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Some general observations and questions about routers and bits

2039 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Mike
I wonder about several things I have observed.

1. Why are router measurements all English rather than metric, even though the Router Workshop (which I always watch) and Oak Park are based in Canada.

2. Is there anything that can be done by a rabbeting bit or a slot cutter bit that cannot also be done with a straight bit?

3. Sometimes it looks like Bob is using a 3 1/8 base plate with an insert. Certainly appearances are deceptive but it does look so to me. If so, where could I get such inserts?

4. Where can I obtain the lexan shields used on the Oak Park fences?

5. Where can I obtain the material from which the Router Workshop table top is made?
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Just my 2 cents :)

1.) Most router bits come in Fractions my best guess, but you may want to drop a PM or email to Bob or Rick to find out for sure.
2.) Rabbet bits and Slot cutters come with a bearing unlike a straight bit and will give you more control over the cut but you can use a straight bit if you use care and a fence.
3.) I don't think they sell the insert but you can make one or two with plastic/lexan.
4.) You will need to make one, Ace Hardware,Home Depot,Rockler, etc.
5.) Made of baltic birch plywood, Rockler,Plywood outlets,etc.

Bj :)
Like Bob said, the advantage of a rabbetting bit (bearing guided) is it's ability to work on surfaces that are not straight without having to create a template. Another nice feature of a rabbetting bit is the ability to swap out the bearings. Put a larger bearing on it and take a smaller cut. Then put your smaller bearing on to take the rabbet to the final width.
Thanks for the suggestions

Thanks all for your suggestions. However, my local Ace hardware does not have lexan, Oak Park does not sell it except on thier own fences, and they do not sell the taller wooded shield that Rick uses so frequently on the Router Workshop.

Also, in the series 1200, both the executive desk and the table for the chiffoniere (sp) Rick is very clearly using a 3 1/8 center base plate with a brass insert. Oak Park does not sell them. Likewise in the table episode, Bob has a large piece of the material, including the yellow laminate, from which the Oak Park router table tops are made, but it has not cutout. Even with my limited experience I appreciate the need for keeping the hole around the bit as small as possible, and I do have a few bits larger than 1 1/2 in diameter.

Where can I obtain the brass inserts for the 3 1/8 center base plate and a larger piece of the laminated baltic birch used for the router table tops?

(I noticed BobandRick online as I started writing this; I hope they see it.
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There is more than one source for the large diameter mounting plates; Rockler, Rousseau, MLCS all make plates with removeable centers. All of these plates are flat except the Rousseau. Most plates accept "Porter Cable style" guide bushings. The Router Workshop plates only accept their own 1-1/2" diameter guide bushings. The Router Workshop table top is high quality 3/4" baltic birch plywood with laminate on both sides. As BJ mentioned you can buy the plywood from Rockler or Woodcraft, or quality lumber yards. The plywood at HD or Lowe's has voids and is not the same quality. As for the Lexan, try other hardware stores or check with plastic distributors in your area.
"Lexan" is one of several brand names for Policarbonate. Most glass shops stock it up to 1/4" thick. 3/8" is usually ordered pretty close to size for a specific job as it is more expensive. So small "scraps" are harder to find. But if you check around you should be able to find what you need.

If you are in Canada, Lee Valley Tools sells Lexan.
In 1/4 and 3/8 thickness as 12 by 12 inch squares.
12x12 inch square abot $20. 3/8, about $28. so you don't make any mistakes!
The required size holes for brass guide bushings can be made with appropiate size Forstner bits in a drill press.
I mounted my base on the router first put in a very small diameter straight bit and plunged it through the lexan to give a center for the forstner bit.
Cut the large hole first the depth of the thickness of the flange then the hole for the body of the guide last. They come out dead on.
Try it on some scrap stuff first!!
Great thanks

Thank you very much for your input. Aniceone2hold, thank you for directing me away from HD and Lowes; that would have been my first shot. I still have not seen any laminated Baltic Birch plywood. Can I laminate it myself?
18243015, actually I do know about polycarbonate and lexan. I did not know that most glass shops carry it. That knowledge could also be very useful in my day job.
Maurice, Lee Valley Tools also sells in the US. It also sells other products in which I am interested. I had not seen it before so thanks very much for the tip.
To laminate plywood is a simple job. You will find the method in other posts on the forum, and I will be making a "how to build a router table" post this coming week. There will be step by step photo's. Building a router table should be one of your first projects. You learn how to use your tools and create a very useful project.
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