UHMW Sled Runners


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.
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Greg G. (in snipped-for-privacy@4ax.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.)
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Greg G. wrote:

No.
Yes.
Mechanical fastners are about the only way to attach UHMWPE.
It is also a bitch to machine since it expands when being machined due to the heat generated.
Lew

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I use the stuff for runners all the time .. .. drill (#7) and tap 1/4-20 .. .. works fine .. ..
Greg G. wrote:

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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 perfect.
Art

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Wood Butcher wrote:

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.
er
--
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I use aluminum. Drill and tap, works great. Dave
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Greg, 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.
Bob

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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 wear.
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Greg,
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.
--Randy
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message

Doublestick and all, the way I did mine. You read the same article?
Don't need to do anything except screw down to tighten, as the wedging action of the screw expands the runner.
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Greg G. said:

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
http://www.thevideodoc.com/Images/RouterCabinet1l.jpg
http://www.thevideodoc.com/Images/RouterCabinet2l.jpg
Greg G.
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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...
Mike
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Michael Daly said:

LOL. It doesn't get that cold down here in Dixie. As a kid, we were lucky to get 2" of snow at one time. As an adult, we are unlucky enough to get 2" of snow at one time.
Greg G.
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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?
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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 45 minutes!
Mike
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