Workshop tip: Simple planer sled for short or thin piecesMDF base and thin rails make it possible to plane small parts.
This simple sled will let you run thin or short pieces through a benchtop planer without the cutterhead chewing them up or sniping their ends. It’s made of a piece of MDF—used because it is very flat—and two strips of wood.
Start by taping down the pieces you are planing, using double-sided window-sealing tape. I use 3M 2145C Scotch Indoor Window Film Mounting Tape, which is very thin, holds tenaciously, and is easy to release. It only takes a few squares of tape to hold down the parts for planing. I recommend applying varnish to the top of the sled for better tape adhesion, and waxing the bottom for lower friction. Cut two side rails from any scrapwood, making them a little thicker than your workpieces, and tape them to the MDF. The rails should extend past both ends of your workpieces by a few inches at least, so they will stabilize the feed rollers and prevent snipe. To release the parts I insert a thin metal spatula under them.
With this sled I’ve successfully planed very short pieces and very thin ones–some as thin as 1/16 in.
—RUSS BAINBRIDGE, Saskatoon, Sask., Canada
Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From Fine Woodworking issue #295