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R4512 Router Table Insert

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Project by dmisita posted 05-19-2014 09:28 PM 2007 views 16 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m a beginning woodworker and I have a small shop (16×15 with some odd angles thrown in). Needless to say, space is at a premium for me. The projects I have in mind call for a router table, but I didn’t have much space to sacrifice.

One of my first purchases was a Ridgid R4512 table saw. It’s a good value at around $500, and it has a cast iron top. I’ve already rewired it to 220, and perhaps its placebo effect, but I’ve noticed a difference.

One quirk of this saw, all of the aftermarket router table inserts that I’ve found online are poor fits for this saw. It’s a left tilt saw, and though people have managed to persuade inserts onto the left side of the table, it wasn’t easy.

After doing my research online, I saw that many people built their own inserts for the right side of the table where there is a opening in the fence rails. I combined the best of all the projects I saw online, and created my own router table.

To start, I laminated together 3/4 melamine covered chipboard to 3/4 MDF. Because the melamine was on both sides of the sheet, I did this using contact cement. Next I cut this down to the insert size recommended in the owner’s manual, but I undersized it by 1.5 inches in both length and width.

I then edge banded the whole thing in 1×2 oak that I picked up at the same big orange store that I got the sheet goods. I used Titebond 2, and 18g 1.25 in brad nails to secure it in place. I also put a reinforcing strip on the bottom of the long sides (the same oak turned flat). (This makes it easier to install into the rails.)

A quick finish with some dark walnut Danish Oil, and I installed it into place using 2.5 inch bronzed decking screws. These screws have a really coarse thread, are self-tapping, and were what I had on hand . . .

I will spare you the details of why I had to build this insert 2 more times, but needless to say, I suck with a router and I learned some valuable lessons regarding following the plan carefully when using a jigsaw …

Eventually, I managed to rout a recess for a Rockler Router plate and installed their leveling hardware. (I did this with a 3/4×1/2 inch top bearing pattern bit and an MDF pattern that I fashioned from 1/4 MDF cut into strips.) I routed the recess about 1/8 in too large, but since the plate locks, I’ve decided to not lose any sleep over it.

Next I set out to build the fence. I used 3/4 in plywood to make a simple fence. I had intended to pocket hole it together, but the angles proved too difficult to get the drill in there. So, I pocket holed part of the fence, and glued and nailed the rest together. It consists of a front fence and rear fence attached to a base. I’ve installed some spacers in between to keep the fences rigid. These will allow both the creation of a dust collection port and some on-fence storage.

Next I cut some of the leftover melamine shelving into an adjustable opening fence. I made a split fence for the bottom and a single piece which I routed for some Incra T-Track. For the split bottom of the fence, I put two recessed bolt holes through which I attached Incra build-it knobs and bolts with washers. I routed a slot in the sub-fence to accommodate these bolts and allow the fence halves to slide freely. I did this by using the table saw’s existing fence as a straight edge, and a straight bit. It came out a bit ugly, but that’s how you learn (or so I’m starting to believe).

From here, I attached the back of the sub-fence to my table saw’s fence using one of the existing T-Track slots on the fence. (It’s one of the nicest features of the R4512.) I used the same Incra knobs (they come in a pack of eight).

All that is left to do is: attach a piece of plywood over the router fence and cut a hole for my shop vac to allow some dust collection. I’ll do this with a hole saw on a drill. Next I plan to rout a dado for a miter track. My plan is to do this using the fence and riding the router up against it to keep it straight. I also will install a on-off switch.

Anyway, that’s my project. It ain’t perfect, but it’s mine!





10 comments so far

View JonBikeRacer's profile

JonBikeRacer

21 posts in 326 days


#1 posted 05-19-2014 10:47 PM

Thank you for posting this. I have the same R4512, and I have incorporated an old router table surface just like you have. Eventually, when time, and the Mrs. allow, I’ll get a trick router lift like that.

-- Jon "That's about as close as I can eyeball it"

View dmisita's profile

dmisita

14 posts in 193 days


#2 posted 05-19-2014 11:30 PM

It’s actually not a lift. It’s just a plate from Rockler. They don’t really have a proper lift that fit my Hitachi Router.

Given a choice I would have bought a PC 890. But, this Hitachi had the advantage of being free. My FIL is a tool hoarder and when my in-laws downsized recently I received a number of tools. I don’t think this router was ever turned on before.

The fence took minimal time to build. I started around noon today and I was done around 3.

View JFred's profile

JFred

86 posts in 269 days


#3 posted 05-19-2014 11:50 PM

Very nice work on your router table.

