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UHMW vs HDPE ?

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  • UHMW vs HDPE ?

    I have seen a plans for a few shop-built table saw jigs that use UHMW plastic for the miter bar. What about using High Density Polyethylene-HDPE ? Kitchen cutting boards are made of this plastic and fairly large pieces are available at most home and garden stores in the kitchen section. Anyone know if this material could be used in place of UHMW or has tried using it?

  • #2
    It could be used, but you wouldn't be satisfied with the results. The UHMW is great for use in jigs and tooling when a smooth, slick surface is desired that can take the abuse of riding in the miter slot without wearing too much.

    While HDPE seems to be much like UHMW they are two totally different animals. HDPE is much too soft and easily damaged to be used for precision work. As a test, take a piece of UHMW and a kitchen knife and try to slice into one of the side corners. See how thick of a sliver you can remove. Then use the same amount of force to try to remove a sliver from HDPE.

    I have used HDPE in those instances where I couldn't get UMHW in the time frame it was needed. However, I changed it to UMHW as soon as I was able.

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    • #3
      Thanks, you answered my questions. I'll stick with UHMW or use a hardwood for the miter slot bar.

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      • #4
        Has any one tried using the green UHMW? (repro)

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        • #5
          I just use the adjustable miter bar from Rockler always tight in the slot works great.

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          • #6
            I'm not familiar with all the 4-letter names you guys are using so I may be repeating someone else's advice but here goes:
            I use a product called Starboard available from most marine supply stores. It is sold in standard sheet sizes up to 1" thick, has no airholes, works like wood, holds screws well, can be tapped for machine screws and is very sturdy. I use it for all my jigs and I also made my router table with it. The only disadvantages are: it can't be glued and the material will create a small ridge around screw holes if you don't drill pilot holes.

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            • #7
              Re: UHMW vs HDPE ?

              Can u suggest to me where can i get those uhmwpe?? I'm living in malaysia and i need that respective polymer for my final year project. It's quite difficult for me to find it here in malaysia. i've searched for almost 3 weeks and no result until this time being. so pls help me...thx in advance

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              • #8
                Re: UHMW vs HDPE ?

                Originally posted by spitzAR View Post
                Can u suggest to me where can i get those uhmwpe?? I'm living in malaysia and i need that respective polymer for my final year project. It's quite difficult for me to find it here in malaysia. i've searched for almost 3 weeks and no result until this time being. so pls help me...thx in advance
                SpitZAR its available from Rockler , Woodcraft, Peachtree as well as a few others...

                HTH
                Cheers! - Jim
                -------------
                All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Schopenhauer

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                • #9
                  Re: UHMW vs HDPE ?

                  There is also a company in Maine that actually manufactures this stuff (UHMW)

                  http://www.garlandmfg.com/plastics/products.html

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                  • #10
                    Re: UHMW vs HDPE ?

                    Originally posted by imported_outrage26 View Post
                    I'm not familiar with all the 4-letter names you guys are using so I may be repeating someone else's advice but here goes:
                    I use a product called Starboard available from most marine supply stores. It is sold in standard sheet sizes up to 1" thick, has no airholes, works like wood, holds screws well, can be tapped for machine screws and is very sturdy. I use it for all my jigs and I also made my router table with it. The only disadvantages are: it can't be glued and the material will create a small ridge around screw holes if you don't drill pilot holes.
                    I believe starboard is HDPE with UV inhibitor added, its not UHMW

                    HDPE High Density Polyethylene

                    UHMW Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene

                    www.usplastics.com

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                    • #11
                      Re: UHMW vs HDPE ?

                      many different types of plastics types and shapes are available from MSC. I do not know if they have the types in question.

                      http://www1.mscdirect.com/
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