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I'm thinking that I'd like to add a T track to the top of my router table. There are times I need a feather board and right now I just can't accommodate one. (I know it's not a good picture of the top but it shows enough.)

The laminate top -- I need to ask. Would it work to just directly route the track channel into it? Do these laminates have any tendency to chip? My first instinct is to do it in two steps. #1 route a small channel the #2 route the full-width channel. All the while with a sacrificial piece on top to mitigate chipping.

But are there other, better approaches to take?
 

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You're going to want to check out an exact width dado jig. Once set, I would score the edge of the dado pretty deeply with a blade right along the edge of the dado. If you're a belt and suspenders sort, you might also tape across that edge. The jig will also help protect the edge from chipping. But even with all that, you may still get a tiny chip-out just because life isn't perfect.
 

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I recently did exactly what you are talking about when I built my router table. I used an old desk top which was fiberboard with a laminate top. I routed it directly with just a straight edge. I used a whiteside dado bit. In my inexperience I didn't even consider tearout of the laminate, but I didn't have any. I would recommend making at least two passes though (half the thickness at first, then the other half) as it seemed to work my router pretty good doing it all at once. It's definitely also a good idea to sandwich your router base between two straight edges so it can't wander on you, I've done that a couple times. Good luck!


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If the laminate is securely glued it will rout very well. I usually only get chipping if the lam didn't stick in spots. You might get tiny little nicks but that should be all. I would sandwich the router between two boards or use a guide bushing that is snug between two boards. If the router is not held tightly it can chatter and the chatter will cause chipping.
 

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I will have to say I like the track in my table. I use it for feather boards and I made a sled to route dadoes in some narrow pieces. The track in my table has never got in the way.

PS- Different strokes for different folks.
 
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I have tracks on both my tables - mitre gauges, featherboards, coping sled. On the principle of the scoring blade in tablesaws used for cutting laminated sheet goods, I score both edges of the dado (I use a sharp carbide-tipped tiling tool), but it is probably overkill if the laminate itself is cut in more than one pass (before getting to the plywood or fiberboard substrate). The TS teeth rip through the strata of the laminate, the router blade cuts along the strata.
Also, there is laminate and laminate - the thicker, more brittle type used on kitchen counters, is more likely to chip than the thinner stuff used for doors and panels, particularly the foil type, which will give problems when non-adhered, as Charles notes.
 

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I should have replied earlier that you can make a long feather board and clamp it to the table rim too so that you don't need to put the track in. Same ges for some of the other jobs you need to do too. For example, I have a right angle jig for profiling the ends of rails on cabinet doors. Instead of using a miter track in the table top I just slide it along the edge of my table and the end of the jig just misses the bit.
 
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