View counterofbeans's profile

counterofbeans

4 posts in 447 days


#4 posted 05-20-2014 02:21 PM

I’ve been wanting to do something like this on my table saw for a while. Your explanation and pictures made the process a lot clearer in my head. Thank you! Now I just have to find an excuse for some shop time….

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3600 posts in 1236 days


#5 posted 05-20-2014 06:37 PM

dmistia, I’m in the very same position you are in as I am limited on space as well, mine is 16×20 so anyway I optioned for the MLCS 2394 Router Table Extension, I found it online for $169.00 I figured by the time I purchased parts and labor it’d be about the same. Here is my blog on how I installed it if you care to look.

Since It wasn’t something I constructed, I optioned it as a blog instead of a project.

Blog

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View ketawoodman's profile

ketawoodman

1 post in 569 days


#6 posted 05-21-2014 06:10 AM

Very nice additions to your tablesaw….how did you rewire to 220?

View dmisita's profile

dmisita

14 posts in 193 days


#7 posted 05-21-2014 11:04 AM

The 220 rewire wasn’t hard. The saw manual tells you how to do it. Inside the cabinet there’s an access panel and you change the configuration of a couple of wires. You remove the wire nuts, and twist the proper pairs together and put new nuts on.

Then, you need to put a new 220 plug on the end of the power cord. I took this opportunity to put in a longer cord. I bought a 12g 25 foot extension cord and I cut off both ends. Stripping back 2 inches of insulation on both ends gave me plenty of working space. The plug end was just a matter of trimming the wires to length and inserting them into their proper terminals. I put some heat shrink around the end to protect from the clamp on the new plug.

The saw end was a bit more complicated. This end uses flat spade connectors inside the on-off switch. I removed the old cord by popping out the clamping from the switch box and removing the connectors. Next, I crimped on connectors to my new cord. (These are available from Home Depot in the electrical aisles). Then I used the same shrink wrap and put the new cord through the clamp nut and pushed this all into the switch box. Attached the new spade connectors to the terminals, and closed the cover.

Next step was to plug into the wall, and a quick leap of faith later (“Please don’t burst into flames!”) and voilà: 220v TS humming along nicely!

I guess I could have made a separate project of that, but I didn’t take any pics. Maybe later I’ll pop the covers off the ends and take some, and I’ll post it.

View jeff_williams's profile

jeff_williams

12 posts in 984 days


#8 posted 05-27-2014 01:27 PM

I built a very similar one for my 4512 a couple years ago. Here’s how I did the dust collection through the fence. It looks like it would work for yours too.

And the finished product.

Here is the whole build with step by step instructions.

-- Jeff_Williams

View dmisita's profile

dmisita

14 posts in 193 days


#9 posted 05-27-2014 02:03 PM

Jeff -

That’s not a coincidence! I used quite a bit of your design. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I outright stole most of yours. (Thanks for the inspiration, BTW – I meant to post that on your original post on Toolbox Buzz, but I figured it was about 3-4 years old so the comment would be lame!)

A couple of minor differences. My fence is shorter and more narrow than yours. And, I used the sliding bolt method for attaching the fence instead of the t-slot. I also used the native t-slot on the TS fence to use as my attachment point. I felt that this would be cleaner and allow me to keep the fence on while switching back to the TS, no worry about clamps being in the way.

I haven’t posted it yet, but I did nearly the same design for the fence dust collection.

As you can see I just brad nailed it right to the fence. I just cut it with a 2 1/2 inch hole saw (Ideally I would have used the 2 3/8 saw, but I couldn’t find my arbor for it). Surprisingly, I got a really tight seal like this without a drop of glue. In the first pic the board is being held up by vacuum. In the second I turned off the vacuum and it fell within a few seconds.


I used the same power switch as you did, but I have to mount mine better. I would up mounting it against the bottom of the table, but I need to attach an angle iron to allow it to sit facing out. Just haven’t had a moment to do so …

I still have to rout out the miter slot. I’ve been hesitating because I’m not so great with a router, but at some point I’ll just sack up and do it.

View jeff_williams's profile

jeff_williams

12 posts in 984 days


#10 posted 06-02-2014 01:19 AM

That’s great! One thing I’ve noticed after having it in use for a few years it that the split rail on the 4512 isn’t strong enough to hold all that weight out there. Mine has been slowly sagging over time. Granted I have a lift and a taller fence but the weight of yours must be within a few pounds. I really need to attach some auxiliary legs or angle supports back to the main leg assembly.

-- Jeff_Williams

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