To build or to buy, router tabletop

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I have been debating on whether to make one or buy a router table top. I was thinking of 3/4" MDF with Formica all around, what size I don't know yet. It will be on a sturdy base so I'm not worried about sagging. The fence maybe a combo of parallel and pivot. How far from the router bit to place the T track, don't know yet. I would buy a plate to mount my router. Would I be better off with a metal angle for the fence or would a wooden one be better, if so what type of wood?
A bought tabletop would be nice, you're all set to go with some assembly but does it do what you want it to? Is the top big enough? Does everything slide easily without a lot of play? Does it sag overtime?
I have been looking at some Incra's but I'm not ready for that type of work yet.
What are your opinions?
TIA
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Fri, Nov 9, 2007, 12:27am noreaster1athotmaildotcom (noreaster) doth query: <snip> What are your opinions?
I tried a boughten router table. Once. Then made my own - about 3 versions so far. My opinion is - I'd rather go with a router table I know will answer my needs, rather than what someone else claims will answer my needs. But, you're a big boy, it's your money, spend it the way you want.
JOAT Viet Nam. Divorce. Cancer. Been there, done that, got over it. Now where the Hell are my T-shirts? - JOAT
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On Fri, 9 Nov 2007 00:27:54 -0500, "noreaster" <noreaster1athotmaildotcom> wrote:>I have been debating on whether to make one or buy a router table top.

I constructed my router table top and fence, using Norm's plan. I edge-trimmed the laminated top with white oak. Not sure what kind of wood I used for the fence. The top looks good enough for a kitchen countertop, although much sturdier. I believe I sandwiched (face-glued together) 3/4" ply, 1/2" ply, and contact cemented plastic laminate.
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On Fri, 09 Nov 2007 11:24:34 GMT, Phisherman wrote:

I feel like I'm a slacker here. I built the frame of my router table out of pressure-treated wood because it's heavy and I made the top out of MDF. I sometimes drill holes in the top to clamp jigs and if I never need to I'll just to buy another top and install in 20 minutes. I put a hinge on the MDF top so I can lift it and change the router blades easier. I cut a 3/4 slot in the MDF for my t-square and use different version of straight oak and two clamps (like on the Router Workshop) for my fences. I put a Bosch 1617 in it because I have one and the switch is sometimes a problem with these, and so it's plugged into a power strip that's mounted to the frame. I built some some cubbies and drawers. That's my unlovely but much used router table.
S.
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samson wrote:

You're a slacker?
My whole table is MDF:
<
http://www.bburke.com/images/253_router_table.jpg
I've been using it almost 5 years, with great results. I think it took almost six hours to build. <G>
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Barry... Quick question on your fence:
I see that you have a 2-part fence, which seem common now... Is it just for router bit clearance, or do the 2 sides move independently or something, like a jointer?
mac
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On Fri, 09 Nov 2007 12:38:29 -0800, mac davis

Most fences like that are done to keep the infeed and outfeed straight, like a jointer. If you're trimming material off one side, you set the outfeed in a little bit so the stock remains square.
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On Fri, 09 Nov 2007 22:06:21 GMT, Brian Henderson

ahhh... make sense, now... I was thinking that it was for the same purpose as the notch in my fence, just for bit clearance... I'll incorporate a 2 piece fence into the table I'm designing..
Thanks!
mac
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Mac,

My homebrew router table consists of a Porter Cable 693 router mounted to the underside of one end of my rolling workbench. I built a ONE piece fence out of a couple of scrap boards with a notch in the fence big enough to clear my largest bit. My high-tech adjustment system consists of a hole drilled in one end and a 3/8" pivot bolt that fits though a hole in my workbench. I swing the fence to wherever I need it, then lock it in place with a C-clamp at each end. Very crude, but I can adjust it accurately, and it works well. I've built dozens of cabinet doors and whatnot using that setup.
I got fancy this summer and rebuilt the fence with birch plywood and boxed in the back side with a hole drilled to attach my shop vac. Now I can perform router operations with minimal dust. A minor, but welcome improvement.
Anthony
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On Fri, 09 Nov 2007 12:38:29 -0800, mac davis

