Router Table Experts: Where to place router plate on table saw extension?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Mark Colan posted 08-24-2010 05:54 PM 5205 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

211 posts in 3081 days

08-24-2010 05:54 PM

I am new to router tables. I have used routers a little, and would like to move to intermediate level and have equipment that won’t hold me back.

I made my first router table with mixed results. Using a suggestion from Bill Hylton’s book, I placed the router plate at an offset from center, fairly close to the front, and centered in the left-right direction. For this table, most cuts move from right to left.

Now I would like to use the table from my Delta Contractor saw – specifically, the right-side extension table, which is made from melamine. I am installing an Incra LS32-TS fence for the saw, and I think it makes to leverage the investment by using the same fence system for the router.

What I would like to know: Where would YOU place the router on the table, and why?

  • Specifically, in the picture below, what would you recommend for the x and y dimensions?
  • Would you place the router plate in this orientation, or rotate it 90 degrees from what I show?
  • Would you use 3/4” melamine, or something else?
  • Would you strengthen the table with cross-members underneath?

Table Saw / Router top planning

Additional information:
  • In this picture, the operator side (front) of the saw is at the bottom of the picture.
  • The saw table measures 27” from front to back.
  • The router plate is approximately 12×9”
  • The fence, like any rip fence, runs from front to back, and I presume that for similar operations with the router, I would be running stock in the same direction as ripping wood.
  • As of now, I am undecided about the length of the table extension. It is currently 32”; I think I will shift the mounting bars for the fence to the right, to give me 40 inches of capacity for rips (but reducing the maximum width for ripping on the left side of the blade). That’s the reason the width of the table is listed 32-40”, and the overall width of the saw 60-68”.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

5 replies so far

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3609 days

#1 posted 08-24-2010 06:20 PM

I am new to router tables too, but thought you might take a look at the table I set up on my Delta contractor saw. My reasons for the placement are just form looking at probably 40-50 other router tables to get a feel for what most people have done. This seems like a fairly typical set-up based on what I info I found. Good luck with the project.

-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3468 days

#2 posted 08-24-2010 06:20 PM

Dimension X on mine is 10.5” to provide ample clearance from the edge of the table to the bit, and also to provide sufficient room for the Miter Slot. I could have gone further back in as my extension table itself is 54” (total right rip capacity of 72”). With my setup, i can stow a small trash can under the router to catch flying chips, provide storage for my shop vac, and my 20 gallon Thien Cyclone under the table. Overall a good setup.

I have seen some guys set up their tables with the plate 90 degree from where you have it, makes for a wider table, but you need to figure something out for a fence. I use a secondary off of my rip fence, and am very pleased with it… I would stick with your shown orientation.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View RJ2's profile


151 posts in 4021 days

#3 posted 08-24-2010 06:22 PM

not exactly answering your question but I mounted some routers on larger base plates and put
steel t-tracks extending out, to slide into the powermatic 66 t-track . when through slide them back out and on the shelf . I just weld a washer on the bottom side of a piece of 3/4 ” steel and it slides right in


View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


726 posts in 3509 days

#4 posted 08-24-2010 06:38 PM


IMHO, these are my thoughts based upon some assumptions which I will list and my own favorite practices. In order of your questions:

1. I would make the y-dimension the mid-point of the north-south table measurement. This gives equal support to the workpiece entering and exiting the router bit. As to the x-dimension, that will depend on your woodworking. If you plan on routing large pieces (door panels, etc.) I would make the x-dimension as long as possible (such that the router fits under the table top) so that the table gives the maximum possible lateral support as you are passing the piece by the router bit. If you are only doing things like creating your own moldings, then I’d shorten it up some so that you don’t need to reach across as far.

2. I would rotate the router plate 90 degrees. I’m assuming here that you have fence rails that extend the full width of the table. Since you are going to move the piece to be routed in the north-south aspect when using a fence, this would lessen the chance of routing bumps caused by a misaligned plate. It would also make the table a bit stiffer and less likely to sag (again, based upon the assumption that you have full width fence rails and that you will secure the table to the rails fully along its width.)

3. Either melamine or cover the MDF with laminate.

4. I would, just to be safe. I’d run them north-south, given you have the full width fence rails.

But for my money, all things being equal, I’d build a separate router table (which is what I have.) Yes, it’s nice being able to use the table saw fence as a router fence. But in my personal style/habit of woodworking, I’m often jumping back and forth from the table saw to the router table with pieces. Having the router table on a table saw wing might mean that you have to lower the bit out of sight in order to use the table saw. That’s a lot of extra set-up time between cuts/routes.

Just my opinion. Good luck!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

211 posts in 3081 days

#5 posted 08-24-2010 07:27 PM

Thanks for all the replies so far.

Tomoose, your pictures show the router relatively close to the right side of the table, but with enough room for a miter slot. This seems like a good strategy for setting up long pieces and for working with small pieces, because you don’t have to lean over very far to get to the cutter area. It is similar to my current router table, and before asking for advice here, it is what I was thinking.

Also, I greatly appreciate your point about the melamine particle board not providing a good step to receive the router plate. This argues strongly for MDF with laminate, and two layers of MDF seems like a good strong strategy. I was going to use melamine for convenience; you’ve changed my mind.

dbhost, you seem to be in the same camp with Tomoose. I think I used 8” for my router table, but there’s no miter slot.

Firehouse: I agree that mid-point in the fence, which runs north-south, is probably best for the y dimension.
For the x dimension, Hylton suggests having x relatively small (as per other suggestions) since a lot of set up is of small or narrow pieces, and less leaning over. Also, when working with wider pieces, support can be obtained by using the space to the left of the bit, assuming the fence can be flipped (mine can).

Using the Incra fence means the rails do run end to end. However, the rails are attached with six brackets in total for front and back. My original plan was to use 4 brackets in back to support the heavy Uniguard, which must be mounted on the rear rail. Now I am thinking about how to provide additional support between the rails and the table, such as end-to-end support of the rails on both sides, at least for the extension table. Then I can add N-S braces underneath to complete the solid support.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics