Router table insert

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Upon making my own router table, I have been contemplating the purchase of a table insert plate and thought of the possibility of making my own. I thought about making it with 1/4" wood and also with 1/4" aluminum plate. What would you recommend to use from the two mentioned or anything else? Specifics are greatly appreciated.
Thank you
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SBH wrote:

Too much flex in the wood. I used Phenolic and couldn't get it to flex if I tried. Plus it won't expand/contract with the weather.
I don't know if 1/4" aluminum is thick enough, though I suspect it is. I'm sure someone in here will know for sure, though.
Whatever route (pun) you take, learn from my experience and do it right the first time or you'll be doing it over until you do it right.
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-MIKE-

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SBH wrote:

is even with the table. It has snap-in inner inserts so you can have different size holes for different bits and snapping it out makes bit change easy. I have not regretted getting it.
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Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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I've made dozens of them out of 1/4 plexiglas or Lexan. They work well and I've not ever broken or hurt one. 1/2" thick makes a great zero clearance on the cabinet saw.
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If you buy an insert, beware that the Rouseau plate is not flat. It is slightly domed. To some this is a feature. I don't particularly care for the stock "rocking" over the dome
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MB wrote:

Concave or convex.... I'm assuming concave.
What "feature" do they claim that serves?
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-MIKE-

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convex, I'd take the positive hump. I suppose for the same reason that many of the fences they now make for bandsaw resawing have become convex.
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Good question. Then again, if I had to pick between either concave or convex, I'd take the positive hump. I suppose for the same reason that many of the fences they now make for bandsaw resawing have become convex.
It's probably convex because the weight of a router would pull it down flat. The LV router plate is slightly convex and they tell you so knowing that a router will pull it down flat. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&pA793&cat=1,43053,43885
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Upscale wrote:

Well, I guess I can see the hesitation to fully accept this as a "feature."
Could they not just design it better, make it thicker, or out of a material that wouldn't flex?
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-MIKE-

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It is made out of steel plate. If steel plate flexes then there's not too many other materials that won't flex. Sure, I guess they could have made it thicker, but then you'd have to factor in cost, weight, their particular design that uses edge clamps for fine adjustment and mostly, the need to have the router as close to the top as possible for full bit extension.
I've looked at their router plate instore. If there's a slight flex as they state, it's not all obvious. Another thing that's nice about this design is you just mount the plate. No screwing around with routing out an insert so a plate can fit. And it will work great with any number of magnetic jigs and devices such as a dust chute, position stops and magnetic feather boards.
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Upscale wrote:

I'm with you on having the router as close the the table top as possible. Although it hasn't been an issue with my 1/2" phenolic, and there is no flex in that whatsoever. I suppose if height were an issue, I could recess it 1/4".

I just looked at it and it is a very cool concept. I think the addition of some welded strongbacks, holding it straight, would be better than an engineered curve.
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I'm sure you're right, but I question where they could be placed. With the design they're using and the use of edge stops and fine adjustment, strongbacks wouldn't be suitable at an edge. That leaves them at an inside edge somewhere and the likelihood of some type of dado or similar to fit them in a table mount. Not a big thing I guess, but I'm sure they were considered by the design staff and discarded for some unknown reason.
The Makita 3hp plunge router I currently have was last mounted in one of the cast iron wings of my table saw. If I eventually get around to needing a separate table mounted router, I'll decide on the easy to build LV table or a considerably more expensive Jessem table. Those are my two top contenders at the present.
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On Fri, 2 Jan 2009 23:00:20 +0000, MB wrote (in article

