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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Hi. I have just finished building a new router table. It is approximately 24 x 36, uses two 3/4" MDF sheets glued together and laminated on both sides with Formica. It has the cheap insert from Harbor Freight (now that I've put all this work into it I wish I had bought a better plate, oh, well).

I want to secure the fence with t-tracks on each side of the router plate. My question is exactly how long should the t-tracks be? Looking at pictures of store-bought tables, it seems that they should extend somewhere short of the middle of the plate? Is there any consensus of opinion on this?

What about the miter track running the length of the table in front of the plate? How far in front of the plate?

Thanks for any advice!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:50 PM
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hiya tony, the t track that your fence is going to run in only needs to go from the middle of the plate to the back of the table. like you said. but you can take the t track the full width of the table. hope this helps.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony_J View Post
Hi. I have just finished building a new router table. It is approximately 24 x 36, uses two 3/4" MDF sheets glued together and laminated on both sides with Formica. It has the cheap insert from Harbor Freight (now that I've put all this work into it I wish I had bought a better plate, oh, well).

I want to secure the fence with t-tracks on each side of the router plate. My question is exactly how long should the t-tracks be? Looking at pictures of store-bought tables, it seems that they should extend somewhere short of the middle of the plate? Is there any consensus of opinion on this?

What about the miter track running the length of the table in front of the plate? How far in front of the plate?

Thanks for any advice!
Hi Tony - If you are capturing your fence with t-track, the length kinda depends on the design of your fence. You only need to get the fence an inch or so in front of the bit at most.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:52 PM
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Hi

Not to sure why anyone would want to put down rail road tracks on the router table.
Maybe on a drill press table but not on a router table

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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You only need to get the fence an inch or so in front of the bit at most.
I see. Ok, but may I ask why I need to be able to get the fence in front of the bit? Just curious.

As for the fence, I used a couple of large machined cast-iron "angle brackets" from ENCO, one on each side of the plate, I think they're somewhere around 4 x 5 inches. A 36" length of MDF is bolted between them. They are so massive and true, any "un-trueness" in the MDF gets straightened out.

That's also the reason why I need the t-tracks. Because of the design of those gusseted brackets, plus the 3/4" thick hardwood trim I put around the edges of the table, 6" C-Clamps won't quite work to hold the fence in place.

Thanks for your help. And by the way, I did get actual Miter channel to use in front of the plate. From pictures, it looks like it is normally maybe 1/2" - 1" in front of the plate? I guess the exact amount shouldn't matter too much, does it?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_J View Post
I see. Ok, but may I ask why I need to be able to get the fence in front of the bit? Just curious.
If you hav a large bit (say 3-1/2" in diameter) and you need to take multiple passes to control how much you cut off in a single pass, you would want to be able to move you're fence as much as 1-5/8" in front of the bit. If you pivot the fence at one end and only move the other, you might need to move one end more than 3-1/2 inches in front of the bit.

I don't like t-track on my router table. I use a fence that overhangs the edges of the table top and clamps to the table top. With this, you can put the fence anywhere on the table (but it won't pivot much).

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony_J View Post
I see. Ok, but may I ask why I need to be able to get the fence in front of the bit? Just curious.

As for the fence, I used a couple of large machined cast-iron "angle brackets" from ENCO, one on each side of the plate, I think they're somewhere around 4 x 5 inches. A 36" length of MDF is bolted between them. They are so massive and true, any "un-trueness" in the MDF gets straightened out.

That's also the reason why I need the t-tracks. Because of the design of those gusseted brackets, plus the 3/4" thick hardwood trim I put around the edges of the table, 6" C-Clamps won't quite work to hold the fence in place.

Thanks for your help. And by the way, I did get actual Miter channel to use in front of the plate. From pictures, it looks like it is normally maybe 1/2" - 1" in front of the plate? I guess the exact amount shouldn't matter too much, does it?
Hi Tony - sounds like quite a fence there.
My fence is 6 1/2 h x 8 deep out of BB with MDF split faces
You're about right on the miter channel placement. Shouldn't be any more than 6" from the center of the channel to the centerline of the bit if you use any commercial featherboards or jigs. Shop made jigs you just to make to fit what you got.
RJM gave you the reason for being able to move the fence in front of the bit although that's not only for very large bits. Before I got a rabbeting set, I would make rabbets with a 3/4" straight bit, just set the fence to only allow enough of the cutter to reach the rabbet size I wanted.

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Last edited by jschaben; 05-25-2011 at 10:18 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 11:03 PM
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Tony, router forums offers information on all types of routing. Many of us follow the teachings of Bob and Rick Rosendahl from the PBS show The Router Workshop. They taught us to "Keep it Simple". If you clamp your fence to the table you can position it anywhere. It is faster to do set ups or remove your fence. No obstructions to sliding your work on the table. Think about it.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2011, 12:06 AM
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As mentioned before, if you do go with tracks set it up so the fence will go beyond center far enough to allow multiple passes (at a set height) with the largest bit you'll be using.
The example of a large 3-1/2" panel raiser is a good one, zero cut would be 1-3/4" beyond center, etc.

Build it the way you want and use the "teachings" of these boards to consider options, ideas and possible pitfalls that may not have come to mind as you think the process through.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2011, 12:31 AM
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Tom, that is exactly the point I was trying to make; think about alternatives! There is no right or wrong way to enjoy woodworking as long as it is done safely. Many of our new members have never seen the Router Workshop show and are unaware of the methods taught there. Clearly they had good ideas or Woodpeckers, MLCS, Peachtree and Rockler would not be selling copies of their jigs and systems. Most of the replies were geared to direct answers to Tony's question. I offered an alternative solution that I prefer for members consideration; to me this is an easier way. Everyone should work in their comfort zone with the table set up and routers of their choice. Remember that many people will read this thread for answers and never post a question.

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Last edited by Mike; 05-26-2011 at 12:34 AM.
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