Trying to retrofit a few of my old favorite sleds with new runners due
to a change in saw miter slot spacing. The old runners, which were
simply oak, were just glued and had a screw at each end. I have a
chunk of UHMW plastic under consideration as a replacement.
Does anyone who has used this stuff have any suggestions of how to
affix it to a plywood sled? I don't believe yellow glue is going to
stick to this stuff, and it's pretty much a necessity as it has little
resistance to bending on it's own. Really can't justify the
aggravation and alignment hassles of putting 4 or 5 screws down it's
entire length and a dado slot is not a workable solution either.
Will Gorilla glue stick to this stuff - securely?
Or am I, as I am beginning to suspect, better off just sticking with
the vertically-oriented-grain oak strips...
Greg G. (in email@example.com) said:
| Or am I, as I am beginning to suspect, better off just sticking with
| the vertically-oriented-grain oak strips...
There /are/ glues that'll stick to the stuff; but you're probably
better off with oak strips (with the grain running in the same
direction as the miter slot.)
DeSoto, Iowa USA
In addition to what Lew said, UHMW will deform as mechanical
fasteners are tightened.
I have found metal to be even better for runners than wood as it
doesn't expand/shrink with humidity. I bought some 3/8 x 3/4 bar
stock from a local supplier which fit the slots on my machines almost
perfectly. A slight bit of fiddling with a file & hammer and it was
You're probably trying to make do with what you have, but...
online metal resellers like enco have starrett precision ground
low-carbon bar stock in many sizes... at +/- 0.001" thickness and
+0.000/0.005" width for widths less than 8". Probably better than the
tolerances of some tablesaw tops. :)
ooh, this message is a little dated.
A trip to your local blacksmith should be able to produce a length of cold
rolled steel bar 1/2 x 3/4" which will last longer than you will for the
sled. I've been using this material for my sled, circle cutting jigs and
anything else that has to fit in a miter slot of a band saw, table saw, disc
sander etc. A little wax makes it slide perfectly. If you prefer to glue it
instead of screwing it to the sled, Gorilla glue sticks well to metal, just
make sure any oil is cleaned off first.
Wood screws serve on mine. The remark on machining does not apply to hand
tools, so do your shaving with a plane as required. Countersink for the
screws, snug only, and if you get a little sloppy, tighten to expand the
area in the slot.
Longevity shouldn't be a problem, as they're so slick they don't seem to
As for using UHMW, I'd drill and countersink for wood screws.
To align them, use your saw as an "assembly jig." Just put some
pennies (or washers) in your miter slots then put the runners on top of
them. This raises the runners just above the surface of the saw. Then
put double-sided carpet tape on the runners. Align your sled with the
blade and lower it onto the runners. The runners should now be
attached to the sled enough for you to remove the sled and permanently
attach the runners with screws.
If the runners are too loose in the miter slots, you could easily drill
and tap the sides of the runners for some nylon set screws spaced every
few inches. This is what some of the after-market suppliers use on
theirs (Woodhaven, Kreg, etc.).
You could do the same with aluminum. I know McMaster-Carr
(www.mcmaster.com) sells 3/8" x 3/4" bar stock.
Just a thought.
Thanks for the numerous responses. Since I needed to get these going
the day the post was made, I went with the old reliable - oak runners.
But I now have additional food for though in the future.
I used the UHMWPE for the micro-fence on the custom router table*,
and it works great, but I wasn't up for the time involved in using it
for the sleds. I'll throw together a jig for one use sometimes, and
the oak and lacquer works fine for me on these - it's quick and easy.
* = reference
Given that the first appearances of snow have hit a bunch of
locations, when I first read the thread title, I thought you
were asking about sled runners as in dogsled or kicksled.
The modern ones do use UHMW on runners. The responses initially
made no sense at all to me. Eventually the "Oh, _that_ kind
of sled" kicked in...
I was unaware of this. But it makes sense. Sleds, like many other things,
have come a long way since I was a kid. I remember useing some paraffin
recycled from a canning jar to wax the sled runners.
I presume that UHMW doesn't require waxing.
How do they attach this slippery material to the sled?
You can - ski bases are UHMW (though modern bases include carbon
stuff for reduce static electric charge buildup and that sort of
thing). They are waxed for speed - heat is used to melt the
wax into the porous base. Someone might wax a sled runner for
speed if they were in a short race, but I rather doubt they'd
waste the time in an Iditarod type event.
AFAIK, countersunk screws every so many inches. A typical dog
sled (at least the ones I've seen up close) have a wood runner
with a slab of plastic covering the entire length. Screws hold
it to the wood easily.
kicksleds often use skis (either cross-country or downhill) as
runners and the UHMW is bonded to the ski base with, seemingly,
magic (proprietary adhesive). In the early days of fiberglass
cross-country skis, the bases would delaminate resulting in the
dreaded snow snake (base completely detached from the ski).
Did you know that sled dogs have three times the oxygen uptake
of the fittest humans? Imaging doing the Boston Marathon in
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