Build an economy table top and install a mounting plate - Router Forums
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post #1 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Default Build an economy table top and install a mounting plate

Object: Build a router table top and install a mounting plate for maximum value. This project is for beginning skill level and up.

Materials required:
1 Rockler phenolic impregnated Baltic birch plywood, 3/4" x 24" x 32".
1 Grizzly PT10432047 "insert". (Mounting plate)
1 Rousseau RM3509-T Template mounting kit
1 roll double sided carpet tape.
1 bottle of thread lock.
Total cost: Under $70

Tools required:
A plunge router that accepts PC style guide bushings.
Brass set up bars.
A 1/2" solid carbide spiral up cut bit with a cutting length of 2".
A saw.
A drill motor
A 5/16" drill bit.
Two C clamps
A punch with an end diameter of 1/4".
A hammer.
A tape measure.
Scissors.
Safety glasses and hearing protection.

Begin by cutting 2" off the length of the board which will leave it at 24" x 30". I did this with my panel sled on my table saw (Photo 1) but you can use a circular or hand saw with a guide jig. The next step is to rip cut the board to 16" width. I used the fence on my table saw as a guide. (Photo 2) Save the 2" x 24" and 8" x 30" pieces for building a fence.
Clamp your board onto saw horses or a table edge. Position the mounting plate 4-3/4" from the end of the board with it's length running across the short span and center it. (Photo 3) Apply the carpet tape around the guide and press firmly into place. Remove the backing paper from the tape and center the fiber board template on the mounting plate. There will be about 1/16" opening around the mounting plate. Press the template firmly down onto your board. Remember all set up is done with the router unplugged. Install the special guide bushing in your router, and install the 1/2" router bit. (Photo 4) Position your router in the lower left corner so the guide bushing is against the templates two sides. Lower the bit until it contacts the wood and lock it in place. Using a 1/2" and a 3/8" set up bar stacked to equal 7/8" set the depth stop. This will allow the cutter to extend just past the bottom of your board for a clean cut. Release the plunge lock so the bit rises into the router base. At this point I suggest you get someone to help hold the board in place. Even when tightly clamped I had some movement and had BrianS hold the board to prevent this. Be sure you are both wearing safety glasses and hearing protection, check to be sure the router switch is in the off position and plug the router in. Turn on the power and plunge the bit through the board. Lock the router in the down position and follow the template clockwise around the hole. (Photo 5) The inside will drop free of the board when the cut is complete. Raise the bit, shut the router off and unplug it. Using the Allen wrench provided remove the spacer ring from the guide bushing. Position the router in the lower left corner, lower and lock the router so the bit is touching the black lip. Use the lip of your mounting plate to adjust the depth stop. Release the plunge so the bit raises up into the router base. Again have someone hold the board to prevent movement. Check that the router switch is in the off position, plug the router in and turn the router on. Follow the template in a clockwise direction until the lip has been cut. Raise the bit back into the router base, turn the router off and unplug it. Clean away all the dust and set the mounting plate into the opening. The plate should set just below the table surface. There will be about 1/32" play from end to end and side to side. This is normal. Mark the location of the 4 corner holes onto the lip. I used a transfer punch but a nail would work fine. Lift the plate out and set it aside. Drill the 5/16" holes just deep enough for the magnets to sit flush in the corners. Use the Allen wrench to check the hole depth at the side of the hole and compare it to the magnet. Your board should now look like Photo 6. Insert the magnets into the holes and lightly tap into place with the punch and hammer. If you have a magnet that is too low you can use a 1/8" drill bit and drill through from the other side to push the magnet out. A drop of epoxy in the hole should cure this problem. When your magnets are flush put the mounting plate back into the opening. Remove the template and carpet tape. Apply the thread locker to the Allen screws and turn them into the corner holes with the Allen wrench provided. Start off a bit low until all the screws are in place and then level the plate to the table surface. The input side can be a hair lower than the table surface, and the output side can be a hair above the table surface. This will let your material pass easily through. Let the plate sit until the thread locker sets up per the instructions. I prefer to use Vibratite for this. It is the only thread locker that can be readjusted and after 24 hours it re locks the fastener. Photo 7 shows the finished table top in the back of Brian's van for the trip home.

Why 16" x 30"? This is the size of the Router Workshop table top. It will handle any job you throw at it.

