Woodsmith Tips

Planer Sled Salvages Short Pieces

Planer Sled Photo With the cost of lumber, I’m not crazy about throwing out short scrap pieces of wood. But planing short pieces (less than 12″ long) isn’t recommended by most manufacturers. That’s because the pieces can get caught between the feed rollers and chewed up by the blades.

To salvage these pieces, I use a simple sled to plane them to thickness (see Photo). The “shorts” ride piggyback on the sled, which is long enough to go through the planer safely. The sled is a piece of 3/4″ plywood with a cleat near the back end (Sled Detail). The cleat, together with strips of double-sided tape, hold the short pieces in place during machining.

Sled Detail The cleat fits into a dado near the back edge of the sled. Size the dado so the cleat sticks up about 1/8″ above the surface of the sled. This way, you can plane material down to that thickness.

To use the sled, affix the short strips to the surface, as shown. Then pass the sled — and the strips — through the planer until you reach the desired thickness.

Good woodworking,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

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