I have some questions regarding router table fabrication. I am in need of
an upgraded router table, and I have several options before me. I have a
tablesaw with an MDF/plastic laminate extension on BOTH sides, so there are
two possible locations. Thirdly, I could use some of the leftover laminate
(I bought a whole 4'x8' sheet and have about 4'x16" left) and MDF to make a
separate table top. That, of course, opens up several possibilities for
bases from folding sawhorses to hardwood legs, to a fully enclosed cabinet,
with or without storage, etc. What I have decided on is that I will not use
a plate. I prefer the smooth uninterrupted surface of a plateless top. The
router to be mounted is a P-C 8529 plunger. The questions that most concern
me are the details of mounting the router to the top. Is the preferred
method to relieve the underside in the shape of the base? To what
thickness? What about screws? I have had bad luck with flathead screws
pulling right through MDF before. Would a counterbore and panhead screws be
any better? As a point of information, I have read Pat Warner's webpage,
which is very informative, but leaves out several of these small details.
Also, what about provisions for template bushings? I believe the proper
opening is 1 9/16? What about depth/thickness? Any
information/opinion/reference/etc. will be greatly appreciated.
You're going to hang a router underneath - one you're going to tug
and push on adjusting bit height, installing bits etc., as well as
pressing down on firmly - on a 26-32+ inch wide span. I'd skip
MDF and maybe even 3/4" melamine.
If you go with "like with like" best to have a cabinet
with some drawers for bits, wrenches, collets, fence inserts
etc. If their with the router table you'll spend a lot less
time hunting for what you need.
I'm guessing that at some point you're going to want/need
to use a 2 1/2 - 3 1/2" router bit so the opening in the table
top will have to be at least that big. But, without an insert,
using a 1/4" diameter bit will get hairy, especially on short
part and a guide collar will be impossible. You might want
to rethink your idea.
When you start using a router table you'll find more and more
uses for it - IF options are built in. My guess is that you don't
know what uses will evolve over time. Go with what you know
now and you'll keep reinventing the wheel - many times.
At least have a look at the JoinTech site - the Cabinet Maker System,
table top, inserts, router mounting plate etc..
May give you plenty of ideas to think about.
There are hardwood supports at 16" intervals under the tablesaw extensions,
and I would probably do the same on a router table as well. Another
possibility would be to double the thickness of the MDF for the section
around the router.
This is true and a good point. That is the one thing that appeals most to
me about a plate. The tab-loc system looks pretty slick, though I've never
put my hands on one. At any rate, if I decide at a later date to add a
plate, it is a trivial procedure, though it would be impossible to change
from a plate based setup to a plateless.
Has anyone ever tried to mount a router in a cast iron TS wing? That would
be pretty slick, if you could come up with a good way to mount some sort of
What you start with, and what you MAY end up with can be two very different
Warning #1: Watch out for that charlieb fellow. He will start building a
simple push stick, and then, next thing you know, there's a work of art
there, just to push some stuff past a sawblade. <BSEG> He tries hard, but
every project seems to get real fancy, real soon. ;-)
Warning #2: I've got some of the same tendencies.
Warning #3: You can start with a plunge router screwed to the bottom of a
rigid table top, with a small opening, clamped to a pair of sawhorses, and
can get a lot done. Like building a real router table, in addition to some
great cabinets and furniture. But I think you're gonna want a plate with
inserts, because, at very least, it makes pulling the router up to change
bits, and to make adjustments SO much easier. You have to try very hard to
spend more than $75 on a plate, predrilled for your plunge router, with
Advice: Don't get too carried away, right away. I have a simple table and
fence setup which works for me, such that the Jointech fence sits on the
shelf, waiting until I have the time/priority to build a better table.
(The Jointech is a superb piece of equipment, given me by a friend, who
changed his entire system over to Incra.) 18 months it sits.
If you can find The Router Workshop on PBS, you'll see just how simple a
router table can be, and still turn out marvelous work.
On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 20:45:08 -0500, "Charlie Mraz"
when i built mine i had many of the same thoughts as you. however
after a short time i changed over to the plate style for 2 very good
reasons. 1- easier bit changes and setup. 2- i have several routers
set up to use the same table. by putting identical plates on these
routers i can setup to do raised panels using 3 bits and 3 routers.
this way if i miscount or mess up a piece there is no setup time
involved. simply drop in the appropriate router and make another part.
BTW i did my top out of corian so cutting out the plate was no small
task but the benefits were worth the labor.
Be careful about the saw horse thing. I made my table top about 5
years ago with the intention of building a cabinet when I got around
to it. Still using those saw horse.
I was just doing some work over the weekend and notice that the top
has started to sag. Mine is 2 MDF sheets, laminated on both sides
with Formica. I have an aluminum bench dog plate in mine.
In reference to the screws in MDF, my understanding is the coarser the
better, but after reading some of Pat Warner's articles, I started
tapping holes whenever I went something to stick to MDF (1/4-20 for
most of the things I do).
In Pat's books, he mentions that he likes to fasten his routers
directly to a single 3/4" MDF top and discards them as they warp. He
also uses a Bench Dog lift too.
You can certainly do this, but on a 3/4" top, make sure you support it
well. I'd be concerned about warp. Just a little drop near the bit
is enough to throw off an otherwise perfect rail and stile joint
(DAMHIKT). If you mount is to a top of double 3/4" MDF (1.5" top),
you're going to lose some cutting height unless you recess a hole for
the router (in which case you have the same problem above).
I hate when people give advice without having the experience and I
never hung a router directly to MDF, but in my experience, you have to
make sure this stuff is supported right. I would hang a router to a
scrap piece for a while and see how you fair.
I personally don't need to allow for template guide bushings on the
table top, since I only use bits with guide bearing on the table.
Make sure you post what you do and how it ends up. I'm going on
vacation this week and I'm taking a pencil and paper to design a
proper cabinet. Maybe if SWMBO gets enough sleep (we have 2 young
kids), I might even be able to build this thing when I get home.
Gooday and how are you. I am writing from the land downunder.
I have recently bought a new dovetail jig (made in aussie land of
course) that rides on a router table.
The manufacturer also includes a table plan to make which fits into
the specs that you suggest (ie DIY). I think the plan is available on
line at www.gifkins.com.au. this table is only good for routers with 3
or 4 screws holding on the base plate
Just out of interest i have fiddled with dovetai ljigs for a couple of
years and when i picked this one up at the sydney wood show recently
my first attempt was nearly perfect, closer than any other jig had
Take care. Arthur A.
On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 20:45:08 -0500, "Charlie Mraz"
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.