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Router Table #1: The Table Top

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Blog entry by baniels posted 11-09-2009 05:06 PM 3229 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Router Table series Part 2: Epic Failure »

I recently received a Bosch 1617EVSPK for my birthday. The first project for any new router owner is the router table.

The design of my table is influenced heavily by the fence system I will be using. I just picked up the “17 Incra LS Super System.

In order to allow for the full 17” range of the system while mounting the carriage fully on the table, I am making the top with the dimensions 27×43.

The top is made from 2 sheets of 3/4” MDF glued together with Titebond III. After gluing them together I found a slight curve in the table. Flatness is what I desire so I decided to add a series of angle irons to the bottom of the table.

Here are some pictures of my clamping setup.

Yesterday I laminated the bottom of the table with a cheap laminate from Menards. I found a simple white colored laminate for a few bucks. The top will be laminated with Formica Microdot, if the local shop ever calls to let me know that my special order has arrived. I chose the Microdot for its slick and durable properties. It seems to be a favorite for router table tops.

The laminate was secured using 3M's 30NF Contact Adhesive.

Prior to laminating, I cut down the angle irons and laid them out in a mock up and marked them for drilling. I drilled three holes in each of the three short spans, and 5 holes in the two long spans. I then drilled the angle iron with a 3/8” bit and laid them back out on the underside of the table.

I drilled tiny pinholes in the center of each hole to help guide me from the other side.

After flipping the table, I used a 7/8” forstner bit at each point to recess the washers and head of the hex bolts I would be using to attach the angle irons. I then drilled a 3/8” hole through the center of each recess.

Now I was ready for laminating the bottom. I used a 4” brush to spread the adhesive on both surfaces. I think I will use a roller for the top application. Even spread was difficult and slow with the brush.

I had about 3 inches of overhang on each side of the table with the laminate so alignment was simple. I used a J-Roller to press on the laminate. Once I got it started, I routed the laminate flush on the edges, and then went back to the roller. With the edges flush I was able to then add more pressure to the edges without worrying about accidentally snapping off the overhanging laminate.

Once the laminate was plenty secure, I flipped the table over and punched through the laminate with the 3/8” bit in the holes I driller earlier.

Bolts and washers were inserted and the table was flipped. Angle irons in place, nuts were added and tightened. The table is much closer to flat now. I am still hoping that a little bit of time will bring it perfectly flat. We shall see. Here is a picture from the sketchup model.

The next step is now to fill all of the holes on the top with a wood filler of some kind, and then sanded flat with the top. Once that is done, and when I have the Mocrodot in hand, I can laminate the top.

UPDATE: Here are some pictures.

Any thoughts on the best way to fill these holes? They have a 7/8” diameter and are about 3/8” to 1/2” deep. The two part minwax wood filler seems to work okay, but it is not the easiest stuff to deal with and produces awful fumes. On the other hand, a one part Elmers I have doesn’t get hard enough and is crumbly. My local lumber shop has some wood epoxy, but the price seems excessive.

I went this route because I’ve only had bad experiences with screws in MDF.



11 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3115 days


#1 posted 11-09-2009 06:06 PM

looks like a good start. I think the TS-LS is a great fence system… would love to have that one day when I can justify it’s cost for a non-professional shop.

looking forward to the next installment.

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

View Blake's profile

Blake

3442 posts in 3341 days


#2 posted 11-09-2009 07:43 PM

What, now photos?

Sounds like you’ve got a good start. It seems similar to what I did for my router table. You might want to look at it for ideas. There are TONS of other nice router tables on Lumberjocks too if you just do a keyword search.

Here’s mine… there is a full progress blog linked from the project page as well:

Click for details

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View baniels's profile

baniels

13 posts in 2587 days


#3 posted 11-09-2009 07:49 PM

Yes, Blake – I’ve actually favorited your entry already.

I will take some pictures today and post them. It’s probably going to be the end of the week before I get my laminate for the top. I wish that wasn’t the case – I’ve got some unusually warm weather in Iowa right now and it may be gone by this weekend. I may need to bring the project inside in order for the adhesive to set properly.

View baniels's profile

baniels

13 posts in 2587 days


#4 posted 11-09-2009 09:46 PM

Updated with some pictures and a new question.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3115 days


#5 posted 11-09-2009 10:41 PM

how about plugging those with some MDF discs of same/similar diameter? this would reduce glue cost. and since it’ll be covered on top with formica, you don’t need to be perfect with the “fix”

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

View Blake's profile

Blake

3442 posts in 3341 days


#6 posted 11-10-2009 03:41 AM

cool. Thanks for the photos!

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#7 posted 11-10-2009 03:44 AM

good start

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4808 posts in 2640 days


#8 posted 11-10-2009 05:36 AM

Nicely done!

What am I missing? I thought MDF was famously stable?

-- -- Neil

View baniels's profile

baniels

13 posts in 2587 days


#9 posted 11-10-2009 05:58 AM

Stable in a lot of applications, certainly. But I have read numerous reports on various forums of MDF router tables, both homemade and retail, that have lost flatness.

View baniels's profile

baniels

13 posts in 2587 days


#10 posted 11-10-2009 05:58 AM

Stable in a lot of applications, certainly. But I have read numerous reports on various forums of MDF router tables, both homemade and retail, that have lost flatness.

View baniels's profile

baniels

13 posts in 2587 days


#11 posted 11-10-2009 05:07 PM

I had a feeling that last comment was going to post twice.

I’ve added a few pictures of the clamping setup.

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