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Anything against using PVC trims to make runners for table saw sleds?

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Forum topic by MiniMe posted 11-25-2019 03:07 PM 1585 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MiniMe

421 posts in 1061 days


11-25-2019 03:07 PM

Hi guy

I did some work over the weekend to add trims to my patio door and being outside I had to use PVC trims
Very easy to rip cut with the table saw.
While I was trying to select the right size for my project I realized that these could be easily used to make runners for table saw cross cut sleds.

I have not tried yet, I already spent some money on two pairs at LeeValley but for the same mine you can get like 2 or 4 trims that could be cut and sized to fit the slot of your table saw.

What is wrong with this plan? :-)


20 replies so far

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Axis39

433 posts in 607 days


#1 posted 11-25-2019 03:17 PM

They do not wear well… Low melting point, and not particularly dense means they will not last long at all. Even the hard candy coating on the outside of some brands will not last too long.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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WhyMe

1357 posts in 2571 days


#2 posted 11-25-2019 03:25 PM

Have to disagree. I have two sleds that have pvc guide runners cut from pvc trim board and they work just fine. The sleds have been in use for 5 years and I haven’t had any wear issues.

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1061 days


#3 posted 11-25-2019 04:18 PM



Have to disagree. I have two sleds that have pvc guide runners cut from pvc trim board and they work just fine. The sleds have been in use for 5 years and I haven t had any wear issues.

- WhyMe


Did you have to trim the depth? I am still learning these things and I am not clear whether the runners have to be jus just slightly less deep than the slots they run in. To avoid friction I think they have to be less deep, I remember seeing 3/4” and less as height dimension

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WhyMe

1357 posts in 2571 days


#4 posted 11-25-2019 06:30 PM

They need to thinner than the depth of the slot so not to add drag.

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ocean

226 posts in 1843 days


#5 posted 11-25-2019 08:32 PM

I have used UHMW plastic runners (one brand name is Star Board) for a number of years. Cuts like butter and is impervious to just about any chemical you can think of.

-- Bob, FL Keys

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therealSteveN

7242 posts in 1584 days


#6 posted 11-26-2019 05:42 AM



They do not wear well… Low melting point, and not particularly dense means they will not last long at all. Even the hard candy coating on the outside of some brands will not last too long.

- Axis39

I’m of this mind as well. It would be my last choice of the usual suspects. I would use QS hardwood first every time. Some years ago I read a thread like this, and thought I was missing out. Tried UHMW, and some of the much harder plastic windowsill material, and in the Summer both kinda wiggled along. Those were only short lengths for BS, and router table jigs. I can’t imagine how bad they would be on a TS track for a sled, or something longer like that.

If you put any time at all into a sled, or jig, have even a few bucks involved in materials for it, then the few bucks for a piece of runner stock of aluminum, or metal is well worth it. You could splurge for perfection with some of the Incra adjustable guides, but don’t need to.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Woodknack

13549 posts in 3390 days


#7 posted 11-26-2019 10:08 AM

Try it, what’s the worst that could happen, you have to remove a few screws and change the runner in 2, 5, or 20 years.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1061 days


#8 posted 11-26-2019 01:28 PM

I will try it on smaller jigs, as I said I already spent the money on the UHMW ones and I am planning to buy a pair of Incra metal runners as well

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Axis39

433 posts in 607 days


#9 posted 11-26-2019 02:15 PM



Have to disagree. I have two sleds that have pvc guide runners cut from pvc trim board and they work just fine. The sleds have been in use for 5 years and I haven t had any wear issues.

- WhyMe

Interesting. I would never have expected it to last very long. Admittedly, I’ve used about everything for quick jigs… Soft pine runners, pvc trim board, whatever was handy. But, most of them were quick one use, or short job use stuff that I didn’t hold onto long.

Then again, I kinda went against the grain and used MDF to make my shop drawers. No drawer slides, just press fit boxes with pine frames for them to run/rest on. In all honesty, I don’t expect them to last very long… But, I needed storage, and I needed it in a hurry… Within a budget.

I love UHMW plastic for runners (and friction solutions). But, it’s pretty expensive. So, following along with my budget theme, I’ve been collecting UHMW before it goes into the recycle bin. It has a nice low melting point. So, I cut it up into small pieces, put it on a cheap Walmart cookie sheet, throw it in the oven, and try to get a nice flat sheet out of it. Then, I machine it with my regular woodworking tools, table saw, bandsaw, handplanes, etc and make runners and sanding blocks and sanding slips (cones and funny shapes to wrap sand paper around).

I’ve never worn out UHMW runners in the past.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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Robert

4447 posts in 2490 days


#10 posted 11-26-2019 02:18 PM

I asked this question once and was told they will expand/contract with temp swings so if your shop is not climate controlled this is a consideration.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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LeeRoyMan

1541 posts in 737 days


#11 posted 11-26-2019 02:24 PM

I buy the HDPE cutting boards and cut them up. Lot of times you can find them on sell for cheap.

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1061 days


#12 posted 11-26-2019 02:46 PM



I asked this question once and was told they will expand/contract with temp swings so if your shop is not climate controlled this is a consideration.

- Robert


I think that goes for wood as well
Plastic should be less prone to expansion and contraction as it is not permeable and it is a good insulator (heat wise)
In this respect it should be better than wood (does not react well to humidity) and metal (it could expand or contract with the temperature but very little I guess)

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1061 days


#13 posted 11-26-2019 02:46 PM



I buy the HDPE cutting boards and cut them up. Lot of times you can find them on sell for cheap.

- LeeRoyMan


Good idea

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1061 days


#14 posted 11-26-2019 02:48 PM


I love UHMW plastic for runners (and friction solutions). But, it s pretty expensive. So, following along with my budget theme, I ve been collecting UHMW before it goes into the recycle bin. It has a nice low melting point. So, I cut it up into small pieces, put it on a cheap Walmart cookie sheet, throw it in the oven, and try to get a nice flat sheet out of it. Then, I machine it with my regular woodworking tools, table saw, bandsaw, handplanes, etc and make runners and sanding blocks and sanding slips (cones and funny shapes to wrap sand paper around).

I ve never worn out UHMW runners in the past.

- Axis39


So where do you collect your UHMW pieces from? Is that some household waste we do not realize it is around us?

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cmacnaughton

222 posts in 654 days


#15 posted 11-26-2019 02:59 PM



I m of this mind as well. It would be my last choice of the usual suspects. I would use QS hardwood first every time. Some years ago I read a thread like this, and thought I was missing out. Tried UHMW, and some of the much harder plastic windowsill material, and in the Summer both kinda wiggled along. Those were only short lengths for BS, and router table jigs. I can t imagine how bad they would be on a TS track for a sled, or something longer like that.

- therealSteveN


I use UHMW for both of my table saw sleds without issue. Neither have any wiggle. I did buy pre-cut strips, so maybe it’s just a matter of mine being an absolute perfect width for my miter slots. That said, having built my sleds in warm weather, they do contract a bit in winter, but I they still work with no wiggle in the miter slots. That UHMW is, in my experience, impervious to variations in temperature. For the record, my large sled is 24” deep, with two UHMW slots. The short sled is 8” with 2 slots.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

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