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Waited along time to buy lift for Ridgid router due to limited availability and wife who has issues with my tool purchases. Finally Jessem developed Mast R Lift II that fits my Ridgid, (Jessem Canadian built great quality). Have access to free laminated top covering 3/4" solid wood/plywood 2'x4' and bought Jessem template for insert plate. Want to make router table from this top but only get one shot to cut insert, slots for miter rail and T-rail inserts and dont want to mess up. Any ideas on how to cut thru laminate with router and not chip edges of laminate when making these cuts?
 

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Waited along time to buy lift for Ridgid router due to limited availability and wife who has issues with my tool purchases. Finally Jessem developed Mast R Lift II that fits my Ridgid, (Jessem Canadian built great quality). Have access to free laminated top covering 3/4" solid wood/plywood 2'x4' and bought Jessem template for insert plate. Want to make router table from this top but only get one shot to cut insert, slots for miter rail and T-rail inserts and dont want to mess up. Any ideas on how to cut thru laminate with router and not chip edges of laminate when making these cuts?
Ok, several things here. Firstly, is the laminate already glued down? If so, you can score the cut line to prevent chipping. Age and condition of the laminate will dictate how things go. If you're using an old kitchen countertop, be prepared for anything. They would get burned, banged, baked all of which influences how the plastic "feels." Use the smallest laminate trim bit you have. Make sure it is clean and sharp. Look at it under a magnifying glass and make sure it is in good shape. Do a trial cut on the scrap part of the laminate. Try the test cut with the score and without. You don't want surprises. Test every conceivable way of doing this before you commit to your final cut. That said, try to create a jig or template to control your final cut and test that as well before doing your final cut.

Ok, I designed my top, created my template, did a beautiful job. Just a slight variation on one edge but other than that, everything was perfect. I tested the router clearance and it worked perfectly, but the guide pin was in the wrong place so I rotated my base (with router attached) and, to my dismay, the router handle collided with the support frame. I now have one router without handles and one with.

Test your philosophy in scrap before committing your expensive materials, even if it is just a mock up.
 

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Doug
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If you do mess it up, swing by your local habitat for humanity store. They get so burried in countertops I'm sure you could find a replacement.

Also, check your local big box hardware store. I've gotten some big sheets of laminate for cheap when they are damaged. You don't need the whole sheet for the router table, and there will probably be a lot left for jigs, etc. I have one half sheet I use for covering the bench when spraying adhesive for patterns, comes in handy.
 

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templates and bits, templates and bits

Good suggestions so far. A couple of additional points to think about:

1. Assuming that you'll be using a guide bushing with a template, make sure that the offset for the guide bushing you'll be using is proper for the size of the template opening to result in a cut exactly the size of your mounting plate.

2. Think through the whole process in advance, as suggested, potentially matching the radius of the bit to the radius of the corner of the mounting plate. (A smaller bit can work if the template and guide-bushing combo is right, but a larger bit won't.)

Also, think about the width of the rabbet in relation to the style of leveling screws you'll be using. For example, if you plan to use threaded brass inserts for the leveling screws, the rabbet needs to be wide enough to accommodate them, and still have enough material left on the inner edge to be strong enough to support the weight of the router.
 

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I find that a sacraficial cover almost always prevents chipping. This would be a little difficult to implement on a large flat surface but it may be possible with the aid of a pair of cawls. The down cut spiral should also help. Scoring might work but without clamping the finish side of the edge (i.e. sacraficial cover), it could lead to chipping as well.
 

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I've had luck cutting just the laminate first (Scoring Cut), just drop the bit to the thickness of the laminate or a little (.010" or so) less then make the first cut then drop to your depth in a couple/three small cuts; that way you wont have a chip tear out the edge you just did with the scoring cut.

This has worked for me.

Also it is important that the bit be sharp, don't use a dull bit.


Good Luck
Danny
 

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If you're using an old kitchen countertop, be prepared for anything. They would get burned, banged, baked all of which influences how the plastic "feels." Use the smallest laminate trim bit you have. Make sure it is clean and sharp.
Amen to that. Laminates all become more brittle with age which increases the likelihood of chipping. The other thin about worktops is that they are often only givem a very basib balancer "laminate" on the underside, often little more than impregnated cartridge paper so they can bow in storage or use especially if they are left where damp can get to the underside. I'd recommend checking with a straight edge across the worktop.

My own way of dealing with cut-outs from having done shop counters, kitchens, etc in my day job used to be to drill out the corners then cut away most of the waste using a sharp downcut blade in a jigsaw (Bosch make their T101BR for just that purpose) and then finishing the cuts where necessary using a router, template and top bearing bit. For myself I find the bigger diameter the bit the better the quality of cut doing this sort of work so I tend to use a 19mm (3/4in) diameter bit on a 1/2in router (in my case the Elu version of the deWalt DW625). These days I do it slightly differently; I make my cut-outs with a Hilti plunge saw on a Festool guide rail then finish into the corners with a conventional fine upcut blade on my Bosch GST135BCE (1590EVS in the USA). The extra blade clamp means that I'm pretty much guaranteed a near perfect cut. If the cut needs radiused corners I still resort to the same process I used to use before the plunge saw.

As with others I'd recommend using a freshly ground or new cutter for laminate tops. If you ever need to do any volume I can recommend disposable tip carbide router cutters as being very cost effective if the volume of work you do justifies the initial expense. They also seem to work better than conventional brazed tip carbide blades on laminates (less chip-out). I would caution against the use of solid carbide blades such as spirals on and chipboard (particle board). They are rather brittle and if you hit any form of inclusion such as a screw or a piece if grit they will be a total loss. Why is that a problem? Well, because chipboard (particle board) manufacturers buy-in factory timber waste as well as virgin timber and recycled timber waste (in fact ground-up particle board) to produce their product.

Please note that I don't need to pre-score and risk scoring too far when doing things my way
 

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Dale, all this information comes from members experiences and is priceless. That said I have made many tops and installed either the Rousseau or HF mounting plates problem free. I use the Rousseau template fastened down with double sided carpet tape. I drill a 5/8" hole and then use the Rousseau guide bushing with collar and a 1/2" spiral up cut bit. I have used both HS steel and solid carbide bits with equally good results. You can view the process by clicking here: http://www.routerforums.com/table-mounted-routing/15637-build-table-top-install-mounting-plate.html
 

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Here's just one more tip that works, if you plunge down 1/16" or less it will cut the laminate and it will chip free, it's like using a razor blade but the router bit will do the job and it's nice and clean ..

It's like the link below but done with the router...
Working with Melamine, by Brian Havens

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practice makes perfect, try few jigs and see how material reacts. Two ideas, mark area with pencil and take sharp utility knife, lightly score mark on the inside of line,

When I cut sinks into counter tops, I use duct tape on the surface, mark the opening on duct tape, place jig over area and route. Be sure to evenly press down duct tape, after you remove duct tape, use adheisive remover, duct tape does leave traces of adheisive material.
 

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I just recently did my table using counter top and 3/4 MDF.I used small spiral up cut bit and make first pass really shallow to score the counter top than used the bigger size bit but don't go in a hurry couple of passes will do you good.
 
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