Both.
I have an assortment of shims that fit between the fence and fence support hanging on the unseen side of the table. The shims are made from .010-.080" Evergreen Scale Models sheet styrene, sold in hobby shops, and some thinner brass shims. When I loosen the two fence face screws from behind, the shims drop in.
With certain profiles, say triple beads, shimming out the outfeed fence prevents snipe at the end of the part.
If you're not as lazy as I am, dado shims can also be dropped into the space between the fence face and support, but that's an 8' walk for me. <G>
--------------------------------------------- ** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html ** ---------------------------------------------
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It would be a hell of a long walk for me, Barry... I'm still using a wobble blade and the nearest real tool store is about 120 miles North.. lol
I've been looking at Pat Warner's site and might make a simpler version of his fence, with knobs to "micro adjust" the individual sides of the fence.. I don't really do the stuff that requires them or have the skill level to use them, but might as well build them in just in case..
mac
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noreaster wrote:

TIA,
As a moderate amateur, I decided to build my own. I used a plan form American Woodworker from about 2-3 years ago. It used a double 3/4" MDF glue up for the top. Trimmed in maple and formica'ed on both sides. The plan included a center support (with the plate not centered) the offers excellent support for the top. The plan also contained a nice fence system. I used a Rockler aluminum plate and later upgraded to the Rockler (Jessem) lift (same size as regular plate). The nice thing is I can still switch back to the aluminum plate. Dust collection under the cabinet is not very good. I would think about Norm's cabinet/plan.
Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome.
Dave - Parkville
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wrote:

******************************************** Do you where I could find the plans.?
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On Nov 9, 12:27 am, "noreaster" <noreaster1athotmaildotcom> wrote:

I built my own, because I'm cheap, and didn't mind putting the time into it. I found a countertop place in my area and bought a piece of Corian that they had boogered up on an install, about 3' by 5', and used about 2' by 3' of it for my tabletop. I edged it with plain old poplar just to make it look nice, and put in table saw sized miter slot in front of the router, and 2 smaller aluminum T tracks in back to hold the fence down. I built mine with 2 layers of 3/4" plywood supporting the Corian. The tabletop is just sitting on a thrown together open 2x4 frame with a shelf on the bottom. It took me like an hour to put together.
The nice thing about building your own stuff is that you can control how high the thing is. My router table is about 4 feet off the floor, which puts it at a comfortable working height, which lets me concentrate more on my work. And at my level of experience, I need all the concentration I can get!
I built the fence from a simple plan I found online out of birch plywood.
Some notes I'll share: Good sharp router bits will shape Corian very nicely. I wouldn't recommend using anything but sharp bits. Good sharp bits will also trim the aluminum miter track nicely. I cut mine to about 1/8" proud of the tabletop and my router trimmed it up very nicely. I got my "good sharp bit" from Woodcraft when they had a $5 bit sale. I wouldn't use anything super-nice, since Corian and aluminum will be a lot harder on the bit than wood, so try and find a medium quality bit for cheap to use. Make sure your fence can slide far enough back on the table to change your bits without needing to take the fence entirely off the table. On mine I have about 1/2" of clearance for changing bits before the fence has to come off, and if I want to remove the plate, I have to take the fence off entirely. It's a PITA, but not enough to redo the whole thing since my router just slides out the bottom without me needing to take the plate out of the table.
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Thanks for the ideas. I especially like the Corian top.
Right now my router is in my ts table, but I have been thinking about a seperate table for it and am planning to make my own.
Skip www.ShopFileR.com

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On Fri, 9 Nov 2007 09:31:39 -0500, "Skip Williams"

Nothing says you only have to have one either, I've got my standalone table and I've got another router mounted in the wing of my saw, simply because I was doing a lot of cutting, then routing one day and it was a pain to go into the other room to get to the router table. I had the materials and an extra router plate, I put it together in about an hour, made an auxilliary fence that slips over the TS fence and I was set.
All the fancy doo-dads are on the standalone table, but if it's something small I need to do and don't want to go to the router station, I'll fire up the one in the wing.
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wrote:

I surface all of my work surfaces with 1/4" hardboard... Formica or corian are nice, but I'd be worried about scratches and such...
I put the hard board on as a sacrificial top.. Just cut to rough size, put on with double-sided tape and use a router with bearing round over bit..
Add a little Johnson's wax and Bob's your uncle..
Someone sets a truck battery or something on it, spend $5 and replace the top.. YMWV
mac
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words to live by... I made the same mistake.
Also, the miter track is pretty much a waste of time - especially if it in't square to the bit (did that too!)
shelly
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On Sat, 10 Nov 2007 00:13:07 -0800, sheldon.mandel wrote:

OK, you caught me. Why does it have to be square to the bit? Seems it would work at any angle. A pivoting fence does.
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On Sat, 10 Nov 2007 08:35:25 -0800, Larry Blanchard

True, it shouldn't matter if it's square to the bit. It has to be square to the fence though.
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