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Yet another router table/fence

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Forum topic by Nezzerscape posted 06-17-2016 03:41 PM 715 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Nezzerscape

25 posts in 330 days


06-17-2016 03:41 PM

Hello all,
I am one of those people that plan things way (years?) in advanced but wanted to hone my thoughts on a router fence. My (future) shop will have a long (20+ feet) and rather high bench. Towards one end I will have a build-in radial arm saw (1960’s craftsman) towards the other a build-in router table (using the bench top as the table). Yes I know make “everything mobile”, but I have a good size shop (20×30) for my needs.

Ok now that I am done with that, some questions:
• Ideally how tall should the fence be? At what point does it become silly?
• The dust port I was going to build in would be 3” x 3”. Has anyone needed one bigger (explain)?
• What is the minimum useable length? The reason I am asking this is because I have 2 nice aluminum “L” brackets that are 6” x 3” x 20” (long). Should I use 2 and make the fence 43” or one and make it 20+?
• More of a table question but how far from the bit has anyone used their fence? The table will be against the wall so I would need to determine how much forward I should place the router. Fence depth + distance from bit = where to mount the router.
• Yet gain more of a table question, how much space is ideal to have in front of the router? (Distance between the bit and the edge of the table.
• I hate to have T-Tracks messing up a smooth surface. Think a T-tack mount on the front edge of the table will work for mounting feather boards? (With the use of some jig of course)

Any and all feedback is welcome!

Nez


9 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1807 posts in 605 days


#1 posted 06-17-2016 04:39 PM

I think this all depends on what you’ll be doing on the table. Personally, my router table would be worthless if it was butted against a wall. But, if you’re doing small stuff only, that may not be an issue.

How tall for a fence, again depends on your uses. Mine is 8” tall and has been tall enough for me but hasn’t been too tall in any cases.

3×3 dust port should be fine in the fence.

In theory, the fence only needs to be long enough to keep your workpiece registered. Personally, mine runs the full length of my table (36”) and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’d say 12” is about as far as I’ve set my fence from the bit. If I need something longer I use a coping sled in miter track.

I have 14” behind the bit and 10” in front. Has worked well so far.

If you’re going to put a miter slot in, you can buy/make some expanding “nuts” that will lock your featherboards in.

Good luck with your design/build!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Nezzerscape's profile

Nezzerscape

25 posts in 330 days


#2 posted 06-17-2016 04:54 PM

Thank you and I understand peoples preferences on mobility.

A quick question if you have 24 (10 +14) inches from the fence to the edge and that is good, why would having it butted next to a wall be worthless for you? Just trying to understand what you were doing that it would hinder you. I was planning on centering the router on a 30 ft wall so my in/out feed would both be 15 ft.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1807 posts in 605 days


#3 posted 06-17-2016 05:59 PM



Thank you and I understand peoples preferences on mobility.

A quick question if you have 24 (10 +14) inches from the fence to the edge and that is good, why would having it butted next to a wall be worthless for you? Just trying to understand what you were doing that it would hinder you. I was planning on centering the router on a 30 ft wall so my in/out feed would both be 15 ft.

- Nezzerscape

That’s all the room I have for the fence but, I have done longer pieces (like cutting a series of dadoes in a 48” long sheet of plywood) using a sled I made that rides in a miter slot on the front of the table (10” side) In that case, I had material hanging off the back of the table. Don’t get me wrong, I could have found another way around it, it’s just much faster to set up and run for me on the table. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with
butting your table against a wall, just that I wouldn’t want it that way.

BTW, if your table is only open on the front and your not installing t-track, how are you planning to lock the fence down?

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4244 posts in 1666 days


#4 posted 06-17-2016 06:32 PM

Most of the questions asked can only be answered by you and how/what you plan on using it for. For example, if you only need to edge profiles on thinner stock (laying flat on the table), then a short fence is probably all that is needed. If you want to do mortises or some other type of joinery on the edges of larger pieces (standing up on it’s edge), then a higher fence might be more desirable. For me, mounting the router on a table saw extension was the easiest and most flexible way to go. The saw can be moved if I need more room in any particular direction, and the fence (and table top w/miter slots) is already there and can be used for both operations. One or more sacrificial fences can be used, depending on the operation you want to perform, and can be made to slip over the existing TS fence when needed, or easily removed when not.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Nezzerscape's profile

Nezzerscape

25 posts in 330 days


#5 posted 06-17-2016 07:10 PM



BTW, if your table is only open on the front and your not installing t-track, how are you planning to lock the fence down?

- HokieKen

Sorry, I should have stated T-track for miter slot. Most likely use it for holding down the fence.

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Nezzerscape

25 posts in 330 days


#6 posted 06-17-2016 07:24 PM



... For me, mounting the router on a table saw extension was the easiest and most flexible way to go…

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

Yes I have thought about that… a lot! What I keep running into is my TS is not the best and I would have to build it out to get a reasonable service area. Which is not a bad thing till I think about my floor being a bit uneven. I would have to adjust feet for the wings / adjust roller stands etc.

I have thought about my uses (and should have stated them). I would most-likely be running lengths of wood on its surface or edge but not end (would not be making dovetails). I do use mortise and tenons but typically use my TS / drill press for those. Might do the tenon with the router if I have a larger enough surface though. Dados I used my TS or hand held router if too far form the edge (permanent shelves in cabinets).

Thanks again for the input,
Nez

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MrUnix

4244 posts in 1666 days


#7 posted 06-17-2016 07:51 PM

Yes I have thought about that… a lot! What I keep running into is my TS is not the best and I would have to build it out to get a reasonable service area.
- Nezzerscape

Like I said, it depends on your use. I rarely need to work with anything over 4 feet long or more than about 12” wide, so the router extension works fine for me. On the occasional times I might want to run some longer stock through it, I can usually get by using adjustable roller stands for support. If I were using longer stock all the time, that probably wouldn’t be the ideal setup, and I’d be looking for alternatives.

As for the saw not being the best… does it matter? All you need is the table surface and fence. I converted about the crappiest saw you can get into a router table years ago… one of those plastic Craftsman universal motor screamer things with the aluminium tops and cheap pull out extensions. The router insert was made so the fence seamlessly slid over it and could be locked down wherever needed easily. It could also be pulled out when not needed and placed on a shelf somewhere:

And because you can place the fence on either side of the bit, you could either use it feeding the stock from front to back, or back to front, depending on what side you used. For the later, you can stand at the end of the machine instead of in front of it, which can sometimes be an advantage (sliding the stock from right to left instead of pushing or pulling it from the front). Of course, YMMV :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Bob5103's profile

Bob5103

25 posts in 300 days


#8 posted 06-18-2016 04:09 AM

My router station is almost exactly as you described. I have a 17×30 shop and did not want a standalone router table. So I built the table into a counter that serves as a miter saw and router station. The bench(counter) is 21’ long. I “repurposed” my table saw extension/router table so it is a cast iron table. When I did this I had a lot of similar concerns, mostly wondering what functions I would loose. I can honestly say that in the last 18 months that I have been using this my only regret is that I cannot add an Incra LS fence system. But that was just a “want” and not a need. Having the extra in-feed, and out feet, space for me is priceless.
My fence is 4” tall, and 22” long, never had a need for it to be taller or longer, the dust port is 2” both above and below. The cast table has miter slots but I rarely use them. In the 30 yrs I have been mutilating wood, for me, this router set up is the best I have used.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1807 posts in 605 days


#9 posted 06-18-2016 02:50 PM

Bob’s setup looks functional. And, if you used a separate table top that sat on cleats, you could always pull it out and set it on sawhorses if you ran into a need for more room.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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