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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright folks! I am in the middle of building my first router table and need some info. I'd like to know what everyone has for a fence on their router table (pics, too!), what you like about it, what you don't like, etc. I don't know enough about using a router table to be sure that I am making the right decisions, so I would love to learn from everyone else's experiences. This is open to both homemade fences and manufactured models (and everything in between).

I have, of course, done some pretty extensive research on line and though past threads, but I'd really like to have a fresh conversation about this. Thanks in advance!

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I have an Incra fence with a table top purchased from Woodpeckers mounted on a home made table.

This is the Incra fence.

http://www.incra.com/product_rtf_lsstandard.htm

This is a picture of my table.

Router_table_overall_small.jpg

I have added a two piece sacrificial MDF fence. The Incra fence has a small hole, but this is really designed for small and straight router bits.

The sacrificial fence is 2 pieces of 3/4in MDF. This works for most things, except when I need to use a slot cutter. This picture is when I was using the slot cutter bit and needed to clamp another piece of plywood so that the slot cutter would be clear of the aluminium Incra fence.

The two piece sacrificial fence allows me to keep the fence as close to the router bit as possible, and will not damage the bit if the fence gets too close.

The main features I wanted with the Incra fence were accuracy and repeatability. Incra and Jessem were the two companies I looked at. I happened to spring for the Incra at a Woodworking show.

Incra positioner uses plastic engagements. Jessem uses metal engagements. I have not found the plastic to be a problem. The engagement is increments of 1/32in.

The mechanism is very solid when clamped. Clamping/unclamping is a second. Setup for a given depth of cut is very fast.

Prior to the Incra I had a Delta Router/Shaper. This had a split fence which was what I call "nudge and clamp" method. I got tired of the time it took me to get the fence set as needed. I was very frustrated if I later found I needed to re-cut a piece. It took even more time to try and repeat the exact setting. I gave away the Router/Shaper once I got the Incra fence.

I have been happy with the Incra fence. Mine is the 16in long version. I have never used all this length. I could have saved some money with the 12in version, but this is with hindsight.

The Incra has the rules in the metal rail, so setting a depth for the fence is just reading off on a rule. There are 3 rules, so easy to set one for "zero" and the other for the final depth setting. I normally take a few passes when routing.

My table top is only 27in wide. I would like this to be wider at times.

The positioner needs space at the back.

I would have considered an Incra table saw fence, but I do not have the space for the positioner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dave, I can't help but notice how your fence lacks some of the features that appear to be pretty common on fences costing much less--specifically t-track mounts for feather boards on the fence, fence segments that can be slid closer and further from the fence, etc. Are these something that you find yourself missing? I do admire the precision and repeatability of cuts.

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Dave, I can't help but notice how your fence lacks some of the features that appear to be pretty common on fences costing much less--specifically t-track mounts for feather boards on the fence, fence segments that can be slid closer and further from the fence, etc. Are these something that you find yourself missing? I do admire the precision and repeatability of cuts.

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Ben, the Incra positioner can be attached to many fences.

http://www.incra.com/product_rtf_lspositioner_only.htm

I just have not found a pressing need to replace the fence. I have pondered this many times, when I see certain products, but have not justified the upgrade.

I mentioned earlier that my sacrificial MDF fence covers do move, but this was not clear in the picture, so I took a better picture.

I moved the segments so you can see the gap. These are held in a track in the Incra fence by home made small blocks cut out of UHMW materials which are attached by the screws you see in the picture.

I have purchased T track, which I was intended to install in the MDF. I have just not found the need yet. The times I need a stop block, I have just clamped a block to the fence.

I have seen the featherboard hold downs. I find the push blocks I use to move the piece from side to side are sufficient to also act as my hold downs.

Router_fence_detail_1045.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dave Paine said:
Ben, the Incra positioner can be attached to many fences.

http://www.incra.com/product_rtf_lspositioner_only.htm

I just have not found a pressing need to replace the fence. I have pondered this many times, when I see certain products, but have not justified the upgrade.

I mentioned earlier that my sacrificial MDF fence covers do move, but this was not clear in the picture, so I took a better picture.

I moved the segments so you can see the gap. These are held in a track in the Incra fence by home made small blocks cut out of UHMW materials which are attached by the screws you see in the picture.

I have purchased T track, which I was intended to install in the MDF. I have just not found the need yet. The times I need a stop block, I have just clamped a block to the fence.

I have seen the featherboard hold downs. I find the push blocks I use to move the piece from side to side are sufficient to also act as my hold downs.
Thanks Dave, I see what is going on with your fence much better now.