Why no T tracks? You can clamp any accessories in place or add the tracks if you choose to. They are really not needed.

What about building a fence or table cabinet? These will be covered in other threads.
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Last edited by Mike; 05-06-2013 at 03:38 PM.
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post #2 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 09:24 AM
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Mike,

A very useful thread that will be referenced long into the future. I like your no-nonsense, keep it simple approach...this should help jump start many new to this type of woodworking and the portability is a bonus.

The cost is actually probably less when you discount for the fact that you will be using that double sided tape and thread lock on many projects down the road.

I also like the use of the template...it takes some of the mystery out of making the recess. I made my own template by: 1) drawing the shape on a piece of scrap, 2) drilling the corners with a bit of appropriate radius, 3) sawing to within 1/16" of the sides, 4) clamping a straight edge along each line, 5) using a flush trim bit to "connect" the corners. The resulting template can be then used to route the recess with a pattern matching bit. I was a wee bit shy and tested the template on another piece of scrap. It was a good tight, level fit and so I routed my table top with confidence. Did this all just last evening and hope to post pics soon.

- Frank
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It is a journey of discovery,
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And an opportunity at self improvement.
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post #3 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 12:08 PM
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I went about installing my plate in a very similar manner. This will guide many a router owner. Well done. Isn't double sided tape great!
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post #4 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 01:19 PM
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Well written, very useful. Now if I can just remember to reference someone here!!

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post #5 of 94 (permalink) Old 08-03-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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I just finished my table tonight, that phenolic impregnated baltic birch sounds really great for a surface, though I ended up building mine out of re-purposed melamine desktop material. Free is better than 29.99 When I think it's time for a new table, I could definitely see myself using that. I think it was better for me to use the melamine since my routing skills aren't so hot yet, and I did make a few small mistakes where the router bit off more than I wanted it to. Now that I've done all the major steps once, I'd be less likely to ruin a better tabletop surface.

Even if I didn't have the extra melamine laying around, I just saw that Lowes is selling 97"x16" melamine shelving (3/4" thickness) for $18. With that much material, I could have completely failed twice and still have enough to make a tabletop. Taking note of advice found here, I attached a length of poplar under my tabletop to act as a stiffening board and help reduce sagging over time. Since my table is already on the small side, I don't think it will sag much.

I'm really looking forward to the guide on building a fence. I hope it includes some ideas for dust management since after this project, I can really see that I need it
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post #6 of 94 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 05:16 AM
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Do you find it neccessary to use external devices to hold a plate down? My old table is now about 17 yeasrs old, both plates that I have had have been held down by the weight of the router and nothing else and nothing has ever moved.



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post #7 of 94 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 06:39 AM
 
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If you are referring to the 4 corner screws, I think they are simply leveling screws that give you some room for adjustment to make sure the plate lies level. I put in a similar setup on my table. The weight of the router does indeed hold it in place, though my plate would shake like a wobbly restaurant table until I adjusted the 4 leveling screws at the corners.
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post #8 of 94 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 07:11 AM
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Didn't do any of that either.



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post #9 of 94 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Derek, the installation kit is designed for the Rousseau mounting plate. (Trend sells a copy of this) The Harbor Freight mounting plate measures almost the same. The HF mounting plate comes with the corner magnets that the adjusting screws ride on. Rousseau includes what they call corner snuggers which are plastic clips to stop any movement of the plate in the hole and height adjusters. I do not consider either of these hold downs, and the plate is free to be lifted out at all times.
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post #10 of 94 (permalink) Old 09-14-2009, 10:15 AM
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Hi guys, I want to mount my router in my long Delta Unisaw Extension Table. I would like to have a nice router lift with large plate and plenty of options. I currently own a Ryobi 3 1/4 hp and a smaller Porter Cable. I have the Ryobi mounted on a Hartsville router table complete with fence etc., BUT. . .I don't like it and want to be able to raise and lower the router from above and would like the extra shop space by eliminating the router table/cabinet.
1. I would apprecaite susggestins as to a nice router lift that will hold up well.
2. When I go to cut the opening in my extension table, how far back should I positon
the lift and plate and do most of you add a miter gage & hold down tracks , in front of the plate?

Pat Harris
Lexington, SC
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