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Thread: Best material for planer sled base

  1. #1

    Best material for planer sled base

    I'm looking to build my first planer sled for face jointing. From what I understand it's important that the sled be flat and rigid so it doesn't wobble or sag. I don't have the luxury of a local woodworking store, so I'll need to get my material from HD/Lowes, where I've never seen an actually flat piece of MDF or plywood. What would you folks recommend here? MDF? Plywood? MFC? Am I over-thinking it, and should I just use the flat-but-not-rigid 3/4" piece of MFC I have sitting in my shop?

  2. #2
    You can order quality ply via the web, your phone, or etc

  3. #3
    The shop I belong to has one made of MDF that has been working well for a long time, if that helps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    This might sound a bit out there but check Craigslist etc for a treadmill. They are often free especially if you don't need a working one. The platen that the belt rides on is laminated MDF. I picked up one last year to salvage the variable speed DC motor and I'm saving the platen to make a router table top for my table saw. It's flat and very rigid.

  5. #5
    Another idea is to use premade shelving boards.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    Another idea is to use premade shelving boards.
    That is what I have used for years. I have a 2 foot long by 1 foot wide white board the big box store and a 4 foot by 1 foot white board also. Just sort through a few of the boards, you will find one flat. I use the hot glue method and it always gives a good flat face. As an aside, you can also use a flexible 1/8 inch hardboard as a planer sled, as long as the flexible planer sled is on a dead flat surface. I use hot glue, and after drying, run the board glued to the flexible sled through my Dewalt 735. Because the tables are flat, the face comes out flat. I used this method for 6 foot boards for my dining room table.

  7. #7
    Thanks. That's actually what I have sitting in my shop. A 12" x 72" x .75" melamine shelf. Long enough for anything I'd realistically need to run through the planer. It sits nice and flat, but if left to overhang the edge of a table it starts to droop. Encouraging to think that this might work, given your success with 1/8 hardboard.

  8. #8
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    As to drooping, the base of mine is a sort of torsion box. Half inch ply upper and lower with 1 inch maple frame parts between.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  9. #9
    That's smart!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Karp View Post
    Thanks. That's actually what I have sitting in my shop. A 12" x 72" x .75" melamine shelf. Long enough for anything I'd realistically need to run through the planer. It sits nice and flat, but if left to overhang the edge of a table it starts to droop. Encouraging to think that this might work, given your success with 1/8 hardboard.
    you are good to go! I would suggest you also pick up a shorter melamine board for $15 perhaps 3 foot or so…you will use that much more often…a six footer is unwieldy unless needed for 5 or 6 foot boards

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