Plane Your Wood Slabs With a Planing Sled That You Build

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Introduction: Plane Your Wood Slabs With a Planing Sled That You Build

This instructable gives an overview of how to plane your wood slabs flat using a router and a Planing sled.

Step 1: Start With Your Wood Slabs.

Here are the two wood slabs that I want to plane flat

Step 2: Measure Your Wood Slabs Maximum Width and Length.

These wood slabs are on the smallish side. So I wanted to plane them together and match up the thicknesses. I figured I would make a planing sled that accommodates one large slab.

Measure the maximum width of the slab and the maximum length of the two slabs together.

I came up with 19" x 65"

Step 3: Figure Out the Maximum Thickness of the Slab

Now find the maximum thickness of the slab.

You can now design your sled to accommodate for this.

(I noticed after making this Instructable that most slabs are 4" or less in thickness.)

Step 4: Measure Your Router and Router Bit.

Measure the diameter of your routers base, and the diameter of the router bit that you will be using.

This determines the inside dimensions of your router sled and the hole that the router bit fits into.

My router base was 5 3/4" and the router bit was 1 1/4 ".

Step 5: Construct Your Sled

Take your dimensions of your router and bit and apply it to your sleds dimensions. The router base was 5 3/4" so I made the inside width of the sled 5 7/8" The router will fit into this with an offset of 1/8". I also made the hole for the router bit 1 1/2" wide.

Step 6: The Sled Assembled

Here is a photo of the sled. The first photo is the sled upright and the second photo is the sled flipped over. The sled has a flat base except for the two overhangs. This keeps the sled aligned on the rails while you slide it laterally.

Step 7: Build the Box With Rails.

Take your maximum width and length of your wood slabs and basically build a box for it. The rails must be parallel and square. this is the reference for the sled. Also make the rails tall enough to accommodate the maximum thickness of the wood, in this case 4 inches, plus the thickness of the sled which is 3/4 inches, plus another 3/4 inches of "air" for your safety plane.

Step 8: The Sled Base, Sled and Router.

here are photos of the sled base, which you will drop your wood slab into, the sled atop the rails, and the router placed into the sled.

Step 9: Place Your Slabs Into the Sled Base

this is what it looks like after I place the slabs of wood into the sled base.

If the bottom of your wood slabs do not lay flat in your sled base, you can use shims and wedges so that they don't rock.

the final step is adjust the router bits dept so that i barely touches the highest point of the slab. You want to take off about 1/16" of wood at a time.

Step 10: A Little at a Time

you can see how much wood I take off for each pass.

Step 11: Start Planing

Start planing on one side and work you way to the other side. back and forth, right to left or vice versa.

and always wear your Personal Protective Equipment! PPE's

Preserve your eyes, ears and lungs!

Step 12: Heres the Planed Surface

And here is a photo of the planed surface. its now perfectly flat and now needs a sanding in the direction of the grain.

Step 13:

2 People Made This Project!

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35 Comments

0
matthewjperez76
matthewjperez76

Question 2 days ago on Step 12

Hi I made those router sled I can not get a flat board. Sometimes there of about.1 to .05 and it's a small board. Can you please tell me how level the linear rails and the cross slide has to be? No one is saying how level these need to be.

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0
justmetmc
justmetmc

3 months ago on Step 2

Real nice article my friend! Thanks for sharing!

0
PawełS4
PawełS4

5 years ago on Introduction

Does anyone have an idea on how to add adjustable height to it? Preferrably without making new frame for each wood slab :)

0
Rio Vista Andy
Rio Vista Andy

Reply 8 months ago

As I build quite a few pieces of furniture with glued up panels I plan on building a similar sled. It should beat using a hand jointer plane in straightening out warpage.

0
klfuji
klfuji

Reply 1 year ago

Lower the router cut depth. Most routers have the ability to adjust depth of cut. So, if you have to to make a second or third cut to flatten the slab, lower the router cutting dept. Make sense?