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John
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My fence is pretty simple, but functional. It's a double split with the lower fence faces a little over 3" and the center ones about 1-1/2". Dust collection is handled though the little "dog house" on the back of the fence and a hole in the table top down to plumbing in the router compartment. All exiting through a 2-1/2" fitting on the left end of the table. The lower fence faces are secured with the cam locks and the center faces with the large wing nuts. The lower faces are interchangeable and I have couple of zero clearance and a jointing infeed fence for it. I use featherboards a lot so have the t-track on the fence and combo(miter+t) on the table. The fence t-tracks are also for the stop blocks. I need to make some more stop blocks for the table. I've been installing stop blocks on the fence but have't been overjoyed with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My fence is pretty simple, but functional. It's a double split with the lower fence faces a little over 3" and the center ones about 1-1/2". Dust collection is handled though the little "dog house" on the back of the fence and a hole in the table top down to plumbing in the router compartment. All exiting through a 2-1/2" fitting on the left end of the table. The lower fence faces are secured with the cam locks and the center faces with the large wing nuts. The lower faces are interchangeable and I have couple of zero clearance and a jointing infeed fence for it. I use featherboards a lot so have the t-track on the fence and combo(miter+t) on the table. The fence t-tracks are also for the stop blocks. I need to make some more stop blocks for the table. I've been installing stop blocks on the fence but have't been overjoyed with that.
I haven't seen a three-section fence design like this before. This seems like it would add a lot of flexibility to the whole assembly. For jointing operations, are you swapping out for different faces all together or do you have spacers that you are putting behind the fence faces?
 

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My router fence is currently attached to the other side of my TS fence. It's an HTC attachment made for the HTC, Xacta II, and Accufence. It's convenient, is extra long, and works well, but makes the whole fence heavier. Having both fences combined also means that it's more cumbersome to to switch back and forth between tools.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My router fence is currently attached to the other side of my TS fence. It's an HTC attachment made for the HTC, Xacta II, and Accufence. It's convenient, is extra long, and works well, but makes the whole fence heavier. Having both fences combined also means that it's more cumbersome to to switch back and forth between tools.

I see that you have melamine particle board for a table surface without any edging. Have you had any problems with chipping edges/durability issues?

What are the faces on your fence made of? It looks like some kind of plastic composite.

I have considered a combo fence situation, but I think that I want for my router fence to be perpendicular to the TS fence so that I can feed long stock onto the surface of the TS. Is this a bad idea?
 

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There is some edge banding along the front edge where I stand, but I haven't had much chip out....there's one little corner nick on the left side that you can see. Edge banding would be better all the way around, but it really hasn't been a problem, so I haven't "fixed it".

The original faces were ply, and they were warped. I replaced them with some PVC pieces I had. They're stable and smooth.

Running the fence perpendicular will give you more capacity, but your TS fence will have to be removed or slid well out of the way if your RT will be mounted on your TS. There are pros and cons to everything.
 

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John
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I haven't seen a three-section fence design like this before. This seems like it would add a lot of flexibility to the whole assembly. For jointing operations, are you swapping out for different faces all together or do you have spacers that you are putting behind the fence faces?
I don't know that 3-section adds a lot of flexibility, I've only needed to open it a couple of times. The fence came with the table. About the only thing about the table that didn't get major reconstrunction shortly upon arrival. If someone tries to sell you an ADRONI table, just shoot 'em.
For jointing I just swap out the infeed face, it's 1/64" thinner so no shims required. Zero clearance, I swap in a standard thickness outfeed fence and swap infeeds to match the bit.:smile:
 

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Another For the Fray

Since no one posted a photo of one, here is a picture of the Freud router table fence. It normally has a plastic, protective cover, but this one has been removed and carefully stored somewhere I can't find it.

I like the ease of adjustment of the two fences, the solid construction and the vacuum port.

This one is set up with extra mounting holes with T nuts mounted from the underside of the table. The large T bolts allow you to quickly reposition the fence to another set of holes.

I will be adding a track system in the not-to-distant future.
 

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John
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Since no one posted a photo of one, here is a picture of the Freud router table fence. It normally has a plastic, protective cover, but this one has been removed and carefully stored somewhere I can't find it.

I like the ease of adjustment of the two fences, the solid construction and the vacuum port.

This one is set up with extra mounting holes with T nuts mounted from the underside of the table. The large T bolts allow you to quickly reposition the fence to another set of holes.

I will be adding a track system in the not-to-distant future.

Is that a new(er) fence. I looked at the Freud fence some time ago and it seemed the slots for adjusting it went the other way (parallel to the faces). Didn't make sense to me so I passed on it. I liked the micro adjustable independent faces.:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The Freud looks really nice. I have been window shopping it for a while. A few weeks ago there was a used one on Amazon for a little under $70. I should have jumped on that!

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If I build one instead of buying, that is probably what mine will look a bit like. How well does the dust collection work? With the split fence, it should do pretty well. Also, do you have just the dust collection on the fence or below the table as well?

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It works pretty well. I might could have made the hole slightly bigger. I made sure I sealed around the plastic dust port (in the back) so I didn't have any air being drawn in from around the edges. I do not have a port in the bottom as yet.
 

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I've had this Freud for four or five years. Interestingly, I got it at Lowe's. It was around two hundred.


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Is that a new(er) fence. I looked at the Freud fence some time ago and it seemed the slots for adjusting it went the other way (parallel to the faces). Didn't make sense to me so I passed on it. I liked the micro adjustable independent faces.:smile:
 

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John
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I've had this Freud for four or five years. Interestingly, I got it at Lowe's. It was around two hundred.


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I dunno - memory ain't what it used to be. That's becoming a real sleeper deal in router fences... going for under $100 most places I've looked. I probably won't be changing my fence, I've gotten used to it.:smile:
 
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