I have a long drive home every day,
which gets me to thinking. Tonight I was
thinking about how much of a pain my
tablesaw sled is. It's made of 3/4" ply
and mounted on an old 8" saw.
I won't be replacing that saw soon,
because I'd rather replace it with
something that's a bit out of my budget
at the time. But that sled stops me from
making through cuts on thicker wood. I
have to take one cut and then flip to
I was thinking that if the sled was of
thinner material, it would give me more
cutting depth, but thinner wood is
asking for trouble. So I thought of
aluminum. And immediately wondered why
I'd never heard of an aluminum sled.
Which makes me think that someone has
thought of it and rejected it for some
really good reason that I couldn't come
Is there a reason that a TS sled can't
be made out of 1/4" aluminum plate?
The only downside that I can think of would be metal chips in your
workpieces but as long as you're always using a carbide tipped blade
that will cut aluminum I don't see why it could not work. I assume
you'll use AL runners too, that will keep the baseplate 1/16 or 1/32
above the tabletop to reduce friction.
And Incra makes one with two halves that move independently thus making
a nifty cross cut sled as well as a miter sled with Incra's legendary
It will just great with that new Unisaw or whatever you're longing for,
The reason aluminum is not used is because most of us are thinking ahead. If
you buy a new SawStop model, you'll have to go into bypass mode to safely
use the aluminum sled. We don't want to have to make a new sled for the new
Glad I could help :)
> Is there a reason that a TS sled can't be made out of 1/4" aluminum
Check the price of a piece of 1/4" aluminum and get back to me.
There are other reasons, but initial cost will be a biggie.
Scrap doesn't necessarily mean bent and twisted. Around here, you can buy
aluminum "scrap" in all shapes and sizes, including 4'x8' sheets. If a
manufacturer has excess that they don't need, it is sold as scrap. As there
are lots of aircraft manufacturers around here, scrap is anything that is
undocumented. All aircraft materials have to have documentation going back
to the manufacturer. If it doesn't, it can't be used.
Sure, if serviceability's not a problem should the bed be damaged.
Otherwise, I use 3/8" birch ply on a 10" saw. Can't see any
reason why 1/4" ply wouldn't work. You could also build a
"flying Dutchman" type sled, which has an overbuilt fence
straddling two runners and no bed.
One minor problem is that if you slide the wood around on the aluminum
you might get some dark smudges. Often the better quality Al parts are
My sled is 1/4" hardboard and it woks fine. Actually I have a panel
cutting sled and a cutoff sled which extends about 18" beyond both sides
of the blade.
Thank you all for your responses. I have
to admit that I hadn't, and still
haven't, checked out the price of a slab
of aluminum. I may not bother either.
The idea of 1/4" hardboard appeals to
me. I wouldn't have thought that
something that thin that wasn't metal
would work but I'm willing to try that
If not, I'll call the guys who might
have Al pieces and price it out.
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