UHMW for table and fence - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-13-2009, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Default UHMW for table and fence

I need to build a new router table and I was thinking about using some UHMW for the fence and the table top. I was planning on using a 1" thick top and 3/4" for the fence. I was wondering what others thought about using this material for the job.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-13-2009, 02:31 AM
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Hey Rob,

I just completed my first table and used stock 3/4 oak on both the top and fence. It feels real stable for the amount of time i'v spent on it so far. What do you have on your current table?
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-13-2009, 08:20 AM
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I do a lot of machining of UHMW Polyethylene and here are some observations.

1. The material as purchased has a tolerance on thickness of +/- 10 percent so a nominal 1/2" thick piece could vary (and does) from .450 to .550. This may result in a top that is not particularly flat.

2. If you are considering using the material for a table top without total support, it will not remain flat. The material will sag and bend in any thickness. The company for which I machine parts stores UHMW sheets up to 4 ft. x 10 ft. on solid shelves to prevent warping.

3. UHMW is not very hard and can easily be scratched or gouged when used for a table top or fence. It does, however, have a low coefficient of friction so parts easily slide on it.

4. UHMW is also easily machined with common woodworking tools such as a table saw and planer although when running through a surface planer the material will bend more than wood that caused excessive snipe at the end of the piece. I generally solve this by making the piece several inches longer than required and cutting off the snipe.

I have used UHMW for fence faces on my router table but I prefer something harder such as Formica on MDF.

I hope this info. is helpful.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-13-2009, 10:39 AM
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+1 with Gary......
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-13-2009, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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I currently have am using the extension table on my table saw for my router table. It is just a mouting plate in the laminated particle board table.

I am in need of a t track in the table top, and I have been wanted to build a router cabinet. I was planning on making a torsion box top out of 1/2 mdf and then using another material on top. I was just looking into the idea of using some plastic top instead of Formica on the mdf.

I thought that the UHMW was durable enough to use as a top, thanks for the info on that Gary. Is there any other plastic material that would make for a strong top, phenolic mayble? I had the thought of making the torsion box top with a 3/4 mdf top sheet and just laminating that.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 01:16 AM
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Melamine, formica, phenolic, all good choices for protecting table tops.
You can purchase phenolic laminated birch at Rockler I believe ( as well as other places I assume. )
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 10:33 PM
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For phenolic faced plywood, check with your local cement companies - its original purpose and probably most common use is for forms.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 11:21 PM
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Now that's a good tip Jim !
Thanks!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 03:14 AM
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The table and fence on my radial arm saw are of phenolic faced plywood. It really makes a good hard and sliding surface.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 08:05 AM
 
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Rockler and others like woodcraft sell it in smaller pieces, pricey tho'.

Concrete companies are, as Jim said, your best bet...but it'll still be at least twice the price of mdf. Around here, you can get it for 50-70 bucks a sheet...still much better than the woodstores tho'.

I tried a piece once....it's impressive, but I didn't think it was any better than mdf, at least for my applications. Your wood will slide nicely on it tho' !!
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