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The New Guy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey ....yeah I'm a newbie, but I need a little help and I'm sure this question has been asked a million times before so please forgive me. Santa brought me a new router and I've decided to build my own router table. My current router came with a bench top router table, but it's somewhat inconvenient. I built a table for my compound miter saw and would like to give this a try. I've read a couple of threads on here about router tables and I've checked out a couple of links on table plans. My first question is: Do I need a mounting plate or just mount the router to the table? The manual that came with my router doesn't really say whether or not it's necessary. Most of the plans I've seen show a mounting plate, but don't go into great detail....I guess they figure it's a given. My second question is: What's the best table top material? I've looked at MDF, which is really flat, smooth, and heavy. I've also seen a set of plans from another site that used a couple of layers of birch plywood with a support structure on the underside to keep things nice and flat. Sorry for the long read, but I'm a bit confused. Thanks guys.
 

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The New Guy
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Heavy is good. It dampens vibration and keeps your tool set-up stable. ie: sliding away from you when you're pushing stock through etc.

You can start by looking for base plates similar to these:
http://www.rockler.com/CategoryView.cfm?Cat_ID=274&gclid=CILCxff6yZACFQGzGgodBhvtWQ&cookietest=1


Get or make some push sticks and featherboards too...:thumbsup:
I can understand the "Heavy is good" part, but as far as mounting plates.....I've found a couple of plates that'll fit my router, but my question is...Is it necessary to have a mounting plate? OR can I just mount my router to the underside of my table? As far as the plans I've seen and my router manual....Nothing says that a mounting plate is REQUIRED. However, It shows one in the plans, but doesn't go into great detail on whether it's a necessity. Like I said above, my current (or old) router came with a table and mounting plate, but my new router came with some "table parts" and very little directions as far as that was concerned. Thanks for your help...I hope I'm not being too confusing, but I'm friggin confused.
 

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Hey Fundabug

Welcome to the forum.

The router plate, while not mandatory, does make changing your bits, and settings much easier. You just lift the plate, router and all, and make whatever changes and adjustments are necessary, and pop the plate back into the table. I would also recommend you have a look at http://www.routerforums.com. They have a lot of good ideas for router tables, and how to use them. www.bobsplans.com has some great router table plans that you can download free. [That's gratis]
Gerry
 

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Hey ....yeah I'm a newbie, but I need a little help and I'm sure this question has been asked a million times before so please forgive me. Santa brought me a new router and I've decided to build my own router table. My current router came with a bench top router table, but it's somewhat inconvenient. I built a table for my compound miter saw and would like to give this a try. I've read a couple of threads on here about router tables and I've checked out a couple of links on table plans. My first question is: Do I need a mounting plate or just mount the router to the table? The manual that came with my router doesn't really say whether or not it's necessary. Most of the plans I've seen show a mounting plate, but don't go into great detail....I guess they figure it's a given. My second question is: What's the best table top material? I've looked at MDF, which is really flat, smooth, and heavy. I've also seen a set of plans from another site that used a couple of layers of birch plywood with a support structure on the underside to keep things nice and flat. Sorry for the long read, but I'm a bit confused. Thanks guys.
Welcome Aboard!

Router tables are not all that bad...

Yes, you should get a router plate... Much better than mounting directly to the top.

Here is a nice writeup that will help you... Would be a good Starter table... I like his fence. Chances are this table would handle what you want to do with it... A lot can be done with a simple table... but, us woodworkers sometimes get off to other tangents putting bells & whistles on everything we make... to find that most of them are never really used.

If you haven't watched www.TheWoodworkingChannel.com , give it a try... watch for the Router Workshop programs... they will help you immensely! Last I saw, they were on abt 11:30AM everyday plus other times... They are good!

Router table:
http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/ProjectsAndDesign/ProjectsAndDesignArticle.aspx?id=28007
 

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Years ago I built a table with no plate. I would not do that again.

When you can get a plate for as little as $25 bucks leaving it out is asking for trouble.
 

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I've been wanting to build one also. There are so many different types. I kind of wanted a floor standing unit. I got an old solid wood dresser I picked up free. I was hoping to utilize the lower drawers, and lower it some. I wonder if it's more trouble than it's worth.
 

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The New Guy
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks for the link Joe. You posted that same link on another router thread, but I had a few more questions after I saw that so I made my own thread. That's not the first router table set up I've seen using birch plywood. I had a 1 inch thick 2' X 4' piece of birch plywood leftover from another project and I started working on a table top this evening when I got off work. I guess you could call this a prototype. I've done some bracing on the underside and a couple of other things to try to make the top more rigid. Seems pretty stable so far and I made sure I left space for a mounting plate. I'm going to go ahead and build a floor standing table and see how it goes. If it doesn't seem firm and flat enough I'll mount my spindle sander to it and start all over with some MDF......which is really what I wanted in the first place, but I can't get a 4X8 foot sheet in my Jeep to get to my shop. Thanks guys!

EDIT: OH YEAH...I think I'll spring for the mounting plate.....It just sounds like a good idea for changing bits. Thanks for the links Gerry, the more info the better.
 

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Reading through this there are a couple of things I didn't see mentioned. One is about the plate. Since you opted to get one anyway, I guess it's no longer an issue, but also without a mounting plate your router has to reach through the full thickness of the table top, where as a mounting plate is only about 1/4" thick.

About the table top material, had you considered a laminate, like formica? MDF is smooth at first, but it's not very durable and it seems (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that over time it would get scratched up and loose it's smooth glide. But a hard laminate will stay smooth for... I dunno, forever?

I only mention these issues because I too am looking to build a router table and would like to know what other's have used for table top surfaces and how it's performed over the years.
 

