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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please bear with me as I'm only just starting this area or woodwork.

I am about to cut a table top for a Kreg plate, but as the table thickness is only 7/8" with Formiica surface, can I just rout out the space with a temporary template stuck on with double sided tape ( 4 sections of narrow timber, not one template cut out - as photo).

Do I need to take special care with the Formica top, splintering etc and assuming the timber stuck on template was 1/4" thick, what router bit would be best to cut that pattern out.
many thanks.
Malcolm
 

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The top is not thick enough. You wont be able to put any T track in it and it will most likely flex or break under a big load.
Double it up and then follow the very good detailed instructions that come with the kreg plate.

Hah! just recognised the signature, hello Malcolm.
 

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@Badger2

I just made a router table top using the Kreg insert. In my case, I used the Kreg levellers, but if I recall from the instructions, the table top needs to be a minimum of 1". Here's a link to a post I put up a few days ago:

http://www.routerforums.com/table-m...ctures-your-router-table-107.html#post1713906

Anyway, you've got a couple of choices, depending on whether you are going to cut out the entire insert or leave a lip around the edge for the plate to sit on.

That Kreg insert has a 3/4" radius, so here's how I did mine:

After setting the templates in place, I used a 1 1/2" forstner bit to drill out the corners - the 1 1/2" bit gives you a 3/4" radius. After drilling out the corners, I used a jig saw to cut between the holes, staying shy of the template, which removed the bulk of the material. I then used a pattern bit, following along the template, to flush trim the remainder of the hole. A pattern bit has the bearing at the shank end of the bit, and the bearing rides along the template. The Kreg levellers are screwed into the table top, from the bottom of course and have screws that screw in and out, which the insert sits on, allowing you to level the insert.

Kreg® Precision Insert Plate - Lee Valley Tools

Option #2 is to leave a lip around the edge so that the insert sits on the lip:

In that case, you would jig saw out the bulk of the material, leaving about 1/2" shy of the template, then use a mortising bit (also called a mortising dado bit. You would still ride the bearing along the template, but the mortising bit would be set to the depth you want, leaving a lip around the edge.

I just noticed Bob's post and I agree with him regarding the table top. I used two 3/4" tops, screwed together for a 1 1/2" thick top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks Bob & Vince, I'm glad I asked first because I originally had the table top at 5/8" and stuck a 1/4" ply below. Now I will add some more thickness before I proceed. Then I will be routing out to leave a lip for the plate levelers to sit on and 'tune the leveling.

I was hoping for the easy life, but it never seems to come along. I had the Kreg plate and levelers delivered today, with the Triton TRA001 Router that I can change bits completly above the table ( that will be the easy life later on) Anyway, looking forward to an interesting challenge with routing. At least the table arrangement will be easy as it slides under the workbench when not needed.

Malcolm
 

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Malcolm I made a table a few years ago out of nothing more than 5/8" melamine and I put t tracks in it and it held up beautifully for several years. I gave it to a son in law and he used it a bit but he didn't have room to take it on a move so it got dismantled and the parts salvaged. It was still dead flat at the time it got dismantled. The reason it worked so well with thin material is that it was installed over a solid framework and there were cross members either under the dadoes for the t track or very close to under it. The engineering is far more important than the material and no panel material is meant to cross a span without support.
 
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When you have the levellers, DO NOT leave a lip. The lip is to rest the plate on if there are no levellers. With the levellers fitted correctly, the plate is screwed to them, and 8 grub screws are for squaring the plate to the table in all directions. Thats not as easy or quick as it sounds, by the way.
 

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Thanks Bob & Vince, I'm glad I asked first because I originally had the table top at 5/8" and stuck a 1/4" ply below. Now I will add some more thickness before I proceed. Then I will be routing out to leave a lip for the plate levelers to sit on and 'tune the leveling.

I was hoping for the easy life, but it never seems to come along. I had the Kreg plate and levelers delivered today, with the Triton TRA001 Router that I can change bits completly above the table ( that will be the easy life later on) Anyway, looking forward to an interesting challenge with routing. At least the table arrangement will be easy as it slides under the workbench when not needed.

Malcolm
Malcom - if you are using the levelers, you don't need to leave a lip around the edge. The levelers are attached to the underside of the top, and sit into the rounded corners. The insert plate then sits on the levelers. Check out the instructions that came with the insert plate and pay specific attention to installing it using levelers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again Bob. I had the feeling that the levelers were used at the edge of a cleaned out hole rather than with a lip, but it's not that clear in the instructions.

I have read Cherryville Chuck's note, but think if I add just another 1/4" it will surfice, As a kitchen table it was very sturdy (circa 1970) but some of the structure underneath has been removed to allow for it to slide in and out under the worktop. It will still allow FURTHER 7" FOR fence, but I will use a temporary home made job initially until I have decided if a dust box below is necessary or simply suck it up from the fence area. I ratrher like the idea of an additiona vac from another dust collection hole after the bit location, so may also add that.

Finally, thinking about the Formica top and splintering? wouldn't like that to happen on a nice clean edge. Best ideas?
Malcolm
 

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The TRA001 is a pleasure to use, even if you do have to reach under and lock it. But it is heavy and I think you're a little shy on thickness. But you can add trusses underneath the table top for a little extra strength and flatness. I'd definitely cut with a jig saw first, but about half an inch inside the dimensions of the plate so you wind up with a half inch rabbet all round. The plate will fit into that with levelers at the dorners to flatten it. So the rabbet needs to be slightly deeper than the plate is thick.

