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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Default Material for router table top

I have a small Bosch POF500a plunge router and want to build a bench top router table. As the weight of the router is only 2.3 kgs would 16mm melamine board suffice for the top. We also have what is called in South Africa - "superwood" which I think is what is known overseas as MDF. It is a very heavy board which is tightly comressed. Would this be a better choice? Alternatively what would you suggest?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 05:29 PM
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I would double up the top if using MDF, or put some battens along the underside to help stiffen it. It will sag over time.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 07:26 PM
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Not too skinny if well stressed. This one has 6 beams of hardwood supporting it; it's 5/8" thick.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 08:21 PM
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HI

If you put the top on a cabinet you should have all the support you need after all you are only hanging a 10 lb. router from it..not driving a truck over it..no beams needed.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 10:06 PM
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Stan, I feel the best way to go is to use 3/4" Baltic Birch (BB) plywood with high pressure plastic laminate glued to the top and bottom. This is how the most popular router tables in the US and Canada are built. Another option is to use regular 3/4" plywood with two layers of 1/4" high density tempered fiberboard stacked on top of it and then the plastic laminate top and bottom; this would be for larger table tops.
Melamine is a poor choice since the plastic laminate is paper thin and can be damaged easily and the core is just high density particle board which does not stand up well to humidity and weight. (3/4" is about the same as 19mm, 1/4" is about the same as 6MM)

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-20-2011, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for all your comments. I will look again at the available woods and make sure to use something stronger.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-20-2011, 10:23 PM
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While I agree with Mike's suggestion, Baltic Birch Plywood is not readily available in Australia (or I presume in SA.)

I would go with 1" MDF (superwood) with high pressure laminate (Formica/Laminex) .

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 11:19 AM
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I am going through a similar decision dilemma. But after doing a couple things with MDF the dust problem is just overwhelming. Perhaps a complete shop has enough vacuum power to control it. Splintering of plywood layers presents another problem with cutouts for the router plate and miter gauge track.

The only solution I thought of was multiple layers of half inch sheet goods like common birch ply. The table concept I use has three sections with a removable middle one like the leaf in a dining table. The router is hung underneath.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Lon,
I am fortunate, in that I do all my work (weather permitting) in the garden and let the lawn enjoy the wood dust! When it gets to summer I will have to move under the trees for shade.
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