Fence question..... - Router Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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Default Fence question.....

Good morning, all. I'm new to routing, and am getting ready to build my table. I've created my design in Sketchup, and am trying to finalize the details. I read the following in another thread: "Remember that unlike a table saw, the fence does not have to align to a blade." I understand this, because the distance between the leading and following edges on a bit, are not as great as the distance on a saw blade. But, I would think that you would want your fence to be parallel to the miter slot. If so, then I would also think that an inlaid ruler, beside both T-tracks (for the fence), would be necessary to maintain parallel. Is a miter slot not necessary with a router table?
Maybe I'm just used to a table saw. I would appreciate any discussion about this. I would like to fully understand this prior to building my table.

Thanks, Carl.....
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 06:17 AM
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Greetings Carl, well you will receive lots of comments on this subject! Where as a blade is "X" inches from where the wood first meets the blade and then exits the blade a router is a round point of reference. Say take a piece of paper and draw a line, this is the blade so anything coming in contact with it must of necessity be parallel to it i.e. the fence. Now put a dot or circle on the paper this represents a bit in a router and the wood can contact it at any point on that dot or circle. Unlike a blade you can in fact contact a bit from the wrong side and send something flying. With a blade if the wood gets out of plane with the blade it goes flying, called a kickback. We do not hear about the problem with a bit although there was some conversation about that a while back. You can put a fence at nearly any angle to the miter slot, if you have one and it makes no difference unless as I said you come in on the wrong side of the bit altogether. You get your fence out of alignment with a blade by just 32nd and you will have binding and burning of the wood if not a kickback. I think I will stop now and let someone much more experienced that myself explain it better. I will say I have a miter slot on mine not so much because I needed it but because I didn't know any better. I do use mine for doing the end of a piece of wood, and sometimes I will use the fence to help guide the wood and in that case the fence must be perpendicular to the miter slot. Even without a bearing, the fence can intersect the bit at any angle if you think about it.

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Last edited by xplorx4; 07-28-2009 at 06:20 AM.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 07:36 AM
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Just my opinion: A miter slot is not necessary. Have used with and without slots. I find running the end of a length of wood on a sled against the fence gives me more control.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 07:53 AM
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Well if you are using the miter slot to push a jig along past the router blade with the wood in the jig and also against the fence, then you need the fence to be parallel to the miter slot. I prefer not to have a mitre slot and just attach my fence (which is a 2x4) with clamps at any angle I please. Sometimes you want to use the full length of the table, sometimes just the width will do. If you need to move the fence in a bit, or out a bit, you can just rotate it by loosening just one clamp. What's important is that the table top has an overhang which allows a clamp to fit on it without the aprons being in the way.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 09:15 AM
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Having a miter slot parallel to the base plate looks better/neater than one trailing off like it belonged in a Dali or Picasso, the miter track is no different than the fence.

I have miter slots on the table and the fence mostly for feather boards. In the past I clamped homemade FBs to the table and fence, but you discover they get in the way almost as much as they help. Miter slot FBs are less intrusive.

As for miter track to bit, it is no different than fence to bit. Where the problem probably arises for most is that the miter gauge isn't square to or is loose in the track. This may be why most woodworkers prefer using fence sleds.

I'm pretty sure regardless of where the bit contacts the stock 1st is irrelevant to the closest point of contact between a fixed point along a fixed plane.

In all cases as long as the plane is straight it is always at 90 to the leading edge, (point of bit closest to the plane)

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 11:20 AM
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For the last 25 years or more, I have done without mitre slots on the router table. They collect dust and may snag a piece of work, I know that they should be level or fractionally below the table surface, but...I clamp feather boards to the table top, I may drill some holes and bolt them on (or use T nuts underneath. I have a slide perpendicular to my Incra fence when needed. No mitre square and sleds can be aided by the feather boards.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 01:14 PM
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I have a miter slot, and T-tracks. My preference.

The fence can be at any angle to the bit simply because the bit is round.

When using a jig in the miter slot, you may, or may not be using a fence and then it should be parallel to the miter slot.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. After thinking about this today, and with the experience from you all, I think I will do without the miter slot....I can see that it really is not necessary.....thanks.....

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 03:30 AM
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You can put in a mitre slot later if you really need one. My router plate would get in the way of one.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 03:57 PM
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I planned a miter slot to be added to my table, but so far I haven't had the need for one. When/if I have the need, then I'll add one.
A "T" track on the fence (imho) seems would be more useful , I do plan to add that this winter. (to hold jigs, safety attachments, hold downs, other fence attachments, etc)

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