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
So why are plates important?
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.
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.
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.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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.
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
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?
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
* Lets me quickly remove the router (also from the top).
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
Where'd you get the Corian? I've been looking for some scraps for
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.....
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.
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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