Router table coping sled advice please

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
I need to come to terms with my router table as I have many more picture frames and small projects on the waiting list. Honestly, the router table scares the heck out of me.
Anyway, looking at the various coping sleds. Most ride against the fence. They look very similar, either DIY or machined. Of course Woodpeckers makes theirs complicated for double what everyone else wants. Not sure I see more utility in it though.
$70 to $90 Fulton, MLCS, PowerTec, Rockler, Infinity, WoodRiver, and others, with DIY like the Stumpy. All similar in concept. Small details different. Any wisdom in this? All cheap enough to taunt me rather than DIY. I gather like a lot of jigs, the heavier the better until it is unwieldy.

Is there an advantage of being against the fence vs in the T-Slot?

None of the above seem to be set up to do cuts on mitered stock. Something I think would be most useful in my frame work.

I have the Kreg plate, Triton router, Rockler fence, in a SawStop iron table.

Also looking for options maybe more advanced for running small thin moldings. So far, I have run them on bigger stock then ripped it off on the TS.
 

Mark Johnson

Mark
Corporate Member
I have the Infinity and used it a great deal making cabinet doors. It works well as long as you keep an eye on the adjusting screws to stay tight. I'm not sure you could modify it for a 45 degree angle though.
 

Henry W

Henry
Corporate Member
Also looking for options maybe more advanced for running small thin moldings. So far, I have run them on bigger stock then ripped it off on the TS.
You're on the right track - stay there.
Hard to imagine a better/safer option, but always willing to learn.
 

demondeacon

Dave
Senior User
I had the Rockler coping sled and then bought the Woodpeckers. On both sleds there are clear plexiglass pieces that ride along the fence to keep the sled the same fixed distance from the router bit. On the Rockler sled the plexiglass piece has just one hole so that the distance to the fence is not adjustable and fixed. On the Woodpeckers sled the plexiglass piece has a slot, so that the distance can be changed. This is important if you are using bigger bits and need to move the sled back away from the bit so that you don't hit the sled. I thought the Rockler sled design was lacking and would limit one to using only smaller bits.

You may want to check the Infinity website, I seem to recall they offer a sled that can do 45 degree angles. They also have vertical sleds too, one model of which definitely can tilt in angle.
 

Wilsoncb

Williemakeit
Corporate Member
Is there an advantage of being against the fence vs in the T-Slot?

None of the above seem to be set up to do cuts on mitered stock. Something I think would be most useful in my frame work.

Also looking for options maybe more advanced for running small thin moldings. So far, I have run them on bigger stock then ripped it off on the TS.
I’m not understanding the application, can you show an example of what you are talking about with fence vs T-slot, and mitered stock. (It doesn’t sound like a router application).

Agree with Henry on thin molding, I’d say you are on the right track as well.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
Much Googling. Looks like to do miters I just need to make my own of the generic Rockler style. Just wider and with pre-set 45 blocks to go against the reference fence. It has a phenolic base where the Fulton and Powertec are MDF. $10 difference and probably does not matter. I don;t see much innovation in the DIY designs. They all follow this pattern. The Woodpeckers only differs in an overhead bar clamp rather than the toggles. Nice idea but is the aluminum bar stiff enough? Dave, good timing. That may be significant. But with slots, how well does it keep square?

Yea, Infinity has a vertical. OK for just square cuts but not for curved profiles. I have a similar gig I use on the TS. They are rather proud of their sleds.

Some sleds run in the table T-slot and do not use the router table fence. Woodheaven as an example. Most use the fence as the guide, Rockler et al.

When doing cabinet doors, picture frames, stretcher frames, I think doing a small T&G on the mitered ends, considering modern glue being stronger than the wood, would make easier, quicker and self aligning corners easier and better than other traditional designs like splines, and could work in smaller stock where a dowel won't fit.

Oh, I think I like the design of the Jessem router roller guides over the kluge of finger boards I have been using. Of course, not while using a sled.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
Of course, 100 ways to do something. I have not played with the accuracy of the Kapex depth stop. It could do the tenon on a 45 if accurate enough and of course a vertical tenon jig on the TS can do a slot. Pitched my old one as it fit my old fence. Guess I should make a new one. Setup on the router would seem to be more repeatable. Need more coffee. Maybe contemplate over a nice ale looking aty all the material I have on the shelf. Phenolic, Lexan, aluminum, steel...
 

