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Question about making a pivot fence for router table

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Forum topic by Rick M. posted 684 days ago 2329 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rick M.

3785 posts in 982 days


684 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: pivot fence router table

My current router table is simply a piece of countertop atop a plywood box with an MDF fence. The table is flat, the fence is square, I haven’t asked much of it and it has performed adequately. But I’ve been thinking of building a new table and have decided on a pivot fence.

I’m wondering where is a good spot for the fixed pin? Should it be behind, forward of, or centered on the bit? I know it really doesn’t matter since the fence doesn’t need to be square to the table but sometimes theory is different from practice? Or is it more useful to have several holes so you can move the fence around?

One more question… some people route a channel for the fence and use a knob and bolt to tighten the fence down. Others just clamp it. Anyone with experience either way want to comment on which they prefer and why? Or is there another way?

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|


26 replies so far

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3628 posts in 1970 days


#1 posted 684 days ago

I don’t use a pivot fence as I use the Benchdog TS wing router table and the fence that came with that.

This fence has a hold down on each end so if I want to pivot it I just loose one end.

I have also modified my home made tenoning jig that sits in the TS miter head slot and can rest on the back of the fence giving me decent parallel adjustments down to what my old eyes can see, about 1/64 or less!

If you want a photo, just let me know!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6675 posts in 1285 days


#2 posted 683 days ago

homemade table, homemade fence, store-bought insert. Outfeed side has a single bolt to secure it, infeed side I just use a single screw through the fence’s plywood base into the plywood of the table’s top. Built about 1980. Been working ever since.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

965 posts in 2168 days


#3 posted 683 days ago

I have several fences for my (also home-made) router table. A couple are “pivot” flavour – I have a few different holes for positioning, and just clamp it down at the other end – it’s always worked quickly and easily.
You asked “Why?” – basically because it’s very easy, and I wanted as few “slots” in the table as possible – I feared it might weaken it and it would be a place for dust to collect, and for things to catch.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3785 posts in 982 days


#4 posted 683 days ago

@bandit571 – Doesn’t your top get chewed up by screwing the fence to it, especially after 32 years? I’m guessing you have to replace it regularly unless you rarely move the fence.

@KnickKnack – My current router table fence just clamps and I’ve always been a little untrusting of it although I’ve never actually had a problem. But, it’s a much simpler solution. I’ve also considered putting a t-track in the table and slotting the fence so the bolt could just slide as necessary. I’ll probably just end up using a clamp though.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1179 days


#5 posted 682 days ago

I use a pivot fence. If you only want a single hole in the table, a bit behind the center line of the bit works great. I think mine is about 2-3” behind.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6675 posts in 1285 days


#6 posted 682 days ago

I can either drywall screw the free end in place, when there is a lot of things to route, or just a “C” clanp out on the end. Those old Armoco Steel buildings used a special “nut”. Just a piece of flat 1/4” steel, with a 3/8” hole in the middle. Hole was threaded by Armoco for a bolt. During a demo job on a factory addition, I scrarfed up a few, with the bolts. On the table top, I recessed a couple into the surface. I added a couple small counter sunk holes for the wood screws to hold them in place. I cut slots in the base of the fence. Worked for a while. Shifted the fence to the right, drill a single hole on the Left side, and used that as a pivot point. Right side now stood out at the end of the table’s top, and was easier to clamp it in place.

Also on the right side of the table top; Added some pine scrap wood. Thickened the top for a homemade Dovetail template to go. Added more pine below, to serve as a clamping cawl, to hold pieces vertically as I dovetailed them using the jig.

Mine does have a miter gauge slot, never used the dang thing. Unless you have a sled the also rides in the slot, not much use with just the tablesaw’s miter gauge.

Someday, I’ll add a new skin to the top, provided that I find a place for the “squatters” sitting there now…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3785 posts in 982 days


#7 posted 682 days ago

Actually that was the appeal of a pivot fence, a miter gauge slot becomes redundant.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1179 days


#8 posted 682 days ago

A miter gauge in general is redundant on a router table.
All it does is create a weakness in the tabletop where you have to cut the dado for it.

Everything that you can do with a miter gauge on a router table can be done without one with sleds or jigs.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3628 posts in 1970 days


#9 posted 682 days ago

wormil,

With all of the CNC controls available today it should be fairly straightforward to use a stepper motor, some slides, and precision lead screws attached to the RT fence to get precision parallel fence adjustments down to any level of precision you want!

Just a thought!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3785 posts in 982 days


#10 posted 682 days ago

NiteWalker-Everything that you can do with a miter gauge on a router table can be done without one with sleds or jigs.

That’s the point though, you are just replacing one thing with another thing. The pivot fence itself becomes a jig. For example, rather than having a separate box joint jig you could simply mount your reference pin to the fence and swing the fence through the bit. If you want to route a rabbet across the end grain, rather than using a miter gauge or jig you can simply position the wood and swing the fence.

@oldnovice, I hope to avoid needing fine adjustment with a setup like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2iDEa5PInE

I just need to sit down and figure out where to position the position block.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View JJohnston's profile

JJohnston

1577 posts in 1893 days


#11 posted 682 days ago

Wouldn’t you get circular arcs instead of straight cuts if you used the fence as a swinging jig like that? I thought the purpose of the pivot was just to simplify positioning the fence.

-- "Sorry I'm late. Somebody tampered with my brakes." "You should have been early, then."

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3785 posts in 982 days


#12 posted 682 days ago

Wouldn’t you get circular arcs

Check out the video I posted, about the 6:15 mark.

Edit: I realized that the pivot pin must move through an arc to keep the cut parallel, so yes, you are right it would cut an arc without that modification.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View JJohnston's profile

JJohnston

1577 posts in 1893 days


#13 posted 682 days ago

What modification? The video doesn’t say how he does it, and frankly, I’m skeptical. All I see is a pivoting fence.

Granted, his “locating post” is a good idea, but it doesn’t explain how he makes the straight crosscut.

-- "Sorry I'm late. Somebody tampered with my brakes." "You should have been early, then."

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3628 posts in 1970 days


#14 posted 682 days ago

Wormil,

Here are photos of my RT fence set up. The process is to loosen the fence lock downs, set the position on the slider, lock the slider know, move the fence to the slider, lock down the fence.

Initial calibration is done by inserting a 1/4 drill blank in the router, close the gap in the router fence, move the router fence to touch the drill blank, move the slide until it touches the back of the fence then set the desired “0” on the slider scale. Reposition the slider and the fence and check if the calibration is correct.


The slide is an old jig I used for making tenons before I bought one.


The scale on the slider is set at 1 when the fence is directly on the center of the router bit (not shown). I used 1 as opposed to the end of the scale because the end is harder to judge.


A simple magnifier for old eyes! The scale is held in place with a magnet.

The best thing I found out was that with this set up I can remove the jig, fence, and router to my saw (in case I need to make a saw cut that was not anticipated … no one ever does that but me) and I get very good repeatability from tear down to set up and back.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3785 posts in 982 days


#15 posted 682 days ago

What modification? The video doesn’t say how he does it, and frankly, I’m skeptical. All I see is a pivoting fence.

Granted, his “locating post” is a good idea, but it doesn’t explain how he makes the straight crosscut.

If you watch the video carefully where he cuts the dado, the fence isn’t simply pivoting around a fixed point but both sides are moving. I’m guessing his fence has an arc shaped slot for the pivot pin to move through allowing a perpendicular cut. Pretty ingenious but might be tough to replicate. I’ll have to study the math on it.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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