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Adding T-track to Laminate Bench Top

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Forum topic by Psustang89 posted 08-13-2019 02:41 PM 262 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Psustang89

3 posts in 614 days


08-13-2019 02:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: laminate melamine t-track

I recently acquired a home-built router table/cabinet that fits my needs almost perfectly. The top is a laminate/melamine material without any miter tracks. The previous owner simply used clamps to hold the fence in place. I would like to add two T-tracks for fence adjustment and 1 for a miter gauge.

My question: Is it possible to use a router to cut grooves for T-track in the table top without completely destroying the surface? I am a noob and scared to ruin the router table top.

Thanks!


9 replies so far

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SMP

1318 posts in 360 days


#1 posted 08-13-2019 03:00 PM

Personally, I usually use masking tape pressed down very hard onto the melamine and a dado blade on the table saw. It should work on router table too, but check the bit for tape residue often.

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pottz

5791 posts in 1439 days


#2 posted 08-13-2019 05:45 PM

yeah it’s no problem i did it on mine.here is what i did.

this pic is very small look in my projects and you can see a better look.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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HokieKen

10437 posts in 1593 days


#3 posted 08-13-2019 07:11 PM

I would add a standard miter slot instead of T-track so you can use standard miter gauges and jig bars. T-track will work well for the fence of course. I cut my miter slot in my table (formica on MDF) with no issues with tearout. Just use a straight flute bit. An upcut spiral may give issues on the melamine.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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therealSteveN

3390 posts in 1029 days


#4 posted 08-13-2019 07:37 PM

Ken they have dual tracks with both a miter slot, and a 1/4 20 slot for jigs, They are the perfect pairing, you can get a LOT of bang with them.

Answering the question about should you on a premade table top?

pottz answered correctly with a but…..... There are a number of different weights of T track, and Miter slots, and depending on the heavy dutinees (is that a word?) of the track, some are a bit taller, or require a deeper groove to sit flush. I’ve had some that was a full 3/4” thick with both the 1/4 20, and a miter slot in them. That deep a cut could possibly impact some thinner tops. So carefully gauge your tops thickness, and choose carefully to only get a track that will take less than half the thickness, or hanging a heavier router, or a router, and a lift especially, or you could have breakage issues if the top is melamine. Either that or figure a way to brace the top from underneath, and not impact the hanging of the router.

This combo is a nice strength/weight, and also thinner than some for a combo track Still it’s just over a 1/2”.

Also look at this one's pic showing depth and width. Note they are measuring depth from inside the track, so you need more than 3/8” to sit it flush. Because this can be really unclear about how deep you would need to go, My suggestion is to not buy any product that doesn’t fully explain itself, especially when they go to the trouble to show you dimensions. What extra cost would it have been to put the real depth on the other side?

-- Think safe, be safe

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pottz

5791 posts in 1439 days


#5 posted 08-13-2019 07:49 PM

thanks TRSN i wasn’t aware of the dual track now ive gotta update, again-lol.
yeah if i was doing it now id definitely go with the dual track.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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therealSteveN

3390 posts in 1029 days


#6 posted 08-13-2019 07:57 PM

Incra, P Tree, and a few other kinda more specialty places have had it for years. With the huge increase in using tracks everyone wants in now. That Infinity track is a great one though. Not sure where it falls in price wise, but it sometimes goes on sale. Good mix of strength, lower weight, and not a huge surround. I think of that one as a hybrid track.

-- Think safe, be safe

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therealSteveN

3390 posts in 1029 days


#7 posted 08-13-2019 08:01 PM

The stuff I had that was 3/4” deep was from Woodline, but it s years old now. I see they have slimmed down to 9/16 They used to be a big player in the dual tracks too. I think I saw it there long before P Tree.

I think back then the extrusion process wasn’t as highly tuned, and it was frequent to have the lighter weight stuff just crimp, and come out of the dado track if you put even mild pressure on a clamping device on it. I used that Woodline track on an MDF top I made, dual deep 3/4” layers. I used 2 solid, then one around the track for a 2 1/4” top. I could use a crowbar on that stuff, and it wasn’t moving between screws, and glue holding it down.

- therealSteveN

-- Think safe, be safe

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therealSteveN

3390 posts in 1029 days


#8 posted 08-13-2019 08:05 PM

Double Trouble

-- Think safe, be safe

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Rich

4701 posts in 1044 days


#9 posted 08-14-2019 01:31 AM

In addition to the above, I’d recommend using a down-cut spiral bit. You’ll get much cleaner edges.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

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