Router table blues

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Forum topic by hairy posted 02-02-2012 09:33 PM 5992 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2824 posts in 3892 days

02-02-2012 09:33 PM

I have a cast iron router table top that serves as a wing on my tablesaw.

I got it from craigslist. The owner was a machinist working in a well equipped shop. He made the plate that the router attaches to, and did a very good job of it. It is a good fit, leveling screws are part of the table and not the top. The plate is not attached to the table with screws, but is heavy enough to remain stable in use. I have mainly used this to edge profile boards, and it does that very well.

I am using a Porter cable 890 fixed base router. It bolted directly to the plate. Bit changes are not difficult, and height adjustment can be made from above. This system has served me well for what little I have done with it.

I am wanting to do some things that are best done on a router table. The problems I have with this is : 1. It’s in the garage and most of what I do is done in the basement. This means moving 2 vehicles when I want to use the router table. And 2, I have to use the tablesaw fence. This is the biggest problem. I have made an auxiliary fence that attaches to the Biesemeyer, but the whole setup is not to my liking.

I could build a base to hold the top, but my biggest concern is a fence. The table is not slotted, but maybe it could be done, I don’t know. It has a miter gauge slot and that notch, the remainder is just flat cast iron.

The opening looked to me like it’s 9 ” x 11” as measured with a folding ruler. The top is a Nucraft Tools Model 100. I googled it and found this topic here at LJ’s. I saw on another forum someone called it an oddball size insert and said it was 8 and 15/16” x 11 and 15/16”.

The way I see it my options are build a base and incorporate a fence of some sort, or sell this and buy a real router table.

What would you do? Thanks!!!!!

-- My reality check bounced...

22 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5367 posts in 2711 days

#1 posted 02-02-2012 10:48 PM

If it were me I’d leave that set up as is and build another router table for your basement. There are tons of plans out there for router tables and your biggest problem will be figuring out which one to build.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View oldnovice's profile


7475 posts in 3727 days

#2 posted 02-02-2012 11:04 PM

I am actually on my third router table. The first two were home made and essentially wore out from use. A couple of years ago my wife bought me the Benchdog table saw extension router table. I doubt I will wear this one out.

My previous shop was in my basement (when I lived in Illinois and had a basement) now it is in the garage since many houses in the San Jose do not have basements.

My first router table was made from counter top sink cut out. The base of that material is particle board and was not exactly flat. The second one was 3/4” plywood and I still have remnants of that left.

As Bodogaposis pointed out, there are tons of plans available and the hardest part is deciding which one to build!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View WinterSun's profile


163 posts in 2969 days

#3 posted 02-02-2012 11:04 PM

Repurposing that wing into a stand-alone router table would be tricky with no slots for a fence. The easiest fence options would be something that clamped down or is held down with magnets. You could also drill a couple holes in the surface and build a fence in which the adjustment slots are built into the fence base rather than the table top.

Personally, in your situation, I’d just build a Norm-style router station.

-- Rory // Milwaukee, WI

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2671 days

#4 posted 02-03-2012 12:10 AM

Nothing wrong with having two router tables. YOu can make the new one real simple, if you want, just take a 1/2 inch hunk of baltic birch, screw the base to it. Simple fence is the best fence.


Comin’ to Indy for the big game Sunday? Swing by, I’ll make you a hell of a deal on a woodhaven I have here, its an extra, a real nice fence, extruded aluminum. I ain’t gonna mess with shipping it though. 32 inches long, works over a 1 and a 1/4 inch thick table, I think. You’ll still have to make a table top and legs, that part I ain’t selling.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4033 days

#5 posted 02-03-2012 12:13 AM

Its going to be hard to use it as a router table without a fence.

View Roger's profile


21001 posts in 3164 days

#6 posted 02-03-2012 02:26 AM

I’d build a base for this top. it wouldn’t be hard to incorporate a fence. I’ll get a few pics together of how a friend o mine helped me build the fence I have, and how it clamps. it may give you a few ideas. I am making a post-it note to myself right now so I don’t forget. I’ll post em here in the mornin. OH, and, p.s. that cast iron top and insert plate cutout is frickin awesome!! I’ll bet it’s dead on level too isn’t it

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2847 days

#7 posted 02-03-2012 02:46 AM

I finally cut up my old home built router table for reuse but I needed a fence for it and wasn’t about to spend much money, so I made one.

