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i have been thinking about makeing a new router table top and would like to get some input as to what type of material to use for the top, what size table top seems to work best.
what is a good plate to use to mount the router in the table and should the plate be fastened to the the top or removable like the router guys. i have the pc 892 series router and i can adjust it from under the table or from the top of the table. this router is only used in the table so it being mounted there would not be a problem. :)
 

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I made an Oak-Park table. I went to the local cabinet shop and got a piece of the counter-top material and used it. I edged it with a piece of home-grown cedar. I also use the Oak-Park router bases, I have both the large and small. I am satisfied with everything.

Happy Routing
 

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I made my top out of 25mm thick MDF and topped it off with some hardboard, edged it with some pine and waxed the top. Works very well indeed. I also made my own removable plate and inserts out of MDF.

Aaron
 

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Router Table Top

A GREAT ROUTER TABLE TOP CAN BE MADE FROM THREE LAVERS OF MDF (3/4") GLUED TOGETHER, WITH A TOP SURFACE OF HARDBOARD-SIMPLY FRAM THE TABLE WITH SOME 3/4" OAK- YOU WILL NOT GET ANY WARPING AT
ALL- I USED ONE LAYER OF 1/8"PLEXIGLAS (SANDED ROUGH BOTH SIDES FOR
ADHESION, JUST UNDER THE LAYER OF HARDBOARD TO GIVE ROUTER FACE-PLATE A HARD DURABLE SURFACE TO REST UPON IN UPSIDE-DOWN POSITION :cool:
 

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I liked your quote as most appropriate to todays society. Here is another one I found from the Shopsmith Forum on Yahoo:
I try to take it one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once....
 

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Roy, you will find as many answers to your question as there are grains of sand on a beach. The interesting thing is none of them will be wrong. The right size table and its construction depends on what you will be doing with it, and in what position. A larger table will need better rigidity than a smaller table. Perhaps the best thing I can say is how I decided on my tables. I looked at many plans and decided on a ShopNotes design. My tables are built with 3/4" cabinet grade plywood topped with 1/2" thickness of hardboard, wrapped with a hardwood band and then sealed with a piece of Formica on both sides. The plywood gives you great strength, the hardboard is a depth that makes it easy to cut the clearance for your mounting plate. The hardwood edge band helps avoid flexing and makes a nice decorative touch. The Formica surfaces seal the table on both sides to reduce the chance of warping and give you a nice surface for your work to slide on. There is the added bonus that you can pencil marks on it and they wipe off easily. I use Rousseau mounting plates. They have corner snuggers; small adjustable clips that keep your plate securely located and yet easy to remove.Leveling holes with allen screws make it easy to flush the plate edges to your table. Rousseau has a template kit that includes a two piece guide bushing for making the through cut and creating the lip for the plate by removing a collar from the bushing. This is the plate Norm used on NYW for 10 years. Trend sells this plate in the UK with their name on it through a licensing agreement. The plate is not flat, it is slightly convex and this ensures the wood passing the cutterhead is always at the same height. This allows for slight irregularities in your wood. Any other plate should be perfectly flat. The Router Workshop vac-u-plate is a very good design. I would of went with this design if it had been available when I started. Since I have two routers mounted on Rousseau plates it doesnt make sense for me to change over. Last thing I will mention is table size. You want a work area big enough for it to support any work you will be doing on it. Off the top of my head I believe my tables are 20 x 30 in size. This allows you to set small pieces on the side while routing others. I also built the ShopNotes fence which clamps with two knobs, has sliding faces and is easy to set up and remove.
 

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If you have not yet priced just the top and plate for your set-up at oak-park please do so... or wait for a 10% off sale??? You get the same top the guys use and the same plate so it saves you the effort of looking for materials and having to decide on sizes and is this thick enough, is that long enough... You can add the plans for the cabinet for another $4 or so and then build that part yourself.

I picked up the top and mounting plate from amazon for a few $$ less with a free shipping and $$ off but when I checked today they were out-of-stock on the table top... anyway do check the prices at oak-park and see if that will work for you.

Ed
 

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Personally, I like the way the Bob & Rick have theirs setup. But, it has to be what you are comfortable with. As Ed stated, you can wait til Oak Park offers a savings deal.

