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Retired schoolteacher, sculptor, and carpenter
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How y'all doing? I just joined here, because I finally managed to get myself a nice (to me) Bosch 1617 plunge router, and I splurged for an edge/circle guide, and plan to get a Kreg table in a couple of months. I'm a retired (in order) carpenter, sculptor, school teacher, and tree trimmer. Finally managed to move to where I can choose my projects, rather than putting out constant fires, so to speak.

One unique bit about me is that I'm a pensioner with an eight year-old son. That means I'll never really get to retire in the traditional sense, but one hopes trying to keep up with him will keep me this side of the dirt a good while yet.

Hope your day is good.
 

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Howdy back. Glad you decided to dive in.

Don't write off making your own table, the commercial ones are pricey and shop made by you is a pretty easy, weekend job. Lots of videos on how to do it. If you want, you can make one with two layers of very flat Baltic Birch ply, glued or screwed together, hole cut out in the top layer to snug fit the router plate for the 1617. Cut the opening half an inch smaller in the second layer so the router won't fall through.

If you want to fancy it up a bit, apply a layer of laminate to the top so the workpieces slide nicely. Lots of videos on how to do this an it makes the table last forever.

You'll need a drill bit and jig saw to cut the openings. Trace the outline of the router plate onto the top. Cut both ply pieces to the exact same size so they fit together nicely. After you connect the two pieces, you can cut the edges off nice and smooth so when you're ready, you can add a hardwood edge to make it nice. I'd make it about 22 by 36 inches. Longer is better, more support for the workpiece.

You can mount this top on just about anything, so long as you have access to the motor.

That 1617 is a really great router, and they even have a special base for it (RA1165), that you leave in the table. Put the router in and you can use a key to adjust the height of the bit from the top, a really nice feature and about $60 on Amazon.
Machine Aluminium Titanium Metal Engineering

You still have to level the mounting plate with the top surface. You don't wand any edges to catch your workpiece. Kreg makes a set of levelers you mount in the corners of the opening. Last time I looked, they were $20 a set.
Arm Sleeve Musical instrument Beige Rectangle

You can do all this for about $100 max. The key is using very flat Baltic Birch, which you might have to search for. Some woodworking stores keep some smaller sheets around, but store them vertically so they lose their flatness. I found big 5x5 sheets at a lumber mill and supplier. Bring a straight edge with you and be fussy about the flatness. Once you use real Baltic Birch, you won't want to use the Chinese stuff at the Orange store.

If you want it on a special table, check Harbor Freight. Or you can do what a lot of folks with tight space do, that is set the table across sawhorses for use. Drill a hole in the corners on one end and hang it up against a wall, out of the way. You can always put it on a table later.

You don't have to put the laminate on the table. It works just fine without. Plan on it lasting 20-30 years. Use what you save for another tool or some good wood to work with.

The fence is the next big deal. Or it's not. You can use a really flat 2x6 or 2x4 as a fence and just clamp it to the edge of the table. Cut an upside down U shape in the middle for the bit to fit in. Don't use construction grade lumber, find something dried and really flat (there's that word again.). With your table made and your 2x fence, you can start doing some really interesting stuff, including making a sophisticated fence, like this one:
Schematic Slope Parallel Rectangle Font

Good news here, with your router in the table, this fence is easier to make. Another good thing is that having that double thick fence, you can offset the one on the left side with card stock to push it forward by 1/16 or so. If you have wood with a little bowing, you run the concave edge past this with a straight bit so the left fence lines up with the cutter edge, you have a simple jointer and you can shave off the curve, the rip the piece to width, and voila, you have straight pieces to work with. This will help especially with wood you get at a home center, which is rarely straight and not always flat.

Last thing. Sawdust collection. Routers throw off large amounts of sawdust. You should invest a little in a dust collection system. Here is a fairly inexpensive one using a Dust Deputy, a barrel or large bucket, and a Shop Vac. You need hoses to fit as well, but the cone (cyclone) drops most of the sawdust into the bucket so it doesn't immediately clog up the Shop Vac filter. You need these parts.
Drinkware Liquid Fluid Wood Audio equipment

Behind the fence, where the cutting occurs, you place one of these dust ports 2.5 inch is standard. It sucks most of the sawdust away as you cut. Available at any woodworking store and probably amazon too.
Output device Rectangle Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Audio equipment

The problem with sawdust is twofold. If your shop is in the garage, you WILL track it into the house. Second, the really fine sawdust is terrible for your health, Once it gets in your lungs, it's almost impossible to cough up, and some woods are carcinogens. Don't put off dust collection.

Hope this is helpful. I have the Rockler table and like it, but I bought it when I had more money than time. Today, I'd build my own instead and make it much longer for better utility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
[QUOTE="DesertRatTom,

Wow, Tom. Thank you for all that info. The way you explain it makes it seem more doable than I would have thought. I will be tight for space, and I was planning on wheeling everything out into the driveway when making sawdust, but that Dust Deputy setup looks great to me. I never have figured out a way to deal with wood dust, and I know it's the wrong size for lungs to expel or absorb, and being a former smoker, I think about this all the time.

I am looking forward to learning more about what I can do with a good router. I sold my Porter Cable plunge during a big pre-moving stuff reduction, but it was kind of awkward to use, so maybe the Bosch will work out better. I like Bosch jigsaws best by far, and their large rotary hammers were second to none, even though some of their lighter drills were a bit flimsy. I even have a forty year old Bosch handheld planer, for what it's worth.
 

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I want to also suggest you check out Marc Sommerfeld's videos on YouTube. He passed away not long ago, but his videos are wonderful ways to grow to understand what you can do with the router. His technique is elegantly simple, and although his company sells stuff he uses, it's educational, not promotional. I like that he carries the process through pretty much in real time, without cutting away to save time. I like that.

I have collected a whole woodworking library of used books I found on Amazon. Bill Hylton has a couple on using the router and the older one is, I think, a little easier to understand and has better illustrations.

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Woodworking is a great and challenging hobby,or maybe addiction. My work was kind of intellectual and the results were produced by clients, not me. So I've found making things very satisfying. I now make mostly picture frames for my wife, which is amazingly precise work. But I'll never forget setting up book shelves atop cabinets in the living room and mesuring to find there was only 1/16 inch difference in mesure, side to side,top to bottom, across 20 feet. Making cabinets is one place where the table saw and router are your primary tools.

Let me know how the table top is coming along. Hint about the laminate top: Spray contact cement evenly across the ply top, and the underside of the laminate. Laminate should be oversized. Let the adhesive dry completely, they lay sticks every six inches, starting from the center. Lay the laminate across the sticks making sure the two glue surfaces don't touch.
Pull the center stick out and with a roller, use lots of pressure to press down at center in the middle. Once they touch they can't be separated. You want to roll from the center out to press out any air bubbles. Remove another stick and work toward the outside edge. Lots of pressure,always starting from the center, out.

If you get an air bubble, you have to drill up,through bottom and without piercing the laminate, use the hard rubber roller to force the air out of the bubble and flatten it. You have to measure carefully and put a stop on the bit so it limits how deep it goes in.

In other words, take your time and don't leave bubbles.

You will be using a trim router with a bottom mounted bearing to trim off the overhanging edge of the laminate, as well as the final cut of the opening for the plate. FYI, top and bottom refer to when you're using the router hand held. Here's a bit with both. Took me awhile to remember which is which.
Font Cylinder Gas Auto part Magenta
 

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Welcome aboard!
BTW, I've had my vintage Bosch hand planer for several years, and it's still going strong. Great for trimming door bottoms.

- Bob
 
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