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Discussion Starter #1
I'm building my own table and attempting an exhaustive list of characteristics and attributes that I'd like to see in the end result and I could use a sounding board on the design attributes list as it stands and how to determine the actual placement on the table top. Distance from front / back sides etc.

The table size is shaping up as 36" wide x 24" deep, maple trim, with two fold up extensions of 18" x 24" on each side making it 72" x 24". One of my goals is to make the tongue and groove flooring for my sailboat. So being capable of a long run and still being tight and accurate is important to me. Ergo the attribute list does not include dual adjustable fence faces for joiner functionality.

Actually this is the List of Attributes as it stands;

Attributes
– Safe, Accurate, Flexible, Clean, Quiet

41” Tall Table
Hinge Top – Accessible / Functional
Hinge Side Panel Extensions
1]Act as Extension 2]Hold the Hinge Top Open 3]Fold Out of the Way
Quiet – Insulated Router compartment
Base with leveling capability
Mobile - Wheel Barrel Base or Bearing Base
- When off the wheels it is completely off all wheels and stable on floor
Dust Pickup from Fence and Router Shroud Pick up - Triton TRA001
- Leading to: No dust managing fluting in Router mount compartment
Dust Pickup plug in front behind fake drawer front.
Electrical Switch / Receptacle Access (2 Sides)
Halogen Spot Light on Flex Neck Built In
Micro Adjustable Super Ridged Fence with Micrometer

Can have fence completely removed for free hand routing
PIN Router Mode Capable
Pantograph Mode Capable

My next step is to layout the internal shelving and drawers and that I believe to be a function of the "Router Placement" in the top. Is there anything I should hear before I simply center it and move forward? See attached pictures. Several of the tables I've looked at pull the mounting plate to within 4 1/2" of the edge on one side. I'd like to understand the pros and cons of that placement. Other designs have a large long open space behind the fence for the Incra system. I'm not going that rout. Is there another reason for open real estate behind the fence?

Edge Control
Most of the fences on the market close the space on either side of the bit with sliding fence plates to minimize the tear out related to free float near the cutting edge. Another design I reviewed by-passes this function and uses hardboard for sacrificial zero clearance inserts. One for each bit. It looked very intriguing and I'd like to hear some commentary on how helpful sliding fence plates actually are. I could actually drop the ball here and make two fences and I wouldn't be heart broken, but I'd love to hear how seasoned table users feel about the subject.

Storage
Besides bits, what actually goes in the drawers in a router table cabinet and is there something I should make sure to size those spaces for?

Clunk Factor
This fence design pivots the whole fence on a base plate with an adjusting threaded bolt at one end, a hinge at the other, and a $8 HF micrometer in the middle. It makes the whole thing a bit large. Is this going to be a problem? I could cut down on some of the mass by making the base plate aluminum but it starts to drive the cost. Heck the rider fence could be aluminum angle as well but again I'm thinking it drives the cost for minimal benefit. Too stingy??

The router could be off set towards the hinge making the adjust-ability finer, but I'm concerned with stability and have it drawn at center. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. - Tim
 

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Tim the first thing I would suggest to you is that the insulated router compartment is a bad idea. Routers can get overly hot in an enclosed space and insulating it will make it worse. Some members say that they have adequate ventilation with their Vac design but my opinion is why chance it. Overheating a router will cause the router to fail prematurely.

The long table will make it easier to support long pieces but if there is any waviness to the board the low parts will bridge across the table and you may get a wavy profile with the router bit. In some cases you are better off to go handheld because of that and in the case you mentioned I would be inclined to go that way with an offset base for stability. The handheld router will follow the curves for a good fit. By the way, the same principle is true with a very long fence. It doesn't always work in your favor.

If you check out my downloads you'll see a picture of a home made split fence that I made out of mdf and melamine coated particle board scraps. The only thing it cost me was for the knobs and bolts. I found it to work really well. I drilled a hole in the back of the enclosed space around the bit for my shop vac hose and it catches 95% or better of all the dust made. MDF is very accurate dimensionally so you can use it with shims for jointing.

For hole placement I advocate offsetting in the table. That way you can do narrow pieces with the fence on the wide side of the hole and wide pieces with the fence on the narrow side. A hole in the center leaves a lot of wasted space behind the fence.

The micro adjust is something I've never had or felt like I needed to have. Lee Valley has that option for the fence that goes on their steel router table if you want to look at it. Bob and Rick Rosendahl who had the Router Workshop show on PBS clamped their fence to the table with C clamps and made adjustments with a claw hammer, their version of a "fine adjustment tool".

For a light I would look for an LED type. Halogens get very hot. Most of the other attributes you listed for your table are based on personal preference so that part is up to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Charles;
Are you speaking of the table with slots in both directions and T rail in only one direction? Do you move the rail when you change the direction of use for the table?
Have you run across a 120v LED?
tim
 

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The last table I built I tried some things I hadn't tried before to see how I like them. I cut grooves for t track going both directions thinking I might want to spin the fence around 90*. It never happened. Some like a t track running parallel with the fence for use with feather boards and sleds. I've never needed them either. You can make the feather board a little longer and just clamp it to the table and I use a push block for miters and the ends of rails. There is nothing wrong with clamping the fence to the table but I did like the fence moving on t tracks so I'll probably go with that again.

