My first router table.. hopefully the only one - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Default My first router table.. hopefully the only one

Hi

I am new in this group. Having never built a shop tool before, I thought it might be a good idea to see what others did.

So far, I have the cabinet complete, but that is the easy part. It's a 3/4 birch plywood, screwed and glued (no way to remove and modify the panels) 32" by 24". I am leveling the top edges of the plywood to within 2 thou, and adding a 3 thou crown, to be safe (BTW, I found all my masking tape to be 4 thou thick..too thick to use for fine tuning.)

I do not want to be using a router plate. Instead I would like to have a single hole in the top, big enough for all smallish bits. For larger holes, I will add a 1/4 inch top, and raise the bit above the main surface. The Triton router's microwinder will move the bit high enough for this. The fence will be micro-adjustable as well, and somehow designed to allow for zero clearance faces.

MDF seems to be the best way to insure flatness, but I will need to laminate a few layers (two for thickness and two for the top and botom laminates). My main concern (for now) is about getting the glue between the layers smooth and flat.

If I may ask, what have been the most sucessful methods for laminating MDF?

Thank you
Garrick

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 02:44 PM
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Garrick, you can use white or yellow glue, contact cement, most anything will work. Just apply the glue evenly and provide even clamping pressure. The first table I built I used 3/4" plywood topped with two 1/4" layers of hardboard for 1/2" thickness, wrapped it with hardwood then covered the top and bottom with high pressure laminate. This is the method suggested by ShopNotes #1 and is the same as the tables seen on the PBS show Woodsmith Shop. You are still best off to plate mount your router since the flat plate will measure 3/8" thickness and still be better support than cutting your top to that thickness. HF sells their plate for $20. This also gives you the option of using a 2nd portable table you can take with you and simply drop in your good router. Something to think about.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 05:24 PM
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Hi Garrick,
MDF is pobably the best choice for table tops besides milled cast iron. If your MDF has a discernable crown, glue the two concave faces towards each other. This will bring both pieces towards a flat plane. I used Titebond III, a waterproof glue, and applied it to both surfaces with a mini-roller. I clamped the pieces well and loaded the top piece with weights to insure a flat top. As was mentioned, the router insert plates are really a good product. I have an aluminum plate but I'm sure the phenolic plates will do the job as well. Good luck with your router table.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westend View Post
glue the two concave faces towards each other. This will bring both pieces towards a flat plane.
This should read "convex", otherwise you will wind up with an air pocket in the middle.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 06:04 PM
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FWIW, I definitely concur with the suggestion of using a plate of some sort, Whether it's the 3/8 phenolic plate from Harbor Freight, or a 1/4" aluminum plate from other vendors, is up to you. Direct mounting the router to the table simply uses up too much of the router's depth adjustment, severely limiting what you can do. I tried that, using a surplus butcher-block cutting board, routed out to attach the router.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 06:11 PM
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Ralph if you use a top with no plate you just need route out a pocket about 12x 12 on the underside of the table where the router goes. Then you lose no height at all.

There are advantages of eliminating the plate completely with just a ring set up in the one piece top.

One can even design it where the entire top lifts on an angle if wanted for easy access to the router. I did have one table with no plate and loved it, but I did not have the lifting top. I could change the bit and its height above the table and never needed to see the router much anyway.

Last edited by dovetail_65; 04-10-2009 at 11:09 PM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
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This should read "convex", otherwise you will wind up with an air pocket in the middle.
Right, you are. Convex/concave shares the same neural pathways in my brain with inflamable/flamable.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone.

I guess if I use 5 or 6 of my "straight edge" 2x4s on top the layers, with lots of weight on top of that, it should hold them flat while the glue drys. The router table top itself being already flat would be perfect for setting it all on.

My reason for going without an insert is to avoid leveling problems. My intension is to have the two flat surfaces (table and fence) within just a few thousands of an inch. Joints should require minimal planing or sanding to be perfect. I understand I may have sag issues with a 1/2 inch (plus laminate) MDF, but I can always add a support under the router's base to hold it up tight, since I don't intend to be removing it much. The Triton has a full 5/8 inch clearance above the base which means I can change collets or bits in place. Even if I add a 1/4 inch hardboard surface to that (for large bits), I can still get the included cranked neck wrench on the collet.

I disabled the the automatic lock-off when the collet is raised, so I don't need to get at the router controls. I can see only two reasons I would need to get under the table. To adjust the speed control, or to lock the plunge...both of which would be required for large, say raised panel, bits. I'm putting a glass door on the front, for viewing when I'm bored.

Just in case I am not satisfied with the router's power, I also intend to make the hole in the bottom layer (3/4 MDF) a 1/2 inch larger than the 2-1/4 HP base, so I can switch to a 3-1/2 Triton later.

My fence will have a micro-aduster and dial indicator (Pat Warner style), and inserts in the fence to fasten subfences to.

I should have nbeen an engineer!
Thankssss

Mike, I have edited my profile a bit.

Garrick (>)
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 12:34 AM
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Garrick sounds like you have things pretty well laid out and are well on your way to a great router table. I will look forward to seeing it in the future.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 12:48 AM
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Welcome to the RouterForums Garrick.




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