Sanity check for Router plate/fence selection

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Forum topic by AJPeacock posted 07-02-2016 02:35 AM 683 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 895 days

07-02-2016 02:35 AM

First post here,

I need a sanity check on parts for a router table/surface.

I always bounced these questions off my best friend (professional cabinet maker), but he recently passed away.

Anyway, I have a Bosch MR23 router and am going to build a table for it.

Here are the parts I’m contemplating:
Incra Aluminum Magna Lock router plate.
Woodpecker Super Fence.

I’m planning on installing the plate in a 1 3/8” lamination of 2x(1/2”MDF)+3/8”Hardboard

a. General comments on if I’m going the right direction with regard to the Incra Aluminum plate,
b. Shop built router top 2x 1/2” MDF + 3/8” hardboard + T-track
c. Thoughts on the Woodpecker Super Fence (I thought about the Incra, but it seems like a lot of small moving parts for a machine that sits around in a cloud of sawdust). Other recommendations?

Thanks for the input, I used my buddies tools/shop for years, but he typically set them up for me (he could do it 100x faster than I could). So I’m just gathering a few of the necessary tools that I never had to own before.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone.


6 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)


19433 posts in 2057 days

#1 posted 07-02-2016 02:57 AM

I made my top with the two layers of mdf, but instead of hardboard I laminated it with Formica. I love the slick surface and it has been much better than the original rockler top I had. I did put the T track in it and I like that much better than the thru bolts my old top had.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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Monte Pittman

30058 posts in 2539 days

#2 posted 07-02-2016 09:38 AM

Formica top is good. Woodpecker products are generally very trustworthy.

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View rwe2156's profile


3171 posts in 1681 days

#3 posted 07-02-2016 12:04 PM

a. General comments on if I m going the right direction with regard to the Incra Aluminum plate
b. Shop built router top 2x 1/2” MDF + 3/8” hardboard + T-track
c. Thoughts on the Woodpecker Super Fence (I thought about the Incra, but it seems like a lot of small moving parts for a machine that sits around in a cloud of sawdust). Other recommendations?

It really depends on how much money you want to spend. Incra and Woodpecker are both premium quality products (and the prices reflect this).

I built my router table off plans in Woodsmith mag many years ago.

The top is a double layer of 3/4 MDF with horizontal (thick) laminate on both sides. The edges were trimmed with oak prior to laminating. It has a T track and miter slot.

I built my own fence out of some scrap Panolam (basically double sided laminate over ply). DS melamine would work just as well. It has a sliding section that adjusts for the bit and has T tracks for attaching feather board. It is also about 8” high – quite handy for edge routing a long piece. It has dust collection attachment. T tracks, DC adaptors, T bolts etc are readily available at Rockler.

The router plate is phenolic. The lift is a Router Raizer – not the best in the world but it works $90 vs. $300.

I guess what I’m saying is for what you’re going to spend on a table top and plate, you can build your own and have money left over.

I think some kind of fence adjustment system is the one thing I would spend some money on, but there again, you don’t need to spend hundreds, you can make your own.

When I was in your position, I looked into fence, table and lift systems, and went into immediate sticker shock, so I was basically forced to DIY. You may have a different position, but even if I had the money, spending $600 and another $300 for a router was over my limit for what I do with a router table.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View AJPeacock's profile


3 posts in 895 days

#4 posted 07-02-2016 01:27 PM

Thanks all for the input/ideas.

I think I’ll use a shop built fence for a while, it’s a router not a CNC !!

Looking at the cost of the Incra Plate vs their small router top (32×24) that already has the levelers, cutout, T-track, laminate … I think I’ll just get their top/plate combo and build a fence. Should be good to go.

Thanks again and happy 4th!


View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1121 days

#5 posted 07-02-2016 03:25 PM


Now, before building the router table is a great time to consider a spindle shaper as an alternative to a router table. These can be great tools, far superior to a router table in capability and ease of use. However, these machines can be real budget stretchers.

I think the the aluminum router plate is probably the best choice. Defection from the weight of the router and ensuring the plate is flat would be the critical attributes for me. I am not sure to what extent you value the convenience of above the table router bit height adjustment, so this may or may not be feature you may want to consider. I am not sure whether Incra offers a version of the insert plate with a router lift. Also, some router lifts will not work with just any router.

A solid, square to the table, easily adjusted router table fence is, in my opinion, a very important feature if it provides great set-up flexibility and enhances accuracy. I have no experience with Woodpecker products but they seem to enjoy a reputation for high quality products. Their fence appears to offer these features and I presume these features are inherent in the design and construction of the Woodpecker fence. However, their fence height is too low for attaching feather boards to hold the workpiece flat to the table. A high fence is also handy whether routing a board that is stood on end or edge. If you go forward with the Woodpecker fence, then designing and building an auxiliary fence while putting the table together would a convenient time to add this accessory.

I like firefighterontheside’s idea for a router table. Your thoughts should also be fine. Pretty much any material that is stable and will remain flat over time is a good choice. My router table is two laminated sheets of melamine coated particle board. I believe some nice features of a router table top are that the table is large enough to provide a clamping lip that overhangs the base. A dual T-track could also be useful. One track could accept the mitre gauge or any other jig that features a runner. The second track could accept feather boards. The last feature that I always appreciated on my router table was a hinged top. A piano hinge along the back edge of the top allows the table to be lifted up, providing eye-level router bit changes and precise bit hit adjustment; very useful if a router lift is not a feature of the router table. A prop-up bar kept the table top propped open.

My last thought is dust collection. Since router chips are cast off onto and below the table, dual dust ports would enhance dust collection. One port at the router bit, like the one offered by Woodpecker fence would capture the chips above the table. A dust port in the cabinet would collect the large volume of shavings that for some reason make their way into the cabinet. Closing off the cabinet to contain these lower cast shavings would also be a nice feature and could improve below the table dust collection.

View AJPeacock's profile


3 posts in 895 days

#6 posted 07-02-2016 04:35 PM


All great points. For the time being, my workshop is actually my driveway/front of garage (which greatly simplifies dust collection!!). I’ll probably continue to do 90% of the real dusty stuff outside. Layout and assembly can be done in the basement. It’s a bit of a pain, but it’s better than coating the house in dust.

A tall / square fence is a must for sure, that’s one reason I decided to just put together a DIY fence clamped to the table will accomplish 90% of what I need, so going overboard at this point is not needed. I’ll probably build a second fence specifically as an edge joiner, I have an idea to build it reversible so one side gives me 1/16” and the other gives me 1/32”.

I won’t even have a cabinet for a while and will just mount the top to either a WorkMate table or to a couple 2×6’s clamped to saw horses.

When the top is not in use, I can hang it on the wall in the basement and the router will go into it’s case.

Thanks again everyone,

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