Runners for Cross Cut Sled - Hardwood or Aluminum?

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As far as I can tell, the standard material for Cross Cut Sled runners is hardwood and typically 2 are used. However, I saw a couple of plans that use aluminum as the runners and even one that suggests a single miter gauge bar as the only runner.
http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/39002/build-a-super-precise-tablesaw-crosscut-sled
I think I see advantages and disadvantages of all options, but I'd like to hear your opinions.
"2 hardwood runners is the way that it's always been done" will not automatically be considered an "advantage". ;-)
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On 02/02/2015 2:38 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote: ...
I vote against Al because it tends to gall/stick worse than steel.
Other than that I have no real strong opinion although I am partial hard maple as the material of choice simply 'cuz it's easiest to sneak up on the prefect fit...even the purchased steel runners are typically a little sloppy...
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On 2/2/2015 2:09 PM, dpb wrote:

UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) polymer bar stock works well. http://www.ttrackusa.com/UHMW.htm
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On 2/2/2015 4:41 PM, Just Wondering wrote:

Has any one used the miter gauge runner for sled runner. I replace of on my Miter gauge with a longer one and still have the old one. As I remember it did not cost that much
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On 02/02/2015 3:58 PM, Keith Nuttle wrote: ...

Actually, was thinking after the previous I should've mentioned that -- I used one w/ my original Craftsman TS but it had unique slots that didn't fit the PM when got it so let the sled go w/ the saw...
But, they make good stock albeit the size of sled is limited by their length so for larger sleds may be short.
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On 2/2/2015 4:41 PM, Just Wondering wrote:

That is what I prefer. I have a large commercial cutting board which I stopped using in the kitchen because of the accrued nicks and cut but which works great at providing UHMW stock in the shop. I've been cutting bits and pieces from it for years and it isn't even half gone yet. My _unique_ Robland saw has a bizarre oddly-sized dovetail slot (along with the sliding table of course) and no standard fixture fits it. I don't try to match the dovetail but a well sized runner works fine.
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On 2/2/15, 2:09 PM, dpb wrote:

'sneak up' is the key here.
I've read (and it's true for my tablesaw) that Delta slots are a tad over 3/4". This makes using a piece of 3/4" Aluminum bar not so good unless I use both miter slots and shift the bars together (or apart) to rub on a single edge. Every aftermarket miter slot dodad I have gives me grief. The bulldog featherboard works great, but I have to tighten the snot out of it to get the expanding wedge to grip the miter slot tightly.
Using wood lets you get a perfect fit.
-BR
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Incra (and others) make adjustable miter bars to solve this problem. http://www.rockler.com/incrareg-miter-slider-bars
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On 2/7/15 11:24 AM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Those work very well for most applications. But damn if they don't scratch the hell out of everything! :-p
Haha! Seriously though, that's a great product.
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wrote:

;-)
Well, I don't slide it across the top. They're supposed to be in the miter slot.

I haven't actually used them, other than on my 1000HD.
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On 2/7/15, 10:24 AM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

I have an Incra miter. This miter uses nylon 'washers' that expand outwards with a screw. In theory it works fine, but on my table saw they are expanded to the limit and tend to wear quickly. The original Delta miter bar has a perfect fit, but the bar is too short to transfer it over to my Incra. I can't really see how the bar sold by Rockler adjusts, I assume it also expands where the slots are. A better solution but with only two points of adjustment there would be issues when the bar has only one of the points in the slot, such as when mitering a wide board.
I solved the problem by drilling a bunch of threaded holes through the side of the Incra miter bar and installing set screws with the spring loaded ball bearing tips (problem solved). Being that the OEM Delta bar has a great fit, the sizes seem to be standard within a manufacture (my old Craftsman saw had slots narrower than 3/4"). It would be nice to just be able to buy a miter with a manufacture-specific bar.
-BR
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What saw? My '09 Unisaur has a .750" (as close as I can measure it) miter bar. The Incra and JessEm bars are exactly the same.

Nice idea!

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On 2/8/15, 5:01 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Unisaur, 2002 thereabouts (Platinum 75th Ed.), .758" My Incara bar is .728".
I have some of the blue anodized Rockler miter bar left over from my router table. It measures .748" and is a bit too wobbly on the table saw.

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Seems the Unisaur isn't that far oversized, rather the Incra is *way* too small and probably defective. I'd ask Incra what its dimension should be. Maybe they'll send a replacement.

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On 2/2/2015 2:38 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Have a few TS sleds with both hardwood (oak) and aluminum runners over ten years old, can only say there is no practical/noticeable difference in accuracy over time thus far, the only thing I concern myself with.
The aluminum runners to be appear to be ever so slightly more subject to the shop's ambient temperature (looses in cold, tighter in heat) but that can easily be adjusted out.
For me it basically boils down to need and availability.
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On 2/2/15 2:38 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I've used hardwood and the aftermarket adjustable aluminum runners available from different tool suppliers. If you're using two runners then a perfect fit in the slot isn't that necessary because as long as each runner is pushing against its slot opposite of the other, the sled runs true and stable. In other words, if they are both pushing inward or both pushing outward against the slots, you're good.
When only one runner is used, it has to fit the slot very well and being adjustable might be preferred, so an aluminum pre-made runner might work better.
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-MIKE-

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On Mon, 2 Feb 2015 12:38:37 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

How about UHMW or PTFE (plastic). I certainly wouldn't use (any) metal runners on my cast saw table.
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On 2/2/15 6:35 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Why?
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wrote:

scratches => rust
Kinda defeats the purpose of coating the cast iron.
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On 2/2/15 6:46 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

1. Isn't cast iron much harder than aluminum? 2. How is one smoothly polished, soft metal going to scratch anything let alone a much harder metal?
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