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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Default Thoughts on Router tables

I have a small (might I say tiny) veritas (I think) metal one that is obviously too small and too light and just plain not good enough.

I have been threatening for years to build my own table, but each time I start researching it, I come up with just one more thing I want to have/do and end up kicking back to the design phase again

The main issue now is whether to buy a custom insert, make an insert, or make a table that does not use an insert at all (router attached directly to the table itself.

Secondarily, I have a few chunks of countertop stuff, but it is only formica on one side. Most plans that suggest this type of top usually recommend that you cover both sides to avoid warping. How important is this?

Miter gauge slots. half the plans I see say you must have 1 2 or even 3 of these, and others say they are a waste. Of the ones that recommend them some are pushing for T-Track, while others just want to be able to run something in the slot like a miter gauge or some kind of jig.

Safety pin. I have seen this recommendation, but I am honestly not really all that sure what it is for, or where it should be placed, or when it should be used.

Unless you are using it for planing and jointing is it necessary to have the two part individually adjusting fence? What else is it good for? I understand the use of a fence, what I mean is the independently adjusting part.

The one thing that I actually thought might be useful was to be able to use the router horizontally. Are there any designs that incorporate this as a feature. All I have seen so far are either-or designs.

Any other experiences or suggestions on the subject would be welcomed.

-- Abs
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 08:13 AM
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Welcome, I use the slots on my table for featherboards every time I use my table as for warping would be very bad,as for inserts I have aluminum inserts on both tables this helps reduce sag...I have a metal table for sale if interested send me a Private message

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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I can't send you PM as I have not posted 10 messages yet
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 10:05 AM
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Hi Bradley.
I like the router mounted to a plate with different sized insert rings. This allows almost zero clearance for different size bits. Take them all out to run the larger raised panel bits or to use a bent wrench to loosen collet nut to change bit without having to move router.

I only use the miter slots to mount feather boards & stop blocks for a cuts that don't run the whole length of the material. Fastening this way avoids extra clutter from bulky clamps used for fastening. Some will use the router table to make box joints you can have a sled that runs in the slot for guidance.

The safety pin (starter pin) is used for curved parts such as the upper rail in a arch top cabinet door. You cannot use the standard fence for curved parts. The pin can only be used when paired with a bit that has a bearing. Start with your piece braced against the pin then ease the material into the bit till it contacts the bearing. Then as long as your material is in contact with the bearing you can come off the pin to complete the machining. The pin is usually screwed into the top to the right of the bit position. If making your own top the plate may have a mounting position or you will have to install an insert to screw into. Some use a half fence instead of a pin. Here's a video of the pin in use.
Using a Router Table Starting Pin - YouTube

An adjustable split fence is a nice add on even if you don't use it for joining. Some bits like a glue joint bit will machine the entire surface so when it comes off the bit the outgoing fence needs a small shim to account for the difference. The material will be on different planes before & after the bit.
http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/Ma..._Bit_6784.aspx

One more post & you will be at 10. Just say hi to someone in the introductions forum. It will only take a new member a couple of easy minutes to reach the 10 posts.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Lzn...0fence&f=false

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Last edited by jlord; 11-08-2011 at 10:24 AM.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absinthe View Post
I have a small (might I say tiny) veritas (I think) metal one that is obviously too small and too light and just plain not good enough.

I have been threatening for years to build my own table, but each time I start researching it, I come up with just one more thing I want to have/do and end up kicking back to the design phase again

I would start by listing all your likes and dislikes of your current table. That will give you a basic design/shopping plan. Pretty obvious from your post that size is an issue. Most commercial tables you find are 24 x 32-36.

The main issue now is whether to buy a custom insert, make an insert, or make a table that does not use an insert at all (router attached directly to the table itself.

This is one I will strongly recommend. While you can make your own plate and inserts, simply purchasing one will save a lot of time. MLCS has a phenolic plate with inserts for around $35

Secondarily, I have a few chunks of countertop stuff, but it is only formica on one side. Most plans that suggest this type of top usually recommend that you cover both sides to avoid warping. How important is this?

Countertop is usually formica(HPL) over particle board which will tend to sag on you. I don't see why you couldn't glue a chunk of that to a hunk of 3/4 ply and use that. Just seal all the edges. Would save you tracking down laminate and installing it yourself. Many tables here are just laminated MDF, some just sealed with linseed oil.

Miter gauge slots. half the plans I see say you must have 1 2 or even 3 of these, and others say they are a waste. Of the ones that recommend them some are pushing for T-Track, while others just want to be able to run something in the slot like a miter gauge or some kind of jig.
I'm in the camp that wants miter tracks and t-tracks on MY table. They are really just a convenience option. If you aren't sure whether you want them or not, leave them off. They are easy enough to install later, somewhat tougher to remove

Safety pin. I have seen this recommendation, but I am honestly not really all that sure what it is for, or where it should be placed, or when it should be used.
Mostly used to help control the start of a cut which is mostly a freehand thing using the bearing on the bit as the primary fence. Usually about the 3 o'clock and/or 9 o'clock position around bit and maybe 3- 5" away. Another thing that can be omitted at first and added later. A commercial plate will have this included.

Unless you are using it for planing and jointing is it necessary to have the two part individually adjusting fence? What else is it good for? I understand the use of a fence, what I mean is the independently adjusting part.
Get the type of fence you are comfortable using and adjusting. You can always knock together a dedicated jointing fence. I have a split fence and I just replaced the infeed face with one 1/64 thinner for jointing. Not a huge issue. Another thing not to worry with when designing a table.

The one thing that I actually thought might be useful was to be able to use the router horizontally. Are there any designs that incorporate this as a feature. All I have seen so far are either-or designs.
Several, I'm pretty sure Bj (BobJ3) and Sante' have posted some pictorials.There all likely some in the sticky "Wanted...pictures of your router table"

Any other experiences or suggestions on the subject would be welcomed.
That about covers it

-- Abs

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jlord View Post
An adjustable split fence is a nice add on even if you don't use it for joining. Some bits like a glue joint bit will machine the entire surface so when it comes off the bit the outgoing fence needs a small shim to account for the difference. The material will be on different planes before & after the bit.
Making the Most of Your Router Bits: Glue Joint Bit | Articles | Woodworkers Journal
Duhh, Thanks for that James, I've got a couple of profiles that have been driving me nuts with errors on the last inch or so of the stock. I'm gonna bet that's my problem

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 10:42 AM
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Been there myself John.

James
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Have a nice & safe day!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 10:48 AM
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As for the formica on both sides, if you have enough extra do it, if not I wouldn't sweat it. I built my router table many years ago, and only did the top, the bottom is still raw MDF, and have had zero issues. The important thing is keep the top well supported. MDF can and will flex on its own due to the weight on it, and having support rails will prevent that from happening.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, yeah! I forgot the other ever popular:

Centered vs offset?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absinthe View Post
Oh, yeah! I forgot the other ever popular:

Centered vs offset?
This could really be where ever you want. I prefer centered from left to right for equal support before & after the bit. Offset towards the rear front to back so I get maximum support for larger material.

James
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