Just my $0.02 worth.
Ken
 

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Lots of folks use laminated MDF on the thesis that it is fairly stable under normal humidity conditions.

I have considered using Corian or some other synthethtic such as 1" thick UHMDPE or PVC. A slab of ground cast iron or aluminum plate would be ideal too.

I'm retiring an old table saw soon and have considered using the cast iron top and adapting the blade lift as a router lift. I just duno about that though as I think I want the old saw as a beaterbox for cutting steel alum and other nasty things I won't want to put on a snazzy european slider.

If cost is an issue try the MDF and laminate some Formica on top.
 

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Originally Posted by aniceone2hold
>Roy, you will find as many answers to your question
>as there are grains of sand on a beach. The interesting thing is none of
>them will be wrong.



So, my recomendation is to use 1" x 12" pecky cedar fence boards. ;)
Ok, maybe that suggestion would be wrong. :rolleyes:




> My tables are built with 3/4" cabinet grade plywood topped with 1/2"
>thickness of hardboard,



My suggestion if using any sort of plywood would be to pay very
close attention to the flattness of the plywood. I've yet to see
any plywood that is dead-flat, or at least as flat as MDF can be.
But it is certainly flatter. If you're using plywood maybe use two
thicknesses of it and when you sandwich it together you should
place the opposite faces together to cancel out any possible
warp. In other words, if both pieces are slightly convex try putting
them together so that the centers touch first and the slight warp
of each piece will cancel the other out as they bend to reach each
other. I hope that's clearer than mud. I used MDF and I still had
to pay attention to use pieces that weren't slightly warped. I'm
pretty picky about my homemade tools though and I expect them
to be at least as good as I could buy. A table top that's more
than a few thousandths of an inch out of flat just won't do for me.
I hate being able to blame my tools for any errors in my work.
Keeps me honest!




> I use Rousseau mounting plates. They have corner snuggers; small
>adjustable clips that keep your plate securely located and yet easy to
>remove.Leveling holes with allen screws make it easy to flush the plate
>guide bushing for making the through cut and creating the lip for the plate
>by removing a collar from the bushing. This is the plate Norm used on NYW
>for 10 years. Trend sells this plate in the UK with their name on it through
>a licensing agreement. The plate is not flat, it is slightly convex and this
>ensures the wood passing the cutterhead is always at the same height.
>This allows for slight irregularities in your wood.




I've never used the Rousseau plate but there was a thread that
mentioned them on another forum recently and several people didn't
like them for the same reason that you do like them. I don't quite
see the point of going to a lot of trouble to make a table flat only
to add the most important part of the table that isn't flat. I see
your explanation and that would work for smaller pieces but if I
was running a larger or longer workpiece over the plate it would
have to change the angle that the cut surface contacts the cutter.
Cutting a longer dado or rabbet would mean that there will be a
variation in the depth of cut somewhere along the groove. To each
their own but I prefer to go with a flat plate and not have to worry
about it. I use the phenolic plate from Woodhaven and it works
great. I also use their plate levelers because they're so simple to
use. No rabbet to cut and adjustment is accomplished by just
turning the thumbscrews. But most importantly, it's dead-flat.
JMHO of course.






>You want a work area big enough for it to support any work you will be
>doing on it. Off the top of my head I believe my tables are 20 x 30 in size.
>This allows you to set small pieces on the side while routing others.




I agree completely with this. I prefer a larger table over the small
table that Bob and Rick use. While the smaller table works for the
majority of what I do it's so nice to have a larger table for when you
need the extra support of a larger workpiece or for stacking the
other workpieces out of the way. I have my table mounted into
the space between my extra long fence rails of my table saw. I
work positioned on the same side as I would if using the TS and
that way I can have all of the outfeed I need from the TS space.
If I have the TS fence set up and don't want to change it and it's
in the way of a longer piece to be routed I can easily rotate my
fence to feed from a different direction. I have aluminum T-slots
added to my table in a tic-tac-toe pattern and the fence has
nobs and bolts that get trapped in the slots to lock it down. It's
very versatile and looks pretty cool too. :)




>I also built the ShopNotes fence which clamps with two knobs, has sliding
>faces and is easy to set up and remove.


