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Router table top & fence - Gregor1 - 07-13-2022

I would like to have a really nice router table top, and an Incra fence system, but they are both a little cashy. I am saving my pennies for a good used, drum sander. (Anybody have one?) I think a drum sander would be really nice, and I don't think I could build a very good one. For the top and fence I have some 3/4 melamine, and some 7 ply, 3/4 plywood. The plywood is oak, and by looking at the edges, I would not consider it cabinet grade plywood. There are voids. Would you laminate 2 pieces melamine together for the top and the fence, or laminate the melamine to the oak plywood. Which would be more stable, and hold up, in the long run?

Thanks  Greg

RE: Router table top & fence - jdonhowe - 07-13-2022

The thicker you make your top, the less your router bit can project above the surface. I'd go with a melamine top for the smoothness of the surface- one thickness, and use 1 to 1-1/2" angle iron beneath a single layer to add strength and rigidity. I put in a segment of a discarded steel bed frame. For the fence, I'd again use your melamine for the vertical surface, attached to a horizontal plywood base, with plywood gussets to keep the face and base perpendicular. You can easily clamp the fence base to your router top- rudimentary, but effective.

RE: Router table top & fence - Gregor1 - 07-14-2022

(07-13-2022, 07:13 PM)jdonhowe Wrote: The thicker you make your top, the less your router bit can project above the surface.

I don't quite understand this bit. Regardless of how thick the top is, the router is suspended from the 3/8" thick router plate.
When I took my old top off, I discovered it was screwed to a 3/4" plywood top, that is glued and screwed and recessed into the cabinet walls. I checked this with a straight edge, and it sagged in the middle. I guess the person that built this thing 30 years ago, wasn't quite so picky as the person rebuilding it today. I cut another piece of 3/4 plywood the same size, and using painters tape, I shimmed it until it was perfectly flat when screwed down. I used my Uni fence as a str8 edge. I then cut 2 pieces of melamine, 24 x 36. One I routed for my router plate, the other I cut the hole 11 x 14 to accommodate the plate levelers. I glued and screwed them together. I then fastened them to the cabinet using simple angle brackets. I har previously ordered some melamine banding for the edges, so I ran the top through my saw, squaring the edges, and ironed it on. Personally, I don't have a lot of faith in that, but we shall see. It may end up getting a wood band all the way around, which would also allow me to relieve the square corners a little. I machined my T-track into the top. I was surprised when I opened it, they didn't provide screws. Then I discovered why. They didn't provide holes either. I cut the groove slightly deep, and used 4 pieces of painters tape, and doubled sided tape to shim it back up. We'll see if the tape holds.
I remember when I built this cabinet originally, I got the plans out of WOOD magazine, and ordered the kit, which included the top, the insert plate, and levelers. On the underside of the old top was a sticker. "Wood Haven" Durant Iowa, which is about 15 miles from where I was born and raised. I called the company. He said they have not sold the top or the levelers in over 20 years, but..."I have a box of old stuff in the back, let me see what I have" Sure enough, he had one set of levelers. I bought them just to have on hand for $15. I threw my old top up in my garage attic, just so I could have the template for the router plate. It's hot up there ! I am debating on whether or not to machine in T-tracks perpendicular to the track I have now, for holding down the fence. To be honest, I think I would just as soon use c-clamps. Very little chance of them slipping. I may change my mind down the road.[attachment=43365]

Now it's on to the fence, after I go in the back bedroom, sand, and put another coat of wipe on poly on a walnut box. My wife is out of town for a few days.

RE: Router table top & fence - Gregor1 - 07-16-2022

I finally got around to finishing my fence. I looked on you tube for ideas, and made mine pretty much the same as everyone else, without going to extremes. It is made from 3/4 plywood and melamine. The bottom halves slide left and right for different bits, and there is a T-track for attaching feather boards, stops and whatever. I did include a feature I didn't see on you tube. Occasionally I need a positive stop, beyond the reach of my fence or table. [attachment=43395]I devised an extendable bar that attaches to the rear of the fence, on both sides.[attachment=43388]When not in use, it stows out of the way[attachment=43389][attachment=43391][attachment=43396]

RE: Router table top & fence - fredhargis - 07-16-2022

Nice job! On the top and the fence.

RE: Router table top & fence - MstrCarpenter - 07-16-2022

Your whole system looks great! Definitely ready for another 30 years. Time to make some sawdust.

B.T.W. Tee molding costs less than $1.00/ft.. The radius would need to be around 3". Only problem I see with using it is that your well thought out and perfectly constructed router station would look "Store bought".

RE: Router table top & fence - KyleD - 07-17-2022

I'm sure Jdonhowe was thinking you were going to screw the router underneath the router table top with no insert. While it may be handy a miter track is not really needed on a router table. I have always found an easy way to reference the fence instead. 

RE: Router table top & fence - Gregor1 - 07-17-2022

This is what happened to my edge banding after sitting for a day. I pretty much expected this. I have never had much luck with iron on anything.  It is right at the seam where the melamine and plywood panels are glued together. The banding was applied at least 2 days after the glue up. If I had wrapped the edge with plywood or melamine before applying the banding, this probably would have happened on the top at the seam. That would have been worse. I guess I will leave it for now.[attachment=43405][attachment=43406]

RE: Router table top & fence - MstrCarpenter - 07-17-2022

1-1/2" Tee molding is available for a little more than $100/ft. for shorter lengths (i.e. $20.00 for 12') but at that width I think the oak would look better. I'd do it before the edges of the top got nicked too.

RE: Router table top & fence - Kansas City Fireslayer - 07-17-2022

I’d edge it in hard maple. It doesn’t have to be too fancy. Glue and brads with butt joints if needed. Biscuits and mitered corners if you want glamorous. The older I get, the less glamorous jigs, etc need to be.