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Horizontal Router Table

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Blog entry by John Nixon posted 2500 days ago 23026 reads 7 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing and making a video for the MLCS horizontal router table. In this video, I show how to make Mortises and Tenons easily on this machine. Also covered in the video is raised panels, crown molding and custom molding.

The machine is nice, and definitely as some advantages. Making raised panels or molding is similar to the action of using a jointer. You are passing the work over the bit with downward pressure. It feels much safer than standing it on it’s edge against the fence.

I thought the video came out great (I’m always trying to improve my quality). Give it a look and let me know what you think.

http://www.eaglelakewoodworking.com/post/MLCS-Horizontal-Router-Table.aspx

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-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com



19 comments so far

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4469 posts in 2583 days


#1 posted 2500 days ago

This is a very cool looking tool John. Great video presentation as well. Great safety feature(s).

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2542 days


#2 posted 2500 days ago

Great video John. I’ve only seen the table in magazines. It looks very versatile. Is there means for chip extraction? Also, is it capable of being clamped to a more secure surface. The wobble that exists with your workmate bench distracted me into thinking that you had to exert pressure into the workpiece to not only guide it, but also to stabilize the table. Nice presentation.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 2568 days


#3 posted 2500 days ago

Hi Mot,

You must have had a bathroom break and not made it until the end of the film :-)
Towards the end, before I make the raised panel, I show where I put the machine in my shop as a permanent installation (with stability and effective dust collection).

I agree with you totally about the workmate wobble. MLCS wanted to show off the portability of the unit, so I was asked to demo on a stand. My permanent installation is much nicer…I was able to collect 99% of the dust and chips as well as have infeed and outfeed support.

Thanks for checking out the video. Here’s some pics of my permanent installation.

I made stand that attaches adjacent to my existing router table for the MLCS horizontal router. The existing
router table can be used as outfeed from the MLCS unit, and vice versa.
1

The MLCS horizontal router table was left completely stock and not altered in any way.
1

The MLCS Horizontal Router table sits on an open shelf with a series of built-in levelers that allow for exact
height adjustment with the adjacent router table.
1

This picture shows the dust collection mouth that the MLCS unit backs up against.
The foam adhered to the dust mouth makes a nice seal against the router base
1

I made a “plug” that seals the lower center area of the MLCS unit, and creates a chamber that directs dust and
chips towards the dust collection mouth.
1

Here’s a view from the back that shows how the bottom of the plexiglass router plate, and the plug create a
single path for dust to go to the collection mouth.
1
1

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2644 days


#4 posted 2500 days ago

John -

Great presentation! I saw this much earlier on your website (one that I check frequently!). I had the same concern Mot did about the wobble but felt much better at the end when it was mounted permanently. It looks like a great fixture for the router. I think MLCS might have done inadvertently themselves a disservice with the “portability” part. How difficult is access to the router and adjustment controls with your current set-up? Again, great presentation!

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 2568 days


#5 posted 2500 days ago

Thanks David. I appreciate you watching the video and I appreciate your nice comments.

With my Porter Cable router, I am able to unclamp the router’s motor body and slip that out the back easily for bit changes. I also drilled the the two necessary holes in the plexiglass plate to allow me to set the bit depth from the front of the table. I don’t use that much, since it’s just as easy to reach around the back.

All-in-all, I like the setup. Having it between my router table and table saw (everything is at the same height) is execellent for infeed / outfeed support.

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2542 days


#6 posted 2500 days ago

You’re right John. I had to run to work and didn’t watch the video to the end. I got the point about operation and versatility of the product in the first few minutes. I should have known you would have answered my concerns in the video. Thank you very much for the followup post, as it VERY clearly addresses those concerns. I’ve often thought that a horizontal table adjacent to my vertical table would be an asset. I have a mitre saw there right now, but once Festool releases the Kapex I’ll be able to relegate the 12” SCMS to the upstairs shop and look more seriously at the MLCS product. Thanks!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2816 days


#7 posted 2499 days ago

Nice looking setup. I have a homemade version of a horizontal router table, but haven’t quite finished it. I will have to finish it and post it.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 2568 days


#8 posted 2499 days ago

Hi Oscorner,

Thanks for checking out my setup and commenting. I would love to see your shopbuilt version. Please do post on it when it’s ready (or even in progress – I love those pics too).

