I got some really good advise from all that replied. Everyone had
good points that I pondered on. So here is my plan. I am going to put
in a miter track. I will not weaken the working surface because I am
going to have a 5/8" particle board under the 3/4" melamine to give it
strength. in the 5/8" I am going to cut out a 6" +/- hole to steady the
routor housing and in the 3/4" I will cut out a 2" hole and drill the
mounting screw holes.I was going to put in a base plate made out of
plexi glass, but I am not to sure about making the cutout right for it(
I still might change my mind on this one). I am making a large work
area, its going to 22" wide and 42" long. This way I don't need to
worry about any thing, e.g. cabinet door, to be over balanced on the
I am not sure how far to place the miter fence away from the
center of the routor, but some research has shown me that about 5"
seems to be average. The one reply made me change my mind for the
simple fact if I am cutting a rail or stile , it is nice to be able to
control it more as far as it getting pushed out of the way. I am going
to construct a coping sled out of 1/4" by 6" solid oak. Fence wise, I
am going to make a Homemade one as well.I will try to post pictures
after I am done on the binariay site.
Unnecessary and a chip catching PITA. Referencing to the fence or bit
itself is so easy it's almost a crime to complicate it.
I worked with shapers and their fences/miter gages for many years, then I
saw my first "Router Workshop" show and realized how much effort I was
wasting in an otherwise simple process.
Just curious as to your reasoning, George. While I agree a miter slot is
not "necessary" on a router table, what are the complications of using
one to guide a coping sled? It's a pretty simple operation actually.
Do you cope hardwood rails on a shaper using only the fence to guide
your coping sled?
Just trying to understand.
Nope, but on the router table, I do. The complications of a miter gage are
its adjustability, which normally means de-adjustability as well. A square
of floating floor with a fixed 90 degree doesn't de-adjust. The same with a
1" channel for the collar will do great dados or dovetail slots for small
shelves. Don't have to worry about different diameter cutters if you
reference the fence to the bearing on the cutter, and then the cope to the
I have a splendid Delta cast-iron sled for the shaper, purchased before I
de-emphasized hardware, but it'll eat aluminum channel and MDO tops pretty
Thanks for the info, George.
Sure agree with you about coping with a miter gauge. I think the OP had
in mind a coping sled that was guided by the miter slot, rather than a
miter gauge. Nothing to adjust or misadjust there.
I would say that adjusting the fence to the cutter for coping is about
the same effort as adjusting the work in the coping sled to the cutter.
One could make a reference stick based on the coping sled to cutter
distance. Once made (2 minutes?) it would mean henceforth the work could
be adjusted in the coping sled in about 3 seconds or less. A lot more
time than than will be spent adjusting cutter height. Most folks
probably don't have more than a few coping cutters for their routers,
and those will often have identical cutter diameters, so this should be
a reasonable alternative to using the fence.
Just to make sure we're all on the same wavelength, when we talk about
coping, we're usually talking about removal of a substantial amount of
cross-grain material from paneled door rail ends.
Thanks again for responding.
Well, there's the fit of the sled in it, and the leverage on the piece
caused by distance from the reference point of the groove, to name two
rather important ones which are non-players in a fence-referenced setup.
Have to wonder how our woodworker is going to keep the sled against the
fence if he has trouble keeping it to one side of the miter slot.
I'm not sure I follow the leverage point, George. If you mean the cutter
will push the work, that's less of a problem using a miter slot guided
sled than one that is held next to the fence freehand I would think.
My own perspective is that the benefits of a miter slot guided coping
sled, or a sliding table, on a shaper can also be reaped with a router
table. The need may not be as great from a safety perspective, but there
are benefits as well from greater workpiece stability.
But I think we're getting deep into nuances here. Undoubtedly,
museum-quality work has been done using both techniques. Since most
router tables probably have both fences and miter slots, my
recommendation is that folks try it both ways and do what works best for
Appreciate the exchange of views.
Sorry I haven't replied back for a few days, been busy. I know all of
you have said, and I have also seen on different websites, that the
coping sled should be made out of 1/4" material for the base. There is
one person on Ebay selling a homemade one made with a 3/4" base. Is
Any slop in the slot is magnified by the distance to the cutter from the
slot. Longer the distance, greater the possible error. Home-made rigs
being what they are, that 3/4 by 3/8 piece is likely to work loose faster
than a solid piece of goods is to compress. Not loaded the way a tablesaw
sled is loaded, after all, directly against the direction of travel.
My apologies if this has already been mentioned, but:
If I may make a suggestion, get yourself a decent router lift.
I use the Rousseau 3000 series. A little expensive, yes, but once you
use one, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
A lift allows you to change bits from above the table, and depth
changes are as easy as turning a crank from the top side. Rousseau also
supplies templates for cutting the top. There are also plans for these
on the 'Net.
Whatever you do, have fun and work safely.
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