router table setup

Hi, I'm getting ready -- finally -- to mount my router in the end of my table saw extension. I'm planning to use an auxillary router fence mounted to the TS fence, and stand facing down the length of the extension. Two questions: First, how far back from the front end of the table (in my case, the end of the TS extension table) should the router be? The extension table is close to 60", so space behind the bit is no problem. What is a good way to decide how much table should be in front of the bit? 18" seems to be a comfortable reach, but that seems to be a little further back than most tables I've seen. Pat Warner's, for example, appears to be 13-14 inches (http://patwarner.com/router_table.html ). Is that a function of the overall size of the table? If so, that's not a factor in my setup. Or is there some reason to keep the bit closer to the front? Second, I have a piece of 3/8" aluminum approximately 9X12" for the mounting base. I'm thinking of cutting it down to 9X9, so it's a little lighter weight, and so I can put a smaller hole in the extension table. What are the advantages and disadvantages to a big plate vs. a small plate? A 9X9 plate should be big enough to mount any router, right? I'm planning on using my DW618, leaving the fixed base more-or-less permanently attached, and I'll use the D-handle base Santa is bringing for hand-held routering. Even if I get a bigger router in the future, I would think 9X9 would be plenty big -- unless there's a reason I'm missing for a bigger base? Thanks, and Happy (US) Thanksgiving! Lewis
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What will you be routing? If you will be routng a dado in a 48" panel, yo want it far bakc. If you are doing edges of smaller pieces, you don't want to be leaning all the time. In my case, I have a table and the bit is about 1/3 back. This is nice and close for 99% of the work, but working from the other side th e bit is back further and it is easier for large panels.

If 18" is very comfortable, you must be tall and have long arms. I'd go closer to 12". But I'm not you so do what feels good. With 60", I'd consier a second space and fil it iwth a blank when you don't use it in that location.

Bending and reaching is tough on the lower back.

I'd look at commercially available router lifts that you may be dreaming about. Then I'd make the cutout that size of slightly smaller. Easy to enlarge compared to filling in. Cutting 3" off the plate is not going to save a lot of weight.

Beats me.

Once you take the router n and out a few times you'll be hankering for a second router. I don't recall the last time I used my hand held. Once I got the table set up, I used the hand held maybe twice. YMMV.

To you also. Ed
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Lewis wrote:

Good morning Lewis,

That's kind of an answer dependent upon what you are doing as Edwin has already mentioned. In my case I have a 24" deep table and the center of the router bit is 16" back (1/3 2/3) from the front edge. I like as much real estate in front of the fence as possible for large(r) pieces and this isn't so far back that I feel I'm hanging over the table when I'm using it. Also, because of design I needed the 8" to be out the back so I could mount the router and have space for a fence (mine is a stand alone (stationary) router table).

Personal comfort and how much out the back you might need to mount a fence though in your case the latter isn't a factor.

A lot of tables I've seen have the router very close to the front because the user has an Incra style fence which pretty much dictates the bulk of the table to the back side.

Believe it or not, and this could just be me, I have found that despite the small tables on machines like band saws and drill presses (and router tables) we seem to get by. Despite this finding I still prefer more table for my router but I have gotten by with less.

Weight, in this case, isn't a factor unless you are wanting to use the base outside the table (not a bad idea some times/you will when you need a wider base for free hand routing) and even then the 3" X 9" of "extra" aluminum isn't going to kill you.

Maybe, maybe not. Wider inserts will allow you to clear the handles on the router base. For instance, the 3 horse Porter-Cable router measures 11 3/16" (ish) from handle to handle. By mounting it slightly off kilter the handles will clear the insert hole with an 11" insert.

See above. I'd leave it 9" X 11" but that's just me.

You are welcome and ditto to you and urine.
UA100
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Thanks, guys! I appreciate the input. I think I'll bring it out a little closer than 18" so I don't have to reach so far. I'll leave the plate as large as I can just in case there's a lift in my future!

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If you do continuous runs, leaning over will become tiring. I have the Bench Dog set up and the center of the bit is 8.5" from the front edge of the table.
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I have a 24 X 32 stand alone shop built table, which also doubles as an extension for the TS. Contemplating moving to your situation, built into the TS for space considerations. Currently, router table has dust collection from the bottom, as well as from behind the fence (can be used as either/or/both). You might want to keep dust collection in mind, and noise too, if that is a factor where you live. I plan to build an easily opened or removed box around my TS mounted router with dust collection provision on the bottom. I've found the behind the fence one works great for edge profiling, but with slots and dadoes, the chips just pack the groove unless there is vacuum under the router bit. This also makes the router work harder and the bit dull sooner. Also, I have the original Jessem router lift, been very happy with it, can dial depth of cut in thousanths no problem. You might consider a lift, or a model of router that has been designed with router table use in mind, and a wrench that adjusts through a hole in your table. Happy Turkey Day!
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Thanks, Gary. I hadn't thought of dust collection from the bottom. I've got it planned out for the fence, and I'll incorporate your "box" idea as well. A lift and a dedicated router would be great, but neither is likely in the near future. Lewis

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