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Router Table Insert for my Table Saw

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Blog entry by Jimi_C posted 10-13-2009 02:50 PM 4939 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Mentioned this in a comment yesterday, and got started on it last night. I’m creating a router table insert for my Craftsman table saw using 1/2” sheets of MDF laminated together. There’s also a 1” strip glued vertically across the bottom on one edge (like an I-beam) for extra support.

Here it is,glued up:

Alternate title: meticulously sealing my MDF topped bench one drop of glue at a time :D You can see my table saw in the background. The bottom sheet is about 2” narrower than the top, and is inset 1” on each side like a rabbit. The table saw’s top is 1/2” thick too, so the MDF sheets are perfect inserts, and the bottom sheet helps add rigidity. You can also see my router on the bench, it’s just a Ryobi, but it works, and it was free :)

Here is the insert on the table saw, after I drilled the hole for the router bit:

I didn’t take any pictures of the 1” cross support unfortunately, but it’s there on the bottom. I’ve already used the base of the router to mark out the hole positions on the bottom of the insert, just need to make a trip to Lowes and get the proper bolts. I haven’t decided if I’ll use a washer to secure the router, if I do I’ll need to pick up a matching Forstner bit so they’ll be below the surface of the table. I’m just not 100% confident in the MDF supporting the weight of the router with just a counter sunk bolt.

I hope to finish this up tonight, and start testing it out. There is a very small amount of flex in the insert, despite the cross support, so I may need to brace it with another cross support going along the other edge. I didn’t put one on there, because I was afraid of having easy access to the router to switch out the bit. I may add cross supports that stop 1” away from each side of the router in the middle as well.

This is really just a temporary solution, since I can’t afford a real router table top currently and can’t justify the cost of it for the projects I’m wanting to get done.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"



14 comments so far

View Joe's profile

Joe

185 posts in 2854 days


#1 posted 10-13-2009 03:42 PM

Looks good Jim, yes, please post on the end result. I need to build one myself. I seen a a video on a guy making one and he used a 12X12 piece of floor tile that drops in for the insert.

-- Senior Chief

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5604 posts in 2693 days


#2 posted 10-13-2009 03:42 PM

They don’t have to be fancy now do they? BTW, No need to apologize for a Ryobi router. I had one, and the only reason I got rid of it was no 1/2” collet… I shouldn’t have gotten rid of it though. It was very handy for quick work as bit changes on it were really easy…

FWIW, Melamine coated MDF is what a LOT of the aftermarket router table extension wings are made of. So you are on the right track. Not sure why you are getting flex though. That Ryobi router isn’t all that heavy comparatively speaking…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 2696 days


#3 posted 10-13-2009 03:55 PM

dbhost: It does the job, and I plan to keep it for hand-held work in the future. I just want one that is variable speed (for using large panel bits) and with a 1/2” collet like you said. It does also have a hex bolt for fine adjustments from the top, so it should work out for a temp router table. The span of the table is pretty wide, about 25”, but I didn’t mean to sound like I’m getting major deflection. I have to put my weight on it and it deflects maybe 1/64” max. My fear is that the prolonged weight of the router hanging may be enough to make that deflection permanent. If it does, I guess I can always wedge a 2×4 under it ^_^

One thing I noticed this morning, even at full depth, the router bit is protruding about 1/2” – 3/4” depending on how deeply I chuck the bit. Considering the Ryobi routers do have a reputation for chucks that aren’t 100% accurate, I’d probably want to chuck it fully to reduce slop on cuts. That means I may have to route out the bottom a little to inset the router.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5604 posts in 2693 days


#4 posted 10-13-2009 04:02 PM

Ah, yeah, doesn’t sound like a huge deal to me. I agree with the single speed issue, and the collet. Which is why I got the Hitachi KM12VC.

Yeah, I think if you do have the router mounted at full depth, you are going to not be able to expose most bits fully…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View GaryD's profile

GaryD

623 posts in 2830 days


#5 posted 10-13-2009 06:44 PM

Jim, loks good, need one for mine also. Great space saver. I along with everyone elase, cant figure out wh the flex still with the braces you have on there!

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1440 posts in 2925 days


#6 posted 10-13-2009 06:59 PM

nice to see the results!

my router is supported with 3 screws (countersunk not counterbored) through a 3/4 mdf top without washers. the top IS supported on 4 sides like yours is not, which will aid in reducing deflection. as you say – the MDF will creep over time. I wonder if you can design it to use a thinner base part at the router (i.e. 1-ply), then support it more heavily elsewhere (2+ ply) – to maximize bit extension through the top and minimize deflection.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#7 posted 10-13-2009 07:10 PM

good start

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 2696 days


#8 posted 10-13-2009 07:57 PM

@AaronK: I’m just going to rout out a space the base of the router a bit, maybe 1/4” or so. That way I’ll still have 3/4” of MDF supporting it. I’ll give it a try without washers, worst case it just rips out and I have to cut 2 more pieces of MDF :)

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1440 posts in 2925 days


#9 posted 10-13-2009 08:11 PM

i think thats a good idea. (eiw, routing MDF!)

where were you going to put the washers? i guess i cant really picture what you mean.

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 2696 days


#10 posted 10-13-2009 08:16 PM

I agree about the routing MDF… I had sworn I’d never do it again…

The washers would have been sunk below the surface of the MDF on top, basically just using a Forstner bit to make holes the size of the washers. The downside would be relatively large “pot holes” on the top of the router table, but I wasn’t all that worried about it.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1440 posts in 2925 days


#11 posted 10-13-2009 08:26 PM

gotcha. i would suggest instead using flat-head screws to attach the router so that the countersinks do not remove as much material as counterbores. Also, if you want to reinforce the MDF at the holes, you can use a variety of curing agents – glues (PVA, CA, etc) or poly finish that will soak in an increase the durability locally.

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 2696 days


#12 posted 10-13-2009 08:46 PM

That’s a good idea about using PVA to strengthen the counterbore, I will most definitely do that.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1440 posts in 2925 days


#13 posted 10-13-2009 08:49 PM

lol wait wait. i just realized that pva might not be the best since it has so much water in it – that is, it might case some unwanted swelling. best to use non-aqueous like cyanoacrylate or poly finish.

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 2696 days


#14 posted 10-13-2009 08:56 PM

I thought of that, I figured it’d just soak into the MDF anyway, and I may have to re-drill it a bit – no big deal and it’d still be soaked into the MDF around the new bore.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

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