Router Base Plates

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Forum topic by Thomas Keefe posted 09-24-2009 07:22 PM 1934 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Thomas Keefe

131 posts in 2832 days

09-24-2009 07:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question router

I am putting together a router table. Most that I see attach the router to a base plate and
the base plate rests in a cutout. Often there are plate levelers to ensure the base plate
is flush to the surface.

I don’t understand the purpose of the router plate. Is it meant as a simple way of gaining
access to the router for changing bits and such? If so, then I assume that it is not fastened
to the table but simply rests in the cutout (on the levelers).

If anyone can shed some light on this for me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.


9 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5107 posts in 2617 days

#1 posted 09-24-2009 08:11 PM

Uhhh—ok! Your router has got to be attached to a baseplate—it can’t just hang in mid air. Without a plate, your router would fall through the hole. It is NOT fastrened to the table, so you can bring b.p., router, and all out to change bits, unless you have a router raiser. The b.p. has a purpose—to support your router so you don’t have to!!

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 2701 days

#2 posted 09-24-2009 08:31 PM

Fortunately now you can get the base plate and a template to cut the table top to accomodate the BP of your choice nice and snuggly so when people look at your router table they will ask in disbelief, “Did you do this yourself?”
It is very important to have the leveling feature on the BP since that will ensure perfect cuts especially when routing long edges.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2715 posts in 2709 days

#3 posted 09-24-2009 08:35 PM

Actually, you could mount the router directly to your top, but I’m with Dave, the plate is thinner, therefore you gain more height adjustment. and you are right, the weight of the router keeps it in place normally. You also have the abilty to use several plates with routers already set up to do different cuts. (Obviously you have to own more than one router) Just pop the plates in and out and you’re ready to go with a different set-up.


View Thomas Keefe's profile

Thomas Keefe

131 posts in 2832 days

#4 posted 09-24-2009 08:44 PM

I can see the reduction in thickness could be very important. My top is about 1 1/2” thick.
The plate would only be about 3/8”. I have been considering 3/8” phenolic for the plate.
But the transparency would be nice to have.

Dave, what material was your router plate made of? Did it flex very much?

Thanks for your comments.


View Bothus's profile


439 posts in 2599 days

#5 posted 09-25-2009 05:21 AM

At our shop they actually make the base plates out of the cutout from the table.

Of our 5 router tables 3 of them pretty much stay set up all the time and the other two are only ones anyone ever changes a bit on.

They also made big notches on the ends of the base plate large enough to fit you fingers through and it does make it a lot easier to lift out.

When I finish my Unisaw project I will either buy a Rockler Lift Base or Bench Dog extension like MedicKen has.

-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View scrappy's profile


3506 posts in 2853 days

#6 posted 09-25-2009 06:51 AM

I made my own table, and I agree with the others. Use a base plate! Mine is a pain to adjust, or change bits. It is allso limited on the depth of cut because of the thickness of the table top.

I have remakeing mine on my to-do list. Just haven’t gotten it done yet.

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Thomas Keefe's profile

Thomas Keefe

131 posts in 2832 days

#7 posted 09-25-2009 08:14 PM

Scrappy: Using the corian is a great idea. I bet it provides a great surface.
Can you attach corian with glue?

Thanks everyone for the information. You have given me a lot of ideas.
Many of them require buying more routers. ;-)

I would like to try and make a base plate from acrylic. That would allow
me to use my router in the table or take it out and use it freehand without having to attach and reattach it.

Many commercial router plates have removable circular inserts. As I understand,
this allows the gap around the bit to be adjusted. When you use large
diameter bits you take the insert out. When you use a smaller one
you put it back in to close up the space around the bit. I have a cheesy
router table that I don’t think has this capability (or I have never used it).
These inserts also seem related to bushing inserts. I am not sure how
useful these features are and when they might be helpful. Any thoughts?



View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2842 days

#8 posted 09-25-2009 10:37 PM

I made my router plate out of 3/8” lexan I picked up at Woodcraft. You can see my bench top router table here.

If you PM me I’ll email you the instructions I used for installing the top. You can also buy the corner levelers from Woodpeckers, I think, that allow you to just cut out a hole. You mount the levelers from underneath the table and use screws to even the insert out with your table top.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3383 days

#9 posted 09-26-2009 08:49 PM

Look at the inexpensive base plate from Lee Valley. Got installed the first time dead on for me. Full and clear instructions are included.


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