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Router Table Help

2363 Views 12 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  cagenuts
As you can see from the attached pictures I have build a very simple router table and, as I am new to woodworking, I have a few simple questions. 1.) Do I have to insert my router bit all the way into the collet or can I leave it an 1/8 of an inch out and just make certain it is tightened properly? Can I safely route end grain that is only 4 to 6 inches in length? If not, what would I need to do to put an edge on end grain? Should I just use a router without the table? 3.) Now that I build this table what advantage to I have over just using a router free hand to put an edge, say 45 or Roman Ogee, or a 1 by piece of oak or hardwood?

Well, that is all the questions for now, I appreciate any and all advice I can get as I am just a novice at this!


Jim AKA Seldonman


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1.) Do I have to insert my router bit all the way into the collet or can I leave it an 1/8 of an inch out and just make certain it is tightened properly?
Definitely want to leave your bit about 1/8" out, otherwise it will walk out. The rest of your questions will have to be replied to by someone else, I pretty much just deal with plywood.
Can I safely route end grain that is only 4 to 6 inches in length? If not, what would I need to do to put an edge on end grain?
IMO, not on that table and not unless the workpiece is secured with a sled or hold down of some kind.

The gap you have in the fence, around the cutter, is just inviting the workpiece to slip in there....:unsure:
Jim you can fix a sacrificial fence to the front of your fence, one that only lets the cutter through and that will be better as James is correct when he says the hole is too large as you show it, what I normally do is that I mover the fence into the sacrificial fence and just past the point where you will run your work and then back it off a little to the correct fence setting as that will give a very small amount of clearance for the cutter and there will be the smallest gap around the cutter, if you are going to run a smaller piece then you can attach it to something bigger and that will be better and you also need to use a push block, there are also several ways that you can use pressure blocks to hold your work against the fence, these feather boards are a good way to do that and you can make them yourself if you don't want to buy commercial ones, about the cutter, every collet has a height and when you push the cutter into it then the cutter does stick through the collect into open space under the collet, so at a minimum then the cutter has to be inserted into the collet past the height of the collet, that will be enough, I often don't push them all the way in as some extra height can be handy and some routers come with a plug that is intended to go under the cutter to fill the air space however I don't use them, if you are thinking of only inserting it part of the way or half way into the collet itself to get more cutter height then 'don't' as the router will be up around 22000 rpm and you really don't want it to come out at that speed, routing end grain can be a problem, if you burn the wood then your cutter is not sharp enough or not good enough in it's quality, routing end grain need to be at a steady pace past the cutter, if you slow down then that also can cause burning, I get the impression that you are a beginner so I suggest that you run some test pieces before you put your work on the cutter, when you are happy with the result on the test items then run you work piece, keep your fingers clear as router speed will take them off if you stray near the cutter, wear hearing and eye protection and keep your work area clean. NGM
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Thanks theo for the advice, it was backed up by a video on router table safety I just viewed!
Routing a short piece with hand held router is just about impossible. As long as the fence hold isn't so large that it pulls the piece of wood out of your hand, use a table. Regardless of what profile you are cutting, take shallow cuts & shouldn't be a problem.
Thanks James, exactly what I thought. Long story short, I did not make the fence but was it was given to me by my Father-in-law, you gave me his garage full of woodworking tools. He said that he always intended to make a router table but never got around to it. There is a sister fence he gave me that has no opening cut into it so I could swap out fences and cut a narrower opening in the new one. Actually, the sister fence he gave me did have the same opening but he must of ran across the same problem as I note that the opening has been glued and plugged with a piece of wood.

PS He is a great Father-in-Law! Band saw, Table saw, jointer, bench planner, maple bench, drill press, small Lathe.....
Thanks Neville for your reply. I am an old novice just getting back into woodworking. See previous replies under this topic. Appreciate the safety advice.
Jim.......I recently posted a similar question regarding the bit insertion into the collet. Here is a link to the discussion. All the advice and suggestions I got from these great members was a big help to me. I ended up using a hybrid of all the ideas I got from them. I hope this helps. Jim
Regarding setting the bit into the collet, I placed an O-ring in the bottom to stop the bit before it bottoms out. I then just raise it ever so slightly before I tighten the collet. Seems to take the guess work out of it and have yet to have on slip.

Jim seems these boys have put you right. My only comment would be that a router can be lethal and everything you can do to work safely is important. I see you watched a basic router video which is excellent. Just respect the equip and over time we all learn especially when people share so much great info.
Enjoy the journey .......
The design of the fence pictured is curious. I've never really seen a router fence with a taper cut out of it at the top like that, so I was trying to figure out the why of that. I really couldn't picture in my head any use or advantage to that. Most router or shaper fences are flat faced. If flat faced, then you can slide the work along it. When flat faced, you could put sacrificial or curtain fences onto it.

I thought about your question. I looked at your router table. I think Neville had the best answer... but I wanted to add to his.

Neville described a sacrificial fence. A curtain fence is single layer two pieces that meet in the middle of the fence. I usually cut that edge at 45 degree miters and place the miters toward the rear (towards the fence and bit). You can adjust it close to the bit, so that with whatever sized bit you use, you can shield how much of the bit is exposed. I use clamps, where some use slots with bolts to hold these in place and be able to remain adjustable.

Another thing not mentioned was the use of jigs. Holding small pieces of work, especially while trying to tool end grain is done better and safer with the use of jigs... Where you can precisely and safely hold the workpiece by holding onto something bigger that is holding the workpiece in place.

You didn't say what you were trying to route into endgrain. The tooling profiles that are most common in endgrain would be edge profiles, grooving, or joining profiles. On joining profiles (joints), then you split off from edge profile type cut joints that include locking joints... to finger joints and dovetails.

On the last two, they are cut differently, using different techniques and different jigs. They are cut into endgrain perpendicular to the workpiece, instead of along it's length, so it does not slide along the fence... but rather is held onto an auxiliary fence (a jig) that holds the piece perpendicular the to fence, as you slide that jig along the fence... Note that some jigs for this don't use the fence and are exceptions to that, but the principles of movement are the same.

It might help if you mentioned what you are trying to cut into the endgrain, so that people can recommend how safest to go about that.
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I placed an O-ring in the bottom to stop the bit before it bottoms out.
I once decided that this was the solution to stop the bits bottoming out.

Off I schlepped to the local hardware shop and bought a packet of 12mm and 6mm O-rings. For some reason I couldn't buy them individually.

I then discovered that O-rings measurements are the internal diameter and not the external size.
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