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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This seems like a really silly question but for some reason I can not grasp the concept...

When using a fence with a table top router (I have a Bosch Colt with a portable top), how do you decide where to place the fence?

For example: I made some picture frames and used my router and table but I didn't use the fence and I think I was supposed to use it for support?

I used a Roman Ogee bit for the frame only made one pass and then cleaned up any high spots with a 2nd pass.

The frame came out fine, but felt odd to me to not use the fence.

I would never think of not using a fence on table saw, but this has me baffled

Thanks as always in advance
 

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This seems like a really silly question but for some reason I can not grasp the concept...

When using a fence with a table top router (I have a Bosch Colt with a portable top), how do you decide where to place the fence?

For example: I made some picture frames and used my router and table but I didn't use the fence and I think I was supposed to use it for support?

I used a Roman Ogee bit for the frame only made one pass and then cleaned up any high spots with a 2nd pass.

The frame came out fine, but felt odd to me to not use the fence.

I would never think of not using a fence on table saw, but this has me baffled

Thanks as always in advance
fence back from the bit a fuzz...
or..
no fence, use the starter pin...

.
 

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Jessie, there seems to be something more fundamental.

If you have a bearing on the bit it will cut the profile and the bearing will ride on the portion of the profile that remains flat and fence is not necessary. If there is not a flat portion left for the bearing to ride on then a fence MUST be used to guide the work piece or the cutter will gouge it.

Keep in mind also that you should never place the work piece between the bit and the fence. The bit MUST always be between the fence and the work piece. The work piece MUST always be pushed from right to left and be on the OUTSIDE of the bit.

Using a fence is always safer even if the bit has a bearing on it. In this case you would adjust the bit depth into the fence so that the bearing is flat even with the edge(s) of the fence for a full profile, regardless of how many passes you make with increasing depth and cut until you get to the full profile.

If the work piece is irregular (curved) you would not use the fence, you would use a starter pin (google it) that is mounted on the table and the work piece would be started on the pin before making contact with the cutter. This stabilizes the work piece prior to making contact.

Is it safe to assume that your router is mounted in the table...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jessie, there seems to be something more fundamental.

If you have a bearing on the bit it will cut the profile and the bearing will ride on the portion of the profile that remains flat and fence is not necessary. If there is not a flat portion left for the bearing to ride on then a fence MUST be used to guide the work piece or the cutter will gouge it.

Keep in mind also that you should never place the work piece between the bit and the fence. The bit MUST always be between the fence and the work piece. The work piece MUST always be pushed from right to left and be on the OUTSIDE of the bit.

Using a fence is always safer even if the bit has a bearing on it. In this case you would adjust the bit depth into the fence so that the bearing is flat even with the edge(s) of the fence for a full profile, regardless of how many passes you make with increasing depth and cut until you get to the full profile.

If the work piece is irregular (curved) you would not use the fence, you would use a starter pin (google it) that is mounted on the table and the work piece would be started on the pin before making contact with the cutter. This stabilizes the work piece prior to making contact.

Is it safe to assume that your router is mounted in the table...?
Ok that makes sense and very easy even for me to understand. Thanks a bunch for that @Nickp

I did look up the starter pin, but from what I can tell it looks like it's part of a plate.

My router is mounted to an acrylic plate and that is set into a cut out in the table.

This is my router table:

https://www.rockler.com/trim-router-table

The bit I used did have bearing also
 

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Just to be clear, can you post a picture of your portable router table w/fence? Nick's post is dead on but the starter pin is a support for the wood to guide on and the bearing keeps the wood a specified distance from the cutter. Raising or lowering the bit will change the cut but the distance bearing keeps the wood at a constant fixed distance. Raising or lowering the bit just changes the depth of cut. If for some odd reason you don't have a starter pin or a hole threaded for it you can always make one to use.
 

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If you don't have a starting pin, you can accomplish the same by clamping a narrow piece of wood to the table. The goal is to have a second point of contact to help you control the stock as you pivot onto the bearing.

It's a simple thing, but has saved many fingers.
 

