight boards and put v groove wheels on the longitudinal slide and then index it across with a locking stop of some kind and run that puppy the length of the piece for some long cuts. Put a 2” router bit on there and you have a real wood eater!! I would have the rounter clamped to a base that the wheels are fastened to also so it moves as a unit.
I don;t know if you have access to some ball bearing guides that ride on 1” mounted rods, but that would be the way to make that unit secure.

Good luck….......Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4151 days

#4 posted 12-14-2010 03:29 AM

I found this thread while looking at my options for flattening my workbench top.

Wanted to add—for those who can access FWW articles—their take on a router planing sled:

-- -- Neil

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 3980 days

#5 posted 12-14-2010 05:49 AM

Great solution, I think the addition of the Teflon tape will work very well. I did the same to my fense

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

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4035 days

#6 posted 12-14-2010 03:39 PM

I have been meaning to make one of these to flatten a couple of heart pine (100 plus years old) slabs that i have. The idea of using a couple of those inexpensive aluminum levels to ride the sled on is a great idea. They are not expensive and can be depended on to be straight.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Ken90712's profile


17919 posts in 4165 days

#7 posted 12-14-2010 04:08 PM

Nice jig and I think the teflon should be a great improvement. Good luck.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View isetegija's profile


763 posts in 4491 days

#8 posted 12-14-2010 04:48 PM

This saying fits here precisely :

Very well done!

-- Not my woodworking

View bues0022's profile


256 posts in 4137 days

#9 posted 12-14-2010 09:00 PM

Thanks for the comments/suggestions. The wheels would be really great, but I’d have to make more modifications that what I want to right now. Perhaps when I don’t have only 11 days to build a bunch of presents I’ll do that :)

A found an added benefit of the jig last night – I can use the straight-edges to face the edge of the board also (instead of wrestling this tall heavy board on my little jointer), preparing for the table saw.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4657 days

#10 posted 12-29-2010 06:19 AM

Nice job, I have a much smaller version in my projects page. Don’t use it much, but it’s handy to have just in case I do need it again.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Andrew's profile


316 posts in 3344 days

#11 posted 12-03-2011 04:17 AM

I know this is an old thread…but I want to make the same sled. I was thinking today of using angle iron to hold the router.

How did you attach the rails (levels) to the plywood and make sure they were parallel?

Also, any concern of the plywood warping? I was thinking of using MDF as the base.


-- Andrew - Albany. NY

View bues0022's profile


256 posts in 4137 days

#12 posted 12-03-2011 05:05 AM

To attach he levels I just drilled through the level and screwed it down. To make sure they were parallel, first I made one square to the plywood, and then carefully measured the other one the same distance away on the front and back. The plywood is 3/4 and has not warped at all.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View Andrew's profile


316 posts in 3344 days

#13 posted 12-11-2011 03:33 PM

What type of bit did you get? I am using a 1.5” bottom cleaning bit on mine, and it works, but it seems to leave lines from my passes on the wood (they can only be seen, not felt). Should I be using a bowl cutting bit? Or am I doing something wrong?

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics