Buy or rout t-slots?

I'm back to woodworking now that I've got a basement shop, and I want to make some jigs, fences, slots, etc. before I start on projects, to help my ability to do precise work. I'm planning on lots of T-Track to attach featherboards, stop blocks, hold-downs, etc.
I figure I'm better off buying a t-shape router bit and routing all the slots I need instead of buying lots of aluminum T-Track. What materials can support a routed t-slot - baltic birch ply? Hardwood? Softwood? What's the most common size t-slot cutter? (I see 5/8 and 3/4 wide slot bits at Rockler). I know those flat-head "toilet" bolts fit these, but will a standard hex 1/4-20? I presume the 3/4" wide slot is stronger... what kinds of things require that extra strength?
I guess my ideal solution, if this makes sense, would be to buy the 5/8" t-slot cutter and using standard hex 1/4-20 bolts in baltic birch and hardwood. Comments?
Thanks, Michael
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Michael,
I use these but do find hardwood to be quite demanding and the bit has to work pretty hard although I have a very powerful router mounted on a table. I will continue to do use it and depending on the bit size they take both 1/4" and 5/16" standard bolt heads. I did manage to have one of these break at the shaft but noticed the problem after I finished using it and fortunately not during. This was a 1/4" shaft bit and it may have been defective anyway but I know use 1/2" router bits pretty well exclusively.
Good luck,
Glen Duff -------------
Michael Press wrote:

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I use 5/8" t-slot cutter in MDF on sacrificial fences for stop blocks and feather boards. Also on my miter saw extension fences for stop blocks. Work fines with toilet bolts, but not standard hex 1/4-20. They fences may break from time to time, but the slots usually outlast the sacrificial nature anyway.
"
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Aluminum t-track is stronger than routed wood t-slots. Also can be surface mounted OR recessed into the surface.
Bottom line, only advanrtage that routed t-slots have is they cost less than buying tons of aluminum t-track. and in some light use situations look better than the alum solution
John
On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 23:34:25 -0500, Michael Press

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On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 23:34:25 -0500, in rec.woodworking you wrote:

[...snip...]
I don't know the answer about the best material to use (I'd suggest starting with maple) but you might consider doing it with a table saw instead.
Think about 2 identical boards with a dado groove along the narrow edge. You could then take one of the edges of the grooved board and trim it off. If you glued those edges face to face you'd have a T slot. I don't know if the ASCII art will make any sense at all (make sure you switch fixed pitch font ON), but consider something like this:
---- ---- | |Trim| | | -- -- | | | Dadoed | | | | Area | | | ---| |--- | | | G| | |-----| l|-----| u e
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when i first started using T-slot jigs (et al) on my router table i just routed the required slots. and it worked just schwell -- well, for a couple months or so. but over time i noticed my T-slots (and the jigs (et al) attached to them were getting increasingly sloppy.
so i bit the bullet and routed out the slots previously routed as T-slots to fit aluminum T-track. and the results have been straight and reliable ever since (now some 6 or 7 years).
as such, my advice is use aluminum T slots (or titanium, or unobtanium, or impossilite, or whatever else you can find that is denser then MDF).
look at it this way, you still get to blow all manner of sawdust all over yourself when routing out the slots to fit the metal T slots. so you win both ways: you end up with a Tslot that you can count on for more that a couple months; and chicks dig you because your hair is coated with MDF dust.
hoorah!
wow, this the first time i've posted to the wreck in 2.something years. well, back to my happy lurker mode...    
all the best to all of you,
            ^,,^
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