Why use a plate on router tables?

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I am about to make a router table out of a piece of corian. It will be an awful lot easier to simply mount the router base to the corian than to buy a plate and cut and route out the corian to accomdate the base. Besides, with no base I don't have to worry about the base not being flush.
When I asked about corian a few weeks ago someone said it wasn't rigid enough to hold a router. But wouldn't epoxying some oak supports across the bottom, just outside of the base, make it pretty darn rigid? (I might even epoxy the base to the table and eliminate all the screws. That ought to enhance rigidity.)
So why are plates important?
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Yes, if epoxy will stick.

So you can take the router out easily.
Mike
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You can get around or accept some of the loss of convenience of not having a plate, if your router is table friendly (such as the Triton). But one thing you cannot get around is the loss of available cutting edge on the router if you put it the usual 3/4" or thicker top. Many bits simply cannot reach above the table far enough when you add the thickness of the top.
Bob
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How thick is the top? Will you be able to change bits from the top if you run it all the way up? If not, you want to be able to lift out he router and plate for a fast bit change. You also want to be able to utilized the full height of the bit and if you are mounting the router on a thick piece, the small bit will not give much depth of cut.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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It's not actually all that hard, just cut the rough hole with a jigsaw or whatever you've got, and then clamp some straight scrap to the table to act as a guide for routing the lip the insert sits on. You can use the insert itself to set the depth of the bit on the router to ensure that the insert sits flush with the top.
You don't need to buy a plate- I've got a piece of 1/4" hardboard, and it works great. It may not last as long as a retail plastic insert, but hardboard is cheap enough to replace without guilt.

My first router table was a quick and dirty temporary one that was made from a piece of 3/4" ply that I milled out in the center to allow the router to mount into it. No plate, and I learned quickly enough that not having that removable plate in there makes adjusting the router so irritating, and the bit changes so difficult, that I rarely used my router for anything. When you've got a removable plate, you can pull the whole works out to do your adjustments, but if you don't, you have to kneel down and monkey around under the table to do anything. As far as rigidity went, the 3/4" crap pine plywood from Menard's held up just fine, but as stated above, it just was not very nice to work with.
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A table top is 3/4" - 1" thick
An insert is just 1/4" thick
That extra 1/2" of effective plunge depth is worth having.
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IF you ever intend to spin large bits like a raised panel bit you will need a larger hole for the bit to fit into. That larger hole is simply too big for smaller bits. You would loose too much support under the work when using small bits.
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So, therer are three reasons: 1) Since the plate is thinner, it give a bit more reach for the router. 2) The plate/router can be removed if necessary. 3) The plate might have inserts to change the hole size.
I will be using 1/2" Corian. Could I rout out a 1/4" depression exactly the size of the router base, and then glue the router base in? That seems like it ought to be strong enough, especially for my 1617, which isn't all that heavy. (I guess I would feel better about this if someone had done it successfully before)
My current table has a plate, and I have never taken the plate out except to remove the router before I had a spare for hand use. I find kneeling down to be easier than removing it.
Inserts would be nice; my present plate has one insert which is too small for big bits, and it makes raised panels a real PITA. But making an insert should be just as easy as routing out for a plate, no?
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In my case, the plate does a couple of things:
* Holds the lift hardware.
* Lets me mount different throat plates (i.e. different sized holes for the router bits to stick up through).
* Lets me change the router bit from the top (by removing the throat plate).
* Lets me quickly remove the router (also from the top).
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I have been using a router table without an inset for years. No problems. I am about to build a new one and it will have a plate. The reason for the plate on the new one is mainly so I can change hole sizes, particularly for template guides. The router I use is a PC 690. Does everything I want it to. Adjustments are easy from beneath the table (I don't find bending over to be a hardship) and the motor comes out quite easily for bit changes. I doubt I will remove the plate at all once its installed. I wouldn't glue the base in if I were you. There will be no significant rigidity advantage over using bolts and you might want to remove the base one day. In any case, high frequently vibration and torque have a serious tendency to loosen things, like cracking glue joints. I wouldn't want a spinning router coming loose unexpectedly.