Thanks,
John

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com

View furnitologist's profile

furnitologist

198 posts in 2518 days


#9 posted 2499 days ago

Hi John:

I like all your video’s on all your router contraptions…....very nicely done. I find it interesting to see how individuals perform similar operations differently, what is in your training that makes a stationery router so important in your building style…....you use the stationery router with ease…...excellent to watch.

I’ve been following your pool table to date and think its great how you use materials. Lliked your mention of the great variety and availibilty of veneer today. Also I liked your no-excuse attitude about veneering the feet on your columns…..........there’s always a way!!!!

I appreciate your work…..............Neil

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2667 days


#10 posted 2499 days ago

Great video work John. That looks like a nice set up. I can see some advantages of having a horizontal router over the vertical one.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 2568 days


#11 posted 2499 days ago

Thanks Neil. I appreciate you taking the time to watch this video and the others. I have visited your site in the past and watched the videos you have there and on youtube. I aspire to someday have a legacy like yours. I’m just a kid compared to what you’ve done with woodworking through your career, and I’m very impressed with your work!

As for me and the router table – I’m always trying to find ways to exploit the capabilities of the table mounted router. It’s one of my favorite items in the shop.

I hope to have more of the Pool table build video released pretty soon. I’ve been stalled for a while now.

Thanks again,
John

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 2568 days


#12 posted 2499 days ago

Thank you Bill from Turlock California. It is pretty nice to use it as a shaper and have the bit horizontal. It’s a lot like using a jointer and exerting downward pressure just seems better and safer. I’ll be expirimenting with some more molding heads to see what I can come up with.

John

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com

View akrij's profile

akrij

3 posts in 2392 days


#13 posted 2392 days ago

I purchased an MLCS horizontal router table and use this for mortice-tenon work. I use a sliding table jig similar to the one described in Bill Hyltons book “Woodworking with the router” (Readers Digest Publ.) page 97.
I find that although I use a light router, the acrylic router plate flexes sufficiently to give an irregular bottom edge of the mortice. Tenons seem to be OK. I use an upcut 3/8” bit.
Similarly dados in a 4cm x 4cm hardwood stock are inaccurate due to the same fault. On searching the internet, I find that there are several mentions of this fault by other woodworkers. Are there available aluminum or other metal plates for the router support that would get around this fault?

-- Akrij

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 2568 days


#14 posted 2392 days ago

Akrij,

I had the same problem. I solved it by using two small ratchet / spring clamps below the table that keep the plexi-plate flat against the aluminum guides. Yes, you have to clamp them on and off between bit height adjustments, but it does deal with the issue – no more flex.

Let me know if you’d like me to snap a picture of this setup to illustrate the point.

John

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com

View akrij's profile

akrij

3 posts in 2392 days


#15 posted 2390 days ago

John,
Thank you for the prompt answer. Yes, I would like to see a picture of the clamps.
I myself planned to add two more of the sliding holding knobs below the table and also shift the screws holding the acrylic plate down by 4 cm as the travel of the lead lift screw is too short to lift the router high enough for the mortice/tenon routing on my three-plate-sliding mortice jig.
This jig is constructed with a middle plate rebated 32mm Incra single track with metal sliding insert (forward/back slide) and a bottom plate clamped to the table with a double Incra track (19mm) with nylon sliding inserts ( away and towards router slide) with clamp hold downs at the top plate for the work-piece.
This avoids the inaccuracy in lowering the work-piece onto the bit and also allows for accurate “in-track” stops for the mortice/tenons.
The whole design of the horizontal table would be improved by a metal router holding plate and better sliding mechanism using two lifting screws, but I guess this would make it too costly.

-- Akrij

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