Router bit extension collett or router plate insert - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-18-2013, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Router bit extension collett or router plate insert

I have a dilemma. I built a router table out of 3/4 in MDF on my table saw extension. However, my router bits cannot go up enough to clear the top of the table so now I have to adjust the depth of my bits by loosening and tightening the collett while holding the bit with my hand at the right depth. A pain in the <beep>, minimizes accuracy and possibly not enough of the shank in the collett to be safe. So, I got a new router hoping that would get me where I needed to be. Closer but still the router bit sits too far down in the table. So, I can either:

A. Use an "Xtreme Xtension" router bit extension
B. Install an aluminum router insert plate
C. Route out the bottom of the router table by 1/2 inch where the router will set into from the bottom. That will only leave 1/4 of MDF holding the router.

I personally like option A or C because I don't know if my router skills are good enough to route out a really level area for the router plate to sit into. But I am not sure about option C either because it will only leave 1/4 of the MDF to hold up the router. Is that strong enough? Option A is OK but does anyone have experience with using this router bit extension?

Thanks for your input/help.

- Bob
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-18-2013, 08:51 PM
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If you look at the commercial router tables they are all designed for option "B" for good reason.

Routers are not typically designed for specific use in a router table.

A 3/8in thick router plate, phenolic or my preference aluminium allows the router base to be close enough to the top of the table.

I had thought about a collet extension. They will work, but they will also add forces to the router bearings which may not have been in the design.

You pays your money and takes your choice.

A router plate template, and pattern bearing should make it easy to route the groove in the MDF.

See this link for an example.

http://www.woodpeck.com/aluminsert.html
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-18-2013, 08:52 PM
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I was gonna make a table from MDF without an insert (but decided not to) and I was leaning toward routing out the bottom of the table to 3/8 deep so there was still 3/8 left to bolt to on top.

Aside from that, you could clamp stops to the top side so the router doesn't take too much material and leave the insert fitting loosely. I'd make the opening just a hair too tight to start with, then test fit it to confirm how much it's too tight by, and then reset the clamped stops to take off just a touch more until it fits perfectly.

Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 01-18-2013 at 08:58 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-18-2013, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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I thought the insert plate would be the primary response. So, I am looking at purchasing this insert plate from Rockler. It is aluminum which I too prefer over phenolic. Plus, right now it is a pretty good price at $60.00. The woodpecker version is awesome but I am on a limited budget so $40 more for the woodpecker takes it out of the picture.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-18-2013, 09:41 PM
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I bought the rockler router lift and love it. What I did was purposely rout out the area for the plate about 1/16 low and then I went back under the table and at each corner, screwed in 4 machine screws with the flat bottom so I could adjust the plate to be dead on even with the rest of the table top. Just my solution to a similar problem.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-18-2013, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avewads
I thought the insert plate would be the primary response. So, I am looking at purchasing this insert plate from Rockler. It is aluminum which I too prefer over phenolic. Plus, right now it is a pretty good price at $60.00. The woodpecker version is awesome but I am on a limited budget so $40 more for the woodpecker takes it out of the picture.
Your on the right track.

This for $60

http://www.rockler.com/m/product.cfm?page=31820

Plus two blank plate inserts (sorry no link, I went through 469 router accessories on the Rockler Site but couldn't find them. They're around $7 each.

This for free

http://www.shopnotes.com/files/issue...stallation.pdf

And the cost of a drill bit to to radius the corners of the insert cut out.

The Woodpecks package $180

Rockler package $100 max

Change in you pocket, for accessories later, priceless!

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did ó in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey

Last edited by jharris2; 01-18-2013 at 11:55 PM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-19-2013, 10:47 AM
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What are you using for a router and what type of bits, 1/4" shank? You have to be careful reducing the thickness of the router table, particularly if its made out of something like MDF or particle board/melamine or plywood. It won't have the necessary strength. The table top also has to be straight and flush or the work won't make full contact. If it sags at the bit, the table won't be of much use. The hole in the table has to be large enough for larger bits and the collet. This could be an easy cure for you. With any bit, it shouldn't be allowed to bottom out in the collet, they should be pulled up a small amount to prevent the collet from jamming and a stuck bit. You should grip at least 2/3 of the shank length.

The collet extensions work well except for large heavy bits, like panel raisers. Slight imbalance can be exaggerated. Without a plate or lift, you still have to reach under to loosen the router base and you don't want to forget to tighten it after setting the bit height or the router will be on the floor as soon as you hit the switch. If this ever happens, you could bend the extension, not to mention a running router bouncing around. Having the cord unplugged can remind you to tighten the base. Be careful to check the switch on any tool where the switch may be left on before plugging in. Always make sure you unplug any power tool when changing knives, blades or bits, never trust a switch of any kind.

I started making and using router tables long before there were any commercial ones, router lifts or plates. I still use one without any of those. Mostly because I do things on my router table most folks wouldn't need to do. A router plate would interfere with setting up starter pins, screwing down material supports and other weird stuff I might do. When you have a solid table top with a large hole, there are times, particularly with small pieces, that you need a tighter hole around the bit. When I have that situation, I'll add a temporary top like a piece of Formica with a small bit hole.

There are some quick change router collets that replace your standard collet and bits are secured with a hex key. They aren't cheap but make a big difference in above the table bit changes, no wrenches. I prefer these to the collet extensions which are like adding a large extra bit to the router. You don't have to worry about bent shafts, run out or imbalance. These replacement collets are specific to router brands.

Last edited by Hammer1; 01-19-2013 at 11:06 AM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-20-2013, 01:06 PM
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Take a close look at the inexpensive round router plate system (phenolic) from Lee Valley. Comes with good instructions, tools, etc. for installation, and they'll send ya a new plate if ya screw up the first one.
Mine has been in use for at least 10 years without a prob.
It is a good plate and a good value.
Bill
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-20-2013, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill White View Post
Take a close look at the inexpensive round router plate system (phenolic) from Lee Valley. Comes with good instructions, tools, etc. for installation, and they'll send ya a new plate if ya screw up the first one.
Mine has been in use for at least 10 years without a prob.
It is a good plate and a good value.
Bill
I spend a lot of time at the Lee Valley site, but somehow never saw this one. Perhaps because I have not been shopping for a router plate.

Looks good. Happy to know this is available.

As you said, being circular should make the installation easier.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/pag...=1,43000,51208
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