router setup ideas

I'm thinking about building a router table, but I've got some issues with it. I've sorta been dropped into the position of running a small cabinetshop, and I'm trying to adapt some things to my own desires. We have a big 1/2" Hitachi router that's mounted in a little table thingy that sets in a recess in one of the workbenches, next to a miter saw, and it's got dust collection built into the fence and underneath where the router mounts, but the fence is screwed down (not movable), and it's a VERY small table (like 10x18"), and I can't figure out how to change the router's depth. I don't know if it's frozen or if I'm just missing something or what, but trying to do anything with the router 'table' drives me absolutely nuts.
SOO, I'm kicking around the idea of making a table, two sheets of 3/4 MDF with formica laminate top and either formica edges or solid-wood edges, not sure which. I have some 3/8" or 1/2" plexiglas, would that work for an insert until I can get some phenolic? Should I try to build dust collection into it? The spot I've picked out to put it already has a capped off 3" hose drop coming off a main duct there, but no gate. Haven't thought yet what I'm gonna do about a base, but I think we've got some pressure treated lumber kicking around, probably would suffice.
Anyone know anything about Hitachi routers, and how to make them behave?
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you can download manuals from hitachi: http://tinyurl.com/2kl5w

if you make the edges nice and square to the top and parallel to each other and laminate them you can make a sled that straddles the whole table top. very useful.

yes
yes
it's a cabinet shop. make it a cabinet. doesn't have to be fancy.

I have PC and freud. sorry...
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not sure I follow you, could you elaborate?
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kind of a poor man's slide table. I'll post a quick diagram to ABPW. I built a router table top from a cheap melamine cabinet door. it worked fine except it didn't have miter slots and the material was too thin to add them. the edges however were nice and parallel, so I used them as index surfaces. essentially a second top floating over the first, guided by a couple of strips of wood that fit snugly ot the outside of the table top. fences and jigs can be attached to the upper, sliding surface, and a coat of wax keeps everything moving smoothly
damn, what a lousy description. holler if you want me to take some pictures of the actual setup.
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No, I think I follow what you're saying. Once I get the two MDF panels glued together, would crosscutting both sides with a crosscut sled on the TS produce parallel enough edges? Is it a bad idea to run MDF on the jointer?
Just curious... :)
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probably, although you may want a longer table than my crosscut sled would make. I'd probably just make 2 careful cuts using the rip fence.

yes, unless you have carbide blades.

curiousity killed the cat....
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tmbg wrote:

I have an Hitachi 12MV. Been using it for about 1 year. I only use it for my router table (no freehand with this one, I have another router for that). I take it out of the table about once every 3 months and give it a good cleaning, especially around the plunger mechanism, since the sawdust tends to collect in this area. I do not consider this a 'issue' with this router, because periodic maintenance should be a integral part of any woodworking shop.
HTH Jerry
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Ours is a TR-12, I took it apart last night, cleaned it out really good and oiled the tubes, and it still won't slide worth a crap. I'm not sure what's causing it to hang up, but it's very frustrating. I can get it to the right depth, but it takes a little persuasion with a rubber mallet >:O
On a happier note, I got a plexiglas insert made up that fits the TR-12, just gotta find some proper screws. About to go trim up the top and laminate it.
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