New router, need table, building dovetail cabinets - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Default New router, need table, building dovetail cabinets

I am a new guy w/ a new Bosch 1617 combo router and edge guide. I bought this for an immediate project but I intend to use it for others. My immediate project is to build guitar amplifier/speaker cabinets. The basic frame will be anywhere between 1-2 ft wide and 1-2 ft tall and be 8-15" wide-front to back. (Depending on type of amp I am building). These are not for sale or production, just for me, so speed of production is not important. They will have 1/2" dovetail joints and a front baffle with a speaker hole, or two. (I will need to cut the dovetails, round over the edges, cut the speaker hole, possibly dado some places for braces to hold the baffle or amplifier, etc.)

I am trying not to spend more than $400-$500.

My first thought was to get a dovetail jig, (of course the jigs that cut wider than 12" are around $500).
Then, I thought maybe I would just do box joints and get a dado blade for the table saw, but those are over $100, which I thought could be better spent on a router table, and then I could make a box joint jig.

Then, I came across all the Incra and Jointech stuff and thought that would get me a dovetail jig and a fence/table. They are pricey also, and I question how much fun they would be for simple router table operations.

Then on this forum I found some info about Keller jigs. I did not know that you could move the jig for larger projects. (I might go wider than 12" on some projects). The reviews on the Keller jig are good and I found one on Amazon for $110.

On the web, I have looked at every router table package available in North America, Canada, and Australia, etc....I'm pretty sure. So now I am considering the Keller and then a cheaper basic table, like what Router Table Depot has. (405 or 505).

That's the background, in a nutshell. Now I have 3 questions:

1. Do I even need a router table right away? I don't want to get into this project and wish I had one. I plan to get one anyway. Future plans include a table, a desk, a guitar display cabinet.

2. Is the Keller Jig and a more bare bones table a good idea or would I appreciate some other feature in a table or jig.

3. Is the incra system, (or some other fence/jig design), a better investment.

I really don't want to build a router table. I have enough projects to do. I definitely don't want to make a fence. I don't mind making a stand or cabinet. (I don't mind paying $50 or so for a stand, but I certainly would not pay over $100 for some strips of metal screwed together.

Thanks for any advice you have. As you can see I am a bit overwhelmed. I was hoping to find the deal of the century, considering the state of the economy, but the dealers don't seem to have embraced that philosophy.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 01:50 AM
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Default I think buy a table, build a stand

I can't speak about dove tail jigs - yet.

But, after a lot of thought, I bought a Rockler High Pressure Laminate Table Kit for $200.00. The rationale as to make or build was that I need to get with building some "real" stuff instead of shop toys, and that by the time I was done an equivalent home made table with all of the equivalent attachments wouldn't really save that much.

I built a simple stand for it out of 4 2x4's, and bought a Rockler Safety switch to turn to router on and off. So far I am happy with my decision. I will be buying a dove tail jig, so I'll watch this thread to help decide.

I am using this with a DeWalt DW625 machine
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 02:03 AM
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Hi ajosephg

The DeWalt router is a great router but it's bit of a over kill for the dovetail machines,, you may want to pickup a Bosch Colt router with a adapter plate to take on the brass guides,,, you don't need a tank to put in dovetails
But you want all the control you can get, the Colt is 1 HP and has all the power you will need..plus it comes with a VS control..so you don't burn up your bits...


=======
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajosephg View Post
I can't speak about dove tail jigs - yet.

But, after a lot of thought, I bought a Rockler High Pressure Laminate Table Kit for $200.00. The rationale as to make or build was that I need to get with building some "real" stuff instead of shop toys, and that by the time I was done an equivalent home made table with all of the equivalent attachments wouldn't really save that much.

I built a simple stand for it out of 4 2x4's, and bought a Rockler Safety switch to turn to router on and off. So far I am happy with my decision. I will be buying a dove tail jig, so I'll watch this thread to help decide.

I am using this with a DeWalt DW625 machine



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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 12:18 PM
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Jack - for the (initial) purpose you describe, I think you would be happier with some form of jig, rather than a router-table based system. Remember, the cuts will be perpendicular to the side surface, meaning you'd have to hold the large panels upright on the typical router table. Keeping them "perfectly" straight/plumb would be a real challenge.