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Ok that makes sense and very easy even for me to understand. Thanks a bunch for that @Nickp

I did look up the starter pin, but from what I can tell it looks like it's part of a plate.

My router is mounted to an acrylic plate and that is set into a cut out in the table.

This is my router table:

https://www.rockler.com/trim-router-table

The bit I used did have bearing also


Yes...the starter pin is a post that is held in place in the plate...screwed into provided thread a few inches away from the bit and generally around the 4-5 o'clock position. With the fence well out of the way and the bit having a bearing, one can start to route the profile onto a work piece by first placing the piece against the starter pin and then pivot the piece into the bit. At that point you can move the piece away from the pin and continue the profile (if necessary or desired). Unless you are routing profiles on a curved piece of wood, you won't find a reason to use the pin...use the fence until you come to that point.

That you had a bearing AND a flat portion left on the work piece is what allowed you to not use the fence...
 

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I still like using the fence even if I'm using a bearing guided bit for the cut. The fence makes starting and finishing the cut easier and a fence provides an extra element of safety that a starting pin doesn't since most of the bit is hidden behind the fence where your fingers can't come into contact with it.
 

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Another feature of the fence, even if your bit has a bearing, is that the fwnce allows you to cut less of the bit's profile depth than if you use the bearing only.
A good example might be a slot cutter bit. If you only wanted 1/2 the depth that the bit would cut using the bearing only, using the fence only allows you to cut any depth up to the maximum.
 

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If using a fence with a bearing bit, you can use a straight edge to span the split in the fence, the move it until the straight edge just touches the bearing. If you are cutting stock for a frame and it is cut to length and/or you are routing after cutting the miters, this technique will reduce the chances of tear out. For this reason I usually route before cutting the miter with a little big longer piece than needed, then final cut the miter to exact dimension. I generally allow an extra bit of more width and length on the rabbet than the size of the canvas.

When routing the face of the frame with a longer, vertically oriented bit, I cut in one pass and finish with sanding with a shaped block. I start with a piece that is much longer than required and make passes so there is a bit of flat at the ends, this is particularly important if you are going to use multiple bits to shape the frame front. A long fence is required for this if your frame is fairly large.

My wife is an artist so I make a fair number of frames. It's far cheaper to shape your own material than to buy it, and I find that a LOT of frame stock is too warped to use, so you wind up with a lot of useless, costly scrap. It's much cheaper to buy shorter chunks of wider stock, prep and cut it into strips and mill those on your table. Even then, it's a good idea to do it all on one day because warping can happen very fast.

Here is a picture of the sanding blocks I got from Rockler. I use the 3M flexible sanding material with them and can final sand up to about 220 grit in minutes. There are straight and wedge shaped blocks as well. I think I paid less than $12 for them, and the different sizes seem to fit every curve perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just to be clear, can you post a picture of your portable router table w/fence? Nick's post is dead on but the starter pin is a support for the wood to guide on and the bearing keeps the wood a specified distance from the cutter. Raising or lowering the bit will change the cut but the distance bearing keeps the wood at a constant fixed distance. Raising or lowering the bit just changes the depth of cut. If for some odd reason you don't have a starter pin or a hole threaded for it you can always make one to use.
Thanks,

I did post a link to the one I have at the bottom of my response to Nickp
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If using a fence with a bearing bit, you can use a straight edge to span the split in the fence, the move it until the straight edge just touches the bearing. If you are cutting stock for a frame and it is cut to length and/or you are routing after cutting the miters, this technique will reduce the chances of tear out. For this reason I usually route before cutting the miter with a little big longer piece than needed, then final cut the miter to exact dimension. I generally allow an extra bit of more width and length on the rabbet than the size of the canvas.

...
Thanks,

The 4 frames I routed, I had already mitered and glued. So I routed them as a finished work.

Routing the edge was a secondary thought as I was kinda bored with the standard frames I had been making and thought I would "spruce" it up a bit and try something new.

It was pretty simple doing so, as I had watched a video of someone else doing it and figured "why not" LOL
 
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