Router Plate Installation - Router Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
Rutabagared's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
First Name: Joe
Posts: 85
Default Router Plate Installation

I've completed my shop-built router table to the point that I am ready to install my router plate. The plate is a Pinnacle model purchased from Woodcraft and manufactured by Woodpeckers. Not wanting to pay for the installation template, router bit, and shipping from the manufacturer (nearly 50% the cost of the plate), I decided to forgo the template and use the carpet tape (double-sided tape) method with MDF scrap serving as straight edges. I used this method successfully when installing a Bench Dog plate into my previous router table.

One difference between this installation and that of the Bench Dog was the dimensions of the corner radii. The Bench Dog has a radius dimension of 3/8” which allowed the use of a commonly available pattern bit with a diameter of ¾”. This enabled me to simply rout along the inside openings of the MDF square taped to the table.

I won’t get off so easily this time. The Pinnacle plate has ¾” radii. This would require a 1 ½” diameter bit. This meant that I would need a different approach than that described above. My planned approach would be to use a 1 ½” drill bit to radius the corners. I would then use the carpet tape/MDF method to “connect the dots” of the outer most point of each hole. Honestly, I was a bit leery of this method. Bits can sometimes wonder when starting a cut, etc, resulting in a inaccuracies. So I decided to test this method first on the through hole opening (inner opening). If all went smoothly, I would repeat this method for the plate opening (outer opening). If not, I would make a template to rout the plate opening.

The first step was layout. Below is the layout of the plate opening (1), the through hole opening (2) and the centers for the holes of the through hole opening radii (3).

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-1p.jpg

I didn’t have a forstner bit large enough so I used a spade bit. The bit was new and very sharp. First, I tested its ability to drill a clean shoulder on scrap and was satisfied so I drilled my first hole in the router table top. Here is the result.

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-2.jpg

As you can imagine, drilling a 1 ½” hole through 1 ½” of MDF makes quite a mess.

All four holes . . .

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-3p.jpg

Note that the bit did wander when drilling the right front hole (as from the viewer’s perspective), resulting in a shift to the right – good thing this is only the through hole opening and not the plate opening. This misdrilled hole guided my decision to make my own template for the two reasons. The first and obvious reason is fit and appearance issues with the plate. The second and not so obvious reason is that the misdrilled hole prevented me from getting a solid center point for the radius hole for the plate opening. The actual center point was only about 1/16” from the edge of the hole.

But before I start to make a template I had to finish the through hole opening. I used a jig saw to cut about 1/16” from the line. I held my shop vac hose near the cut to both enable me to see the cut line and collect most of the dust at the source.

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-4.jpg

You could stop here with the through hole opening but I decided to make it cleaner by routing to the lines with an MDF “square” taped to the table. I was careful to stop routing when I reached the beginning of each corner hole because the smaller diameter of the router bit will cut into the larger radius of the drilled hole if you rout all the way into the corners of the square. A simple box fan is a very effective means of getting most of the dust out of the shop.

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-9.jpg

The pattern bit I used has a cutting length of only 1”, resulting in a ½” shoulder of unrouted material.

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-7.jpg

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-10p.jpg

No problem. Just remove the template and use the routed edge as a guide for the bearing to finish the cut. No bit height adjustment required in this case.

Router Plate Installation-router-plate-11p.jpg

You can see from the photo above that several of the corner holes breached the layout lines – not just the right front as originally thought. However, this won't affect form, fit or function.

More to come on building the template and routing the plate opening when time permits.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Router Plate 3.JPG
Views:	203
Size:	85.1 KB
ID:	26319  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Router Plate 5p.JPG
Views:	233
Size:	15.9 KB
ID:	26320  

Rutabagared is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 01:12 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2009
Country: United States
First Name: Bill
Posts: 81

I have found that a pilot hole helps to keep spade bits from wandering. I make it as big as possible.

I also use drill guides made from scrap phenolic or micarta to keep spade (and Forstner) bits in place. I dull the sides of a spade bit to minimize hole wear on the guide. For only a few holes, hardwood is good with a Forstner bit. Or, MDF if you soak a little thin CA into the inside of the hole. Kind of like making your own phenolic.
Billat908 is offline  
post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 02:19 PM
Registered User
Mike Wingate's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: mike
Posts: 1,124
Send a message via MSN to Mike Wingate

I routinely make thin 9mm Saw tooth/Forstner bit guides from MDF. Accuracy is everything.
Mike Wingate is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
Rutabagared's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
First Name: Joe
Posts: 85

Bill and Mike,
Thanks for the replies. I thought of the drill guide approach but was unsure of how to attach them. On the one hand, the attachment has to be strong enough to withstand the force of a very wide bit. On the other hand, it has to be removable. I suppose I could have made a guide large enough to attach with screws to the sacrifical area in the center of the table.

