Laminated Maple Strip Router Table? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2009, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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Question Laminated Maple Strip Router Table?

I've been planning on getting one of the new Unisaws with the 52" Bieseand installing a router lift in it. While looking at competing saws, I noticed the Powermatic is available with a laminated maple slat top and end vise.

My shop is/will be a two car garage but, since my dear wife expects to park inside in the winter (Alaska), space is a premium. I have a Veritas twin-screw vise and have been thinking of combining the router and vise in the saw extension table. I hear nothing of laminated router tables. Anyone with experience in this?

Jim
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2009, 08:50 AM
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Jim,
No experience with laminated tops but that sounds like a really good project. Basically, combining a lot of use out of the table saw extension is good organization for those of us with limited shop space. I just installed a fence with 6' rails and built the extension for the saw. Since my shop area is small, I'm now deciding what is going to get moved to accomodate the saw.
I built the extension top from what I had on hand, pine frame, birch ply and hardboard top. It is well braced and corner blocked so no worries about stability. I might add a router insert in the future but I have a separate RT so don't necesarily need that function.
If you do build the laminated top, one concern might be the weight of the top and how to attach that to the saw, keeping everything (saw top, fence rails, extension top) straight and plumb. I used 7/8" threaded rod for the out board legs. That allows me to adjust the far end of the top to keep every thing straight (pic is attached).
Good luck with the laminated top. I am now contemplating whether I should have done the same. I can sure see the value of it.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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Lance,

Here's the two tabletops that inspired me...

Apology in advance for the poor picture quality. I could not find larger ones omline tonight.

Jim
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 10:08 AM
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Jim, I would not suggest installing a router in a saw table. There are a couple good reasons for this. First off, a router table is usually built taller than a saw table. This is a matter of comfort and control while using it. A router table should be no more than 6" below your elbow. (About the same height as your elbow for a sit down table) Adjustments are much more difficult on a saw mounted table. The lower height coupled with the fact that most are installed too far back from the side edge causes this. There is also the consideration that you will need to alter set ups to use the saw or router since they will interfere with each other. Most router fences require a through hole for a chip break, dust evacuation and collection. Your saws fence is not designed for this. People do use this method of mounting but I feel there is a better way. If you are like most people you want to get the most out of your router table. The Router Workshop table is very sturdy, light weight and portable. It offers on board bit storage and comes with plans for a base cabinet to get you to the proper height and allow for storage at the router of your routing accessories. Couple this with almost unlimited placement of jigs and fixtures, and a price that is actually lower than most other tables and you get real value for your money. I do not get paid to endorse this product, and this is not the way I started out. I was converted over time, it just makes good common sense. You can view the Router Workshop table by clicking the link to Oak Park on our home page. Give it some thought.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 10:43 AM
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Mike brings up some good points, here. A lot of my designs start with function over form but later I ask myself, "How did I not see that before I started?". The height and the fence are critical bits to an efficient table. Those could be overcome but to what efficiency? The Powermatic extensions look usable but I wonder if a separate workbench wouldn't be a better choice. A lot of this might hinge around how much room you have. In the end, Jim, you're going to be the one using this so build it to your design.

Personally, for the way I work: I've put mobile bases and casters under all my bigger tools. I am 6'2" with a very abused spine so I've raised the height of all the working surfaces to suit my needs. I aim for belley-button height on most of them. If I ever get around to it, some of them will be the same height (read quoted disclaimer, above). I'm real happy about how my new table saw extension turned out. The new fence, saw tuneup, and added dust collection are all working out, as well. If I had to do it again, I'd make the extension frame out of hardwood instead of pine. That was an economic driven choice (read cheapskate).

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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What is the table size on the Router Workshop? I have purchased an Incra LS w/Wonderfence, and it takes quite a bit of real-estate. I purchased it before learning of this forum, with the idea of a saw / router table combo and separate workbench. Hmm..
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2009, 12:23 AM
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Jim, the table top is 16" x 30".

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-20-2009, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Mike.



I hope to order a new Unisaw next week. I think I'll defer my decision until it arrives and I can test bending over it, pretending the router is in place.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-20-2009, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimAK View Post
Thank you, Mike.



I hope to order a new Unisaw next week. I think I'll defer my decision until it arrives and I can test bending over it, pretending the router is in place.

Jim
Jim, That's a good, practical way of proceeding. New Unisaw? You're making me jealous over here. That's a really nice piece of equipment.

I was thinking about your design for the laminated extension. Is the purpose of the laminated maple to accomodate the vise and the router? I don't see any reason why you couldn't build the table extension, conventionally (without the work of laminating a top), and make sure that the far end is sturdy enough to accomodate the vise. Whether you end up with the router mounted in the extension, becomes a separate (or future) design.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-21-2009, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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West,

I got lucky on the Unisaw. Ten years ago this Alaska born boy moved to Colorado for the dot-bomb boom, taking his POS Ryobi BT3000 and an old air compressor with him (company move). When we got ready to move back 5 years later, MDW suggested I sell it and get the Unisaw I'd wanted and a REAL A.C. up here. Its now been 5 years and I caught her in a weak moment. <g>

The reason for making an all-in-one is space. I'm working out of a 2-car garage that my dear wife expects to usually park in. <funny thing, eh?>
As large as the Unisaw is, I figured to get the 52" fence with a mobile base and make it a workbench too, since that's the only way I'd have space for a fair sized bench. The router table addition just seemed to make sense.

The laminate maple was just because its tough, I like the look (having seen the laminated extension table & twin-screw offered by Powermatic on their PM2000).

After following here though, I'm wondering about the height and distance from the edge of the saw to the router. It'd work well with the Incra LS/Wonderfence though.

OFF THE THREAD: The new 3hp Unisaw sells for $3,000 here and for $200 more you can get a 5hp model. Does anyone have any advice? I know $200 is $200 though it is a small percentage of the total. I'll post this elsewhere but know there's a great group following this thread. If you have suggestions but don't want to answer here, please send me a message.

Jim
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