I also suggest that if you are butting those boards up against the plate for position, consider adding playing cards around the perimiter of the plate so you have the opening just slightly proud of the plate, otherwise you may have some serious problems getting the plate in and out later. I didn't and had to go back to increase the opening slightly. Finally, since you're only going to be routing out something less than half an inch, you could use one inch or a 3/4 inch, top bearing bit. Drilling holes in the 4 corners the same radius as the corners of the plate as recommended is a good thing to do first. The through cut will give you a place to put the leveling screws.

Double sided tape is OK for the short sides, but the top bar should be taped AND clamped in place first to make sure you get the sides lined up accurately. Since the side styles are already cut to length, put the cards at the ends of the short styles for that wiggle room.

Nice project. Is it going on a stand or are you planning for a cabinet?
 

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My table had leveling screws already installed, and there are two placed in the center of the long dimension. Placing the levelers in the corners may be enough, but I'm inclined to leave the lip as well, and even adding a leveling screw there. The Triton is a heavy tool and I'm a belt AND suspenders kind of guy. Of course, you can always add a center leveler later if you want one. I have a Woodpecker plate, which is nearly 1/8 thicker than the plate it replaced, but I still set the center leveling screw in addition to the corners. Murphy was an optimist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the input Tom.
Thats a good idea on the cards to give 'wiggle' room.

The table will stay as it is with two legs on the outer side and the other side slides in on a shelf. It is level both ways and still space for a fence of up to 7" clearance. I have a couple of options for dust and chip extraction, but have not yet decided if I need a box around the router, which there is space for if needed.

Not sure if you have an older model, but the latest TRA001 allows changes from above the table and when the chuck is wound up to the top, it automatically locks and turns off the power, so only one spanner to change bits with the 1/2" or 1/4" collets.
Malcolm
 

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The kreg instructions really are good. they say to wrap masking tape around the plate before putting the wooden staves in place, to allow the plate to lift in and out easily.

Once the 4 pieces of wood are in place then you cut the corner radius out with a sharp forstner bit which gives a crisp edge. Then jig saw well inside the line, then bearing guided cutter around the 4 staves. Jobs a good un.

Malcolm, Router tables are like Topsy, they grows and they grows. I started off with a piece of old kitchen work surface. My Mk4 version is 95 cm square melamine, with a mitre track and a seperate T track across the front, and two half T tracks either side to lock the UJK fence into. Then I have the UJK micro adjusters on the back of the fence.
Cutting a 14 mm deep groove for a T track is going to disassmble your table top. Mine is now 40 mm thick.

think BIG!
 

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My top is 1/2" plywood, but under that is a spiderweb of 2/4 chunks. With that support it is likely I could have even gotten by with a 1/4" top, but I wasn't about to try that. The whole thing has held up for years.
 
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My top is 1/2" plywood, but under that is a spiderweb of 2/4 chunks. With that support it is likely I could have even gotten by with a 1/4" top, but I wasn't about to try that. The whole thing has held up for years.
That's the trussing I mentined earlier. Even if you thicken the base, some trusses will really make the top ridgid and help keep it flat over time. I'd make sure the top edge of each truss was dead flat, either with a jointer, or even a plane. Run the screws through pre drilled holes in the truss, into the base. I always wrap a little tape on the drill bit so my starting holes are just long enough to leave about 3/4 inch of threads exposed. I don't use glue since I might need to fix a little a mistake, I can always count on making one or two. Taping around the perimeter of the plate is a good alternative to playing cards, easier to manage too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Progressing further, I have added another 1/4" layer of birch plywood to the base, which gives a finished depth of 1 1/8", which should be good and now understand that a clean routing to be made without a lip. Any problems with the Formica top from 'splinterimng' on the edge, or is it usually OK?.

Went out and bought a 1/2" Trend top bearing 50mm bit, as the small set that my son purchased some time ago, look smaller and it's good to have something with a little more 'welly' when needed. I will position the plate so that the bit will be 12" from the front of the table. Bearing in mind that there is a 1" curve on the front, it will give enough room for a track in the front if I decide to use one. But looking at a number of table, the ey seem to be set nearer the front. Is there a 'Norm' or not?

A 90 degree Jig to the fence will keep me square until I decide if I will use a front track and initially I will be using clamps for the fence, again, until I fdecide if tracks are beter.

Thanks again all.
Malcolm
 

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As far as spacing goes, youre now into your own personal preferences.
decide where the table is going to be and at what height. make the router bit accessible (no point putting it so far back that you cant reach, or so close its going to cut your belly open when you lean forwards).

I would suggest the further back the better. Its safer to have to lean slightly towards it, and if nothing else it then gives you a working surface for layouts and gluing (not important if its stored under a bench of course).

A sliding mitre track is very useful as you can then use the mitre to cut any angle you want.
A T track is not so useful unless you are going to use feather boards to hold long lengths in place, or stop blocks for blind cutting.

Remember that the router is VERY dangerous. Its not only extremely sharp, but its spinning at stupid revoiutions and the torque can throw a lump of wood across the street in an instant if you catch the bit wrong.
i've worked with "violent" machines most of my life, and that router demands my respect. But it's still an awesome machine to use.
 
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