Need for a Router table - Router Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Default Need for a Router table

Cristmas is soon here and well get some nice new toys wrapped in paper. I love tools propably because my dad loved tools and cameras etc.. He's 79 so he is happy when I tell him about my latest jobs for an customer.
Now I would like to tell him about router tables.
My table that can be used with a router (under table) is a wolfcraft. Some sort of combination. Half of the table is 1"mdf and the other is steel were the holes are for circular saw and router. There is allso a vise in the other end of the mdf. I could ofcourse use it but I still would need a side fence for it and I could make it by my self but I dont trust my table saw... Yes a new tablesaw/contractorsaw is a must too.
So I was thinking of a router table though a real machine with atleast 30mm tilting shaft would be the right alternative but maby I still buy this router table first.
So. Ive some thoughts about routertables since Ive red tests in Fine Woodworking and Furniture magazines over the last maby six years. For some reason Im fansyed of both the new and old Triton worktables but I havnt seen them in real life.
Can you tell me why I should/shouldnt shoose the old/new Triton? Can you favor me some other brand. And note. Its on the plus side if the table hight is over 950mm or higher.
Thanks!

Esko

My profession is to restore old loghouses that is in the classical way. Look at www.tiny-e.fi and (FB) Tiny-e. Restaurointipalvelut for exaples
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 10:29 AM
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Can't help you much I'm afraid. I'm on maybe number five homebuilt router table. Nothing fancy at all, but does exactly what I want it to. When my needs change, I'll make another router table. I prefer building my own, that way I get just what I want/need, and not what someone else thinks I need. So, I'd say think about making your own. If it doesn't turn out just like you want it, make another. This last table of mine is probably ten years old at least, and so far I am very satisfied with it as is.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 11:01 AM
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I have the newer Triton TRA001 3.5hp router and it is a wonderful beast. It is too heavy and large for ME to comfortably use freehand, so it lives in my table. The top is the essential item for the table. Many here have happily made their own. The top needs to be thick, flat and pretty strong. The router mounting plate can run anywhere from $25 - $100. My choice was the Woodlpecker plate, which is extra thick aluminum with a twist lock insert for quick bit changes. I purchased a Rockler table and top some years ago and while it has worked well for me, I'd probably look at another brand. Someone will be along soon to offer recommendations, including folks who say make your own.

My top is on a metal stand that I have made solid with ply attached to the framework. I didn't like having the router hanging exposed, so I got a small steel cabinet for sawdust collection that fits underneath the table top. If I had it to do over agains, I'd buy or make the cabinet shown in the Sommerfelt videos. Get a large size top, the more surface area the better, and get a good fence, there are lots of them. I like the Woodpecker stuff, but they are pricey and lots of other brands will work just as well.

There are dozens of table top brands, most of them good to excellent, although you'll get a lot of recommendations here. I suggest before you buy anything, that you go to YouTube, look up Marc Sommerfeld and watch several of his videos. He uses the Triton and has some great technique. I bought his collection of videos and have watched most of them several times. He walks through several techniques and projects so you can see every detail. Watch them with your dad, I bet you'll both find it a great shared discussion. He has his table setup on line at sommerfeldtools.com.

You are lucky to still have your dad around and I admire you for going out of the way to spend great time with him. My dad passed away 42 years ago (I was a late baby), and I'm happy I was able to spend great time with him. Hope you find this helpful. More information is likely on the way.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 11:53 AM
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I agree with Theo about building your own table Esko. I have one table my wife bought and although it is a good table (steel table that Lee Valley used to sell) I still prefer using my home made tables. I'm on at least version 4 or 5. I disagree with Tom on a few things. My current table only has a 19mm thick top. The last one only had a 16mm thick top and it had slots cut into 10mm deep in places. Theo's top is only 12.7mm thick. Theo and I have never had any problems with sagging or warpage because our tops are mounted on a frame with cross pieces. The top doesn't need to be thick, it can be well engineered instead.

