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Over-Table Router As Sled

#263499 by Meng88 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:01 pm

Hey all,

I lack a planer and have always had trouble getting my projects perfectly flat. As I was working on a cutting board today an idea came to me...

Could I just use the over-table router? Router sleds are one of the best ways to get flat pieces, and the idea is simple: your workpiece lays on a flat area and create a sled for the router to stay at a stationary height above the workpiece. The over-table system basically does this but I would just be moving the workpiece instead of the tool.

Would this work? Anyone done this?

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Re: Over-Table Router As Sled

#263500 by edflorence » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:42 pm

If I understand, you are thinking of something that would work a bit like the old Safe-T-Planer. Here is a link to one. It is mounted in a drill press and the work passes beneath it. ... B00TKN3BBS

However, the issue is that you need a flat surface to place on the drill press table, or in your case on the sled, to start with. To get that first plane surface you need a jointer or...a plane. The Safe-T-Planer or the router can reduce the workpiece thickness and create a parallel second surface.


Idaho Panhandle
Mark 5 of various vintages, Mini with reversing motor, bs, dc3300, jointer, increaser, decreaser

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Re: Over-Table Router As Sled

#263502 by thunderbirdbat » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:28 am

It would be possible but you would have to secure it to a flat surface to prevent it from moving in any way. I would use something along the lines of what is used to when using a thickness planer as a jointer. This video may give you some ideas to try. Practice moving it around and under the router cutter before plugging the SS in and cutting to be sure you know what will happen as you move the sled in each direction. Use a very slow feed rate and take shallow cuts for better control.



1998 510 upgraded to a 520, upgraded to power pro with double tilt and lift assist.
1998 bandsaw
2016 beltsander
overarm pin router

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Re: Over-Table Router As Sled

#263506 by BuckeyeDennis » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:38 am

I’ve done exactly that, with a variant of the Safe-T-Planer that Shopsmith used to sell. In my case, I was flattening the backside of a half-log bowl blank, to mount a 6” faceplate. The large working volume of a Shopsmith came in real handy for that job. The process worked fine, except for being a little slow, and a LOT messy.

You could also use a router bit designed for CNC spoilboard flattening, or even a straight router bit. But at 5000 RPM, those would be REALLY slow. I’d recommend the planer head that edflorence linked to instead, or maybe a Safe-T-Planer from eBay.

As Brenda said, if your workpiece doesn’t already have one flat side, you need to mount it to a flat sled before planing the first side. I use Phil Thein’s (of Thein baffle fame) masking tape and hot glue technique for that. It works like a charm.

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