I've bought a lot of LEDs on ebay recently and all of them were 12v I'm pretty sure. Many of the bulbs have built in 12v drivers so that you just screw them into a regular socket. A lot of them were GU10 type base (2 pins) spot lights that were to replace halogen bulbs. The LED bulbs use 1/5th the power of the halogens and don't get as hot. One of your cheapest options is to get one of those swing arm-clamp on lights and use that. They are a little big but they work well. I have one attached to the wall behind my drill press. Some members have found battery operated LEDs with a flex neck and attached them to their routers but the spot might be a little small for what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Router Positioning Learnings

Charles;

I looked at off-setting the router plate in both the 36" and 24" directions and I can see the benefits of open space as you described. I also looked at the fence length and realized that in turning in the 24" direction the flexibility goes up and the possibility of a bow tied to the fence length causing a depth of cut error goes down. It also dawned on me I could put a single extension wing on and have the long table for 4'x8' stock or 4' planks when making flooring.

BTW, the whole process changes the segmenting of the cabinet from thee vertical sectors with the router in the middle to a much simpler two segments with the router on the right and the possibility for larger storage spaces / shelves / drawers on the left.

Thanks again for your input - Tim
 

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Tim I think you're starting to look at it in terms of maximum flexibility now. My table had the hole centered lengthways and it worked fine for me. Mike from Detroit, our forum liaison, has the hole in his table offset both ways and he seems happy with it so there is no right or wrong, only what works and appeals to you for what you want to do on it. The same is true of the fence. It can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. They are all capable of getting the job done. Some of the more complicated configurations will make some jobs easier, but at a price and level of complexity to use.

You are following the right process to figure out what will be best for you. Consider the different possible configurations and decide what the strong points and weaknesses are.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks again Charles. I must admit to some intensional over kill. I have a goal of never retiring to do nothing. I hope to become much stronger in my shop skills and hopefully find a modest income supplement in leveraging those skills. To do that I've got to grow, which to me mean going beyond where I'm at now. Sometimes my digging nets new insight, and I learn something new. Sometimes it's just a hole.��
 

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Tim, I like you're signature line. The last table I discussed was my 3rd or 4th and not my last. Each time I learn more about what I like, what I need, and what works. In a recent thread a number of members admitted that we rarely do the same thing twice so I have to conclude that it is the learning process that appeals to us.
 

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Tim, as long as your table top is flat and your fence is straight you are good to go. Beyond that it is all personal preference. I prefer the "Keep it simple" methods that were taught on the Router Workshop TV series.
 

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Thanks Mike;

I understand. This fence design had push button windows and tilting headlights when I started. Today several of those bells and whistles have dropped out of the design and unfortunately a few new ones crept in. Rest assured I will beat the design across 5 - 6 more tables and talk it out at least that many more times before I finalize. To me, this bantering is almost half the fun. That and I'm waiting for a February paycheck to have all of Christmas behind me. I'm sure I could lay a stick on a piece of plywood and use that for a lot of what I need to do. But the building of something just a little more clever seems to be a router enthusiast disease and it looks like at the moment I've got it. Albeit, when I focus for a week on mobility and draw something that I'm sure nobody has ever done before, worthy of the noble wood award, it does spike me a little to see a Lows base for $59. But that's the way this seems to go. My base will have a wobble all it's own and Lowe's can't take that from me.
 

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Most people agonize over their first router table. Photo one shows the first table I built from the plans in ShopNotes #1 with a ShopSmith fence on it. I took the ShopSmith table in photos 2 & 3 in trade for my first table and built the fence on it using parts from Rockler. Not as clean looking but every bit as functional. Then Rick talked me into trying a Router Workshop table and the light went on: Simple is better!

The Router Workshop style table is easy to transport, very stable and provides on board storage for your bits, tools and guide bushings. I added some dowels to store my collets so they were always handy. I wanted to make a fence with dust collection ability and you can see my simple design which works very well. Since the fence is clamped to the table it can quickly be positioned in any position on the table. The last photo is BrianS adjusting a bit on one of the economy tables we built.

No whistles & bells but this style of table will handle any job. You can spend a lot more money with no improvement in performance. To me this makes the most sense. Others prefer furniture style tables or power lifts/fences and it is all good. What ever you prefer just go for it.

The last photos are Brian and Richard testing different routers on wood clamped to the Grizzly T10432 table; this table is the one I suggest for people who just want to buy a table to get started quickly.
 

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that is the table i have router work shop, and find i can do any thing those other tables can do , but i belive easyer not all the knob's to adjust or T track's to mess with, my table is your #4 . i got mine with the dust colection piece added, which work's very well , i got all the fence's also , glad i did not available now just thought i would jump in here , thanks for reading del
 
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