The last table I made had slots for t tracks to hold the fence down and a t track for a miter slot that I never did use, so this time no slots. I clamp the fence down and I have always just used a square block for mitering the ends of things like door stiles anyway. I don't like putting routers inside boxes, they can run very hot inside a box and I get very good dust collection by attaching a shop vac to my fence. My router plate just sits in it's opening so when I need to change bits I take it out and lay it on the table which makes it very easy to do. i can also use the plate as an offset plate when I want to edge rout with that router and the insert plate gives me more stability.

You don't have to have a good table saw to make your own router table. I think you can manage with the one you have. By building your own table you can make it as tall as you need. The ones you can purchase are short, even for me and you are at least 5 inches taller. By the way, the table top my wife bought I mounted on a short frame work so that I can sit it on a bench top. That puts it at about chest height which I find very comfortable for working on small pieces like trim.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 12:36 PM
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If you make your own table, get your mounting plate first so you can cut the opening to an exact size. Make the table 2 layers of Baltic Birch ply that's very flat, The top layer can be half an inch thick, the second 3/4 ply would be cut half an inch smaller and the plate will sit on this. You must put in some leveling screws in the corners (2 per corner), and these are installed through the bottom, tip up. I found that Kreg has a set of leveling screws for $20 that are pretty easy to install.

T tracks or no T tracks? If you watch the Sommerfeld videos you see that having two tracks a little less than the width of the fence makes it easy to adjust the fence. My table has a T track across the front, but I never use it. You can purchase T track extruded aluminum pretty cheap from many sources, Kreg, Rockler, Woodcraft for example. It is pretty easy to install.

On your table saw, many will start working much better if you take the time to tune it up carefully. This is pretty much the sequence: Make sure the miter slots are parallel to the blade. Check the runout (wobble) of the blade after aligning them, by marking one tooth of a new blade and measuring from the miter slot to that tooth first with the marked tooth at the closest to you, then the same tooth at the back of the insert opening. They should be identical or really close 2-3 thousandths at most. Once that is done, you then align the fence to the slot, with the far end maybe 3-4 thousandths further away than the front end of the fence. Don't set the fence so the far is closer to the slot than the near end, you'll get kickback and burning. Finally, get a Wixey electronic angel finder and set the blade to full height. Adjust the blade so it is exactly 90 degrees to the table. That simple Wixey completely altered the quality of my projects.

If you can't get your saw in tune, or it won't stay in tune, consider it time to get a good saw. For portables, the Bosch 4100 model gets high marks for a portable saw. There are several brands and models of table saws that folks here like. Some like Saw Stop, but it is pricey. I have a Laguna Fusion I love, but Grizzly and a couple of other makers have similar saws for less. Personally, I would use credit to get the best saw I could afford instead of buying cheaper and then having to trade up as my skills increased. My first table saw was an older model 1hp Delta I got new on clearance for $300 at Lowes. It did nice work, but often stalled or burned while making cuts. Get really good quality blades!

I know you didn't ask about the saw, but it is really the centerpiece of the shop, and I think you are interested in making furniture where precision cutting is important.

Don't forget to get a nice, high quality block plane, it will be a favored tool for precision fitting you just can't do with a saw. Try Wood River V3, or Veritas for the plane, the stanley 92 model gets mixed reviews. You will likely have to tune up your plane (YouTube videos), but the better quality plane needs less work.

