Are metal runners worth the money?


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I have previously used wood runners but run into issues due to humidity changes (MN) nothing that couldn't be solved but a pain none the less. Recently I made sleds for my new table saw I went with Azek a manufactured product used for wood decks and with about six months of use I am very happy with them. No swelling with the high humidity of summer. 

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I've had issues with solid wood runners moving over the seasons even though I used QS material, so I've switched to BB ply.  It's totally stable and because it's half end grain it's really tough and lasts a long time.

That said...I just built a sled with a scrap of bubinga this week...but it's not a jig I expect to use indefinitely.

I think the metal ones are probably worth the money if you're building an important and permanent sled, like your crosscut sled.  But they're not necessary.  I recommend BB ply.  Use the drum sander to size it dead nuts.

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I would seriously hesitate to use metal runners in miter slots.  They could wear down the slot itself, making all your sleds and jigs a little sloppy.  ideally I would want to use a HDPE or UHMW plastic for runners, as it is super slippery and dimensionally stable.   And glues and what not don't stick to them.  A sheet of  plastic is not expensive (<$20) and it would provide a large number of runners and other uses.

Of course, that said, I have no problem using my metal runnered mitre gauge......

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7 hours ago, Eric. said:

The Incra runners have expandable UHMW washers so no metal is contacting metal.

That said, I think it would take more than a lifetime to expand the size of a miter slot just with a metal runner...unless it was embedded with diamond grit. :)

pssh. Aren't yours? My runners cost $20k cause of the diamonds.

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