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I'm trying to design a router table that has plenty of features I'll use. When it comes to T-track and miter slots, would you include both on the table surface or just one, and if only one, which one?

I know I want a T-track on the fence to make it easier to attach a feather board and bit guard. On the table I'd also use a feather board but I'm thinking of making a sled for the table also and a miter slot would make this easier. I also know I can fasten a feather board into just a plain miter slot with a hardware kit from Rockler.

Mostly I'm asking because, as always, I'm trying to plan it on a budget, so buying enough aluminum miter slots and T-tracks to just do anything I want isn't really an option. Unless just routing my own T's and miters would work fine without an aluminum insert to install in them. I'd LOVE to just do that and not have the expense of the other stuff, since, when I build it I'll be starting from scratch, building the table, fence, any cabinet I may use, storage in it, buying feather boards, buying a guard, buying an insert (might make that too), and probably even buying the router as well. That's a heck of a list so anywhere I can shave it would certainly be a help.
 

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Save your $. Don't put either a track or miter slot in the table. 1st, any slot will weaken the table. 2nd, using anything in the slot or track to guide your work will require that the fence is absolutely parallel with the slot/track. 3rd, and most importantly, you don't need it. Feather boards can be clamped in place on the table, guided cuts like cope and sticks can be easily accomplished with a shop made sled that rides against the fence.
A track at the top of the fence face is a good idea for hold down feather boards.
 

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When I built mine I put in a miter slot, but that was it. The fence is clamped to the table with C-clamps to hold it, and the track in the fence is in the wood. I might put an aluminum piece of T track in the fence if I was doing it over. I'd probably also skip the miter track....less sure of that, but it really doesn't get used very much. My featherboards are also c-clamped in place when needed, both on the table and on the fence. Look at this way, if you skip the miter track, it can easily be added later if you decide you need it.
 

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Save your $. Don't put either a track or miter slot in the table. 1st, any slot will weaken the table. 2nd, using anything in the slot or track to guide your work will require that the fence is absolutely parallel with the slot/track. 3rd, and most importantly, you don't need it. Feather boards can be clamped in place on the table, guided cuts like cope and sticks can be easily accomplished with a shop made sled that rides against the fence.
A track at the top of the fence face is a good idea for hold down feather boards.
I completely disagree. A miter slot on the table is essential. There are many operations where you will want to use a feather board and will want somewhere to mount it. Using a clamp is inconvenient at best and I would think often in the way.

Most importantly, a slot in which to have your sled (and you will want a sled) to ride is needed. You could possible ride a sled against a fence, but I think that would be a cludge that is not desirable.

There are operations that you may do with a sled where the fence is not even necessary. If you ever use a rail and style set of bits, the rail bit cut is best done with a sled. The board can be held by a clamp to the sled without the need for a fence. If you do use a fence, it would have to be parallel to the track.

I would also definitely want a T track on the fence.

George
 

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if anything, i would just put in some partial T tracks for the fence holddown. for a featherboard, i attach one to a long piece and clamp in place when necessary, which is not very often.
 

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John
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Depends on the individual. I have the combo track on the table and t-track on the fence. I use both quite often for clamping feather boards and jigs but cope cuts I use a large push block. The push block has adjustable and replaceable MDF faces so when the face gets whacked to many times I just replace it.:smile:
 

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for what it's worth, you can get a plate from grizzly for $14 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
for what it's worth, you can get a plate from grizzly for $14 or so.
An insert plate? I'm sure that wouldn't be aluminum, right? Do you trust the phenolic not to bow under the weight of a router? I've heard they do. Anything like this I get I'll have to order sight unseen. I have no woodworking supply shops around here. So I'd need to take a pretty long drive or just order it.

Someone said cutting a slot would weaken the table. I believe I can brace it up enough so that this isn't a problem. Also, for the fence, I wasn't even planning on doing T-track. I was going to cut a dado on the bottom wide enough for a carriage bolt head to fit, and then cut a narrower slot inside of the dado for the shank to come up through to the top. Then drill two holes in the bottom of the fence back and put two knobs on it. My small router table is like this and I like it. That's two T-tracks I can eliminate by doing that.
 

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crosseyed & dyslexic
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Ryan I completely agree with George on the miter slot. You have looked at my build and see I have one and I totally am pleased with it. The price for those are pretty cheap compared to all the other crap.
I can't see how it would be a detriment to the table, it won't weaken it , especially when you laminated both sides and it's mounted securely. I have two t tracks mounted as well for the fence and t tracks mounted on the face of my femce and t tracks mounted behind my fence for adjustments. I love it, I use it, and have had no issues.

Good on you for asking these questions now :thumbsup:
 

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Gene Howe said:
Save your $. Don't put either a track or miter slot in the table. 1st, any slot will weaken the table. 2nd, using anything in the slot or track to guide your work will require that the fence is absolutely parallel with the slot/track. 3rd, and most importantly, you don't need it. Feather boards can be clamped in place on the table, guided cuts like cope and sticks can be easily accomplished with a shop made sled that rides against the fence.
A track at the top of the fence face is a good idea for hold down feather boards.
Bill Hylton, the author of the best selling books written on routers and router tables, and I agree with you. The only hole in the table top should be for an insert, if you elect to use one.

Sleds referenced off the edge of the table work as well as the miter slot. Feather boards clamped to the table work just fine. A miter slot adds a place for things to catch in, for no great advantage.

Be sure to put the router at a third point from the long edges, and not in the middle. You can the clamp the fence on either side to adjust for the size of your workpiece.
 
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