I think your dad will enjoy watching you go to town with woodworking. My wife really likes having me around in the shop, but not under foot. Make things for your wife, she'll come to appreciate your woodworking more that way.
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Last edited by DesertRatTom; 12-19-2016 at 12:42 PM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 12:45 PM
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If I remember right Tom, Esko's table saw top is bent from someone putting too much weight on it. No amount of tuning will perfect it. Also Esko is in Finland so Rockler, Kreg, and others may not be an option. That's partly why I'm suggesting to keep it simple because I'm not sure what is easily available or how expensive it may be.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the VERY good advises. Thanks Tom for your thoughts. I am a lucky guy to have him around even his memory isnt good anymore but he allways asks me about my businesses...
The coin has allways two sides. I liked both views on how to get a router table. You Charles remembered correct. Finland might be a black spot for the non European ww machine producers betwene Sweden and Russia. Everything that can be bought in Stockholm and St. Petersburg cant be bought in Finland.
To say something shortly about the saw. My biggest problem is that the higher-than-blade bladeguards makes it imposible to cut "inside the timber"... Cant explain better. The second important thing with all these table machine is the side fence. The more time it takes to set the fence the more it takes to finnish a job so a side fence that can be locked with one hand and keep its position 100% is what I want and will pay for.
Thanks Tom for your detailed advises. Ill look for the video clips. I shure would like to have time to DO plans and make furnitures, again. Or simply take old drawings and make them real. For now Im happy to have customers for the whole winter.
I have a few planes. They might be the oldest tools I have. Three Stanleys. One I got last summer. It has open sides. The blade was rusty and I couldnt even get it of the plane so I charpend it in the plane with a diamond charpner. Its a fantastic tool that has made my life...work so much easyer. Cant say I use it all the time but it definetly helps me in restoring things.
I was saying about the router table or about adjusting the bit hight. Am I correct that not all mounting plates are such that the hight can be adjusted thru the plate? how about the routers, the triton has the thru mounting plate hight adjustment but how is it with the rest. Can it be made with a attachable part? It sounds good that you eventually dont need to fasten the mounting plate in anyway to the table nesessarily.
How do you prevent it from moving?

Esko

My profession is to restore old loghouses that is in the classical way. Look at www.tiny-e.fi and (FB) Tiny-e. Restaurointipalvelut for exaples
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 08:36 PM
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Seems like mine and Chuck's tables are surprisingly alike, altho I am pretty sure his is a lot prettier than mine. I am pretty sure I have less than $10 total invested in all of my tables - I recycles the nuts and bolts I use to hold it in place. In truth, I am not really certain how I made my top, I doubt I could have told you five minutes after I finished it in fact. Pretty sure I used a sabre saw for the cutting, certainly couldn't have done it with a table saw. The top is actually three pieces. The back is a long one, then the sides of the router plate hole has a piece on each side. I honestly don't know if I made it that way because it was faster, easier, didn't have larger pieces of plywood, or what. The plate hole starts off square, and at the front narrows down a couple of inches on each side. The router plate just drops in, and the shape locks it in place, and it is supported by about a 1/2" edge all around. The top is supported like Chuck said, a spider web of 2X4 chunks. It's all glued together, the only metal is the holding bolts. I made several plates, but just now only have two routers with them, and a 1/4" and a 1/2" bits in them. I normally only use the 1/2", with the 1/4" as backup. I have no idea where or how I came up with the three piece top, but it works like a charm for me. It's at a height where I can easily sit to use it, but if/when I make another, it will likely be 2-3 inches lower. I really like the capability to just pull the plate out, change or adjust the bit, and drop it back in. I think that way is faster, and easier, than any other method; may not be, but I like it that way, and won't change it.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiny View Post
............. My biggest problem is that the higher-than-blade bladeguards makes it imposible to cut "inside the timber"... Cant explain better. .............
Esko, I think you mean the riving knife top that supports the blade guard is too high. I had this problem with my Dewalt. I could either use the blade guard and riving knife for through cuts, or remove both for groove/dado work. I decided to buy a second riving knife/blade guard assembly (they come as a unit for my dewalt TS) and remove the guard, then cut the riving knife down to about 1mm lower than the top of the blade.

Now, if I do through cuts, I use the riving knife with guard, and for grooves/dadoes and also with my TS sled I use the cut down riving knife only.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:05 AM
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@Tiny The weight of the routern and plate will hold it in place just fine. I had not noticed you are in Finland. You will have to find other sources than those I mentioned. Your english is good, understandable. Someone mentioned that your table was was warped, not flat. You must either have this repaired in a machine shop, or get a new saw. If you are making money with this saw, it will be a business investment. I have no idea which companies make things in Europe, but certainly, Bosch will be there with different model numbers and voltages than we use here. But the Bosch tools are very good. My advice remains the same, but the brand names and model numbers are different.
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