Joint a 2x4 without a jointer

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Forum topic by saltcod posted 06-10-2015 06:53 PM 6226 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 1886 days

06-10-2015 06:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer table saw

Hey guys

I’ve been wanting to make a few table saw sleds for a while now, but I don’t have a jointer for flattening the front/back fences. I recently picked up a planer, but quickly realized (as you all will know) that you can’t directly flatten boards with a planer. Sad.

I’ve seen videos on complicated sleds for both the table saw and the planer — both of which I have. Anyone got any other ideas? I just want to make a quick crosscut sled for my table saw and I seem to be at a roadblock!


16 replies so far

View saltcod's profile


69 posts in 1886 days

#1 posted 06-10-2015 06:54 PM

Ps: the table saw jointing sled won’t work because by the time I put the 2×4 on the sled, it will be too thick to cut.

View hotbyte's profile


1001 posts in 3709 days

#2 posted 06-10-2015 06:55 PM

Glue 2 layers of plywood together for fences…

View saltcod's profile


69 posts in 1886 days

#3 posted 06-10-2015 06:59 PM

Oh man. I never thought of that, Hotbyte!! Awesome idea

View MrUnix's profile


7995 posts in 2932 days

#4 posted 06-10-2015 07:02 PM

If your boards are reasonably flat, you probably don’t absolutely have to joint them… and I’ve never bothered for any of the sleds I’ve made – all out of scrap wood that was far from perfect condition. It sure can’t hurt any though. If you really want to joint them, then a jointing hand plane would work… or making a cheap-n-quick sled for your planer would suffice… hitting them with a belt sander, if you have one, would probably work as well.

Here is a butt-ugly sled I made out of scrap, and even though it’s ugly as my mother in law, it worked flawlessly:


PS: I have both a jointer and a planer and still don’t bother using them when making sleds/jigs :)

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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69 posts in 1886 days

#5 posted 06-10-2015 07:03 PM

Interesting — thank you!

The board I planed last night is pretty flat. It has a tiny wobble, but maybe I’ll give it a try anyway.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2219 days

#6 posted 06-10-2015 07:08 PM

I laminate 2-3 pcs of 3/4 ply. Works like a champ

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Kazooman's profile


1465 posts in 2686 days

#7 posted 06-10-2015 09:26 PM

Yes, go with the plywood. No matter how flat you get the 2×4 right now, it will most likely move over time with changes in moisture content. Get the best plywood you can find. ideally real Baltic birch. Use it for the base and fences and you will have a very stable sled.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6115 posts in 3547 days

#8 posted 06-10-2015 09:45 PM

You can true an edge with a simple tablesaw jig like this. This is an image from a fellow LJ’er, mine is even simpler than this. I just used two t-tracks and a pair of Rockler hold down clamps.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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3629 posts in 3917 days

#9 posted 06-10-2015 09:47 PM

Straight line rip jig on the table saw, or a large hand plane (like a stanley #8 jointer plane or the like).

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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25580 posts in 3417 days

#10 posted 06-10-2015 09:54 PM


Just saying…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1956 days

#11 posted 06-11-2015 03:49 AM

The front fence doesn’t need to be flat or parallel.
As for the rear fence only the working side needs to be flat which you can do on a planer, and it truly only needs to be straight which you can do with a hand plane it just takes a bit longer. If you’re 1/32 out of perfect straight over 24 plus inches your good to go.

If you want close to absolute buy an extruded billet of aluminum, maybe +/- .002.

-- I meant to do that!

View skatefriday's profile


453 posts in 2216 days

#12 posted 06-11-2015 04:29 AM

The back fence doesn’t need to be jointed and I made do with two
pieces of plywood glued together on the front fence (the one you push
on) for about a year.

I recently swapped it out for a piece of 5/4 poplar that I jointed
after making a planer sled. Just don’t do as I did and use prefinished
scrap plywood. Eventually it started separating and for about 4 months
of that year I did not have a very straight face.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1029 posts in 2308 days

#13 posted 06-11-2015 04:30 AM

Square, I would think is the most important measurement.And where does the 2×4 come into the story,as a fence or base or what you want to cut?If it’s for the sled,I would build the whole sled out of plywood.

View skatefriday's profile


453 posts in 2216 days

#14 posted 06-11-2015 04:32 AM

And the Thein sled works pretty well for jointing. It’s
a hassle to set up if you have a lot of stuff to joint, but it
works if you don’t have a jointer.

I made a torsion box out of 1/2” MDF, but you probably
don’t need to do more than a slice of BB for the sled.
It’s the hot glue and setup time that makes it a hassle.

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453 posts in 2216 days

#15 posted 06-11-2015 04:34 AM

Sorry Phil, apparently I can’t spell your name.

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