Novice needs help with technique and ideas for router table

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Forum topic by redric posted 07-19-2011 01:05 PM 1050 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 4284 days

07-19-2011 01:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: incra router table newbie novice

Hey, Y’all. I just received an incra LS positioner (25 in.) for my birthday. I am ecstatic. I have laid by a sheet of melamine and a sheet of MDF to make a top for it, and I have a bunch of 2 bys for framing. I normally use my Kreg jig for that type of joinery, as it is simple and quick. I have an EZ-smart setup for sheet cutting up to 48 inches, and with some concentration I can create square corners twice on the same day. At my experience level I can build utility type shelves and such without much trouble. I have never successfully tackled a project of this level.

My trouble is this: I have an old two-car garage shop with a hand-poured floor that is as straight and level as a political debate. I don’t have any sort of level assembly table, either. It is not so bad that your feet notice when walking on it, but I am afraid that any fine work I do will translate into the new router table top.

My idea is to assemble the top as two layers of MDF under one layer of melamine, and then edge it in some poplar I have laying around. Rather than try to use clamps, I was going to use coarse drywall screws to hold it together, or just drill a bunch of holes and pass lots of bolts through to get the substrate/MDF thick enough. I will remove the screws after the glue dries to avoid having them lurking inside the table top. The final layer will have to be clamped down with cauls I guess. (Ideas?)

Does anybody have any good ideas on how to accomplish this? Has anybody seen a project on this site with a reasonably detailed description of the process used to create a similar top? I am truly a novice woodworker—I have been overseas for about then years and collecting tools without being able to use them (base housing has no room for a woodshop and our base shop closed due to MWR cost-cutting.) I have a lot more tools than talent or experience. Any project would have to be simple or very well documented for me to replicate it.

Please help if you can, and many thanks-

—b. (Redric)

ps. I may have double-posted this.

-- b.

2 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3138 days

#1 posted 07-19-2011 01:48 PM

Make sure you scuff up the melamine that will be attached to the MDF. You say you already have the melamine, so I won’t recomend mica on MDF. Find an empty space on your wall. Using a level, make a horizontal line on the wall. Get a STRAIGHT 2×4 and attach it to the wall. Make a frame as big as you want your top to be, the outside board the same length as the one on the wall, shorter ones attaching the two using screws or nails. You can always build this on the ground if easier. Once you have the frame hanging from the wall, use a level perpendicular to the wall and attach a temp. leg. From there, level and STRING (or straightedge) to the remaining free corner and again temp. leg. Check level, square and straight again. If all is well, attach ply or MDF to top and add more permanent legs. Now you should have a surface that is flat enough to laminate your MDF.

Hope this helps.
I forgot to say, you can glue and screw your melamine to the MDF first, let dry, remove screws, then glue and screw the remaining piece. I don’t know the thickness that you want, so I’ll leave that to others who have an opinion on the subject.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3069 days

#2 posted 07-19-2011 05:48 PM

You own an incredibly good positioning system. It seems a pity to use it with a less than great router table. I suggest you consider buying a pre-made table top. Now let me advise you that not all router table tops are created equal. You want a good one like one of these – -

I used to, just on principle, build my own tables for router and drill press. Not any more. If you value your time, you will find that these tops don’t cost much more than a hand made one and you end up with a virtually perfect table top worthy of an Incra positioning system.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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