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Router Sled Hardware Kit

duke

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I have a project coming up that requires me to create kitchen counter top from Birdseye Maple. Working with 2 inch by 14 inch width by 8 foot long , 8 or so in total. Was considering the Lee Valley kit, or use hand power tools then hand plane. Can anyone here share their experience regarding the sled. Thanks
 
I have a planer thicknesser, and don't have a router sled. That's my suggestion. A 15" machine, though, might be a bit of a monster.
 
Find a local joinery shop with the right machinery, Birds Eye maple can be tricky stuff, lots of tearout round the eyes.

Choose your battles.

Pete
 
2" x 14" x 96" boards are pretty hefty to work with are you jointing them together? to make wider because 14" in total is not very wide for a counter top.

My first thought is that boards at 14" wide could cup after a while so I would be inclined to consider cutting them into strips using a saw then PAR on a planer thicknesser and joint them together using a glue joint block (not everyones choice I know). Most kitchen worktops etc are made that way.

After initial machining I use a glue joint block as a cutter on a spindle moulder to create a locking joint between the boards which is very strong once glued but you can also use a router with similar cutters to create the joint. This type of jointing takes a bit of time to set up but if you are careful you can obtain very flat boards which require minimal clean up after.

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I think your sled idea is ok but you are not going to get a perfect finish so and it's not going to be easy obtaining a flat working surface on 96" x 14" boards with a sled.

If the boards are not going to be seen on the underside you could just plane them flat using an electric planer and wink them in with straight edges and boning rods then take them to somone who has a wide belt sander and feed them through for the finish. Putting the boards through a wide thickness planer is slightly risky due to the possibility of tear out but it's can be done if the planer blades are sharp.
 
Although I've never used a sled, I've tram my CNC bed with a 29mm flat cutter, and have flattened some wood that way. While I understand a planer/jointer could create tearout on figured maple, I would think the sled method would do less so.

If the maple is close to have finished moving, then strips as mention above seems a feasible way to progress. Then perhaps a local shop could let you run them through their drum sander for a small fee.
 
I have a planer thicknesser, and don't have a router sled. That's my suggestion. A 15" machine, though, might be a bit of a monster.
It is, presently have a 12" bench top thicknesser on a base which is on it's last legs. Like your flip down router shaper set up Mike.
 
2" x 14" x 96" boards are pretty hefty to work with are you jointing them together? to make wider because 14" in total is not very wide for a counter top.

My first thought is that boards at 14" wide could cup after a while so I would be inclined to consider cutting them into strips using a saw then PAR on a planer thicknesser and joint them together using a glue joint block (not everyones choice I know). Most kitchen worktops etc are made that way.

After initial machining I use a glue joint block as a cutter on a spindle moulder to create a locking joint between the boards which is very strong once glued but you can also use a router with similar cutters to create the joint. This type of jointing takes a bit of time to set up but if you are careful you can obtain very flat boards which require minimal clean up after.

View attachment 26081View attachment 26078View attachment 26079View attachment 26080View attachment 26081
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I think your sled idea is ok but you are not going to get a perfect finish so and it's not going to be easy obtaining a flat working surface on 96" x 14" boards with a sled.

If the boards are not going to be seen on the underside you could just plane them flat using an electric planer and wink them in with straight edges and boning rods then take them to somone who has a wide belt sander and feed them through for the finish. Putting the boards through a wide thickness planer is slightly risky due to the possibility of tear out but it's can be done if the planer blades are sharp.
Thanks , I know a glue up is necessary and your suggestions are great. I have worked with the wood before but only a few small benches.
 
Although I've never used a sled, I've tram my CNC bed with a 29mm flat cutter, and have flattened some wood that way. While I understand a planer/jointer could create tearout on figured maple, I would think the sled method would do less so.

If the maple is close to have finished moving, then strips as mention above seems a feasible way to progress. Then perhaps a local shop could let you run them through their drum sander for a small fee.
Thanks Malc, wish list for me is a CNC.
 
2" x 14" x 96" boards are pretty hefty to work with are you jointing them together? to make wider because 14" in total is not very wide for a counter top.