Now that fence is in use on my band saw. Maybe you could build something like it.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View EEngineer's profile


1120 posts in 3973 days

#8 posted 02-03-2012 03:20 AM

I did some research on router plates when I was looking for a lift to put in my router table. It seems there are several standards. The most common (I found – maybe someone else will chime in with something different) seem to be:
9 1/4” X 11 3/4”
8 1/4” X 11 3/4”

Now I also looked at cast iron router tables. At one point I was thinking about adding the cast iron table in place of one of the wings on my table saw, just like yours. I found several people that make them, including Bendch dog, MLCS, etc. It seems like they standardized on:
9” X 12”

These numbers all refer to the table opening. The dimensions someone gave you (8 and 15/16” x 11 and 15/16”) would leave about 1/32” on each side in a 9” X 12” opening so I don’t think this is an oddball size. Check your measurements: are you sure the opening is not 9” X 12”?

Woodpecker used to offer their plates and lifts in the 9” X 12” size BUT a quick trip to their website right now doesn’t show them! A quick Google shows a lot of others still do, though. Point is, I think you can find inserts to fit that table.

I am with others here: I think it would be best to make a base to mount that cast iron router table onto. Believe me, cast iron is more massy, more stable and better for a router table. Plus, you’ve already got it, why waste time making something?

My router table is the venerable Norm Abrams design. I didn’t build it myself; I found mine at a moving sale more than 1/2 completed (here). Personally, I would rather have a separate router table. It saves on setup times between the table saw and router table functions. The fence, well, many here have incorporated fences that clamp onto the table. Not ideal, but it would work.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View HuFlungoo's profile


6 posts in 2665 days

#9 posted 02-03-2012 03:26 AM

1. Move to basement so you can use it.

2. Use only for bits with bearing so no fence required.

-- Simple Rules of Game: Smack the Donkey until he breaks.

View canadianchips's profile


2626 posts in 3357 days

#10 posted 02-03-2012 04:15 AM

I would definately leave this on the table saw. TWO router tables are very handy, especially if you are doing any kind of stile and rail cabinet door. (I have several cheaper tables that I leave set-up just for individual puroses. I hate changing router bits !!! and re-setting depths !!!!) I would make another router table JUST for use in your basement.
(I did pickup another Router Monday from the HABITAT – restore, $10. this one is dedicated to camfer bit with pilot bearing)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View hairy's profile


2824 posts in 3892 days

#11 posted 02-03-2012 04:33 AM

Thanks fellas! Those are some good options.

I rechecked my measurement. 9×11 is correct. I should have wrote 10 and 15/16.

I have spellcheck, I need a program that ensures what I write is what I meant to say.

-- My reality check bounced...

View cracknpop's profile


341 posts in 2708 days

#12 posted 02-03-2012 04:38 AM

I have a similar set up on my tablesaw. I made my own fence and use two F clamps to hold it in place. (One of my F clamps will reach across the rail for my TS fence)

For what its worth, made my first router table and fence from MDF. NO plate, just mounted the router directly to the top. Clamped my shop vac hose to the back of the fence.

-- 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 EEngineer's profile


1120 posts in 3973 days

#13 posted 02-03-2012 08:52 AM

I have spellcheck, I need a program that ensures what I write is what I meant to say.

I do computer programming. We used to call that the God task. It does what you meant to do, NOT what you said to do! LOL

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4104 days

#14 posted 02-03-2012 02:25 PM

+1 on the bearing guided bits. You can make a fence using t track bolts to attach it to the slot in the top. Build a box type fence, with some slots to ride on the bolts and tighten it down with some knurled knobs.

View Roger's profile


21001 posts in 3164 days

#15 posted 02-03-2012 05:13 PM

check this out Hairy. maybe you can get a few ideas. i’m sure you could improve a lot of it

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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