With many of the jigs, the 12" template can be removed and clamped to the work pieces. The issue in doing so is the precision of alignment, since mis-aligned cuts won't fit properly. Thus, if you're doing very many that are wider than the typical 12" capacity, you might be better off in the long run spending the extra bucks for a 24" model.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 01:06 PM
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Hi Jack

It works both ways very well, on the router table or with a jig in the wood vise,,the mass of the jig will help you hold it up just right on the router table...

But I will say the box joints are just a bit essayer, the dovetails are nice but it's real pain to get them all to line up just right without a Big hammer I would also suggest a 28" long template it makes the job duck soup

Then you can build the base part of the jig very easy,, see below

see video http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shops...vetailjig.html

http://www.routerforums.com/show-n-t...ox-joints.html
http://www.routerforums.com/35477-post8.html
http://www.routerforums.com/36045-post32.html

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 05:28 PM
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Here is a video of a guy on youtube who made his own router table. He claims there is only about $20 invested in total parts. I think it looks pretty decent as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJFlgs2W9tM
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2009, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santana157 View Post
That's the background, in a nutshell. Now I have 3 questions:

1. Do I even need a router table right away? I don't want to get into this project and wish I had one. I plan to get one anyway. Future plans include a table, a desk, a guitar display cabinet.
Before you go too much further, take a look at the Oak Park stuff at oak-park.com. Particularly, look at the box joint jigs (spacer fence). Now take a very close look at these. They're a rabbet with I stick stuck in it and a hole where the bit comes through. The secret of all of this is the router table. For that, you've got to watch The Router Workshop. You can see old episodes at:

http://www.thewoodworkingchannel.com/

Poke around, you'll find it eventually.

It is simple. The baseplate is a piece of plastic that the router is suspended underneath from. The bit sticks through the middle and the jig goes on top of that. My first version of this was a piece of MDF suspended between 2 2x4s and clamped to the bench with the baseplate inset into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by santana157 View Post
2. Is the Keller Jig and a more bare bones table a good idea or would I appreciate some other feature in a table or jig.
I use the OakPark/Router Workshop philosophy. It's simple enough and frugal enough for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by santana157 View Post
3. Is the incra system, (or some other fence/jig design), a better investment.

I really don't want to build a router table. I have enough projects to do. I definitely don't want to make a fence. I don't mind making a stand or cabinet. (I don't mind paying $50 or so for a stand, but I certainly would not pay over $100 for some strips of metal screwed together.

Thanks for any advice you have. As you can see I am a bit overwhelmed. I was hoping to find the deal of the century, considering the state of the economy, but the dealers don't seem to have embraced that philosophy.
Router table is easy enough, a chunk of plywood/MDF/anything wide enough to support the baseplate at 11"x11" and 1/4" deep. The Fence is any piece of wood that you can either joint straight or is reliably straight clamped to the table. You'll see it in the TV episodes above. You don't need the sides etc. Just the top and some method of supporting it. Search for the "ugliest router table" on this site and you'll get some idea of what works.

As for deal of the century, well, I needed a bit of machining done on a piece of aluminum. I called one place and they said come by and they'll take a look at it. I go in and we're talking huge bucks for the machines in this place. I'm talking CNC, the whole bit. There must have been 20 machines there in various stages of sophistication. All of them idle. He even had an old fashioned lathe, sitting idle. Three guys standing around nothing to do. Ok, they had a minimum charge of $80. I was told it would be at least an hour's work. Sorry, I just had four of these done, the guy screwed up the job, corrected it and it still took him 1/2 an hour and he charged $40. Now, I figure any job at a reasonable price will help the cash flow. Get enough little jobs and the cash flow improves. They went to a different school of economics.

It's like the government. The backbone of the economy is the small business. It employs 70% of the workforce and generates 80% of the gross domestic product (I'm not sure about the numbers but they're something like that) Who get's the government handouts? Try the multimillion dollar a year presidents of GM, Chrysler and Ford and all of the other welfare corporations and we begrudge a single mother trying to raise a couple of kids alone with a deadbeat husband on the loose creating other problems!

Harrumphf!

Allthunbs
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your input. I have been going back and forth over this for several months. Do I build a table/fence, buy a dovetail jig, etc. I finally decided to get the Incra super fence and table. It's way more money than I wanted to spend, but this way I get a quality tool that will, hopefully, enable me to accomplish many projects. We will see. This way I can get on with my projects without having to monkey around with building a bunch of things.
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