My first thought is that boards at 14" wide could cup after a while so I would be inclined to consider cutting them into strips using a saw then PAR on a planer thicknesser and joint them together using a glue joint block (not everyones choice I know). Most kitchen worktops etc are made that way.

After initial machining I use a glue joint block as a cutter on a spindle moulder to create a locking joint between the boards which is very strong once glued but you can also use a router with similar cutters to create the joint. This type of jointing takes a bit of time to set up but if you are careful you can obtain very flat boards which require minimal clean up after.

View attachment 26081View attachment 26078View attachment 26079View attachment 26080View attachment 26081
View attachment 26080
View attachment 26079
View attachment 26078

I think your sled idea is ok but you are not going to get a perfect finish so and it's not going to be easy obtaining a flat working surface on 96" x 14" boards with a sled.

If the boards are not going to be seen on the underside you could just plane them flat using an electric planer and wink them in with straight edges and boning rods then take them to somone who has a wide belt sander and feed them through for the finish. Putting the boards through a wide thickness planer is slightly risky due to the possibility of tear out but it's can be done if the planer blades are sharp.
What is the largest width of the Maple strips i could get away with without major cupping? The lumber has been stored somewhat properly inside for 40 plus years.
 
I have a number of wide boards of qs maple, including some birds eye, that I bought seasoned from a very reputable supplier some years ago to make a worktop that was eventually made out of white quartz....

The boards are in stick in my workshop and have not cupped or twisted in the slightest. If they have been seasoning indoors for 40 years, I doubt they are going anywhere cup wise, but I would be planing both sides evenly a bit at a time. Like wise some excellent wenge for the same job. (These will all be sold soon).

My sole experience of router sleds on birds eye maple, is years ago making solid body guitar tops and necks. When BEM is very dry, my experience was that I got fragmentary popping of the eyes. This was even taking very shallow cuts with the router. Hence I abandoned this method pronto and not having any other large machinery I resorted to a large belt sander and fine belts once any saw marks were hand planed off. Needed super sharp hand plane. That was on a 15" wide plank long enough to make 6 body blanks. Didn't take all that long really. Did both sides of each plank and then re-sawed to get two tops of half the original thickness. They remained stable, but the wood was dry and good quality.
 
I have a number of wide boards of qs maple, including some birds eye, that I bought seasoned from a very reputable supplier some years ago to make a worktop that was eventually made out of white quartz....

The boards are in stick in my workshop and have not cupped or twisted in the slightest. If they have been seasoning indoors for 40 years, I doubt they are going anywhere cup wise, but I would be planing both sides evenly a bit at a time. Like wise some excellent wenge for the same job. (These will all be sold soon).

My sole experience of router sleds on birds eye maple, is years ago making solid body guitar tops and necks. When BEM is very dry, my experience was that I got fragmentary popping of the eyes. This was even taking very shallow cuts with the router. Hence I abandoned this method pronto and not having any other large machinery I resorted to a large belt sander and fine belts once any saw marks were hand planed off. Needed super sharp hand plane. That was on a 15" wide plank long enough to make 6 body blanks. Didn't take all that long really. Did both sides of each plank and then re-sawed to get two tops of half the original thickness. They remained stable, but the wood was dry and good quality.
Thanks A T , did you use a card scraper or furniture scraper to get the finished surface?
 
Thanks A T , did you use a card scraper or furniture scraper to get the finished surface?
Card scrapers made out of old tenon saw blades (I believe) by my brother, who had factory metalworking facilities. He did lots for me in straight edge and various curved profiles.
 
Birds Eye maple can be tricky stuff, lots of tearout round the eyes.

Pete
Dunno about that Pete; I've used a fair bit of BEM for various bits n'pieces and it planes dead smooth, with no tearout provided the blade is über sharp and you have a squeaky tight mouth on the plane - Rob
 
Dunno about that Pete; I've used a fair bit of BEM for various bits n'pieces and it planes dead smooth, with no tearout provided the blade is über sharp and you have a squeaky tight mouth on the plane - Rob
Yep but a planer with blunt blades ot a large router cutter might not give the same resuts.

Tight mouth is overated a very close set chip breaker/cap iron will curl over the shavings holding down the wood in front of the blade, there is a video on line showing the effects, but I can't find it at the moment.

