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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I needed to flatten a glued up board that will be used as a shelf. One of the boards used in the glue up is about 1/8th inch thicker than the other three and the panel is too wide to fit through my planer.

I have watched a lot of videos on You Tube of folks building planing sleds and that is where I got my inspiration. My version may be similar to some of them so sorry if I am duplicating someone else's work.

I drew the plans in Sketchup, then headed out to buy some mdf. I didn't need a whole sheet, so I bought a piece 3/4x24x48 inches.

I finally realized I couldn't lay out all of the pieces so they could be cut from a single 1/4 sheet of the mdf. Then it occurred to me that I could use some 1/2 inch plywood (Baltic Birch) for the top runners on the rails that I already had on hand.

My jig is different from the plans as drawn with these exceptions:

1) Top runners on the rails are 1/2 inch Baltic Birch
2) Guides on each end of the sled are also 1/2 inch BB.

Note that one of the guides is longer than the one on the other end. I figured that would help me guide the sled.

Construction details

I cut all of the parts per the drawings. Granted this took a little while to do since I was designing and modifying as I went. In fact, the sled bottom is slightly less than 9 inches wide. After doing a dry fit, I realized I could trim some and still have just enough room for the router to move back and forth across the sled.

The drawings call for 3/4 inch mdf for the top runner on each rail, but I used the 1/2 inch Baltic Birch that I had on hand. And, that will lower the router position and minimize the amount the bit has to be plunged to contact the work piece.

With the pieces cut for the sled, I cut a 3/4 inch radius on each end of the sled sides. I did this so I won't be jabbing myself in the side (or belly) during operation of the router.

The base of the Triton router I am using is 7 inches in diameter so I laid out a 2 inch rectangle in the middle of the sled bottom. I drilled a 1/2 inch hole in each corner and then cut out the waste with a jig saw. UGH! The cuts aren't perfect but that is OK by me.

Next, I glued and screwed the sides to the sled bottom making sure the screw heads were countersunk. This made for a nice, sturdy sled. Note that is is the only place I used glue. The rest of the construction is screws only so I can reconfigure the rails if necessary.

Next, the two pieces of each rail were screwed together. I cut the top piece short so I can clamp the rails in position on my work bench (see pictures).

Wax on-Wax off!

Everything that touches anything else was waxed with Johnson's Paste Wax (including the router base plate).

I have attached some pictures of the construction as well as my drawings.

Note: The bit I am using is a Freud 12190 1 1/2 inch dia. 2 flute cutter.

I will post pics of the first run. Wish me luck!
Mike
 

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Can I suggest that the first cut be a narrow climb cut along the outer edge - feeding right to left? This will minimize/eliminate any blowout along the outer edge of the part. Learned this when cutting hinge mortises where I was getting a splintered exit on the front RH edge/corner of the recess.
 

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Nice Job Mike! I have almost the exact setup on my Bosch 1617. It works great. It is on a smaller scale than yours, due to the size of my shop. I made a raised platform that clamps to my workbench. I shimmed it to level. Then I mounted a 1/4" piece of plexiglass to the 24" square platform. I use it mainly for flattening out pieces that are too small for my planer, with DS tape. I take light cuts using .015-.020 feeler gauges for depth measurements. It really works well. Thanks for sharing your setup with us.

Ellery Becnel
 

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Mike -- Nice job on the project and on the excellent explanation and photos on the "how - to" description. It will be very helpful when I get ready to build one.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Ready, Set... & Go!

Update. Plain and simple...It worked great.:smile:

It was a breeze to move the router across the sled and/or move the sled along the rails. Waxing everything was a good decision on my part. Even with the heavy router in the sled, it was still easy to move.

Before starting the planing process, I put the board on the work bench and jammed it in place using bench dogs and plywood shims. I pulled and tugged, but it wouldn't budge. That made me happy. Note: In an effort to prevent tear out, I used a sacrificial board between the work piece and the rail guide nearest to me where the first pass was made. That worked prefect.

Next, I installed a stop block in the bed of the sled so the router wouldn't come in contact with the guide rail nearest to me.

Then I installed the router bit, and took a few minutes to familiarize myself with the router controls. I have this model mounted in a router table, but have never used it handheld so this was a new venture for me. Did I mention it is heavy? Yeah, it is. :smile:

With the router in plunge mode, I set the depth adjustment to just shave off a small amount, hooked up the dust collection hose to the supplied dust port on the router and to the shop vac (via Dust Deputy), then proceeded to make a pass over the entire board. Only a portion of the thickest piece showed any cut.

I set the depth for another shallow cut and repeated the process. I ran the router at half speed and it just loafed along, as well it should since I was taking such a small cut each time. After making a third skim pass, the board was ready to flip.

I turned it over, left the router at the last depth setting and made a skim cut. It became obvious that the panel wasn't flat, so I made another skim cut. This time, the board came out smooth.

Note: I checked the board thickness in four places (two along each edge) and all readings were 43/64ths inch. That's basically 11/16 inch for you rednecks in the crowd! >:) With it laying on the work bench, there is no wobble or anything...just flat! :smile:

One shelf ready to be cut to final size and installed. It will be supporting either the cable box or the Blu Ray player in the entertainment center I am building so it should be sturdy enough.

Lessons learned

1) Planing the board from left to right (in similar fashion to ripping one on a table saw), I came to realize it was hard to keep the router in the same line so I could cut about an inch on each pass. Waxing everything made it easy for the router to move. Almost too easy.

I am thinking about creating some sort of indexing system so I can make a controlled pass. I have the Kreg shelf pin drilling jig and that would work for drilling a line of holes along each side of the sled bed. Then I could create a stop block with a pair of pins to fit in the holes and aid the positioning of the router. Still thinking on it but it should be an easy task.

2) I may use a sacrificial board in future planing jobs so I can use a hot glue gun to anchor the work piece. That would probably make set up go faster. The bench dogs did work just fine. However, I don't want to be gluing anything to my work bench. :surprise:

OK, this project is complete. Time to dismantle and get back on my project at hand (entertainment center).

Thanks for following along. Hope you find some of this info helpful and/or inspiring.
Mike
 

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Excellent descritpion of a very useful project. I've been toying with building a set of skis for some time and your sled looks like a better concept to me. seems the real trick is holding the board to be planed stable in the field, particularly to prevent any rocking.

Great use of the new router!
 

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Ross
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Great WIP Mike thanks.
 
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I put hatch marks at the top edge to reference the router to step over, in pencil. That way when I indexed the router I would not leave an un milled section of stock. I overlapped the cutter diameter by 1/4". It really helped when indexing along the length of the fixture.
 

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Paul
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You should make one like the Roomba, that just wanders all over your board until it's done. (Routba?) :)

Nice job, Mike. I was wondering what the first project for the new router would be.
 

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The attached shows my adaptation of Mike's approach combined with that of others. The acrylic sheet is 1/4" and by using an "odd lot" size from the local plastics store all they charged me for was cutting out the center hole and drilling and countersinking the screw holes to mount the acrylic to the router. I used stainless steel screws to mount the router.

[email protected]#$$ I still can't get those photos to come out right side up. Apologies.


The slab under the router is a "brick wall" style cutting board which is yet to be finished and posted later.
 

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