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    User Brogan's Avatar
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    Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Planning ahead for when I finally get my workshop and tools ... one day, one day ...

    What is the preferred material for a crosscut sled runners?

    I've seen purpose built aluminium runners used, UHMW, hardwood, even plywood.

    Does anyone have experience with more than one type and any opinions either way on each one?

    I'm leaning towards UHMW as it won't chip or wear like wood and should slide easier than aluminium (I could be wrong though).
    Last edited by Brogan; 04-19-2017 at 03:46 PM.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Nowadays hardwood. Quarter sawn oak best.

    I've used cutting board material (don't try it!!).

    I've used the adjustable aluminum runners but it was too loose for my TS so be careful if you use them.

    I have not used UHMW but from the cutting board experience you need to put it in a dado rather than just screw it on.

    A little trick to pass on: if the runners become a little sticky, Look for dark marks where the cast iron is rubbing. Then take a plane iron and using it as a scraper remove the dark areas. Hold the side of the iron against the bottom of the sled assures 90į.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Don't overthink it too much. My sled has poplar runners and they are fine.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    I used hardwood runners, per Marc Spagnuolo

    http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/vide...ross-cut-sled/

    I also bought Incra adjustable miter runners.

    http://www.incra.com/jig_fixture-bui...stem-imse.html

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Which ones did you prefer, and why?

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    I like the aluminum runners because they don't change dimension with humidity. I have used quartersawn oak and the sled would be too loose in the winter as the humidity in the shop dropped. Never again, if I have a choice.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Tobacco harvester wear strips from AgriSupply, aluminum from MSC, 1218 steel from Dillon Supply, and of course quarter sawn oak from scrap pile. When you get your saw, I can mill you a wear strip to fit your miter slots, which most likely will be 0.750. Look carefully at a DUBBY from Peachtree. The only regret I have is I didn't buy it years earlier than I did.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    I have used the Incra and Rockler aluminum runners - the advantage is they have adjustable screws to make them looser or tighter and will have the under layment washers to keep them in the tracks so they can't come out vertically. But I've also used UHMW runners and they slide very smoothly. I tend to use the UHMV stuff for Band Saw Sleds and other small sleds and the locking aluminum ones when I need more precision and ability to adjust the tightness of the fit - such as a sled to cut precise angles for segmented turnings.

    All will work great for what you're attempting - you only need to obtain perfection once the choice you're using isn't sufficient for it. In other words, go cheap and improve it only if you need more precision. Most anything will work fine, until it doesn't.
    "Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone elseís." - Billy Wilder

    "May the grain be with you" - Roy Underhill

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    User Brogan's Avatar
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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Thanks all.

    I thought the aluminium ones would bind/wear too much but I'll look into them based on feedback.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brogan View Post
    Thanks all.

    I thought the aluminium ones would bind/wear too much but I'll look into them based on feedback.
    I have an Osborne EB-3 TS miter gauge with an adjustable metal runner and am very pleased with it.
    "Nihil est melius quam vita diligentissima" (Nothing is better than a most diligent life.)
    -James Murray

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    I use the UHMW. I get large sheets of scrap from work that are about an inch thick x 2' x3'. I mill them on the TS and jointer all the same. They work great and don't bind. They add a bit of slipperiness to the runners...IMO

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Always nice when you can use scraps to make something useful

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    It is expensive but the Incra crosscut sled and miter gauge system is excellent for an option <$300. The sliders are not perfect even in this case. If they are tight enough for no play, the unit is difficult to slide. However the play seems to be <0.25 degrees which is tolerable in most cases. I can also use the Incra sled with my blade guard which adds an element of safety above a home made unit.

    My next major shop upgrade will be a sliding table for my table saw. These systems have no play, bearing slides are very smooth leading to a better cut and add an additional safety as you push far away from the blade.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Dupont spray can Teflon works miracles for friction issues and adheres well to most substrates, so don't let the coef of friction deter you from some materials. UMHW plastics offer the whole package of durability, dimensional stability and workability and would be a good choice IMO, but if you have some other usable material you can just blast it with some teflon spray.

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    Re: Crosscut sled construction - what to use for the runners?

    Made a sled once with oak runners. Smooth as silk, until two weeks later and wouldn't even go into tracks. Humidity changes. Sanded until running smooth again but then the sled was a little sloppy in the dry season. Now, I just use aluminum track which doesn't change at all.

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