Where to position router plate


After reviewing a variety of router table designs, I noticed that the position in which the router plate goes varies greatly. Some people place it fairly close to the front, whereas others place it back quite a ways.
I presume that positioning the router "back" a ways allows for more room in front for the object being routed. Putting the router more up front makes is easier to work with but takes away from the front space.
However, I've even seen it with the router WAY up front and a LONG fence reach capability - here I assume that the person intends to feed the wood Left-to-Right "behind" the router. Can't think of any other reason to have the table that deep.
Anyway - is there some optimal distance that people use for positioning the router? I am assuming for my purposes that the back of the router table will normally be butted up against the wall. And so of course, you can assume that the router table is stand-alone (ie, not an extension of a saw table).
Thanks!
Jack
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"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message

Consider first that a router bit does not have a front or back side relative to the router table. If you position the router closer to the front of the table you can always turn the fence around and use the back side if you need more room. 95% of my routing on the router table is narrow stock. The router being closer to the front keeps me from having to lean over as much. If I need to do a round over on a large panel I use a hand held router or flip the fence and use the larger back side of the router table.
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mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net wrote:

there's no "correct" location. think of what size material you typically will rout and let that be your guide. the fact that you've noticed so many configurations should be a clue that it depends on what your most often gonna use your router table for. My router table's insert is fairly close to the front because it's set up for a deep router fence--a Twin Linear. It's also a bit narrow. Is it perfect? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I'd like a variable sized table, in a perfect world. When I want to rout the edges of a door frame, the table is too narrow and too shallow. For most every other operation, it's fine.
Strike a balance, is my best advice. If shop real estate is at a premium, you rout mostly small stuff, go with a smallish footprint table. If you have lots of space, and rout bigger things and don't mind bending over a larger table, go larger.
There just isn't gonna be a one-size-fits-all table that's the cat's meow under all circumstances.
I extend my table's size with rollers when necessary and it's a PITA. I'm not about to make the table permanently bigger, because that's not an ideal solution for me (lack of space in shop, and I don't often need the bigger table for 98% of my routing operations).
You don't feed the wood "behind" the router bit. That will trap the piece between the fence and the bit, which is a major no-no. the workpiece is fed right to left, with the bit between the workpiece and fence, often nearly flush with the fence.
Dave
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Ditto what Leon said. I based my table on the American WW design and placed it closer to one side. Which is where I generally use it. But, as Leon said, for large items, I flip the fence around and use the other side for more surface support.
David
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