Rutabagared is offline  
post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 06:12 PM
Retired Moderator
Mike's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Country: United States
First Name: Mike
Posts: 11,921
Send a message via Skype™ to Mike

Joe, for future reference the new Ridgid hole saws make very clean holes and could be used for your corners.

"Living in the D" (this means Detroit!)
"It's fine to disagree with other members as long as you respect their opinions"
Mike is offline  
post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
Rutabagared's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
First Name: Joe
Posts: 85

Thanks Mike. Funny you should mention that. I was sooooo close to buying that very hole saw for the job. I'll definitely keep that in mind for the future.
Rutabagared is offline  
post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
Rutabagared's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
First Name: Joe
Posts: 85
Default Making the Template and Routing the Opening

Making the template:

Making a template for the plate opening appealed to me for several reasons:
  1. I could verify the plate’s fit to the template opening before doing any routing to the router table top. If I made a mistake, I could simply make modifications or build another template instead of the table top.
  2. I could use the drill press for drilling the radius holes.
  3. I could use the oscillating spindle sander to dimension the radius holes to final dimensions. I can’t take the work (router table) to the tool in this case.
  4. I would have a template for future use if I ever decided to make another table for bench top or portable use.

The method of creating the plate opening in the template was basically the same as that for the through hole opening in the router table top:
  1. drill radius holes in each corner
  2. rough out the opening with at jigsaw
  3. rout the finished dimensions of the opening with a pattern bit guided against the inside edges of an MDF square
However, there was one notable exception. I positioned the center points 1/16” in from their required locations. This allowed leeway in case the drill bit wandered off line. I then used the oscillating spindle sander with a 1 ½” diameter sanding to sand the radii to their final dimensions. MDF sands easily and accurately with this tool.


Router Plate Installation-template-layout.jpg

Finished Template

Router Plate Installation-finished-template.jpg

Now it’s time to verify the plate fit. . .

Router Plate Installation-template-fit-ver.jpg

That'll do.

Machining the opening:

Now all the machining that remained was to rout the plate opening the top. First I had to set the bit depth. This is normally critical. However, part of the reason I chose this plate was because it has 8 leveling screws.

Router Plate Installation-adj-screw.jpg

The leveling screws are about 3/8” long. This would allow at least 3/16” adjustment, assuming you would want ½ of the threads to remain engaged with the plate.

In order to take advantage of the leveling system, I set the bit depth approximately 1/32” deeper than required. I simply used the router plate and template to set the bit depth as shown below.

Router Plate Installation-bit-depth-adj.jpg

I attached the template to the table with double-sided tape and routed the opening . . .

Router Plate Installation-template-top.jpg

Finished plate opening . . .

Router Plate Installation-plate-opening.jpg

The router plate was recessed by about 3/64”.

Router Plate Installation-pinnacle-plate.jpg

I installed the router base and router to the plate and installed this assembly in the table. Then, following the manufacturer’s instructions, I started the leveling process by using only 4 of the 8 screws. This simplified the process. I checked the fit with a piece of scrap MDF with a square edge.

Router Plate Installation-plate-adjustment.jpg

Once level I set the remaining screws to just contact the shoulder. I was pleasantly surprised by just how fast and simple the leveling process was.

By the way, the Porter Cable bit (made in Taiwan) I bought at the Rockler clearance sale for $5 didn’t make it through the process unscathed. After just a few feet of routing through MDF, a large piece of carbide broke off!

Router Plate Installation-broken-bit.jpg
Rutabagared is offline  
post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 09:47 AM
Registered User
dutchman 46's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Country: United States
First Name: Howard
Posts: 2,825

Nice work, Joe: Very nice presentation. How thick it the table top, and if you gave a size, i missed it. I made one also, but i didn't make a good effort on presenting it. Good job.

John 3:16

Please fill out your profile, It helps us to know you better
dutchman 46 is offline  
post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
Rutabagared's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
First Name: Joe
Posts: 85

Originally Posted by dutchman 46 View Post
Nice work, Joe: Very nice presentation. How thick it the table top, and if you gave a size, i missed it. I made one also, but i didn't make a good effort on presenting it. Good job.
Thanks for the compliment! My top is 1 1/2" thick (two pieces of 3/4" MDF sandwiched).

Rutabagared is offline  
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2009, 08:05 PM
Registered User
Luis Albano's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Country: Mexico
First Name: Luis
Posts: 6

Rutabagared Thank you, this info is very helpful for a newbie like me

Always Expand your Mind.
Luis Albano is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Router Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Centering your router on a mounting plate Mike Table-mounted Routing 61 01-08-2016 11:28 AM
Ridgid R2930 (fixed and plunge base routee) xplorx4 Tool Reviews 15 09-23-2014 09:15 AM
Hello DPugmire New Member Introductions 5 11-08-2010 07:29 AM
Router plate as base plate?? xplorx4 General Routing 6 05-24-2009 07:19 PM
Router Workshop phenolic plate & Route-R-Joint Question haptown Guide Bushings and Templates 6 12-17-2008 08:46 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome