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Forum topic by thor2015 posted 10-21-2016 12:05 AM 850 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


10-21-2016 12:05 AM

So I began to build my router table and I started with the cabinet. I am building this mostly off of Norm Abram’s plans but I eliminated the toe kick since I would like to be able to move it around the garage. I know even locking casters compromise some of the stability but I’ve found several different ways to put wheels on it and have them move up out of the way when set.

Anyways, below is a photo of where I am so far. I dry fit the sides and bottom tonight (I am leaving the sides off until I attach the drawer cleats) and I noticed that the sides of the cabinet are about 1/32” or possibly 1/64” longer at the top than the middle pieces. I am debating whether to leave it alone, shim up the middle or try to sand down the sides with a sanding block to even it all out so the table has a nice level surface to rest on. The one thing about sanding or cutting is I see the potential to make things worse and wind up trimming more than I would like from the top. Another idea I had was to attach cleats to the center pieces and brace the center of the table that way.

How do you guys typically deal with these kinds of errors?


15 replies so far

View gmc's profile

gmc

47 posts in 1991 days


#1 posted 10-21-2016 11:24 AM

I ignore them unless it causes a problem with the top sitting level. It is easier to correct after the base is glued up as the final assembly of the cabinet might change those measurements. 1/64 is acceptable in my book. No way to be perfect in my mind.

-- Gary, Central Illinois

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

565 posts in 1981 days


#2 posted 10-21-2016 11:55 AM



I ignore them unless it causes a problem with the top sitting level. It is easier to correct after the base is glued up as the final assembly of the cabinet might change those measurements. 1/64 is acceptable in my book. No way to be perfect in my mind.

- gmc

Ditto. Unless that will cause an issue with the top sitting flat I wouldn’t worry about it. Good idea eliminating the toe kick. I built this same cabinet with the toe kick AND put it on wheels. It’s not much of an offset but having the front set of casters set back that little bit does cause some stability issues when rolling it around and hitting a cord or something on the floor. If I built another one that’s the way I would do it; skip the toe kick.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2710 posts in 1315 days


#3 posted 10-21-2016 12:09 PM

Won’t be a factor if you make your top the way it should be: beefy, flat and non flexible.

Don’t know what you’ve planned for the top, but I know that 2 layers of 3/4 MDF or ply with laminate on both sides makes a great top

That being said, since you’re not glued up how much would it take to skim a hair off both sides and make it perfect?

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

View scribble's profile

scribble

146 posts in 2035 days


#4 posted 10-21-2016 12:39 PM

Nice looking build so far. I agree with everyones input so far. I would say that I had some oops building mine with left over ply from a floor project as it was what I had on hand. I built the top like rwe2156 said with 2 layers of 3/4 mdf laminated on both sides and trimmed in oak and it is dead flat even with teh router plate insert cut out, 2 t- track cut outs for the fence and a dual miter/t-track in it.

-- If you can't read it Scribble wrote it!! “Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.”

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JBrow

1273 posts in 754 days


#5 posted 10-21-2016 01:37 PM

thor2015,

A dry fit on basement or garage concrete floor could account for the errors observed. These concrete floors look flat and smooth but in my experience they are not. In the photo there appears to be a slight shadow near the right side between the floor and plywood on which the cabinet sets, suggesting the plywood of the floor is not setting perfectly flat. In addition a dry fit that is not clamped can also leave the impression of small errors. Lastly the dry fit in the photo suggests the cabinet top setting on two different pieces of plywood. If the two pieces of plywood are from two different sheets of plywood, then the thicknesses of the two pieces of plywood may not be the same.

Before deciding on a game plan, redoing the dry assembly might be a good idea. The table saw would offer a flat surface. When redoing the dry fit, orienting the cabinet right side up could also eliminate some potential error. Before assessing for any errors, measuring the diagonals of the dry fit would ensure the assembly is square. An out of square assembly could leave the impression of error when none exist. With these steps taken, greater confidence could be placed on an evaluation of the various dimensions.

If an error in the height of the sides persists, then the center dividers that define the drawer bank sides could be trimmed by some amount, perhaps a ¼”. Then shims of the proper size could be added to the top of the dividers, much like edge banding plywood. If the shims are made of solid wood, planing and scraping could be used to achieve the perfect height.

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


#6 posted 10-21-2016 09:45 PM

Thanks for all the helpful advice. For the top, I had planned on following making the top out of 3/4” MDF and 1/2” MDF laminated together but I am tempted to return the 1/2” piece or save it for another project and buy another 3/4” piece and just make the top an even 1.5” thick.

I like the idea of using solid wood and planing it down on the center dividers if it comes to that point. I would like to get the case glued and screwed together before doing any trimming. The first priority is to make sure everything is square and then I will make the final determination as to how much trimming needs to be done if any at all. I just wanted to figure out what errors are acceptable and what I should try to correct. Considering all the dadoes that I had to cut for this project and cabinet building is still new to me I am actually happy that it turned out this well.

Scott, I thought locking casters might be awkward to operate if they were inset into a toe kick and I wanted to eliminate the hollow bottom. I may still put this on a Delta mobile base or something later but at least the bottom has a lot of surface area for wheels or a mobile base to mount to. The bottom will wind up being 1.5” thick to have a good sturdy base.

The plywood I have is some cheap leftover birch plywood from Lowes that I got. It is working fine for this project but definitely not something I would ever use indoors as the veneer does not seem like it would finish well. I get the impression that any sanding would take that veneer right off. But it seems to work well for my shop cabinets that only need clear coating.

Again, I appreciate all the responses. Thanks again!

View Woodchuck2010's profile

Woodchuck2010

704 posts in 692 days


#7 posted 10-21-2016 10:15 PM

Looks great so far.

-- Chuck, Michigan,

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


#8 posted 10-25-2016 12:04 AM

Thanks, Chuck.

Well, you guys talked me into it. I returned the 1/2” MDF today for a second piece of 3/4” to make the top 1.5” thick. The funny thing is when I returned home I discovered the new piece was 24.5” wide instead of 24” like the first piece. Norm’s plans call for the MDF to be 24.5” so I took the first piece of 3/4” back and got a second one at 24.5” wide so now the top will have a little more surface area. I know that making the oak strip another 1/4” wide would have also solved the problem but this way I can stick a bit closer to the plans. The cabinet is shaping up- since I don’t have any large clamps yet I am doing this one panel at a time to make sure things stay as square as possible.

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


#9 posted 10-26-2016 03:09 AM

Just wanted to post a quick update. The cabinet is together but I goofed a bit. Somehow the middle shelf is about 1/8” too wide so the bottom is slightly narrower than the rest of the cabinet. It was hard to tell during the dry fit due to the fact that the plywood had a slight warp to it. My plan is to pull the top together to make it the same width as the middle shelf and just trim the back panel to fit the odd shape. With glue and screws I figure it will hold together just fine for my purposes and if down the road it starts to come apart I’ll just have to do it again but with quality plywood and double check my measurements.

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


#10 posted 10-27-2016 03:43 AM

I finally got the case glued and screwed together. One thing you will notice is that Norm’s cabinet used biscuits and glue to keep the rear panel free of any screws but I decided since there will be a PVC pipe coming out of the back that visible screws aren’t going to hurt the look at all.

I also improved on the dust collection pipe mounting. I found a fitting at Home Depot (I think it is a reducer bushing) that has the same basic I.D. and O.D. as the 2” PVC pipe. The main difference is that the bushing has a small flange on it so that when the 2” tee is glued on the plywood will be sandwiched in between the two and should never pull out of the case. The photo doesn’t show it too well but the bottom of the hole is lined up with the shelf just like the original plan so that no chips or dust should build up before exiting.

View Woodchuck2010's profile

Woodchuck2010

704 posts in 692 days


#11 posted 10-28-2016 11:55 PM

I think I would have put a 4” port in the back. You could always use adapters for a shop vac now and later hook up to a DC.

-- Chuck, Michigan,

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


#12 posted 10-29-2016 04:41 AM

Chuck, Would you mind elaborating a bit more on this? Does the router cavity generate so much dust at one time that a 2” port clogs up easily? This is the only thing I see being a problem because I can’t imagine a chunk of wood large enough to obstruct a 2” port would make its way between the bit and the insert plate, at least not on a regular basis. If a chunk that large came off of my workpiece I think I’d be shutting down anyways to examine the damage.

One thing I was curious about is in regards to the tabletop size. The slabs of MDF are about 47” in length and I wondered if there was any pros or cons to making the top larger than the 36” specified in the plans. I know I would have to go with a 48” miter track and trim it to size but that’s not a big concern as I have not ordered a miter track yet.

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thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


#13 posted 11-06-2016 03:02 AM

I apologize for the slow progress but I got some time to get out to the shop and get the MDF core for the top assembled. I wound up running out of glue but I was able to get a decent bead distributed over the surface of both pieces. I also wound up using a few more screws than most would probably use but I’ve read stories on screws stripping out on MDF and wanted to make sure that if one or two didn’t bite that I would still have adequate clamping force. I countersunk both sides of the bottom layer and only predrilled about 1/8” into the top. I used 1 1/4” deck screws and had no problems with strip-out and there do not appear to be any gaps between the two pieces.

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

137 posts in 3414 days


#14 posted 11-06-2016 03:40 AM

Looks like your build is coming along nicely. I built Norm’s cabinet and found that the vent holes he installed in the plexiglass door are unnecessary and counterproductive because they are located directly across from the dust collection fitting. This results in the airflow being horizontal rather than circular. Also, the gap around the inset door lets in plenty of air.

If more make-up air is needed, you can add an adjustable vent like those found on Weber grills on the back of the table directly behind the router. This is handy when cutting dados and dust can’t be sucked through the fence. I did this on my other router table thats based on a Norm’s design but with a partial overlay door and it works great.

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1076 days


#15 posted 11-06-2016 05:10 AM

Roy, thanks for the heads up. Suggestions like these really help plan my build. Since this is my first router table I have nothing to base this build on so I am relying on the experiences of others to get the most out of this table. Also, awesome idea with the grill vent.

I’ve been researching laminate and the stuff my Lowe’s stocks just isn’t going to cut it. The sheets look to be vertical grade material and razor thin. I was thinking about going with some microdot material from Formica in either a grade 10 or 12. Has anyone had any experience with this material?

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