0
BrentM26
BrentM26

Reply 4 years ago

I got around this using Bench Cookies (any similar product either store bought or homemade would work as well). I had a slab that was too large for the sidewalls on my rig, so I drilled some holes into my work surface and added some threaded plugs (You could use hanger bolts, but you wouldn't have as many height options with that approach). I then added threaded dowels and used them to mount and elevate the bench cookies to a uniform height and placed the rig's frame on top of the bench cookies ( I used 12 to ensure uniform support).

0
robot-six
robot-six

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

PawelS4,

Your hand router has an adjustment for your bit height. Therefore you do not need a new frame for each slab.

...Robot-Six

0
djculver
djculver

Question 2 years ago on Step 5

Fantastic instructable! Can you explain what you mean by "The router will fit into this with an offset of 1/8"? Usually, an offset is used when calculating the diameter of a guide bushing? I see no mention of a guide bushing being used here? It would make perfect sense to use a guide bushing to follow your track though!

0
robot-six
robot-six

Reply 2 years ago

that’s the amount of distance or play between the inside edge of the planing sled and the outer edge of the router base.

0
itsmescotty
itsmescotty

5 years ago on Introduction

Not to detract from the author's accomplishment, I made something similar using inexpensive linear bearings and guide rails from ebay. I had a 6" slab from a 30" stump. No way was I going to hand plane or belt sand both sides of this slab. I incorporated a positive stop on the longitudinal slide so the router didn't go wandering about as I cut thru the annular rings. I used a carbide cutter and as the author I made minuscule cuts to lessen the impact on the router when encountering the high areas. I actually started out using a tool steel fly cutter. The wood rapidly dulled the cutter bit and I was forever sharpening it. That's when I moved onto carbide.

0
ShaunHill
ShaunHill

Reply 3 years ago

Instructable please.

0
Kcb3rd
Kcb3rd

Question 3 years ago on Step 11

Was there any movement from the slabs when planning?

0
paolobertoncin
paolobertoncin

4 years ago

Great job make me one as soon as possible!

0
Baccawilly
Baccawilly

4 years ago

Can you tell me what bit you're using?I'm going to make this soon

0
timbmac
timbmac

4 years ago

Did you build two sleds for the router? If so, why two?

0
GreenAvenger
GreenAvenger

5 years ago

As for how to keep the workpiece from moving around... use a few pieces of double sided tape on the high places of the bottom of the board. don't use the foam type of tape it is not guaranteed to be the same thickness because the weight of the board may or may not press it flat instead use the flat type of double sided tape.

0
Spike63
Spike63

5 years ago on Step 13

Just a thought on this great Sled.
It should be possible to use an electric planer and adjust the sled making part to fit? You could still adjust the planer from above and take thin slices. I'll have to work on that one when my workshop's finished.

0
Spike63
Spike63

5 years ago on Step 13

Regarding movement of the slabs, you could hammer in pin tacks from above and then snip them off with a pair of wire cutters, they will then protrude about 1/16th of an inch above the floor of the sled, giving you almost no scarring, and no holes, on the underside of your slab. Great 'ible too, by the way!

0
avocadostains

A very interesting adaptive approach to planer. I dont know if you have seen for sale the electric hand planers. Here's an example: http://www.harborfreight.com/3-14-in-75-amp-heavy-duty-electric-planer-with-dust-bag-61687.html I used one to roughly plane an entire room of wood floor. It takes off a wide strip at a time but without some type of jig the total planed surface will not be perfect. The router planer gives very impressive results. If I could figure it out I would try making a simillar sled for my electric hand planer.

0
amclaussen
amclaussen

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

I had to refurbish four bedroom floors, and after doing some tests on their closet floor (that have the same wood), I ended up doing only one bedroom with a variable speed belt sander, 3"X21"... While doable, it was slow and tiresome, but the results were very good. Then I rented a profesional belt sander (a HUGE one, that has a 12" wide belt and weights 75 Kilograms!). I spent about a fifth of the time that I would have needed if Ihad insisted in using my hand belt sander, and it was way easier because this large machine has a large handle bar that allows you to push the machine when walking across the room, avoiding the need to be on your knees as with the hand belt sander. In any case, a belt sander gets a much better leveling compared to a planer when the surface is large, like a floor of an entire room. Amclaussen.