Router Table #12: The Good the Bad and the Ugly... New Fence Arrived

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 01-31-2010 02:07 AM 7516 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Drawer Fronts in Front(s) of the Drawers Part 12 of Router Table series Part 13: Leveling the Insert - Incra Style »

I saw an ad on craigslist for a Jointech 12” router fence positioner which is similar to the Incra LS positioner -has a lead screw, and has what Incra sells as add on – the “wonder fence” as the standard fence. the guy posted it as used, but at what Jointech is selling it NEW… I contacted the person trying to negotiate a win-win situation. that was 2 weeks ago. the jointech fence is still on craigslist. I just couldn’t justify his price for a fence I’m not familiar with, that has no online reviews, when I can get a brand new Incra for about the same amount, which is a proven fence.

after doing some research, I found that my fav. supplier, Lee Valley had the best price and ordered it from them. the fence arrived and had a couple of scratches on them. I contacted LV, and before I even clicked the “send” button, I already got a reply from them (ok – not THAT fast, but I sent the message 11pm, and got a reply before 8:30am the next day! thats FAST). the reply stated that they had already sent a replacement fence system, and a prepaid shipping label for me to send back the first one. that’s Customer Service for ya. I am always impressed with Lee Valley.

So. I got the new fence, and all is well. this fence is phenomenal, and the online videos and brochures does not do it justice. you really have to see it in person to appreciate the design and precision build into it.

That was the GOOD.

now – for the BAD.

I originally designed the phenolic table top with the LS positioner in mind – but since I did not have a way to figure out the distances between fence and router, and fence, router and table. I ended up installing the insert a little too deep into the table, not leaving much room for the reach of the LS positioner (I have the 17” version).

I modeled the Incra 17” LS positioner in Sketchup, and imported it into my router table model, played around with it, until I was happy with a better design and potitioning of the elements on the top:
redesigned top

hence the BAD – I had to recut an opening in the phenolic top. I guess I was too quick to say I won’t be doing that for a while lat time around.

This time, I made the template a little differently. I pretty much repeated the process I did the last time, only I shimmed the pre-template with a thin paper so that the insert would slide in smoothly and not be too tight. I also only routed the template’s straight edges, and then shaped the rounded corners with a rasp – the template was PERFECT.

problem is, when I started routing the phenolic top, on one edge my template bit sneaked up into the collet, causing the bearing to be above the router base, and the router dug into the template, and away from the straight line on the top, I noticed it a little too late (following picture, further errors on left of insert). I fixed the issue with the bit, and continued routing, when on the opposite edge (right side of insert closest error in picture) the bit dug into a part of the phenolic which made the router jump off, and tear a piece of the top off. I guess there was a cross woven part that was harder to route, and the bit got caught in it. I kept my cool, and continued routing all around, and cut the middle with a circular saw. apparently I just have poor luck routing those insert openings – thats 2nd time in a row and 2 out of 2.

so thats the Ugly:
routing errors

All in all, it’s only cosmetic. the insert fits in beautifully and easily – much better than the tight fit on the previous opening. I’m going to cover the previous opening with a 5/8” insert of phenolic that I have, and may use it in the future if I need more support for the parts being routed. I’ll just flip the table end for end.

At the end of the day, here is the fence installed:
routing errors

Knowing what I know now, if I had to do it again (or will in the future) I would just order the router top from Incra and forgo all the hassle. this was a part of this project that I really did not like working on.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

22 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5316 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 01-31-2010 02:25 AM

Hey, you’re a better man for it. I looks really nice.

I feel for you though, I had to cut a beveled rectangular hole in the top for the sander I just built. I believe it was just as nerve racking.

Now I want one of these too. Thanks for ruining my day,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View webwood's profile


626 posts in 3186 days

#2 posted 01-31-2010 02:28 AM

thats why i bought the table top as well – but you will be amazed by the accuracy of this system – still need to think but if you are on it’s on – i love mine

-- -erik & christy-

View degoose's profile


7228 posts in 3290 days

#3 posted 01-31-2010 02:30 AM

I am happy for you that it is all now over with… I am happy for me because I ordered the incra and all the gear and also had the forethought to pay the 200 bucks and get a purpose built table top for the cabinet… thereby foreogoing all the dramas of cutting the template hole… etc….
I am looking forward to getting my router table all set up…
Thanks for the blog on the cabinet itself… will use some of your great ideas…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Karson's profile


35108 posts in 4336 days

#4 posted 01-31-2010 02:30 AM

Well a great addition to your table. Sorry about the misfortune on the routing.

It happens to all of us.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3114 days

#5 posted 01-31-2010 02:33 AM

At first I was unsure about the orientation of that Incra Positioner but the more I see it the more I am starting to like it.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3690 days

#6 posted 01-31-2010 02:43 AM

Nothing that a little bit of epoxy won’t fix….looks good!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3584 days

#7 posted 01-31-2010 02:51 AM

Thanks guys.

sIKE- as usual – thats a GREAT IDEA. If this’ll bother me enough, I think I’ll take up on this and fill this up. thanks!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View blackcherry's profile


3337 posts in 3759 days

#8 posted 01-31-2010 02:56 AM

Your going to love this unit. I just sold my incra ultra today with plan on ordering the LS 17 Super System. I purchase my ultra 20 years ago and its still performs like day one, a solid made product. I had to cut the hole out for a extra plate I had on my table saw extension and I order the template from Woodpecker a real life saver for making you own top. Enjoy your new ace of a tool can’t wait to see what it turns out…stay safe…Blackcherry

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2778 posts in 3373 days

#9 posted 01-31-2010 03:39 AM

How about mixing up some epoxy… even tinting it a little red and molding into those ‘oops’. I’ll bet it would hardly show when you’re done.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3584 days

#10 posted 01-31-2010 03:46 AM

Daniel – thats a good idea, the tine would blend in better. I think I’m going to make that as a mini-project at some point.

Degoose - you probably won’t appreciate it much, but you should appreciate it quite a bit that you’ve ordered the top and don’t have to deal with this mess… enjoy your peace of mind! (too late for me).

Karson – thanks for the reminder that it happens to everyone. although browsing through the posts here, it doesnt seem like it :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3501 days

#11 posted 01-31-2010 03:54 AM

Man you had to struggle with this one! Looks good, you are really going to enjoy having this new tool.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3584 days

#12 posted 01-31-2010 04:09 AM

yeah Tim, I seem to be struggling with every project at one point or another. on this one – I would happily pass on that challenge though :) hope I don’t have to make a 3rd opening…lol

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3690 days

#13 posted 01-31-2010 04:17 AM

I have a love/hate thing with Epoxy. I love its capabilities, but it is such a mess. With the kids (me too) always breaking small things, I have a list on the white board of things that need to be epoxied and when I hit a point that I need to break the stuff out, they all get fixed at the same time.

The tinting is a great idea!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4023 days

#14 posted 01-31-2010 04:27 AM

I have the same incra fence on my router table You may not even have to fill the other hole I find 90 % of the work done with this fence is within a few inches of the bit.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3584 days

#15 posted 01-31-2010 04:31 AM

Thanks DocK. I figured that would be the case in most cases. however since the other hole is above my drawers, I want to cover that to prevent dust from going in there.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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