Bandsaw Sled Supports:
Infeed and Outfeed Rollers
Because of the length of the long bandsaw sled (see the article on Bandsaw Sleds), infeed and outfeed rollers are needed for it to be convenient to use. The infeed roller is to support the sled while the log is being positioned for the cut; the outfeed roller supports the sled at the end of the cut.
This article shows my design. It consists of a weighted base, an upright, and a roller assembly screwed to the top of the upright. A handle makes it easy to move around.
The roller is turned from spindle stock. The base and upright consist of plywood and dimensioned lumber. A solid concrete block provides the weight, but you can improvise and use what you have available. If you build a box for the base, you can use bricks, sand, rocks, or gravel for the weight.
Turn the roller. First of all, there is no particular advantage in making the roller overly long because the roller has to be positioned to one side of the strip that runs in the miter slot to guide the sled. A length of 9” is plenty, and a diameter of 2.5” works well.
Install a scroll chuck on the lathe. Seat one end of the blank in the chuck using the tail center to align the blank. Install a Jacobs chuck in the tailstock with a drill bit to match the diameter of the axles you plan to use, perhaps 3/8”. Drill the hole for the axle to a depth of about 1.375”. Turn the blank around and drill the other hole.
Remove the blank from the lathe and use your band saw to remove the tenon at each end.
Install a piece of scrap spindle stock in the scroll chuck and turn a mandrel with a tenon that will fit tightly into the hole drilled for the axle. Mount the blank between the mandrel and the tail center. Finally, turn the blank to its final diameter, clean up the ends, and the roller will be complete.
Build the roller assembly.
Cut the axels from a piece of hardwood dowel, or, turn them from spindle stock. Glue the axels into the roller. Cut out the side pieces and drill holes to match the axels. Finally, put it together by screwing the side pieces to the mounting board, capturing the roller.
Build the base. The bottom is a piece of 3/4” scrap plywood cut just a fraction larger than the masonry block that rests on it. One vertical piece supports the roller assembly while the shorter one serves as a brace of sorts and provides a convenient place to install a handle. The piece of 3/4” plywood installed between the verticals makes the whole assembly rigid. Make the length (height) of the longer vertical member about 3” less than the height of your bandsaw table from the floor.
The handle can be turned between centers, start to finish. Tenons 3/4” in diameter turned on the ends fit into holes drilled in the vertical members of the support. The blank for the handle should be about 9.5” long and somewhat larger than 1.5” in diameter. Once the handle is made, attach the verticals to the bottom piece and install the handle.
Carefully measure the distance between the two verticals and cut the plywood reinforcing piece to fit. Install it with wood screws.
Attach the roller assembly to the base. The overall height should be perhaps 1/8” less that the height of the bandsaw table. Clamp the roller assembly to the vertical support and then check the clearance under the sled. When the proper clearance is obtained, screw the roller assembly to the support.
In use: Position the roller to one side of the guide strip on the bottom of the sled. Also, tie the outfeed roller to the bandsaw with a suitable cord so you don’t accidentally push it over as the sled advances.