A couple of quick questions regarding turning an extension table into a router
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
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.
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.
One thing I would like to share - about building my own router top, with
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....
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.
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.
1) Just about every insert is different.
2) Are you doing a true T-slot or just a groove? Straight groove is much
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.
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
I can't show a picture, since the router table top is still a bunch of
parts in the basement.
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.
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.
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