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Question on T-Slots and T-Tracks

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Forum topic by PresidentsDad posted 08-21-2019 01:53 PM 1250 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PresidentsDad

147 posts in 1263 days


08-21-2019 01:53 PM

All,
Thinking of building a jig and rather than using the method that the plans call for, I was going to get a t-slot bit and route it at the router table. The question….is there a t-slot bit that will allow both a 1/4-20 hex bolt AND a 1/4-20 T bolt?


18 replies so far

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1256 posts in 927 days


#1 posted 08-21-2019 05:16 PM

Whiteside has T-Slot router bits. #3070, and #3075. whitesiderouterbits.com. I get my Whiteside bits locally https://www.woodstocksupply.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Whiteside+3070

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

786 posts in 4289 days


#2 posted 08-21-2019 05:29 PM

Typically, T-slot cutter bits are made to accommodate T-bolts which have a thinner cross section of the head.

If you want to cut the slot for bolts, you make the first pass, then lower (or raise) the bit for the second pass. This should accommodate the bolt head cross section.

And as a recommendation, when you are routing your slots, start with a STRAIGHT bit of the appropriate diameter. Make the cut in shallow passes. Once you have the depth, switch over to the slot cutting bit and finish it off.

There is a lot of material to remove and because of the cross section, the wood dust does not have an easy path of escape.

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Rich's profile

Rich

6610 posts in 1605 days


#3 posted 08-21-2019 05:29 PM

My T-slot tracks all accept 1/4-20 and regular T-Bolts. Something I’ve been using lately that I much prefer to T-slots for jigs is this: https://store.microjig.com/products/matchfit-dovetail-hardware-variety-pack

I used them on a dado jig for my router and it was a big improvement over the bolts, knobs, etc, that my first one used. You can see it here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/RichTaylor/blog/129995

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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PresidentsDad

147 posts in 1263 days


#4 posted 08-21-2019 05:30 PM



Typically, T-slot cutter bits are made to accommodate T-bolts which have a thinner cross section of the head.

If you want to cut the slot for bolts, you make the first pass, then lower (or raise) the bit for the second pass. This should accommodate the bolt head cross section.

And as a recommendation, when you are routing your slots, start with a STRAIGHT bit of the appropriate diameter. Make the cut in shallow passes. Once you have the depth, switch over to the slot cutting bit and finish it off.

There is a lot of material to remove and because of the cross section, the wood dust does not have an easy path of escape.

Cheers!

- FirehouseWoodworking


Thanks for the advice!

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1256 posts in 927 days


#5 posted 08-22-2019 03:27 AM

One method which is to use a 3/4” straight router bit and route to a depth to fit a t-tract, this one will accept 1/4 bolts and the T-bolts https://www.rockler.com/universal-t-track-universal-t-track. I do have a T-slot router bit, and I’ve also used the Rocker 17 piece T-tract kits to make jigs that I got on sale for $19 each a year ago

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PresidentsDad

147 posts in 1263 days


#6 posted 08-23-2019 03:22 AM

I was looking to avoid purchasing t-track altogether and just route the T directly into the workpiece/jig/etc.


One method which is to use a 3/4” straight router bit and route to a depth to fit a t-tract, this one will accept 1/4 bolts and the T-bolts https://www.rockler.com/universal-t-track-universal-t-track. I do have a T-slot router bit, and I ve also used the Rocker 17 piece T-tract kits to make jigs that I got on sale for $19 each a year ago

- WoodenDreams


View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

5104 posts in 3004 days


#7 posted 08-23-2019 11:09 AM

I have cut T-slots to use in jigs. However, I do not care to use a standard bolt on them as they can pull thru. T-bolts are much better.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6684 posts in 2403 days