I'm not familiar with the ShopNotes fence but if you end up using
angle iron, (steel or aluminum) you should check it to make sure
that it's really square and straight. Most isn't. I worked for a steel
supply company for a while and I went back to buy some 3"x3" 1/4"
angle for my fence base. I didn't find any size steel or aluminum there
in their huge stock that had both faces square to the other. I paid
a guy to machine the piece I bought so that it was square, straight
and flat. If it's not you could add some thicknesses of tape between
the angle and the faces of the fence until it's square but it's easier to
start with something that's true. Good luck!

Bruce
 

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this is the one i went with

delroy33 said:
i have been thinking about makeing a new router table top and would like to get some input as to what type of material to use for the top, what size table top seems to work best.
what is a good plate to use to mount the router in the table and should the plate be fastened to the the top or removable like the router guys. i have the pc 892 series router and i can adjust it from under the table or from the top of the table. this router is only used in the table so it being mounted there would not be a problem. :)
i bought this one because i didn't want to build the top i wanted to get started it is not that i couldn't do it i got both plate's also and both finces and the brass bars they come in handy than i built the base of my own design here is the link http://www.oak-park.com/usa12.html
 

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I am sure you will be happy with your decision Del.
 

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Bruce, Some points to ponder: You are correct when saying a mounting plate and table should be flat for best results. We all know that in the real world mounting plates and tables can warp or sag, and wood can do unimagineable things. The Rousseau plate has a few thousandths of crown for exactly this reason. Minor irregularities in the wood or table do not effect the relationship of bit to wood because of this slight crown. The wood always passes the bit at the same height. The only possible variance would be a fraction of a degree of angle, and effectively not noticeable. Think about this. A picture is worth a thousand words so you can view the Rousseau plate here: http://www.rousseauco.com/
You also mentioned being unfamiliar with the Shopnotes fence design. There are several good router table and fence designs available from Shopnotes.com and here is the one I built: http://routerforums.com/showpost.php?p=5014&postcount=12
The Router Workshop table top measures 16 x 30 so it provides good support for larger workpieces. I know it looks smaller on the show.
There are different ways to perform any routing task, and everybody has their personal favorite. The key is to use whatever works best for you.
 

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aniceone2hold said:
Bruce, Some points to ponder: You are correct when saying a mounting plate and table should be flat for best results. We all know that in the real world mounting plates and tables can warp or sag, and wood can do unimagineable things. The Rousseau plate has a few thousandths of crown for exactly this reason. Minor irregularities in the wood or table do not effect the relationship of bit to wood because of this slight crown. The wood always passes the bit at the same height. The only possible variance would be a fraction of a degree of angle, and effectively not noticeable. Think about this. A picture is worth a thousand words so you can view the Rousseau plate here: http://www.rousseauco.com/
You also mentioned being unfamiliar with the Shopnotes fence design. There are several good router table and fence designs available from Shopnotes.com and here is the one I built: http://routerforums.com/showpost.php?p=5014&postcount=12
The Router Workshop table top measures 16 x 30 so it provides good support for larger workpieces. I know it looks smaller on the show.
There are different ways to perform any routing task, and everybody has their personal favorite. The key is to use whatever works best for you.

