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Router table plans and insert suggestion

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Forum topic by Digelectric posted 05-30-2020 01:50 PM 304 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Digelectric

16 posts in 36 days


05-30-2020 01:50 PM

All,

First post although I’ve lurked here a bit for some time.

I’ve built a few guitar bodies (electric, telecasters so far) and want to start working on other projects like hanging cabinets where I’ll make several of them and want to reproduce contours. Been doing this with a router and templates and edge guides although I’ve been holding the router by hand with a router bit with a top bearing. It works well for most things but I think for thicker stock (like telecaster bodies that are 1-3/4” thick) it would be a lot better to mount the router to a table so its flat and use a template mounted to the wood to prevent wobble.

I don’t own a router table and don’t want to buy one but am open to it. I would prefer to make one and get an insert for it like one of the Kreg lifts.

I could use some suggestions in this respect since there are TONS of table plans out there (was just looking at this, for example: https://www.tauntonstore.com/project-plans/mobile-router-table-digital-plan-065134.html) but more importantly, I’m not super familiar with the challenges of working with the router in a mounted configuration and how the different inserts would impact the workflow. I’m gathering that, for the types of work I’d want to do, I’d be likely to go between two bits… a down cutting straight bit with a bearing and a round-over bit with a bearing.

Any suggestions would be helpful either about the table or the insert.

Thanks!


12 replies so far

View cracknpop's profile

cracknpop

422 posts in 3119 days


#1 posted 05-31-2020 12:14 AM

Welcome to LumberJocks!
I believe once you get your router mounted in a table, you will wonder why you waited so long.

Making your own router table is a great way to get started. I made my first one by mounting my router directly to a piece of MDF and used the built in router height adjustment. Made a fence and used C-clamps to hold it in place. Graduated to simple router plate cut into table saw extension. Again, C-clamps to hold fence.
Currently I am clearing the shop to build a new router table. I intend to buy a top and lift (most likely Woodpeckers PRL-V2) and build a stand alone cabinet with additional storage below (look up Norm Abrams router table).

I share my story simply to encourage you to build as much of a router table as you would like. If you have the bucks, buy a good lift (Woodpeckers, Kreg, Jessem, etc). Then either buy the top or make one. The cabinet underneath can be as basic or elaborate as you have desire, money, and time. Be sure to post pics when you are done.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

5754 posts in 1344 days


#2 posted 05-31-2020 02:40 AM

I’m also going to suggest building your router table over buying someones idea of what one should be. I’ve made a number of them through the years, and I find the Kreg model has the best template instruction going. Once you get the cut out done, it’s an open book to adding lifts, building a cabinet to house bits, and everything else. Or just keeping it simple.

I also suggest making a fence, there are so many templates, pics, and, videos of designs it’s more a matter of picking features you want/need to have and going from there.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1362 posts in 1358 days


#3 posted 05-31-2020 02:43 AM

Build or buy the table and multiple plates and routers dedicated to one bit.

Don’t change the bit, change the plate, router and bit as a unit.

Change out is essentially instant and you only have to realign when a bit wears out.

Perfect for lock miter, rail/stile, dovetails, etc.

The time saved in bit changes and realignment will rapidly pay for the hardware in a moderately busy shop.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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therealSteveN

5754 posts in 1344 days


#4 posted 05-31-2020 02:53 AM

I worked around a lock miter bit like that for over a year. Then I figured out how to set them up. Swapping whole routers with a bit attached sounds silly to me now. Different folks, different moves.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Digelectric's profile

Digelectric

16 posts in 36 days


#5 posted 05-31-2020 04:08 AM

Great feedback and much appreciated.

After doing a bit more research based on your suggestions I think it’s best that I make my own and work out some details as I go. I’m pretty sure I’ll make one and then have better ideas and end up making others later :)

For sure I’ll get the Kreg router lift and I was thinking of getting a new router motor for it, but since it’s compatible with my Bosch router that I don’t like using freehand, that seems like the perfect one to mount. I’ll get some of the Incra (or similar) track and see if I can’t work out a way to keep the fence perpendicular to the tracks (if needed) and maybe have one piece of track that runs parallel to the fence for a miter gauge. Or maybe I’ll leave that out, I don’t know.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback!

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4673 posts in 1591 days


#6 posted 05-31-2020 04:22 AM

I don’t think you mentioned the router you have… But in a router table (regardless of design or source) one of the biggest pain is changing router bits… Check out the Eliminator Chuck and see if it could be of use to you… I swear by them for convenience.

Welcome to LJ.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Digelectric's profile

Digelectric

16 posts in 36 days


#7 posted 05-31-2020 04:29 AM



I don t think you mentioned the router you have… But in a router table (regardless of design or source) one of the biggest pain is changing router bits… Check out the Eliminator Chuck and see if it could be of use to you… I swear by them for convenience.

Welcome to LJ.

- LittleBlackDuck

I had no idea these existed but that looks like a must have for every router I own!!