Pete
 
Clearly opinions vary here, and it may depend on what finish you want. As I said above, my experience is limited to guitar tops and necks. I found that even with very sharp tools the "eyes" could leave little pin prick pops that would be fine in most furniture applications but not if you want a super smooth lacquer finish with no flaws. I use cyanoacrylate (the thick variety in dispenser bottles) to deal with these as it is quick with a setting agent and hence can be repeated until flour paper delivers dead flat ready for finishing. Just recently we've been using exactly the same method to deal with minute flaws in the surface of a large dining table top (not BEM but very figured) that I'm helping my son to make (pending finish as he's away). I think if I were making a worktop from BEM for myself I would expect to be filling quite a few tiny pock marks with cyanoacylate. I like that method as it is invisible after fine sanding and finishing and can equally well be applied after the first sealing coat of finish.
 
I will run a 12" w x 24" L through my bench thickness planer as a test. I will post the results next week. Thanks for everyone's input.
 
Yep but a planer with blunt blades ot a large router cutter might not give the same resuts.

Tight mouth is overated a very close set chip breaker/cap iron will curl over the shavings holding down the wood in front of the blade, there is a video on line showing the effects, but I can't find it at the moment.

Pete
True about the planer, but by hand I use a LV BU low angle jack and it just sails through the knots nae bother leaving a silky smooth surface in it's wake. The blade was a tad sharp though😲 - Rob
 
Tight mouth is overated a very close set chip breaker/cap iron will curl over the shavings holding down the wood in front of the blade, there is a video on line showing the effects, but I can't find it at the moment.
Pete? I think this video was either on Brent Beach's sharpening website or, a.n. other website that cited Brent.
A further vague memory is two Japanese professors' video, as quoted by Elis Wallentine (sp?). It shows shavings, curled and not so good, close up and personal, at slow speed.

Either way, the late, great, venerated D.C. partially addressed this point with his recommendation a close-set cap iron was always to be accompanied by a smoothed, and perhaps polished, exit face to the blade slot. He used a fine file on the 'forward-handle-side' of the mouth. It's in one of his books and I can dig out a photo and reference if you want.
 
Hi Sam

It was the japinese professors video, it realy shows the effect of the chip breaker curling over and holding down the wood even aganst the grain.

Pete
 
I find it amazing that reasonably definitive pieces of work like this exist and yet respectively, we seem to resurrect 'ignorance' and question practices. The evidence is out there Folks, just do your research
 
That's a really interesting video and definitely a great piece of research. I'd be interested to know if there are other ones that fill some of the gaps. A few conclusions I made from watching that video:
  • A cap iron isn't really necessary if planing with the grain (although I'd guess it helps with blade stiffness with thinner blades).
  • The video doesn't make any comment (positive or negative) about the effect of a closely set mouth (or anything else unrelated to cap irons). It shows that a cap iron can make a big difference to tear-out, but not that a cap iron is the only way to do so.
  • It suggests that fixing tear-out with a cap iron depends on the angle of the top surface of the cap iron to the blade (which is the same as the cap iron's bevel angle in their tests but may not be the same depending on how the cap iron is presented to the blade). That's something I had never considered when looking at cap irons. I've no idea what angle any of my planes present the cap iron but it would be interesting to measure.
  • It suggests that, in trying to deal with tear-out by using a cap-iron, cap-iron-tip-to-blade-tip distance is critical and that moving the cap iron by as little as 0.1 mm (something that isn't really practical on a real plane) can make a big difference.
  • It suggests that it's not just the cap-iron-to-blade-tip distance, it's the combination of that and the cut depth and if you change one, you may need to change the other.
My take would be that a cap iron can deal with tear-out, but it's very hard to make it do that.

I'd be very very interested to know if there was a similar video showing the effect of opening/closing the mouth with and without a cap-iron.

In the meantime I think I'll stick with using a high-angle blade of some sort (card scraper, scraper plane or LA plane with a steep blade bevel)…

…or just planing with the grain whenever possible!
 
