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I'm in the process of researching and designing a router table. I have an old Craftsman professional model currently which is all aluminum. Well the top has warped and is bowed. The insert sits about 1/16" lower then the table. It's time for a new one. I figure I can build one cheaper then buying one and have all the best options in it and still be money ahead. Money is an option in this build…

I ordered a JessEm Rout-R-Lift II to fit into the new table.
I have a Bosch 1617 router.

I like some of the feature I found in American Woodworker March 2003 issue here
The fence incorporates a Router Table sled as can be seen if you check out the link.

I also like Stumpy Nubs sliding router table as seen here

Which is the better solution; a router table sled that attaches to the fence or a sliding platform like Stumpy used?

I plan to make the top out of 2 layers of 3/4 MDF with formica on top. Any suggestions?
I've never worked with formica before. What is the best way to router out for the lift to drop in when using formica? Just rout it out as normal?

I plan to box in the underside of the router lift to contain and connect my DC to it.

What else would you recommend to incorporate in the table?
I would like the ability to possibly add the Incra Positioner LS system in the future; What size table?
Where is the best location in the table to place the router?

Thanks,
John
 

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Never tried a sliding table on a router table, might be nice if it's smooth, stays level, and can be locked. I wouldn't want it sliding around when I'm routing irregular pieces. If (when) I get around to building another table I'm going to try a pivoting fence. But the table I slapped together over a decade ago has held up so well, building another hasn't been a priority.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rick,
Thanks for the reply…
I'm really intrigued by the Incra stuff. I could really use a new fence on my TS, so I'm considering inorporating my router station in the TS with the Incra Table saw/router setup. Can anybody provide some feedback?

Thanks,
John
 

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I use an older version of this table.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=69204&cat=1,43000,69192

I like being able to raise and lower the table by using a crank off the side of the table. I also like the rulers in the track that adjusts the fence. They are movable rulers and can be adjusted to match your table. Everything is very repeatable. If I make a drawer side and run short, I can make a new one that will match.

BJ
 

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If you have the space, the larger table the better. The 27" x 43" Incra Offset Table is a perfect fit for the 25" Incra Fence.

The WonderFence is a nice addition if you do raised panels or need a sacrificial fence.

A good insert system for your plate is always nice.

A coping sled is also a must if you do cabinet doors with rails and stiles.

You can see my router table and assembly station for more ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you have the space, the larger table the better. The 27" x 43" Incra Offset Table is a perfect fit for the 25" Incra Fence.

The WonderFence is a nice addition if you do raised panels or need a sacrificial fence.

A good insert system for your plate is always nice.

A coping sled is also a must if you do cabinet doors with rails and stiles.

You can see my router table and assembly station for more ideas.

- timbertailor
Thanks I already made yours a favorite!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm really seriously considering the Incra TS positioner and putting the router on the left side of the saw.

I was also playing around with the the idea of getting the 25" for a router table and making a mount to be able to move the positioner back and forth from the router to the TS

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
 

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For me one of the most important functions of a router table is storage. Over time you will acquire jigs, wrenches, base plates, guide bushings and lots of bits and probably other routers. The collection of stuff is almost endless. I built this one. I have a drawer dedicated to 1/2" shank bits, a drawer dedicated to 1/4" bits, a drawer dedicated to jigs and base plates. On the side shelves I have 2 additional routers besides the the one mounted in the table, plus many more accessories. I really like the design and it is a huge improvement over my old one that functioned well but had very little storage. BTW, I have a Bosch 1617 router w/ a Jess Em lift in mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bondo,
Thanks for the info.
I'm in the process of building the router table. I've completed the top, which is 2 layers of 3/4" MDF with white Formica top laminated. I edged it out with maple. The dimensions are: 27×43 I made a template to cut the top for the JessEm Rout-R-Lift but have not cut it through yet. I oversize the template from the plate by the thickness of a business card in each direction.

Off the top of my head I believe the plate is 3/8" thick. What is the recommended depth of the cutout for the plate to fit into the table? In other words, how much should I over rout the depth by?

When mounting the plate, what is the common attachment method being used? The lift has snugger buttons that can exert side pressure against the table. Do people generally only use those or do the bold it down in the 4 corners as well.
(sorry for the questions, this is my first experience with a router plate/lift)

Tomorrow I'll be working on the cabinet of my own design. I'll see about posting pictures and a build log.

I've standardized all my work-surfaces to be 36"

Thanks,
 

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John,
I have the WP lift but I would check the leveling screw adjustments and just make sure you do not cut to deep to render them useless. I would say a 1/16", maybe an 1/8" max.

The sheer weight of the lift and router hold it in place. Nothing is used to hold them down. The two plunger adjusters will make the plate snug in the hole you routed.

Remember, the bit diameter is not the same thing as the cut radius needed for the corners.

Good luck and keep us posted. So far, it sounds like you have made some wise design choices.
 

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Since you asked for ideas… here is some food for thought:

Watch Wood Analog watch Clock Measuring instrument


In the picture you see two ideas that I really like about my router table fence:

The top of my fence has magnets, that will allow me to temporarily mount my dial indicator, which I mounted to a steel plate. This will allows me to perfectly dial in the router bits height.

The other idea is the linear stage positioner, which is mounted behind the fence. These can be found used on eBay for good prices. It's precision OCD, really, but it is great for doing fine adjustments for slots etc., no wiggling with table fence clamps, just turn the dial of the positioner by thousands of an inch… as I said, precision OCD, but I love it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Brad,
Thanks, I was thinking 1/16" so thanks for verifying my mind, which can be scary at times!

DrTebi,
I like the dial indicator mounting, I had a similar idea using a caliper.
Good info for the linear stage positioner, I may have to get one just to play with! LOL. I bought the incra positioner and am designing the table around that.
 

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Good info for the linear stage positioner, I may have to get one just to play with! LOL. I bought the incra positioner and am designing the table around that.

- Case101
The Incra positioner is basically a woodworkers version of a linear stage… so you probably won't need a linear stage. It may be useful for fine adjustments though, anywhere, really, not just on the router table. The problem with linear stages is that they usually only have a small amount of travel (mine has 1"), so it's not a replacement for a Incra positioner.
 

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I routed my table top to fit the router plate exactly in depth, width and length. It is not bolted in, but has a tight friction fit, that is all it needs w/ the weight of the router and lift hanging under it. MDF is stable so allowing for movement is not a concern.
 

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I am also in the process of designing a router table. My question is what is the best size for a top? I have plenty of room, but is 24"x48" too big? Too small? I was thinking about pushing the plate toward the back a little, but I'm not convinced that is a good idea.

Sorry to hijack the thread.
 

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Same here, I can't decide over building a nice one, or just spending the cash on a nice cast iron one. Is melamine board any good for the first layer? I want to make mine as a table saw wing (27"), which would be way smaller than 24"x48".
 

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I think it depends on the size of things you are routing. My router table is built from a piece of 1" thick melamine covered counter top and isn't very big, maybe 18" deep by 24" wide. I've never wanted bigger. It has stayed dead flat over the dozen or more years since I built it.
 
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