Hi Mike. I agree that tables and plates *can* sag but the idea is to build
or buy one that won't sag. I built my table and in a few years it is still
flat. I did build it with a grid of angle iron underneath it with screws so
that if there is any variation from flat I can either raise up an individual
area or pull it down without really effecting the rest of the table. It
sounds more complicated than it is but so far I haven't had to adjust it.
Basically the angle iron is in a tic-tac-toe pattern, sort of...As I mentioned
before, I use the Woodhaven phenolic plate and even with my heavy Freud
FT2000 router mounted in it 99% of the time I can measure no sagging
so far. If that happens there's no fixing it. But if I wanted the plate to
be higher than the table I can easily turn the thumbscrews and raise it
up any amount. The problem I have with a pre-crowned plate is that
it assumes that either the plate or the table will sag. And if the table
does sag will it just sag as much as the plate is crowned? And what
keeps the plate from sagging? I suppose if you have a table that sags
the crowned plate *might* make up for it but that's nothing that couldn't
also be accomplished by just adjusting a flat plate up a little too. I
just don't have any desire to introduce any possible source of error to
my work unless it's caused by my own brain. Plenty of those errors to
go around already. :'( As you say, the amount of crown may only
introduce a little change in the angle of the cut but those few thousandths
of an inch would compound themselves on a longer workpiece. If I
was cutting a long rabbet or dado or using a slot cutter to cut a groove
that change of angle on a longer workpiece might make the difference
between a tight fit, flush fit, or the cut not being consistant. Admittedly,
this is just my speculation since I haven't used it but I don't see how it
wouldn't happen. When I first set up my router table and used it for a
while I noticed just that problem with a rabbet I cut. The depth was
proper in the middle section but both the beginning and the end of the
rabbet was a little shallow. I first thought that the wood was bowed
but I then noticed that the plate was a little high above the table.
I found that some saw chips had made it's way under the plate between
the plate supports and the plate and lifted the plate up slightly. I
blew the chips out and leveled the plate again. I ran the piece back
through and the rabbet depth was now perfect along the whole length.
The problem was cause because the longer piece ramped up to the
bit in the beginning of the cut and wasn't quite down flat against the
plate immediately around the bit and the same as the workpiece left
that plate. It wasn't a huge amount but it was enough to be noticeable.
I now make sure to not let saw dust fall into the router plate hole when
I remove the plate.

Your fence looks familiar. I must've seen it somewhere before. Is
wood movement because of atmospheric changes ever a problem with
a wooden fence? It sure looks great. My thick angle iron fence is
faced with a split MDF subfence. It has more of an industrial look
than a craftsman woodworker look but it sure is heavy and solid as
a rock. If I couldn't have a machinst true the angle iron I used for
it I wouldn't have used it. I've never found any steel angle that
was dead square. Even the aluminum angle I looked at wasn't quite
square. The advantage of using hardwood is that you can machine
it yourself provided you have a jointer. I do now but didn't when I
built my fence.

My table measures 27" x 34" and is between the rails of my TS.
The plate is centered length wise and offset towards the front
of the table width wise. I usually use it so that the outfeed side
is going towards the TS. I've never had a workpiece too long to
be properly supported yet. The fence is attached by sliding in
T-slots I purchased from Woodpeckers that are in a tic-tac-toe
pattern. I can position the fence in any direction this way whether
I need to save a specific TS setup or need to use the table with
the router plate farther away from the "front" of the table, (where
I'm standing). Very versatile for me and the support system was
a real pain in the butt to build. Overkill? Probably but it's as
perfect now as it was the day I built it and there's always room
for my work. It's amazing how much can be done with just a
piece of plywood with a router mounted to it and a couple of
saw horses though or anything in between the two extremes.
Whatever works, right? Take care and happy routing!

Bruce
 

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Oops! I goofed on something. The fence plan is from Woodsmith, included with the table and cabinet plans. Yes, most Woodsmith and Shopnotes plans are available online for under $10. Some are a bit higher but all are worth the price. Easy to understand, clearly illustrated with tips on building jigs to make the job easier.
 

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I recently made my own table out of a formica table top we had around not being used. Cut the hole 12" sq. and routed the edge around it another 1/2" x 1/4" deep. I am going to use acrylic panels for the plate but want to use phenolic if and when I can find where to purchase some. I have a Shopsmith 510 and have made several pieces of furniture with it over the years. Am getting into the Router Workshop now and am seeking an answer to where I can find and purchase some phenolic panels to I may cut some jigs and patterns like Rick and Bob use in their show/shop on the woodworking channel program.
 

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Spacemanspiff,
What kind of wax did you use on your router top?

Can you use wax on mdf? Or what's another good sealer for mdf if I don't want to use laminate?

Thanks,

deck
 

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Deck, just about all the wood/MDF tables and plans you will find use Formica for the work surface. It is naturaly slick enough and there is no worry of wax contaminating your project and causing finish problems. Maintenance is limited to a quick spray and wipe with Windex. Laminate also seals your table against moisture and helps prevent table movement. This stuff is very easy to work with.
 
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