Router table top Questions

Hi All, A couple of quick questions regarding turning an extension table into a router table top. Is there a standard cutout size for the cutout, or do I buy an insert plate and size it around that? I've never had great luck with cutouts, how would you do the cutout (router and template)? As for the T-slot grooves for the router fence, how long would you recommend and would you put them on both sides of the bit? It's a Jet Extension Table with a melamine top and MDF core.
Thanks,
Kevin Daly
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As to the insert plate, since you live in the US you might want to visit Woodhaven's web site. They sell a template along with the insert. Cheers, JG
Kevin Daly wrote:

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Every brand is different. Most come with a template.

You have to cut two levels. The center is removed completely, the edge is left intact to support the mounting plate.

Mine is in the front only, YMMV. Ed
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Don't think there's a standard size. Perhaps a "more common" size, but in the end I think you pick the plate you want and that drives the size. I went with the Rousseau plate. You can buy a template, but I saw a Wood article on how to use 4 pieces of scrap MDF to make a template. I ended up spending the template $ on the router bit mentioned in the article. Results were fine, even for my first attempt.
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One thing I would like to share - about building my own router top, with custom insert...
When you get the rabbet just right, insert in, and all is LEVEL, with no lip as you slide across the join from wood to insert (top wise), be prepared for the incredible ability of wood dust to work its way under your screwed down joint, insert to table. I am about to remove my previously levelled insert, and work out some way of sealing the join so that the dust doesnt work its way under my clear insert and force it to rise - creating a lip....
Mike R.
Peace

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On Sun, 09 May 2004 04:58:02 GMT, "Mike Richardson"

Glue? Countersunk screws and table top fasteners?
Barry
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One technique is to rebate deeper than necessary by about 8mm and use evenly spaced screws to support the plate (so the plate 'floats' on the screwheads. You can lower and raise the plate with the screws to allow for any movement or warping of the plate that way.
--
Greg

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My router plate sits on just the coners, the rest of the top is cut straight through. I am planing on completely removing the step in the corners, and add a steel bracket at each corner with an adjusting screw. Greg
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1) Just about every insert is different.
2) Are you doing a true T-slot or just a groove? Straight groove is much simpler.
3) Only one full length slot is necessary.
4) MDF is not the ideal material for a router table top IMO. Two things to consider, first for the T-slot, though the melamine will act as an hard surface MDF chips and flakes quite easily, I would consider cutting an oversize slot, gluing in a hardwood strip and re-rout the slot in that. Second, MDF is not very stiff and with the weight of the router might begin to sag, consider adding stiffening to the frame.
Bernard R
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What I'm currently doing is using an aluminum extrusion T-slot from Lee Valley. These can be screwed into a 3/4" x 1/2" slot and will be stronger than a T-slot in hardwood. It also means that you don't need a T-slot router bit.
I'm also using two slots, one on either side of the bit. They are being arranged so that the fence is supported at its outer quarter points. That is, if the fence is, say, 36 inches long, the T-slots are 9 inches in from each end.

I am using two slots since that will prevent wiggle compared to one. I'm also using cam-clamps to lock the fence in position (also available from LV).
I can't show a picture, since the router table top is still a bunch of parts in the basement.
Mike
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wrote:

As a little aside to this discussion: I made my fence from a piece of 80-20 extrusion I picked up from the scrap yard. I made a single acme screw positioner for it which gives me thou accuracy but I think the interesting part is that I sealed the ends and bottom of the extrusion and use use vacuum as the hold-down. Lifting the fence lifts the whole table, useful for fixing feather boards and other hold down fixtures. The slots in the 80-20 allow for easy movement of the hardwood faces.
Bernard R
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It'll be just a straight groove. I have aluminum t-slot tracks that I purchased from Woodcraft.
The frame of the table tob is hardwood (Maple?) and the table seems plenty stout for supporting the router.
Thanks for the replies.
Kevin Daly
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