Variable Height Surfacing Sled for Router

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Project by DevinT posted 03-26-2021 12:20 AM 600 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built a surfacing sled for my Ryobi trim router so that I can flatten rough lumber. I started with a construction grade 2×4 and milled it down to 3/4” thick using a Cutech jointer and thickness planer. I then used my Shaper Origin to cut out the center and add holes for metal dowel pins to act as indexed stops (prevents me from ramming the router into the jig or wasting energy by elongating my strokes unnecessarily).

I then joined two pieces of 1” steel angle stock. I drilled holes for the screws and counter-sunk them. To prevent corrosion where the mill scale has been removed (end cuts and counter-sinks), I used an oil-based silver paint Sharpie pen.

To prevent deformation of the router platform, I attached the screws from the bottom-up (drilling into the sides of the platform would have deformed the platform, creating high spots which would prevent the router from creating a co-planer surface in the milled stock.

I finished the jig with a single wash-coat followed by one coat of Danish Oil and a single application of paste wax to reduce friction against the router sub-base.

The variable height adjustability comes into play by using different risers for the platform. I create these by pocketing out both feet to a desired depth at the same time so that they are co-planer with each other.

When I use the jig, I set the whole thing on a 2’ x 4’ sheet of MDF atop my WORX Pegasus. I use 3M carpet tape to hold down pieces that I am surfacing (strong stuff, no mess, cost-effective invisible surface clamping). The tape is strong enough that I don’t have to shim pieces from rocking, the tape holds strong.

The risers can slide to any position under the platform, so I can mill small, long, large, or skinny pieces all the same. Sometimes I go length-wise and use a long jointer to clean up, or I go width-wise and use a smoother to clean up.

Pieces that have been milled by the jig and smoothed by hand come out so flat, you get that nice suction when setting the milled side down on an equally-flat surface (such as MDF). It is very satisfying, to say the least.

-- Devin, SF, CA

6 comments so far

View swirt's profile


6115 posts in 4030 days

#1 posted 03-26-2021 01:41 AM

Very clever. I like the addition of the moveable pins to adjust the width. How large a bit do you use in the trim router?

-- Galootish log blog,

View DevinT's profile


367 posts in 25 days

#2 posted 03-26-2021 02:15 AM

Very clever. I like the addition of the moveable pins to adjust the width. How large a bit do you use in the trim router?

- swirt

I use a 0.5” OCEMCO-system (Amana Tool) dado clean-out bit. I’d use a larger bit, but since the Ryobi trim router spins at a fixed 29k RPM, I’m afraid to use, say, my 1” spoilboard surfacing bit. I’ve had no problems turning the 0.5” bit at 29k RPM so far.

It’s a strange little bit. Its intended purpose is to that you’re supposed to cut the two sides of a wide dado deep enough that the guide bearing can then be engaged, allowing you to then you further deepen the dado and clear it out without fear of widening it.

However, that’s not usually how I use it. In this application, I am clearing the entire surface and as-such, the guide bearing never comes into play.

I don’t see a lot of people using this bit, but I really like it. It is really versatile in that it can do multiple things.

What exactly is the OCEMCO system? It means the router bit is completely serviceable. You can replace the cutting head, guide bearing, etc. When the cutting head wears out, you just buy a 3 pack of new heads and you’re back to cutting dados. If you don’t need the guide bearing (e.g., in CNC applications) you can remove it. If you want a larger guide bearing to create a cutting offset, you can do that too.

This system made more sense to me for someone that uses this bit a lot. I didn’t want to have to replace the whole bit if the cutter became unsalvageable.

Oh, and the cutting heads are universal. Once you own the stalk, I think you can interchange the cutting heads. This allows me to swap out the cutter for an angled bevel cut or a taller cutter, etc.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View swirt's profile


6115 posts in 4030 days

#3 posted 03-26-2021 04:59 PM

Very interesting. Thanks for the info.

-- Galootish log blog,

View metolius's profile


355 posts in 1789 days

#4 posted 03-26-2021 08:52 PM

Yes, this is a neat bit.

Nice sled !

-- derek / oregon

View DevinT's profile


367 posts in 25 days

#5 posted 03-26-2021 09:01 PM

Oh, nice picture of it. Also, I didn’t realize they made it in 1/2” shank. I’m using the 1/4” shank version.

Now, there is one downside to the bit and that is that the carbides are such that one cannot easily plunge with this bit. I have done it, but it takes practice and I wouldn’t attempt to plunge with this bit unless I could helix on entry (move the router in a circle during a slow plunge until you reach your desired depth).

In other words, if you’re going to attempt to use it to pocket or mortise, I would probably lay down a pilot hole to desired depth that I could fully sink the bit into since it has poor plunging capabilities.

Dados are really this things jam.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View mel52's profile


2050 posts in 1323 days

#6 posted 03-29-2021 06:52 AM

Looks like it should do a good job. Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

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