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LittleBlackDuck

4673 posts in 1591 days


#8 posted 05-31-2020 04:39 AM



I had no idea these existed but that looks like a must have for every router I own!!
- Digelectric

I have… for every router that it fits… just bragging… but they are worth the investment…

Another alternative is the Xtreme Xtension,

they’re useful for router the Eliminator doesn’t fit… actually I used to buy those before I found out about the Eliminator and then re-purposed them.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

879 posts in 425 days


#9 posted 05-31-2020 05:10 AM


they re useful for router the Eliminator doesn t fit… actually I used to buy those before I found out about the Eliminator and then re-purposed them.

- LittleBlackDuck

Thanks LBD. I had never seen one of these before. I knew of the Eliminator but of course I have a couple routers in my table it wont fit.

Back on topic of the table…i would add the miter slot if you can. It will let you do cuts perpendicular to the fence safely and accurately. I’ve used mine a whole lot more than I thought I would and I haven’t even had the table that long.

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CaptainKlutz

3160 posts in 2264 days


#10 posted 05-31-2020 05:54 AM

Welcome to LumberJocks!

+1 stop waiting so long. :-)

+1 massive number of router table plans on WWW.

My personal favorite is http://www.crestonwood.com/router.php
Site is not responding ATM, but here is alternate download

As far as using plate only .vs. lift; I think it boils down to how much you will use the table.
Heavy use = buy a router lift and biggest HP router you can find
Light to moderate use – depends on router choice.
Tons of folks are happy using a Bosch 1617 router in fixed base using the self contained top side adjustment, without a lift. You still have to reach under the table for some stuff, but minor adjustments are easy. The Triton also has a fan base skipping the lift. If want large 3HP PC router, then need a lift to use it to it’s fullest extent.

A full blown router table setup is not cheap. Regardless if you make or buy.
If you are serious about wood working, your time in shop is reduced when using a decent router lift and big 3+HP router inside it. If hobby money is not a challenge for you, then even more reason to go big and get lift plus a 3+HP router. Few will regret having this top of line tool.
On other end of spectrum; If you have never used a router table, might want to make something simple from a plate of MDF with hole for router bit to learn how you will use it.
The next best option of using a plate and smaller ~2.5HP router has an intermediate cost and may be good enough forever?
All these options can make router table decisions very challenging.

Have owned different router tables as my shop grew and shrunk over the years. Many various phenolic plates and last couple with Woodpecker’s aluminum plates. The aluminum plates work better for me. The plastic phenolic plates tend to buzz or vibrate more when things are not perfect. They also shrink/expand more than aluminum version in unconditioned shop, and need to be height adjusted more often. If I were building a new stand alone table today, would go big and install a lift.

PS – Using multiple plates and switching out router/plate instead of bit, mentioned above does not work very well. Typically with each bit you need a difference fence location, and this negates the ease of change over. If you want to get serious about making frame/panel doors consider a 3 headed door shaper:

LJ JackDuren made router table version shown here:
https://www.lumberjocks.com/replies/2238794 if you truly need instant change over between router bits.

Best Luck with decision.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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Digelectric

16 posts in 36 days


#11 posted 06-01-2020 02:42 AM

OK, I’ve decided to find some phenolic topped plywood and just get this started. I’ll make a new post in a bit with the design. Like most people I have pretty limited shop space so I’m going to take a stab at a design with the router on a flip up table. If I get into the drawing and it seems too cumbersome I’m switch to a fixed top.

Thanks for the suggestions and I’ll for sure try one of those two bit changing gizmos, those are both super cool!!

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4673 posts in 1591 days


#12 posted 06-01-2020 04:25 AM


.... take a stab at a design with the router on a flip up table. If I get into the drawing and it seems too cumbersome I m switch to a fixed top….
- Digelectric

May I suggest you consider carefully a router “dust collection” system before you venture down the flip top path. For effective dust controll, you’ll probably need some sort of an outlet in the fence (you are planning a fence?) and some sort of dust collection from underneath (pan and broom don’t cut the dust)... these contingencies could make the flip top a tad challenging… However, if you are into SketchUp, there are many models in their Hardware Factory to download and incorporate in your design to make the flip workable.
There is a fine balance between allowing enought room to make the tools rotate 360° freely and still maintain rigidity in the box’s side.

I made a flip top years ago for a disc sander/thicknesser (you guys call them planers),

Unfortunately when I upgraded the thicknesser to a combo, it took me a long time and a swag of tool choices to find a replacement. I eventually settled for a Kreg Foreman (mometarily),

Personally, I do not recommend a router in a flip top combination… no real scientific reason other than it’s my druthers as a router is a tool that should not be underrated especially for safety… router in a flip top just doesn’t sound right to me.

FAIW. There was a time I used my flip top as an adjustable outfeed table (for my tablesaw),

allbeit short lived… Just in case you are desperately searching for a 2nd. use..

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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