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TrackTubes.com : Simple Slab Sled

There’s no doubt one of the hottest trends in woodworking is using live-edge wood slabs for furniture making.  The first step in a project like this is usually flattening your wood slab by using a router sled.  There’s an endless number of YouTube videos showing different DIY and commercially available router sleds for flattening slabs.  After watching many of these videos, I knew the Track Tubes would make a great rail system for a router sled.   After all, there are a number of ways to build a sled, but the rail system underneath the sled needs to be flat and straight.  A couple of Track Tubes meet this requirement perfectly.  As I was working on my Sliding Table System, I got the idea that the same concept could easily be adapted to a router sled.  After seeing the topic of router sleds was very active on a couple woodworking forums I follow, I decided to build a simple sled.  I didn’t have any drawings or pictures, just an idea in my head how my sled would work.  After an hour or so I had a functioning sled.  I used a piece of marine plywood, laminated with HDPE, which worked great for the sled base.  I figured a router base would slide smoothly on the HDPE surface.   I used my Dominofix template to plunge-cut 20 mm holes along both edges of the sled base.  This would allow me to use my 20 mm bench dogs to guide the sled along the rails and allow the sled to easily be adjusted to different widths in 96 mm (about 4″) increments.  After cutting a slot for the Infinity 2″ router bit to run, and adding a couple aluminum angles to keep the plywood base flat and guide the router, I was done.  It only took me a minute or two to clamp the rails to my Gladiator bench and pin the sled to rails.  I was really surprised by how simple and functional this design worked.  The router slides effortlessly on the HDPE and the design allows a user to keep both hands on the router while moving along the rails.  Although this is a small sled, the design can easily be improved upon and scaled up for much larger slabs, but for a quick and simple slab sled, you can’t beat it.  I’ve already thought of the next upgrades/modifications, such as dust collection, adjustable aluminum angles for different sized router bases, and router limit stops to prevent the router bit from accidentally contacting the Track Tubes.  The next version of the sled I build will have these improvements.  I guess the point of this article is to let you know that Slab Sleds don’t have to be complicated, just flat and straight … and you can do it without spending $700 or more on a sled.  Good luck with your build.

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