Wilsoncb

Williemakeit
Corporate Member
Ok, T&G on miter corners. Yeah, that sounds dangerous, and I’m pretty comfortable with routers. Seems like chip-out would be an issue with some woods. I would just opt for other ways to reinforce corners, like post glue spline or gusset…but understand when you want something a certain way.
 

demondeacon

Dave
Senior User
Much Googling. Looks like to do miters I just need to make my own of the generic Rockler style. Just wider and with pre-set 45 blocks to go against the reference fence. It has a phenolic base where the Fulton and Powertec are MDF. $10 difference and probably does not matter. I don;t see much innovation in the DIY designs. They all follow this pattern. The Woodpeckers only differs in an overhead bar clamp rather than the toggles. Nice idea but is the aluminum bar stiff enough? Dave, good timing. That may be significant. But with slots, how well does it keep square?

Yea, Infinity has a vertical. OK for just square cuts but not for curved profiles. I have a similar gig I use on the TS. They are rather proud of their sleds.

Some sleds run in the table T-slot and do not use the router table fence. Woodheaven as an example. Most use the fence as the guide, Rockler et al.

When doing cabinet doors, picture frames, stretcher frames, I think doing a small T&G on the mitered ends, considering modern glue being stronger than the wood, would make easier, quicker and self aligning corners easier and better than other traditional designs like splines, and could work in smaller stock where a dowel won't fit.

Oh, I think I like the design of the Jessem router roller guides over the kluge of finger boards I have been using. Of course, not while using a sled.
I second using the Jessem roller guides. They are an excellent product. I don't use my Kreg fingerboards hardly at all anymore. Prefer the Jessem.
 

bowman

Board of Directors, Webmaster
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
I recently bought the PowerTec coping sled to do some cabinet doors. It's decent enough, but I needed to add a F-clamp to keep the stock secured. If you were try these 45 degree cuts with this sled, I'm not sure it would hold securely enough. Maybe if I had replaced the one lockdown know with a larger one, but I just had a hard time keeping the stock from moving during the cut.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
After some contemplating, headed to the shop to DIY.
I'll try the toggle clamps as I have some. Usually I add fine sandpaper to the base and fence to keep things from moving. Ironic, they make the bases from phenolic or melamine MDF which are slick.

I'll take Dave's second and order the Jessem rollers. I was going to get them for the TS, but gasp, $300! About the only thing I use the TS for now is long rips, so they would be the correct thing.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
My router table is DIY and my coping sled is too. I cannot see the logic in spending a bunch of money for things easily made from plywood. I router table has a home made lift (with several metal parts, admittedly) and a big 15A Porter Cable router motor. But the subject of the moment is the coping sled. I have a T slot in my router fence and I have a T bar on the top of my coping sled. I find it helps me keep the sled solid against the fence. But the basic structure is just a plywood base (could be mdf) with a piece at right angles to hold the workpiece. The edge of this is sacrificial so it is good to make it replaceable - at least the piece that touches the workpiece. I use a toggle clamp to hold the workpiece to the sled. It has a handle, I think. I used it a lot when I was making cabinet doors with cope and stick joints but recent projects have not required it.

The simplest coping sled is just a block of wood with a right angle cut into it that you put behind the workpiece as you push it into the bit.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Scott, I've got the Rocker and have been pretty happy with it. I would prefer something that rode along the fence. Depending on how wide the frame is, you could make a 45° sacrificial fence. The forward block is adjustable.

I will say one thing I've found on the Rockler you have to frequently check it for square. For some reason mine has a way of going out no matter how hard I tighten the knobs. The plexiglas as enough slop in it to make the adjustment.

For years I used a block of wood and a push block to push the rails through and serve as a zero clearance.
 

Ricksmi

Rick
Corporate Member
Scott I have the Rockler and am very happy with it and for the money you can't go wrong. I was gifted the Woodpecker and found that between the too the Woodpecker is more versatile with thickness and width and not only rides the fence t-slot but can be adjusted to ride the fence. I use the Rockler to make picture frames and small projects often and both jigs allow room for sacrificial blocks so tear out is not an issue. IMO get the Rockler and save dollars for wood.
 
I am with Jim D; why not just determine what you need and make a jig to suit your needs. Retired now, but In 45 years of professional woodworking the only jig I ever bought was a dovetail jig for machining drawers, since everybody likes a dovetailed drawer but very few want to pay for hand-cut dovetails.