#8 posted 08-23-2019 12:05 PM

I like using dovetail slots. They can be a little fiddly to size right though. I think that they tend to be a little stronger than a wood T-track. I have pulled t-bolts right through the tracks when I cranked down a little too hard. I have never had that happen with a dovetail track. One nice thing is that you can also cut your own slides for them though they probably don’t slide as nicely as the ones that Rich linked to. I suppose you could make the slides out of UHDW.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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PresidentsDad

147 posts in 1263 days


#9 posted 04-13-2020 08:09 PM



I like using dovetail slots. They can be a little fiddly to size right though. I think that they tend to be a little stronger than a wood T-track. I have pulled t-bolts right through the tracks when I cranked down a little too hard. I have never had that happen with a dovetail track. One nice thing is that you can also cut your own slides for them though they probably don t slide as nicely as the ones that Rich linked to. I suppose you could make the slides out of UHDW.

- Lazyman


Thanks. I assume you are using the MicroJig MatchFit Dovetail system? Have you made any “tracks” yourself? How easy is it to get the bit centered where you need it?

View roofner's profile

roofner

145 posts in 3299 days


#10 posted 04-13-2020 08:30 PM

I have bought the clamps from micro jig and some of the accessories.


My T-slot tracks all accept 1/4-20 and regular T-Bolts. Something I ve been using lately that I much prefer to T-slots for jigs is this: https://store.microjig.com/products/matchfit-dovetail-hardware-variety-pack

I used them on a dado jig for my router and it was a big improvement over the bolts, knobs, etc, that my first one used. You can see it here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/RichTaylor/blog/129995

- Rich


-- Gary New York

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

16737 posts in 2154 days


#11 posted 04-13-2020 08:47 PM

How much force will be applied to your t-track on this jig? One thing people overlook when routing the profile rather than using a track is that the wood won’t hold up to being pulled on like metal will. The “wings” will break off. If the track is for a stop block or feather boards or something like that, it’s one situation because you’re compressing the weak part of the profile when you tighten down. But, if it’s for hold-down clamps for instance, you’re pulling on the weak section. Just a heads-up for something that is often overlooked.

FWIW, t-track is cheap. I have a router bit that I used to put track for featherboards on my router table fence. That was probably the only time it will ever be used. The track is just too inexpensive and too easy to install IMO. The only reason I can think of that I would route the profile instead of installing track is if the material was just too thin.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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Lazyman

6684 posts in 2403 days


#12 posted 04-14-2020 01:30 AM


I like using dovetail slots. They can be a little fiddly to size right though. I think that they tend to be a little stronger than a wood T-track. I have pulled t-bolts right through the tracks when I cranked down a little too hard. I have never had that happen with a dovetail track. One nice thing is that you can also cut your own slides for them though they probably don t slide as nicely as the ones that Rich linked to. I suppose you could make the slides out of UHDW.

- Lazyman

Thanks. I assume you are using the MicroJig MatchFit Dovetail system? Have you made any “tracks” yourself? How easy is it to get the bit centered where you need it?

- PresidentsDad

No, I usually just cut my own track and slide, though the MicroJig system is probably much easier. My jigs are usually one-off devices that don’t get used for more than a short time and I have not bothered to buy their system because I don’t think far enough ahead to buy them in advance. Getting the slot centered is about the same as using a straight bit to cut a dado. The slide is a little more difficult because you want it tight fit but it has to be loose enough to slide, though as long as you don’t need it to be flush when it is tightened, it doesn’t need to be exact.

Kenny makes a good point. If you need to be able to crank it down really tight, especially for something you will use over and over, the aluminum T-track is the way to go.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Redoak49

5104 posts in 3004 days


#13 posted 04-14-2020 01:58 AM

I have cut them with the T-slot router bit but they are not very strong and can break. For some applications, they are OK but others you need a metal track.

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PresidentsDad

147 posts in 1263 days


#14 posted 04-14-2020 01:59 AM

Has anyone actually cut the dovetail slots and used the microjig dovetail clamps?

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6684 posts in 2403 days


#15 posted 04-14-2020 02:02 AM

It looks like Rich has (^post #3)

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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