Question on routing HPL, plus Craigslist brag

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Forum topic by Walker posted 05-10-2020 09:26 PM 415 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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443 posts in 1448 days

05-10-2020 09:26 PM

TL;DR: What’s the best way to route mdf with HPL on both sides? Smaller bit or larger bit? Lower speed or higher speed? Would like to avoid chip out as much as possible.

The details:
I’ve been looking to add a dedicated router/table/lift to the shop. I currently have a Bosch 1617evs pack which I plan to keep for handheld routing. I have a little craftsman 1/4” collet router in a cheap steel table, which I’m going to sell to offset costs. Been wanting a lift with a 3hp motor. Budget is used, so I’ve been watching ebay and CL.

I just picked up this Rockler router table and porter cable 890 on craigslist for $200. The router is in great condition, tho it’s missing the sub-base and collet wrenches. Easy enough to buy online. Came with a 15-piece bit set, which I’ll probably sell as they’re mostly duplicates to me. The table is in good shape too, it’s just missing the leveling feet. The seller said he got the set up from his dad 5 years ago, and has used it once since. To complete the brag, yesterday on ebay I scored a Woodpeckers PRL-V2-414 lift, new/open box for $210. I know it’s for the Milwauke 5625, but for that price I figured I can have my choice of routers, and buy the appropriate adapter from Woodpeckers for $32.

My intention was to build an extension wing/cabinet for my Delta 36-725T2 table saw. I figured the rockler table is a good start. I can use the fence, feather boards, and miter track. Build a cabinet around the steel legs and add casters. I also really like that the switch came with it. The table top is mdf with laminate on top and bottom. It will need to be cut down a few inches to fit in between the rails on the table saw. The opening for the plate will have to be expanded to fit the Woodpecker’s lift. What’s the best way to do that while avoiding chipping out the HPL? What size bit and speed is best?

As a side note, should I keep the PC890 for table use or should I sell it and wait for a 3hp router?

-- ~Walker

5 replies so far

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443 posts in 1448 days

#1 posted 05-12-2020 09:30 PM

Bump. Any thoughts on routing laminate on mdf without chip out? Has anyone successfully re-sized the opening in their router table top?

-- ~Walker

View DS's profile


3621 posts in 3396 days

#2 posted 05-13-2020 05:15 AM

Not sure about a router table, but on a CNC we use a 1/2” Dia. Solid carbide 2 flute spiral compression cutter

No chip out.

The important thing is that you are shearing the hpl against the mdf with fluted cutters.

A down shear would work if you cut halfway through at a time from each face.
The compression cutter shears both the top and bottom at the same time. It is super efficient.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Walker's profile


443 posts in 1448 days

#3 posted 05-13-2020 04:17 PM

I’ll definitely route halfway from each face. I’ll have to make a shallow cut from the top of the table to make the “shelf” for the lift plate to sit on. Then I can cut the through hole from the bottom side of the table.

So a down-spiral bit would be best then. Sounds like a good excuse to go buy one. I don’t have any spiral bits yet.

-- ~Walker

View xeddog's profile


327 posts in 3983 days

#4 posted 05-13-2020 04:19 PM

I just used a run-of-the-mill spiral flush cutting bit to trim the laminate on a work table, router table, and table saw extension table. The biggest issue is just to make sure the path that the guide bearing runs on is free of glue etc., and is smooth.

Regarding your router and table, I have not enlarged an opening, but I did cut an opening or two. A simple jig should suffice for enlarging one. Just use a bit that has the same radius as the corners of the insert plate, and make sure the double sided tape that you hold it down with is up to the job.

Speaking of up to the job, that 890 should be an adequate router for that table. I do not own a 3HP router, but it doesn’t seem like that table could really handle one anyway. I use a Bosch 1617 in my table which is larger and heavier that the one in your picture, and I have not come across anything yet that makes me wish I had a larger router. I am a hobbyist, so I don’t need to feed work through faster than a kickback, and I don’t run mile after mile of material through it, so the 1617 has been fine.


View Walker's profile


443 posts in 1448 days

#5 posted 05-13-2020 04:36 PM

Thanks Wayne, that’s good info. That makes me feel better about keeping the 890. Currently I’m leaning that way, since I just got outbid on all of the PC 7518’s I was bidding on ebay.

-- ~Walker

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