I went back to that link and the video seems to have disappeared, so for future reference, here is the direct link to vimeo for anyone who wants to watch it:

 
Thanks Dr. Al. From kmemory, Brent Beach built a little on the video and had a series of posts on his website along the lines of your enquiries. I have a copy stashed somewheres if you can't loacte his originals. Got to go work just now, or I'd fish 'em out. try:


Sam
 
Some results, you can't see much via my pics. One side run through thickness planer resulted in tear out of some eyes. Probably due to dull blades. Second pic I used a belt sander and and card scraper. Result is very good. Moisture reading of Maple1000001810.jpg the Maple is %14. I really should changed the knives of the thickness planer and run the board through before I dismiss this method. 1000001808.jpg
 
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That would make a stunning bookmatched back to an instrument.
 
That's a really interesting video and definitely a great piece of research. I'd be interested to know if there are other ones that fill some of the gaps. A few conclusions I made from watching that video:
  • A cap iron isn't really necessary if planing with the grain (although I'd guess it helps with blade stiffness with thinner blades).
  • The video doesn't make any comment (positive or negative) about the effect of a closely set mouth (or anything else unrelated to cap irons). It shows that a cap iron can make a big difference to tear-out, but not that a cap iron is the only way to do so.
  • It suggests that fixing tear-out with a cap iron depends on the angle of the top surface of the cap iron to the blade (which is the same as the cap iron's bevel angle in their tests but may not be the same depending on how the cap iron is presented to the blade). That's something I had never considered when looking at cap irons. I've no idea what angle any of my planes present the cap iron but it would be interesting to measure.
  • It suggests that, in trying to deal with tear-out by using a cap-iron, cap-iron-tip-to-blade-tip distance is critical and that moving the cap iron by as little as 0.1 mm (something that isn't really practical on a real plane) can make a big difference.
  • It suggests that it's not just the cap-iron-to-blade-tip distance, it's the combination of that and the cut depth and if you change one, you may need to change the other.
My take would be that a cap iron can deal with tear-out, but it's very hard to make it do that.

I'd be very very interested to know if there was a similar video showing the effect of opening/closing the mouth with and without a cap-iron.

In the meantime I think I'll stick with using a high-angle blade of some sort (card scraper, scraper plane or LA plane with a steep blade bevel)…

…or just planing with the grain whenever possible!
Some interesting deductions Dr.Al; many thanks for a succinct evaluation! Just to add my two euros to an interesting thread, this is the Birds Eye Maple:

IMG_2740.jpeg

...in the above post. It's straight off a LV low angle jack, no sanding, no scraping but the blade was super honed (see Mike G's post on stropping;)) and as you can see, there's absolutely no tear out of any sort. The next pic shows a timber that I'm currently working with:

IMG_2741.jpeg

...which is East Indian Satinwood, the genuine article beloved of the furniture of the 18th cent (I got a couple of nice lumps from Matt at WH) and I defy anyone to plane the stuff. It's so interlocked that applying any sort of plane edge to it will cause instant and drastic tear out: even a card scraper used badly will produce a poor surface. This is shown straight off the drum sander, having been sanded initially to 80g, after which it'll be very carefully scraped and further sanded. This is two veneers edge jointed and I just about got away with making a respectable joint.

The last pic is the infamous 'Wood from Hell' which those of a certain age will probably remember from UKW days. This stuff is almost as bad, though it can just about be tamed:

IMG_2742.jpeg

This particular bit was sent to Matt Platt at Workshop Heaven, who eventually produced a reasonable finish (as shown) with Clfton No.4.5 and I believe a back bevel on the plane iron. The block of wood shown in the pic though, was twice as thick when I sent it to him.

Many years ago I took a piece of the same stuff down to the Yandles spring show (alas no longer) with my pal Paul Chapman when the then current LN rep was demonstrating their wares. I recollect that he had almost every single plane on his bench that the company then produced, but the weapon of choice that he instantly picked up to tame the 'Wood from Hell' was the LN low angle jack. When I asked how bad the wood was he remarked that it was the second worst that he'd ever come across. I rest my case m'lud:ROFLMAO: - Rob
 
Sure would, Is it available from your suppliers?
I try to limit my suppliers to the UK, with the exception of soundboards. But my style is simple design and I try to make the combination of the timbers be their attraction.
 
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