The time has come for me to make my first simple router table, and I'd like a little advice. I've done a lot of research on the forum and other websites, but still have a few questions. I've read the other very recent post (by losttree) and marvelled at the ultimate router table linked to in that post. I've also read Ralph Barker and Chagy's posts about possible sag, hinge vibration etc - and will address these issues by not having the router mounted in the table when it's hanging vertically - and hope there will be no vibration if I use a very stable piano hinge.
Given my space limitations (my 'workshop' is in a shed, 4.0m x 2.4m) I'm going to start small and simple. My plan is to borrow an idea from another member (Chris Roeder) and construct a table top, with no legs/support. I'll attach this to the end of my very sturdy workbench, via hinges - so that it can hang vertically when not in use, and can be folded up (and supported via two struts that hinge off the legs) when needed. I managed to get a discontinued Benchdog 40-075 ProPlate (8.25" x 11.75", 210mm x 298mm), which is pre-drilled for my Makita 3612C. It's 3/8" (9.5mm) aluminum so should be rigid enough for my tank.
My questions are :
1. Size of table top:
The OP table is 16" x 30". A few of Ron's (allthumbs) posts mentioned a router table 19" x 42" (480 x 1060mm). I can accommodate these dimensions on the end of my workbench, which is 920mm deep, and about 1100mm off the floor. So I could theoretically have a 920mm x 1000mm router table - however surely that's too big for a first RT? Would a 900mm x 600mm table be a good size?
2. Material of table top:
Lots of people indicate that laminating two 18mm (3/4") sheets of MDF is the way to go - and then laminate formica top and bottom. This is what I intend to do - unless advised otherwise.
I'm not going to route a channel for a mitre gauge, however I very much like the idea of the fence sliding in some T-channel or similar. However, in an effort to start simple, I think I'll just go with a fence that is clamped onto the surface. I assume that one can, at a later date, route channels for T-track or similar, even with the formica laminated on?
Thanks for reading this, and hope to get some feedback soon.
Hi Matt - I think you need to balance the table size with the space available and the projects planned. I probably have one of the smaller tables in the group, 16" x 22" (~550mm x~400mm) so I am limited to just what will fit. On the other hand, as the table gets smaller, thickness requirements also decrease. Thickness on my table is only about 30 mm. Another consideration is how "permanent" is the router installation. As mine is a portable table, the router plate assembly is rarely installed for more than a week at a time, usually only long enough to finish what I need to do as I need the benchspace for something else. I believe a contributor to sagging is when the thing is installed 24/7/365... The constant pressure exerted takes it's toll. I honestly believe that a top built with 3/4 ply (or even OSB) and topped with 1/2" MDF and then laminated would be more than sufficient for all but the largest tables.
Shoot, my workbench is 3/4" + 7/16" OSB + 1/4" hardboard.
For the mitre track, I like Bj's suggestion for mounting it along the front edge of the table. That will also act as a stiffener as a side benefit. Just as long as it is close enough to the bit location that you can use it for feather board mounting.
Fence t-tracks, IMO, should be equidistant from the fence and no closer to the bit center than the midpoint from the bit to the edge of the table, the further from the bit the better. This allows much finer depth adjustments when only swinging one end of the fence.
JMHO - keep us posted