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The New Guy
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Part of my decision on choosing the router plate was exactly what you said about having to reach through the full thickness of the table top. That and it being easier to change bits. My employer was kind enough to let me use a storage building on the property as my shop. All I had to do was clean out the junk, put in electric outlets, lighting, and fix the heater. He's a bit of a woodworker and comes out to my little shop after work sometimes to see what I'm working on. He suggested using a mounting plate and formica as well....He also thought that the birch plywood and support structure I built would probably be sturdy enough, but we'll see.
 

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Wow, you've got one swell employer. You know you're gonna have to make him something once you get going, don't you. :thumbsup:
 

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The New Guy
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Wow, you've got one swell employer. You know you're gonna have to make him something once you get going, don't you. :thumbsup:
I've already made a wall plaque out of Ambrosia Maple that his daughter used for his Christmas present. I made his wife a candle holder (that holds five votive candles) for a Christmas gift and two red oak end tables that she bought. They were just experiments, but she liked them so much that she bought them. He liked my shop set up so much he brought in his floor standing planer/joiner, scroll saw, table saw, and a floor standing drill press....with a laser guide. His only request being that he can use the shop for a couple of projects. So far he's made a chair in the last 4 months. His wife wants me to make her some new kitchen cabinets, but I declined so I didn't insult my employer's woodworking skills (not to mention, I've never made any cabinets). He does some fine work, but doesn't use quality wood and doesn't spend the extra time it takes for proper sanding. If my router table turns out OK, he wants to use it for a couple of projects.....that's my rent. I just ordered a Woodpecker router table mounting plate, so I'm going to try to make a quality table. Even if it takes me a couple of tries.

EDIT: Oh yeah...One afternoon I walk out to my shop and there's a brand new oscillating spindle sander sitting in the middle of the floor. It was my Christmas present.....on top of my Christmas bonus! However, I was contracted by my employer to make some shelves for mounting a customer's communications equipment over two months ago that I never got paid for....I guess that was probably it.
 

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...even if it takes me a couple of tries.
Most first time projects do. :laughing:

It sounds like you have a pretty good thing going, as does your boss. You should post some photos of your shop and your work some time. I'm sure everyone here would like to check it out. I'd post some of mine but it's more of a storage/disaster zone lately. I'm just getting serious about woodworking, so I guess it's time to get the ol' shop cleaned up and functioning.
 

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Fundabug, I'll echo what Blockhead mentioned as far as the formica top. It's a very good idea for more reason than just wear and tear, I don't know about anybody else, but my shop is very small and any flat surface gets used for setting things down on when the surface is not being used, which means dripping paint, stain, laquer etc...the formica is easy to wipe down real quick, and I'm sure you already know that any liquid is MDF's worst enemy so sealing it's sponge like qualities is important too.

You also might consider buying some t-tracks to install on that table. I always use featherboards with my table to keep the stock safely against the fence.
 

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Fundabug
I would suggest using particle board for your table, laminate will adhere to it much better than mdf. I would also recommend using Wilsonart contact cement if you can get it where you live. It will out perform any others contact cements I have found on the market. I buy it in five gallon buckets.
 

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The New Guy
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow...Thanks guys. I spent most of today picking out a few more pieces of wood for my table and a few hours working on it. If it's not good enough for a router table, It's at least looking sturdy enough for my spindle sander or another work table of some sort. I looked around for some formica options, but I found nothing. It is Saturday and I live in a small town, so most of the specialty shops are closed. If this turns out to be a decent router table I'll only use it for routing. I've got another work bench I use and an old solid oak kitchen table that I've turned into a glue up/ clamping table. My Christmas present to my lady is to make her some new end tables and a matching coffee table for out living room. She walked in my little shop today and thought my router table was her coffee table......I'm going to take that as a compliment. I've been meaning to take a couple of shots of my shop and projects just for fun and I might post them some time. Thanks for all your help guys!
 

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The New Guy
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Most first time projects do. :laughing:

It sounds like you have a pretty good thing going, as does your boss. You should post some photos of your shop and your work some time. I'm sure everyone here would like to check it out. I'd post some of mine but it's more of a storage/disaster zone lately. I'm just getting serious about woodworking, so I guess it's time to get the ol' shop cleaned up and functioning.
The downside of this set up is, I went to my little shop this afternoon and my boss was there building a bookshelf for his Granddaughter. He was using a good portion of my best clamps, my glue, my favorite carpenters pencil, a couple of my squares, a small bag of 1/4" dowels, a forstner bit, two regular wood bits, my tape measure, rubber mallet, tack hammer, a couple of pieces of my oak stash, and had used several sheets of my 400 grit waterproof sandpaper.....and I'm not sure why. However, I guess that's what I have to do to pay the rent since he's not charging me a dime. Did I mention I ran all the electrical outlets and lighting free of charge. No big deal, I came in, turned up the stereo and ran him out in about 30 minutes...However, He left his bookshelf in pieces in the middle of the shop floor, so I know he's coming back. I guess I can share, but he's already lost several of my pencils and two drill bits. Still sounding like a good thing?
 

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Sounds like a few select items should be under a lock n key?
... either that or have a heart to heart talk about techniques & waste, etc. (?)

Does he consider you to be a better woodworker than himself? If so, educational talks may be a good idea. If not, (???)
 

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I guess it just proves the old axiom. "There is no such thing as a free lunch." I also would have difficulty sharing my shop space. Joe's advice is sound, in my opinion, both on a lockbox, and on a heart to heart. Good luck talking to the boss. If he is an understanding kind of guy it should be okay, as long as you approach him in a diplomatic manner. Just make sure you aren't steamed when you try to discuss it with him.

Best luck

Gerry
 
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