Base Plate Inserts? Really Necessary? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Default Base Plate Inserts? Really Necessary?

I am going to build a new table soon and read an article in Fine Woodworking about not using a base plate insert to attach the router and attaching directly to the table. The author used removable tops for different size bits. Interesting? I never heard of anyone doing that. The article also pointed out that by cutting a big hole in the table for the insert that it invites warping. Anybody have any experience with this method?

thanks,
Tom
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 04:43 PM
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I can't say for sure that cutting a hole in it causes it to warp, other than if it's not sealed it might warp. I do know that if you laminate the top and do not laminate or seal the bottom it will warp.

I do know that Pat Warner doesn't use base plate inserts, but instead has different table-tops for different diameter bits. I saw that in a Wood magazine or somewhere, I forget.

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I restrict my routing to cutters < 2.25" so my table top is simple, cheap, thin (5/8" MDF), has a small cutter hole and no insert. It remains flat and deflection-free, bolted to 6 dovetailed beams in the top of the stand. The router casting (from a PC 7518) has been bolted to the slab and adds a measure of stiffness/flatness right in the center where it's needed most. What's right for you? Only you can answer that. A 1,2 or 3 layered ply or fiberboard top, clad in plastic laminate, trimmed with maple, window-excavated, rabbetted for an aluminum insert/lift, and fitted with concentric cutter hole rings is not an uncommon sight. This teck has kept it simple so far but I have complicated the fence.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 06:07 PM
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Hi Guys

Just my 2 cents..

I don't know why anyone would mount a router table without a plate..most router bits are not tall ,and the router can lift the bit just so far,most use 3/4" or 1 1/2" thick top on the router table that makes most bits just to short in the router table..

The plate takes care of that error ,most plates are 1/4" thick the norm and some are 3/8" thick ...some will say just cut pocket hole on the bottom side of the top so the router has a way to lift the bit ,then you are just asking for it to fail..( the router table top ) if you are worried about the top going warp ,just bolt the plate in place, the plate will keep the top flat,it's very hard to bend Phenolic.../Alum./plastic etc. once it's screwed down..

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 06:44 PM
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If you're worried about the top warping, you could build a torsion box top. It would take a lot of weight to make that kind of top move. The inserts are really handy. Depending on how you're set up for bit changing and lift, removing the insert with router attached is just too easy. With the newer routers, heights can be adjusted from the top, also.

I dedicated a fixed base for my table and it makes life very easy. If I want to pull the motor to do some plunge base work it is a matter of reaching into the cabinet, loosening the clamp, and unplugging the cord. I only have one router so it was an easy choice to do it with an insert and dedicated base.

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 09:13 PM
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While there is no wrong way to mount a router to a table, most people prefer using a mounting plate. Most plates provide a location to mount guide bushings, many have different sized removeable center sections, and all are thin enough to let the bit extend fully out of the table surface. With many routers it is easier to pop the plate out of the table to make adjustments or bit changes. I would suggest you go with a mounting plate to get started. One of the nice features is you can switch routers easily between tables. Another advantage is you can build a work top for free hand routing, set it on the table top and use a couple pieces of wood to secure it in the plate opening. This is like having a second work table in limited space.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 10:47 PM
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I believe inserts are the way to go. If you attach directly to the table you are going to loose bit height due to thickness of table compare to inserts and unless you route the table the size of you base to get close to the surface (which would most likely be less strong compare to insert) you may have problems using guide bushings.

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Originally Posted by rolanddds View Post
I am going to build a new table soon and read an article in Fine Woodworking about not using a base plate insert to attach the router and attaching directly to the table. The author used removable tops for different size bits. Interesting? I never heard of anyone doing that. The article also pointed out that by cutting a big hole in the table for the insert that it invites warping. Anybody have any experience with this method?

thanks,
Tom



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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for all the input. I'm convinced base plates are the way to go. Now, 1/4 " or 3/8" thickness? Does it make a difference? Aluminum, phenol? any company recommendations here on the base plate inserts ?

thanks,

Tom
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 12:47 PM
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My local Rockler stores have their old 1/4" aluminum plates on clearance. They are transitioning to the Bulldog Mfg. line of inserts. The last time I was in there, they were selling for $15.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 01:51 PM
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Hi Tom

I recommend the 3/8" "phenol " for the big router and a 1/4" one for the 2 1/4 HP routers but I don't recommend ALUM. they will put black marks on your stock once the finish wears off...it's takes no time for it to wear off.. and it's nasty to get off the stock..


The one below it's both in one plate 1/4" and 3/8" you can use the 3/8" lip or make a diff. rabbit for the 1/4"..

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolanddds View Post
Ok, thanks for all the input. I'm convinced base plates are the way to go. Now, 1/4 " or 3/8" thickness? Does it make a difference? Aluminum, phenol? any company recommendations here on the base plate inserts ?

thanks,

Tom


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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobj3 View Post
I recommend the 3/8" "phenol " for the big router and a 1/4" one for the 2 1/4 HP routers but I don't recommend ALUM. they will put black marks on your stock once the finish wears off...it's takes no time for it to wear off.. and it's nasty to get off the stock..
This is interesting. All of the top manufacturers lifts that I am researching; Woodpeckers, JessEm, etc, use aluminum plates. I haven't read of any complaints about wood stock being marked. Maybe they use a higher quality clearcoat finish??
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