Simple jigs can be crafted, as Jim D says, from materials lying around the shop and a bit of imagination, which can then either be modified for later use or made for the specific purpose. I find it interesting that individuals who create furniture rather than buy it nonetheless seem to feel the need to spend money on jigs that, like furniture, they could also make themselves.

Depending on how small a small molding is, I can't imagine how (or why) one would produce these other than "rip and run", running the profile on a router or shaper, and ripping it to width on a table saw. Quick, easy, and safe.

A simple 90 degree miter setup might be to use a variation of a cutoff sled, with a square piece of plywood or MDF set at 45 degrees on the cutoff sled; cutting pieces from both sides of the jig will produce a ninety degree angle, even if each angle is not exactly 45 degrees.

FWIW, your mileage may vary.
Tone
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
Spent the day making a prototype. In use, found a couple issues ( common to the generic ones) and I came up with a better idea on squaring it and holding the square. I'll finish it off tomorrow and picture.
It is larger than the generic ones to give room to screw down a 45 spacer. I have another idea with a second fence so I can do both 45's and the 90 on one sled.

One buys fixtures if they are cheap enough over one's time, have hardware or stock that is not easily available, or some precision that is hard to duplicate.

When doing picture frames, both ends need to be 45. Not a total of 90. On a stretcher frame, sure about anything works.
 
Scott:

When I say not exactly 45 degrees on each side but equal to 90 degrees, I mean more like 44.99 degrees and 45.01 degrees, and not 40 degrees and 50 degrees. Although I suppose that any measurement is only as accurate as one's capacity to measure it accurately.

The best miter method I have ever used for moldings is the old Lion guillotine miter box, incredibly accurate. I think that they are still out there, and if I recall corectly, Grizzly even made a knock-off, although I can not personally attest to the quality of the Grizzly miter box.

Hope this helps.
Tone
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Spent the day making a prototype. In use, found a couple issues ( common to the generic ones) and I came up with a better idea on squaring it and holding the square. I'll finish it off tomorrow and picture.
It is larger than the generic ones to give room to screw down a 45 spacer. I have another idea with a second fence so I can do both 45's and the 90 on one sled.

One buys fixtures if they are cheap enough over one's time, have hardware or stock that is not easily available, or some precision that is hard to duplicate.

When doing picture frames, both ends need to be 45. Not a total of 90. On a stretcher frame, sure about anything works.
So are you doing splined miters on a router? Why not the table saw?
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
I have a Griz/Lyon trimmer. Yes, very accurate with enough fiddling of the eccentrics. A bit if 320 grit glued to the wings helps a lot. But it is limited in how thin a slice as too thin the blade won't grab and it just slips over in the ways. I have looked at originals and don't think there is any difference. You are also limited by the force needed in how big a piece you can trim. I did hone the ways and sharpened the blades. Smoother than out of the box. With the Kapex, I am not sure how much value the trimmer will give over time. With the Rigid, it was a necessary as no 2 miters were ever the same.

I intend to do classic panel frames as well as a tenon/groove on 45 for frames. Not free splines. I want to see if I can do them stopped so the outside edge shows only the miter. Yes, I can do some things on the TS. There are 100 ways to do something, 99 work so pick one. I am attempting to do as little on the TS as I can. Coming to terms with the router is one step. I do a lot of my joinery by hand now as for only a few, it is quicker and easier than setting up machines.

First prototype. A few not obvious features. It squares guide to fence with oversize hole under the close fence knob. It holds square with a bit of 320 grit glued under it. Moveable retainer fence is slotted so it slides away from the far side to allow a square to slip in and perfect the fence square to the guide.

Block guide support rather than a post reduces flex in the guide that a post will give.

Fence , retainer fence, and side of sacrificial board all have 320 on them so things don't slip.

There is enough room to fit a 45 wedge against the fence for up to 4 inch wide stock. If this works, I'll make one with a second fence on the left.

Another option for testing is to mount a good adjustable miter slot bar to it and see if it has any advantage over the fence guide. I can see maybe both plus and minus. Using the fence guide, one can set up work with spacer blocks. May be harder working off the T-slot.

Next version will use a bigger block on the retainer fence so I can mount another hold down on it. It will be reversible to mount a 45 on the left side. Makes it wider and heavier, but with woodworking tools, as long as you can lift it, heavy is always an advantage.

Another thought was to use a toggle plunge hold down rather than the moveable retainer fence. Really hold against the fixed fence but getting carried away may overpower holding the fence square.
 

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