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Advice requested - Building a router table extension onto a table saw

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Forum topic by CincyRW posted 03-21-2014 03:29 PM 2037 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CincyRW

156 posts in 1116 days


03-21-2014 03:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lift router table question router

LJs – Looking for some advice on building a router table into my table saw extension. There are so many posts on this sort of thing, that its difficult to get the info I really need.

Looking for any insight, but the questions at the end of this post are critical to the design of my system

What I’m working with-
• Shop is tiny – combining footprint of router table and saw is appealing
• Craftsman 22116, hybrid (cabinet) saw
• Bosch 1617 router
• I’m a beginning woodworker. Just a hobby, not a means of support
• $$ – I can really spend whatever I want, but my wife says I’m “thrifty”

My general plan-
• Use a melamine(?) sheet (slick surface like a dry erase board), attached to ¾” plywood below for support – as an extension wing on the saw.
• Cut all the way through the melamine sheet and support the router plate by cutting out a slightly smaller hole on the ¾” plywood below it.

*My questions for LJs-*
• Is a router lift worth the $? The Bosch has a height adjustment that’s supposed to work through the table – I don’t understand what a lift would do for me here.
• Any recommendations on router lifts or plates? o Do plates come with lifts? Hard to tell exactly what I’m actually buying.
• Any insight on where to locate the router in the extenstion wing? Dead center? Any advantages in offsetting it right, left, fore, aft?
• Can I just use my table saw fence as the router fence if I build an auxiliary fence around / on top of it?
• Any insight about dust collection. I really don’t care if I have to sweep up chips, but I want to get a handle on the fine dust (the chips wont sensitize me, but the dust will). Unfortunately, all I’m using now is a shop vac and a dust deputy.

Suggestions /opinions etc are greatly appreciated. Would especially like to hear if you tried something similar and what you’d do differently if you did it again.


8 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

8256 posts in 2894 days


#1 posted 03-21-2014 04:52 PM

3/4 ply with a sheet of laminate on it may not be sturdy enough considering the distance between the supports. I’d recommend a piece of 3/4 laminated to a sheet of 1/2 ply..or MDF. Also, both sides need to be laminated.
Most lifts come with plates. A lift solves a lot of problems in your manufacturing of the table.
I’d put it dead center fore and aft. Mine’s 12 inches from the edge at the operator’s side just because of how I work. A shorter distance may be more to your liking.
You may be able to use your TS fence but with modifications. Nothing major though. You’d need some way to bury the bit in the fence for many operations.
Dust collection is another matter. Mine is built in to the fence. If you created a “sleeve” to fit over your fence, in addition to burying the bit, a port could be incorporated in the end or top for a dust collector, whether from a DC or Shop vac. Because of the differences in vacuum, I prefer the shop vac.
I like zero clearance for my bits, but that means some way to support inserts in the fence. It can be done, but it might be more involved than it’s worth.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View AlanBienlein's profile

AlanBienlein

159 posts in 2140 days


#2 posted 03-21-2014 05:37 PM

Is a lift necessary? No it’s not. But once you use one you’ll never go back!

I started with a PC 7519 mounted to a piece of plywood on the right side of my table saw. At the time I felt a lift was an unneeded expense. This is the only picture I have of that set up.

Then I bought a router raizer to install in my plunge router which was a step up as far as versatility.

Then one day I got the prl-v2 for christmas from my wife. What a difference. All adjustments are from the top along with bit changes. I put the pc 7519 in it and have been using it ever since.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 1535 days


#3 posted 03-21-2014 05:38 PM

Gene is right, 3/4 is too thin, it will sag. Id double that if I were you. Heres my old setup. First 2 pics are using the TS fence with an auxiliary, allowing for burying the bit and dust collection as Gene described. The third pic is my long fence for ripping 8ft stock. I doubt youll find any aftermarket table that gives this kind of outfeed. They all hold down with t-bolts, and I cant emphasize enough the safety increase when you use featherboards on the router table. Way more then on the table saw in my experience. Sorry for the sideways pics, no matter what I try LJs does not like my iphone.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile

OhValleyWoodandWool

970 posts in 2586 days


#4 posted 03-21-2014 05:43 PM

Pretty much what Gene said. But I do not think a lift is worth the money. It seems to work pretty well for me with only a Porter Cable router moter and fixed base connected to the plate. Reaching under the table to make adjustments isn’t that difficult.

