New & confused - Router Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-12-2015, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Default New & confused

I joined a long time ago, but never followed up. Just didn't get into router work, but now I have a renewed interest. I found a router table on Craigslist that I could afford & want to get going.

New & confused-20150629_100136.jpg

It appears to be a Rockler table because the tag on the back of the fence & on the underside of the insert plate say Rockler. I decided that I'd like to get a router lift & looked on the Rockler sight. The Rockler lift shown has a plate size of: 8-1/4" x 11-3/4".
The hole in my table and the 2 aluminum Rockler labeled insert plates measures 8" x 11".
So, what gives?
Do I have an odd ball table? An older table? Am I outta luck for a lift?
Be gentle with me, I'm a real novice here.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-12-2015, 11:39 PM
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It does seem to be an oddball size - I'm not aware of any lifts with plates that size. But, since you have a router, you can fix it by enlarging the opening. Beats the alternative of throwing it away. Basically you are going to route a slightly larger rabbet around the edge of the opening. The good news is it's fairly easy to do.

First thing to do is to decide which plate size you want to use - 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 or 9 1/4 x 11 3/4. I'm guessing you will want to go with the rockler (8 1/4) opening. Rockler has the incra/jessem Mast-R-Lift II on sale right now though you can get by with a lesser lift.

There are several ways to go about enlarging the opening. The two I can think of use a template. One uses a pattern bit (straight bit with a bearing on the top - closest to the router), the other uses a bushing and a straight bit. The pattern bit approach is easier to explain.

First you need to have the lift in hand. Lay the router lift upside down on the table exactly where you want it to be - I'd suggest centered over the existing opening. Then place 1/2" thick MDF strips against all 4 sides of the base so there are minimal gaps at the corners. I'd make the strips at least 4 inches wide, maybe even more. Use double sided tape to hold the strips in place. Now, you need to have a pattern bit that has the same radius as the corner of the lift plate. You chuck the bit in your router and lower the bit so that the bearing sticks down so at least 1/4" rides on the template. You will need to get a pattern bit that will allow you to make the right depth of rabbet. That depth depends on the lift you get. It's cutting length will need to be a bit less than 1/2" (for the template) + the plate thickness. For the MRL-II I think it's 1/2+3/8 so a 3/4" cutting length. Then you just route away the excess material taking small cuts - say 1/8" - per pass.

When you get your lift, you'll get lots of help here. I'd practice on a different piece of wood until you get confident.

edit: You did ask about lifts but just to muddy the waters, another approach would be to get a plunge router that supports "above table adjustment". No lift needed. Might be a cheaper approach if you don't already have a router and you could probably use the plates that came with the table.
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Last edited by PhilBa; 07-12-2015 at 11:48 PM.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 12:44 AM
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Everything Phil said. If you do go with a lift and have to enlarge the hole, bearing guided morticing bits would be in the right length range.

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 #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 12:50 AM
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This looks a lot like my Rockler router table. The 1st thing I would do would be to copy down all available serial/model numbers and take photos to the local Rockler store to find out exactly what I had. I bought my table complete with a Rockler FX lift which, may have it's draw backs but fits nicely. The fence on mine was Bulldog. Overall I'm happy.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 02:01 AM
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its not clear if theres a router in there or not. Some routers have a facility to just fit a screw through the table and wind the router up and down. Investigate that first and you might have a lot of money to invest in other toys.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. The thought of routing out the opening did occur to me, but being a novice, even with practicing on scraps, it's not something I prefer to mess with. (at least at this time)

I guess what I'm wondering, though, is just what I have. Is this simply an older version of a Rockler table that is no longer made? Since the insert plates are labeled Rockler, did they make them for other brands of generic tables?

Does anyone else out there have one like this? I guess at this point, I'm content knowing what I have and then figuring out what to do with it as I get more into this.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 11:52 AM
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My guess is it's an older table. Rockler bought Bulldog a while back and it looks like they tossed all their old stuff and went with the Bulldog designs (8 1/4 x 11 3/4 plate size). There were some plates that, iirc, had "oddball" dimensions on closeout about a year ago. I second Jon's advice - Rockler may be able to help you. Though, based on the last couple of experiences at my local rockler store, that may be wishful thinking. (I watched a guy get sold a lot more gear than he needed last Saturday.) Worth a try, anyway.

If you really don't want to route it out, then I suggest you just get a plunge router with above table adjust. At this point it's your cheapest option.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shopsmithtom View Post

It appears to be a Rockler table because the tag on the back of the fence & on the underside of the insert plate say Rockler. I decided that I'd like to get a router lift & looked on the Rockler sight. The Rockler lift shown has a plate size of: 8-1/4" x 11-3/4".
The hole in my table and the 2 aluminum Rockler labeled insert plates measures 8" x 11".
So, what gives?
Do I have an odd ball table? An older table? Am I outta luck for a lift?
Be gentle with me, I'm a real novice here.
I recently upgraded to a Rockler lift. In conversing with the Sales rep, he did indicate that they did change their plate size a couple years ago. (I had a recent Rockler plate to replace)
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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I just called Rockler customer service (probably could have done that at the outset) and they said it's an older table & no inserts or lifts are available for it anymore. Might have to make a lift if I really want one, but at least I have the insert plates I need for my router so I can do some work.
Thanks again for the input.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBa View Post
My guess is it's an older table. Rockler bought Bulldog a while back and it looks like they tossed all their old stuff and went with the Bulldog designs (8 1/4 x 11 3/4 plate size). There were some plates that, iirc, had "oddball" dimensions on closeout about a year ago. I second Jon's advice - Rockler may be able to help you. Though, based on the last couple of experiences at my local rockler store, that may be wishful thinking. (I watched a guy get sold a lot more gear than he needed last Saturday.) Worth a try, anyway.

.
I'm pretty sure this is the correct answer. A couple of years ago I went to my local Rockler store to get a couple of insert plates and was told they were out of production. That said it's not too difficult to pull the insert and router up to change bits. Here's picture of my old unit.
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