Cut out for router table plate

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Forum topic by Don posted 11-13-2009 10:40 PM 5886 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 3862 days

11-13-2009 10:40 PM

I feel that this question must have already been asked, but I’ve searched for about 45 minutes with no luck.

In lieu of the tedious – and not always accurate – method of using different size bits and templet guides, wouldn’t it be easier and more accurate to just place the plate on the desired place on the table, surround it with 4 pieces of wood taped to the table with double stick tape, remove the plate, route the hole completely through the table with a pattern cutting bid, remove the wood templet, flip the table over on a very flat surface, such as your table say, place the router plate in the opening and glue/screw four pieces of 3/4” wide wood butted up to the plate to hold it in place?

I would think this method would be very easy and offer a perfect fit every time. Of course, my wife will tell you I have a habit of ALWAYS being wrong.


-- Don

10 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4090 days

#1 posted 11-13-2009 10:54 PM

That sounds like it would work . I don’t think it’s that hard to do it the normal way though.

View Don's profile


26 posts in 3862 days

#2 posted 11-13-2009 11:49 PM

Jim, it just seems that the articles I’ve read mention, “sneeking up to the final fit” or calculating bit and templet guide size, etc., then making the wood templet larger than the opening to accommodate the bit and bushing. Then those expanded lines need to be drawn and the strips of wood that make up the template need to be placed perfectly straight on the correct side of the line. It sounds simple, but in my experience – which I admit is not extensive – I’ve found there is always room for error.

I would think that my method would leave very little room for error.

Am I wrong?

-- Don

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4090 days

#3 posted 11-14-2009 12:45 AM

Hey Don
Sneaking up on it is aways a good idea. Every body does all there work they way that works for them. there is some fiddling to to make it fit but it still works. all said an done when you have done something one way an it works then you do it that way again (especially us old guys like me). So go for your plan and post it here and teach us a better way.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4638 days

#4 posted 11-14-2009 02:12 AM

I have both a Festool MFS kit, and a home-built version of the MFS, and that’s pretty much how I did it: Align the jig on the outside of the router lift plate, clamp the jig to the table surface (I’d already cut out a hole for the mechanics of the router lift with the jig saw) route using a bearing bit, drop the router lift in the resulting slot.

Because I chew up jigs less when I use a guide bushing (“Nooooo, I didn’t mean to release the plunge!”), for my next one (and, yes, I’m planning on another router table shortly) I’ll just use a a guide bushing and bit with a known size difference, measure the lift plate with a set of calipers (or read it off the documentation), and set the MFS to the resulting size. “Sneaking up” is for when you can’t predict a cut accurately. Has its place, but for me that’s in saw work, rarely in router work.

(And I think I’ve got a jig that’ll solve that problem in saw work coming shortly… The concept seems sound.)

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Don's profile


26 posts in 3862 days

#5 posted 11-19-2009 07:10 PM

Interesting technique, Dan. I have another treatment scheduled this afternoon with my physical therapist for my back which began bothering me again. If he can straighten things out, I’ll need to decide which way to go.

I have a set of unfinished stereo cabinets in my den that I haven’t been able to complete because of my back. As soon as I can get them out of the way I’m going to build the router top as an extension to my table saw. Don’t know when that will be, because this is the longest my #^^$^# back has handicaped me. Pinched nerves ain’t fun.

Jim, if I go with my way I’m not counting on it being better than yours. I come up with all kinds of “genius” ideas that suck, to say the least.

Will send a picture when its complete.

-- Don

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4090 days

#6 posted 11-19-2009 08:05 PM

Hey Don
Feel better, that back pain is tough route to go. I’m sure your template will be great just do a practice piece first. Looks like Dan had a good technique.

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3866 days

#7 posted 11-19-2009 09:26 PM

When I did mine it was a three step process to make the template, time consuming yes, but I wanted a perfect fit with no slop no gap. I tried a similar method on my first router table, clamping the boards instead of double sided tape with not good enough results.

This time I double sided taped a piece of MDF to the actual router place and used my old router table and bearing bit to machine the MDF to be a replica of the plate.

I then took that piece of MDF and screwed it to two other pieces of MDF so I had a 3 layer MDF sandwich. I used a bearing bit to cut the middle piece of MDF, the bearing running on the copy piece of MDF of the plate.

When that was done I removed the copy piece of MDF of the plate and the piece in the middle layer of MDF. I then used a collect and straight bit to cut a hole in the bottom layer of MDF running the collet around the hole in the middle piece of MDF. I sized the collet and straight bit so that the hole in in the bottom MDF piece was then the exact size of the router plate.

That bottom piece of MDF was now the template to cut the hole in the router table. First I used a straight bottom bearing bit with the template only cutting down the thickness of the router plate, this then became the rabbit that the router plate rests on. I removed the template and using a jigsaw then cut out the hole following the inner edge of the rabbit.

Time consuming, as I said but when I dropped that router plate in place there was no gap, no slop, and no height adjustment needed.

So, if you’re going to try the double sided tape method you described, I wouldn’t cut through the table just cut the rabbit that the plate sits on with a bottom bearing bit and cut out the center hole then there’s no gluing on support pieces.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6664 posts in 3708 days

#8 posted 11-19-2009 10:06 PM

Hey Don: I made a router plate cutout just like your talking about on another r.t. I had(gave it to my son).
I cut all the way through, flipped it over, put the plate underneath, fitted it good, put 4 hardwood 3/4” oak strips on it, and glued and screwed them in. Perfect allignment. Worked good. Go for it.

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4388 days

#9 posted 11-19-2009 11:42 PM

This is how I did it:

My New Router Table #7 (scroll down to the bottom)

My New Router Table #8

-- Happy woodworking!

View James Austin's profile

James Austin

27 posts in 3694 days

#10 posted 11-19-2009 11:48 PM

I made my router table top from a piece of three quarter inch particle board, and a piece of quarter inch masonite….
The router plate is quarter inch lexan 12×12..
I cut a 12” square in the masonite, and an oblong hole just big enough for the router in the particle board

had this for 20 years… when the masonite surface gets worn, you cut a new one, and throw the old one away….

-- Some people have a shop so they can build things, the rest of us build things so we can have a shop...

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