I have the rissole plate too. I knew it was "crowned" before I bought it. This was toted as a feature for whatever market-bull-speak reason it was... something to do with ensuring repeatability or somesuchcrap. It seemed to make sense to me, a complete novice when I bought it.
hang on, I'll go find the catalogue... rummage.. rummage
"which ensures there is no sag with the router in position and that the table is always at its highest point as the cutter reaches the work for maximum accuracy."
Hands up anybody who thinks this actually means anything. ???
What I DIDN'T expect was that the crown would also include the plate's edges. i.e. with the corners inset into the table dead level, the middle of each side makes a step that catches whatever is slid across the table surface. My router weighs about 12 lb and seems to pull it out a bit, but a) , not completely and b). I thought the whole point of phenolic was it's supposed NOT to flex?
The plate is "stepped" underneath The edge is thinner than the body of the plate so you can't put it flat down on the bearing edge without cutting out the big mounting hole.
Worst part was cutting the rebate to set the thing on. Of course I used the manufacturer's measurement and ended up with the entire plate sat proud of the table.. (I cut the ledge, then the big hole so I couldn't "test fit" it till I'd dismantled the ledge template. Grrrrr!! Bah!! )
Finally got it to work, but I'm not impressed.
If I was doing it again (and I might) I'd either go for the Incra plate, which is INSANELY expensive in England but has really cute clearance inserts and magnets and is shiny and droll drool..
OR
I'd cut a sheet of 1/4"" dural and route out the centre hole . It'd be worth sacrificing a cheap bit to make a stepped hole which could then take the Rousseau inserts or whatever. It would be as easy to do this as make the thing out of polycarbonate and I'd have more confidence in it.
OR.. and this is the most likely now I've befriended a fabricator 'cross town who'll do odd jobs in his lunch hour for a couple of pints.. I'd get a simple flat steel plate with a square hole cut in the middle, then spot weld or epoxy ledge retainer strips under the hole to take mdf zero-clearance inserts (6mm) I'd retain these if necessary with countersunk screws or just inset a strip magnet into the back. Cheap, cheerful and uncomplicated and new inserts would be as easy as pie.
My thoughts, anyhowup.
Happy New Year everybody!!!!
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Bored Borg wrote:

That's what I was suspicious of.
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-MIKE-

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How about just getting a good adjustable router and mounting it directly to a table? Triton router comes to mind.
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wrote:

I have thought about that at times and still consider that option. I already have a router which I use for free hand and will have a router for table only, which led me to believe I can simply keep it mounted under the table all the time. The only drawback, that I can currently think of, would be removal for cleaning.
I'm beginning to believe, by viewing all the comments, the inserted plate is more of a hassle than what it's worth. I cannot see why a simple 1/4" thick aluminum wouldn't suffice. I've never had a router table, therefore, I cannot fathom the overt complications of an insert but I'm sure I'll be corrected regarding those complications.
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We like to make things more difficult than they actually are. I suppose it helps retailers sell us stuff, and it helps us charge people more for what we make. :-)
I made a bunch of molding for an on-site project by screwing the router directly underneath a melamine table top, and running a bit straight up to cut the hole. I screwed my fences, bit guard, hold downs, and feather boards right down to the melamine.
Very low tech and ghetto, but it produced perfect result.
And yes, I will tell you that with a couple of pattern/rabbet bits and some wood scraps, you can make a perfectly matching insert using a technique similar to this... http://woodbutcher.net/insrtrtr.shtml
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-MIKE-

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and/or retailers their product requires special type of care or upgrades and you'll need several accessories or if mishandled it won't work correctly, therefore, you'll need a new one...blah blah blah. All marketing ploys to make more money. One example, to be a bit off topic is the use of motorcycle helmets. It was once believed (and actually still is by many riders) if you drop your helmet, it's no longer any use. Needless to say, hogwash! You get the idea. On that note, I can't imagine an insert plate needing such special care, feature or requirements other than good strength to hold the router. I believe I know the direction I will take.
Thanks for the info about your table and the link.
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wrote:

The 1/4" plate will work. Just countersink some mounting screws for the router and for hold downs in the corners. Bore out a hole for the bit. The store bought plates have replaceable throat inserts for smaller diameter bits. You want to keep the plate small to minimize flexural deformation. It has to be large enough to span a hole you can slip the router through. When it's said and done, store bought plates are reasonable because few of us are equipped to accurately machine aluminum. I remember using 1/2" ply way way back in the stone ages. That'll work, too. I have an Incra plate now. It replaced a (really crappy) Rousseau plate. The Incra/Jess'em plate is simple, well engineered, nicely machined and finished, and most important, dead flat and level with the table top when installed.
It's unfortunate but easy to see why the woodworking channel is really the woodworker shopping channel, or woodworking tool/shiny new kit gnashing channel. There's alot of junk out there that complicates the simple task it does rather than solve a real problem. There is also stuff that really works. Is it any wonder that we dump on the retailers so often? They sell alot of the junk, but they also sell the good stuff, too. You'll have to decide for yourself which is which... ;) Most often, I'm bummed to realize in less than a week that I got taken yet again.
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Thanks for the input, Mike. Is the hole for the bit a major issue? In other words, why is it neccessary to have the several size hole inserts instead of one decent size hole for the largest bit? What drawbacks are present if using a straight bit, for example, within that large hole?
Thanks

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