Unbowing counter top? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-14-2014, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Default Unbowing counter top?

Hello all. I'm putting this question in this area because it has to do with router table tops.

My router table is getting closer to being done every day. Haven't had much time to devote, plus the heat has been pretty unpleasant. Yesterday 96 degrees and humidity in the 80's. Meanwhile, I was given 2 sheets of 1 and 1/8 inch thick counter top that is 20" wide and 72" inches long. It's particle board core. I want to use them to make a larger table for myself, as well as one each for my 2 sons and daughter. So mine won't get "borrowed".

The 2 pieces are in good shape except that they had apparently been stored with one end sitting on top of something. So there is a longitudinal bow that is about 3/8" over the 6 foot length.

I'm thinking I'll weight them down to try to straighten them, and it will probably work for the short term. But I'm wondering if anyone has had a straightened piece of counter top go back to being bowed after awhile. Like memory I guess.

Speaking of building the table top, does anyone know a really inexpensive source for miter slot and t-track strips? I'll be building 3 or 4 tables, and that adds up to a pretty hefty cost for those two items if I buy them from woodworking stores. Thanks.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-14-2014, 08:38 PM
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Jim, if they can be bent, they can be straightened. The problem might be that you have to over center them for a while to compensate for the current shape. Clamping them down for now will help. If you attach them to a sturdy frame then they should flatten out and stay that way. One other alternative is to cut kerfs into the bottom side of the panels to relieve the tension.

As far as the miter track I would forget it. A sled is faster and easier than setting up a miter track. A sled sits against the fence and the fence can point in any direction on the table and it just won't make a difference. I've considered putting in a t track in place of the miter track but I'm pretty sure I don't really need that either. I have gone both ways with attaching a fence to the table, clamps and t track, and I will say that I like the t track a little better but that may just be me. Bob and Rick Rosendahl just clamped their fences down on the Router Workshop show and they managed just fine. Your sources are different than mine so I would check Grizzley, MCLS, Rockler,, and Harbor Freight first.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, Chuck. My son has some good flat metal shelves in his basement with air conditioning, so I'll cut them to approximate length and weight them down with a little bit of overbowing for a couple of weeks. Also, the kerf idea is good since I'd still have plenty of thickness left.

I don't see myself needing a miter slot much. Maybe for coping the ends of some pieces, like the bottom of the frame on a jewelry box design that I saw. But like you said, a sled running against the fence would accomplish the same thing, maybe better. I think I'll put my money and time into building a better fence. Thanks.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 08:43 AM
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IF YOU DECIDE to purchase T-Track, I suggest that you look into Woodworking tools, supplies, plans, accessories and more - ptreeusa.com they are my go-to place for things such as that and their prices have always been fair.
They also provide top-notch service.

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia


Tweak everything!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 09:54 AM
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Yep, Charles pretty well has it all covered. I think follow his advice and you won't go wrong.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
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.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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