I have a standard plate that I think I bought from rockler.

I have a double thickness of 3/4 ply for support and a aux fence that fits over my TS fence. Finshed the top with poly and wax. I do have to rewax ever now and then but again no biggie.

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View CincyRW's profile

CincyRW

156 posts in 1116 days


#5 posted 03-22-2014 03:01 PM

Guys – thanks. This is exactly the information I needed. Looks like a router lift is the way to go, especially as I personally find it difficult to be patient with “setup”.

I appreciate the info about feather boards and safety – never used a router table before so I have no idea what to expect.

I should have clarified – the melamine sheet is actually a 1/2” sheet with melamine on both faces. Not much strength there so maybe I do need to think about how to support the whole setup a little better.

Again, thank you. This is great information.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 1535 days


#6 posted 03-22-2014 03:22 PM

the 1/2 inch melamine on a good quality hardwood ply like birch might be enough. you can always brace it up more too. If you dont like setup, the lift will make life easier. They artn cheap, and arnt strictly needed, but Ive never seen a post on here of someone regretting one. Me Id like the Jessem sidewinder.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

327 posts in 1134 days


#7 posted 03-22-2014 04:08 PM

Instead of building one I bought the Incra extension table for my setup. I have been very happy with it but I use the Incra fence system on my saw and router table so it’s not really comparable to what you are looking for but you may want to check them out. It’s a fantastic system. These pics are from before I changed to the Incra Mast-R-Lift II on the table.

-- Earl

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2042 days


#8 posted 03-22-2014 04:10 PM

What I’m working with-
• Shop is tiny – combining footprint of router table and saw is appealing My shop is small too; 3/4 of a one car garage. I might have to do the same too if I plan on getting a nice jointer and 14” bandsaw in there.
• Craftsman 22116, hybrid (cabinet) saw VERY nice saw. :-)
• Bosch 1617 router Excellent router.
• I’m a beginning woodworker. Just a hobby, not a means of support Less time and frustration in setup means more time working the project. :-)
• $$ – I can really spend whatever I want, but my wife says I’m “thrifty” Time is $$. Time saved during setup using a lift is $$ saved.
My general plan-
• Use a melamine(?) sheet (slick surface like a dry erase board), attached to ¾” plywood below for support – as an extension wing on the saw. That will work, but I’d use plywood or MDF with plastic laminate (formica) as the surface. Durable and slippery. Make sure to use good bracing underneath to prevent sagging.
• Cut all the way through the melamine sheet and support the router plate by cutting out a slightly smaller hole on the ¾” plywood below it. You’d only need to rout a recess a bit more than 3/8” for the router plate.
My questions for LJs-
• Is a router lift worth the $? The Bosch has a height adjustment that’s supposed to work through the table – I don’t understand what a lift would do for me here. Above the table bit changes, micro height adjustments, reliability. If you have it, a luxury worth having.
• Any recommendations on router lifts or plates? o Do plates come with lifts? Hard to tell exactly what I’m actually buying. The incra mast-r-lift II is the best on the market IMHO. It has incra’s magnalock inserts, which are adjustable for level and easily changed without any tools. The Mast-r-lift II can accommodate 18+ different routers, so if a new router is necessary in the future, the option exists without having to buy a new lift or adapter.
• Any insight on where to locate the router in the extenstion wing? Dead center? Any advantages in offsetting it right, left, fore, aft? I like to offset the router towards the front. This allows easier access to the router.
• Can I just use my table saw fence as the router fence if I build an auxiliary fence around / on top of it? Yes, but if the back of the fence can deflect with pressure, you’ll want to clamp that end down when routing.
• Any insight about dust collection. I really don’t care if I have to sweep up chips, but I want to get a handle on the fine dust (the chips wont sensitize me, but the dust will). Unfortunately, all I’m using now is a shop vac and a dust deputy. In my experience, fence dust collection is far more important than under the table dust collection. Above the table at the fence is where most dust is thrown.

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

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