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Darn good point!
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Where'd you get the Corian? I've been looking for some scraps for turning.
As to the table, I have a router lift with a 1/4" plate I like very much, which has it's own leveling screws and is set in 1" counter top material, formica surface. Also supported with 2 boards as you described. No measurable warp in two years. The original reason for the table was to have a cabinet underneath to contain the shop vac I was using for DC. I'm in a townhouse and must reduce noise, from the router as well. I'm about to ditch the cabinet (and the vac) and build an enclosed extension table for the saw, saving a lot of space in my one car shop.
That said, Pat Warner likes his routers mounted directly to the table with bolts, with the routers base carved out of the bottom so as to maximize cut depth and eliminate warpage. David Marks on DIY TV "woodworks" seems to have his set up the same way.
Matter of personal preference, either way will work. I'm holding on to the lift myself.
Hope this was helpful, Gary
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I went to an auction where they had about 500sf for sale in a lot. I didn't bid because it was too much to even fit in my van, but bought about 50sf off him for (drum roll please...) $5.

That is good to know. I was thinking about doing it that way since you get the whole thickness to hold the bolts; but it is nice to know that someone competent does it that way!
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Take a look around at commercial shops. The vast majority of router tables are just a board with a hole in it with a router screwed to it. When I made my first one, the shop that I worked at at the time had five router tables, all made this way. Their logic is simple. If they need more than that, they go to the shaper. The fancy router tables are found mostly in the home shop.

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I'm not sure I got across what I meant. Say you have a 1" thick table, you turn it upside down and route a 1/2" depression in it the shape of your router base, so you are actually bolting the base to 1/2" of material. Up to you how much table you leave above the router, but you will lose that much plunge travel. Depends on your material strength. With Corian, I'd probably leave 1/2" or more.
On another note, yes, epoxy will glue Corian. I heard a Dupont trained installer say that colored epoxy is what they use to fill the seams when putting in counter top.
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Thank you for clarifying that. What I have in mind is somewhat different. I would make the depression as you suggest, but put the bolts in the full thickness next to the router, and hold the router in place with pieces running between the bolts. That way I can make the depression nearly the entire thickness of the surface (leaving perhaps 1/8") and not have to worry about strength because the router would be hung from the full thickness. Does this make sense. I kinda got the idea from a router table I saw that uses clamps to support the router.
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Toller,
Everyone else has pretty well given all the reasons why a plate is beneficial. Now if you look at today's post from Kevin P. Fleming, you will see he has an original Rout-R-Lift plate for sale at a very reasonable cost. I have two of them and they are rock solid devices. There are other models but for the money he's asking - snap it up.
Put some good hefty hardwood bracing under the corian, mount the plate and add a decent router fence and you're good to go. Pat Warner has a lot of excellent router and accessory information on his site http://www.patwarner.com and you may want to look at the fence he has to offer. This was a project in FWW a few years back and I built the fence. It has been a workhorse, solid, accurate (micro-adjustable) and combined with the Jessem Rout-R-Lift, a helluva combination. Overkill - probably. Accurate and easy to use - absolutely and even after 5 years of use it's as accurate as the day I made it. But even as Pat Warner say's on his site, a piece of MDF and a 2x4 is all you need.....
Bob S.

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i did that. it works but is inconvenient. now i use plates. have em on 4 routers. when doing multiple operations it sure is nice to set up several routers and just drop em in as needed. stile rail and raised panels come to mind.
skeez
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toller says...

I'm considering ditching the plate too. I've been suffering with a not quite flat plate for about six months now. If the center is level with the table, then there is a ledge where the work piece can catch. I bought one insert, and I'm not in a hurry to buy another. My idea was to make the top from good quality and reasonably affordable wood like walnut, Honduras mahogany or canarywood. A recess can be routed just big enough to fit the base so that I can get as much bit showing as with a base plate. My base plate is 3/8". This system would have a couple advantages like an unbroken surface and the ability to flatten and level it in the future if the need arises. I'm not sure it would be all I hope, but I may try it.
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Actually, sagging is a problem with some plates. I have that problem now with a 3/8" thick plastic plate. I guess the router is too heavy. It is not a huge router.
Bill
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