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So I am considering making my own table, a couple of questions...

3448 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Joe Lyddon
Howdy everyone, first post, and suprise suprise, a couple of questions :D

As the title says, I am considering building my first router table, and after looking at many examples, I am left with some questions.

How important it the miter rail on the table? And is there any rule of thumb for distances for the front of the table, to the rail, to the router bit? Other than your own personal comfort (ie: the length of your reach in relation to how high the table is ect.)
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Hi Cowinacape

I think you got it (your own personal comfort) and what you want to use it for.

Feather boars,jig sleds,hold down device,etc. you will see some about 8" to 10" from the bit and some on the edge of the (front side) of the router table , I have them both ways ,the one on the front of the table works best for me ,it has the small T-Slot and the wide T-slot to take on many items.
Here's a tip,,If you buy some 5/16" x 4" toggle bolts and just grind the head on two sides you will have all the fastners you need for the T-slots at about 1/10 the price of the going price of T-bolts, if you need a shorter one all you need to do cut off the bolt to the size you need. :)
But keep the cut offs so you make the stud type that will need from time to time,like for knobs to hold the items in place (i.e. start and stop blocks for the fence)

Bj :)


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I think that BJ hit the nail on the head with his response. It is all about your likings. It is all about what works best for you. I started with a small bench top style table that was given to me and it worked ok as I learned. Then I upgraded to a better system that allows me to do what I want to do. This is about YOU. The system has to work for you and be to fit your needs. There are many different commercial styles to look at. Some have stronger features than others. I looked and looked and looked to the point that my wife thought that I was obsessed until I figured out what it was that I was looking for.

I like for the router to be offset to the rear of the table a bit to allow for those little bit bigger projects when needed. I like for my table to have a removeable plate for ease of use. I also have tracks for my fence to slide in. I also have a track at the front to accomodate my feather boards as well. This is what I wanted and did.

It's all about what YOU want!
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Thanks for the replies people, greatly appreciated, thanks for the pictures as well, some great info there!
You'er Welcome Cowinacape

Please post some pictures of your setup when you get it done I'm sure the members would like to see it . :)

Bj :)
Some people don't even use miter slots on their tables. A prime example... Bob & Rick on The Router Workshop. But, as previously stated, it's all about what YOU want on your table and what you will be using it for. A slot can always be added later if you decide that is what you want.
Most people start out wanting to buy or build "Captain Billy's Whiz Bang Router Table". Lots of expensive doo hickeys and whatchamacallits sure looks impressive. Then along come Bob and Rick and the Router Workshop and burst your bubble. They are building all these great projects with a simple table and no glitz! You watch the show in disbelief, how can this be possible? No miter slots, no micro adjusters and the projects still fit perfectly. Have I made my point? I learned over time that you dont need a miter slot for building projects. Your table edge is right there and can act as a guide if needed. Featherboards can be clamped in position faster than you can set one up in a miter slot, guaranteed. I have no problem with somebody designing and using a table with T tracks. I have done so myself. Bob and Rick opened my eyes to the "Simple is better" methods and I have been converted. The one recurring theme on this website is this: You are the one who will be using your router and table so go with what is most comfortable for you. There really is only one requirement for routing; Work safely and enjoy!
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Welcome to the forums Cowinacape. Glad you jumped right in and asked questions. I have a question for you tho, is there a story to your user name (cow in a cape)?
Mike, you make some great popints, and a couple of even better pauses for thought (the idea of adding a track/rail later when I have a better idea of wether I really need it, and specifically for why I need it).

I have only seen the router workshop a couple of times on tv, and I was completely amazed at how much was accomplished with so little, especially after seeing other w.w. shows where every operation require a completely new machine, no knock against the boy with all the toys, but the k.i.s.s. theory is a great way to help ensure, lower fustration levels, and greater happiness levels. In most things at least :D

RISMN great looking table you have there, some very nice construction detials in those shot! Thanks!
Dr. Zook, I tried to post a link for you, but none the less that is not working for whatever reason (keep getting Could not find phrase 'x_contains_urls'. error) ??that's a new one for me.

None the less I started a thread in the introduction forum, that explains the name in more detail, thanks for the warm welcome!
Cowinacape, you are not allowed to post links until you have at least ten posts. This is to discourage spammers.
Ah well now that makes sense, don't mind my red face :D
I built my first table including the table insert, bit inserts, & fence with built-in clamps & micro adjustment. The top is 24" x 32" x 1" thick MDF laminated both sides. No T slots. I thought that I might need one down the road. That was 10 years ago & still no T slot to gather cuttings/dust. I also avoided dicky-doo drawers for my bits by attaching a tray on one end of the table with a piano hinge. Inside the tray are angled blocks drilled for 1/2" shank bits.
I still have a few 1/4" shank bits so counter drilled 1/2" dowels with 1/4" drill and these drop into the 1/2" holes in the blocks to accept the smaller shank bits. When I swing open the tray, I can see all of my bits at a glance instead of pulling drawers. I do have a couple full table width drawers in which I store accessories, such as guards, feather boads, etc.
I thought by building my table that it was likely that I would want certain features of which I knew nothing about as a neophyte & I would not be "trapped" with a high cost purchased
table that I would be reluctant to set aside. Hasn't happened yet...luck I guess.

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I put a slot in my first top.. Didn't really use it.. My second top has no slot, but I left room in case I wanted to add one.. For my feather boards, I just clamp the oak ones I made to the table..
You can always make the track reversible like I did. if you don't use it, you just flip it around.


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Oak Park is still having their table tops on Sale for March... (gotta hurry if you want one).

Here is another cool table you may find interesting...
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