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Author: Bill Hylton


Making the Tenoning Sled

Pretty it isn’t. Functional it is.

You make it from a few scraps of wood, a carriage bolt, t-nut, and screws. The wood doesn’t need to be prime in appearance, though it is always sensible to use stable, straight-grained stock. You probably can get all the wood from your collection of off-cuts. Assemble it with care, because

  • the fence must be square to the shoe
  • the edge of the fence must be square to the tabletop.
  • the working end of the stop must be square to the fence
    and square to the tabletop

If you get anything other than a perfect right angle at any of these spots, you’ll get tenons with shoulders that don’t quite line up.

The parts dimensions listed are for the sled I use on my router table, which has the router positioned so the bit is 8 inches from the table’s front edge. If your table has the router farther back, just make the fence long enough to extend about 4 inches beyond the bit.

1. Cut the sled and stop parts. In selecting and preparing the hardwood parts, be sure to joint and plane these pieces square and true, with parallel edges and faces. The particular wood you use isn't that significant. I used oak for the fence, a piece of cherry for the shoe. What is important is the how accurately you prep the stock and assemble the parts.

2. Screw the shoe to the fence. Position the shoe perpendicular to the fence, and drive screws through it into the fence. (I didn't glue the fence, but you can. ) Drive one screw, then check the parts with a square, pivoting the shoe on the screw if necessary to align it. Then holding the alignment, drive another screw or two.

4. Assemble the stop. Drill a clearance hole through one stop jaw for the T-nut. Drive the T-nut into the hole. Turn the carriage bolt into the T-nut. Now glue and screw the stop plate to the two stop jaws. Finally, turn the hex nut and the wingnut onto the bolt. Jam the two together to keep the knob from unthreading.

Cutting List
  Part Qty Dimensions Material
Shoe 1 7/8 in. x 2 in. x 13-1/2 in. hardwood
Fence 1 1-1/4 in. x 3-1/2 in. x 15-1/4 in. hardwood
Stop plate 1 1/2 in. x 2-3/4 in. x 5-3/4 in. birch plywood

Stop jaws

2 3/4 in. x 1 in. x 3 in. hardwood
  Part Qty Dimensions
Drywall screws 3 1-5/8 in. # 6
Drywall screws 4 1 in. # 6
T-nut, 1 1/4 in.
Carriage bolt 1 1/4 in
  3 2-1/2 in
Hex nut 1 1/4 in.



1/4 in.


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