Working out the fence design.
It is not unusual for me to put in more than two hours of drive time on certain work days. This allows me considerable time to contemplate upcoming steps while building a project. Since creating the fence for my new router table has been rapidly approaching, I have been thinking of combining two router table fence designs seen in separate issues of Fine Woodworking magazine.
If you have been following my progress, you most likely have already seen this image of John White’s space saving router table from FWW #216. I also found a router table fence design in issue #211 created by woodworker David Diaman. I am taking the best of both designs and creating my own.
Even though I enjoy using SketchUp to design woodworking projects, I began forming parts of the fence without any drawings at all. These early parts served only as test pieces; eventually trashed, but helpful in working out the design.
As I organized my thoughts, I realized two components would determine the overall size of what I call the fence frame: the back would naturally set the frame’s height and length – the length matching the width of the table top. The dust port would reveal the depth. I wanted the dust port cavity to be an efficient size; not too small, but also not too large. I then put what I had learned into a SketchUp model…
That is a 2 1/2 inch circle you see above. I made sure I had enough space on each side for some structural boards. All of the plywood is 1/2 inch thick except the 3/4 inch thick dust port. I chose 1/2 inch thickness to keep the fence from being too heavy.
The two images above do not show the t-track I’ll add, and they do not show the method for clamping the router table fence to my table saw.
The basic fence components.
When designing with SketchUp, it is easy to generate a cut list, something I never did when I used to design with pencil and paper. With the cut list and a couple of illustrations, I headed to the shop and began fabricating the parts you see above. Then assembly begins…
I use my brad nailer and glue to assemble the fence frame. The black plastic dust port is attached with adhesive and two small screws, then the fence face, made up of three pieces of melamine coated particle board is attached with screws. I like this material because it is slippery; in my opinion, perfect for a routing operation.
The t-track in the table top was positioned with screws and silicone, but for the fence, I simply used screws which seems to have gained enough of a bite in the particle board. Concerning the fence face – I did follow John White’s design, especially the height; for me, a better option than what is shown in the Diaman design.
You can see that I am using Grip-Tite Fence Clamps to hold the router table fence to my table saw fence. This style of clamp is seen in the Diaman design and I like this better than the four larger clamps John White uses.
I am still undecided on what to do for an on/off switch. My local Woodcraft has a Kreg on/off switch in stock. This switch is not ideal for my router table due to the way I would have to mount it. Amazon shows a variety of switches, most are not ideal for my needs. Some of these are very affordable, but I am still looking for the right switch.
So, I need to get the on/off switch nailed down, add some plastic to the front of the router area, and get the router mounted to the plate which has been a little problematic. More on that in my next post.
Thanks for reading! – Jeff