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Router Tables

 
 
Mounting a router in a table makes the router even more versatile. To begin with it, is more stable because the work surface is much larger and you won´t have to worry about the router tipping when you are cutting a narrow piece of stock. If you´re routing a groove on the edge of a board, you can hold it against the table and fence to keep it from wobbling. You can use larger bits, such as those that make raised panels. For routing decorative edges the router table can´t be beat -- it turns a sometimes unwieldy tool into what is essentially a small shaper. 


SAFETY ALERT


Keep Your Hands Clear of the Cutting Bit


Even when a bit is completely buried in the wood - as when cutting a groove - it isn't safe to run your hands over the bit. Always know where the bit is, and guide the wood by holding sections of it that are far from the bit. Use a push stick if the wood needs to be held as it passes over the cutter.
 

Adjusting the Fence


If you’re using a piloted bit, put a straightedge against the fence and move the fence back and forth until the edge just touches the bearing, and then lock it in place. If the fence has sliding faces so that you can adjust the size of the opening, set them so that the opening is slightly larger than the bit.
 
Cuts on the router table, like those with the router, need to begin shallow and get progressively deeper until you rout the desired profile. Once the fence is set, lower the router so the bit is making a shallow cut, rout each piece, and then raise the bit. Repeat until you’ve got the finished surface. The amount you raise the bit with each pass depends on the wood and the bit. If you hear the router straining, you’re taking off too much in a single pass.
 

Making a test cut


A router table can look as if it’s set up perfectly but be off by just enough to ruin a project. To be safe set everything up and then make a test cut on a piece of scrap to make sure everything is properly positioned.
 

Miter gauge


A miter gauge helps hold narrow pieces while you guide them across the bit. A piece of plywood does the same job and provides more support. Set up the cut, guide the plywood along the fence, and rout right into the plywood. It’s a cheap, reliable trick—especially if the miter gauge is optional on your table.
 

Table Types

Table A is a combo kit, sold with a handheld router  and Table B is sold without a router

Router tables can be as simple or as elaborate as you please. Table A is a combo kit, sold with a handheld router that you can take out of the table. For a relatively small investment, you get both a router and table. The table is small enough that you can put it on your bench, or on a small work station (not included).

 

Table B is sold without a router so you'll either buy one separately or install your own. It's a heavier table that comes with its own stand, and the fence is longer.

 

When choosing a table, look for one with a split fence, safety guards, and hold-downs. You'll also want a dust port, so that you can hook your shop vac up to it and remove the incredible amounts of sawdust that routing creates. Both these tables meet the necessary criteria.

 

  

Direction of feed on a router table

Direction of feed on a router table

Mounting a router upside down underneath a table turns the router into a small shaper - an invaluable tool if you're going to make molding for custom trimwork.

 

The router on a router table is upside down compared to a handheld router. Feed stock from right to left along the fence. If you're guiding a stock against a piloted bit rather than a fence, feed the stock so that it travels clockwise around the bit.

  

Featherboards

Featherboards Featherboards help hold the work in place as you rout. You won't need them for most operations, but they're handy if you're routing small pieces or lots of pieces. Some tables come with built-in featherboards, but you can make your own by making a series of parallel cuts in a board on the table saw. Put the featherboard on the table and fence so that it pushes the stock directly against the bit. Clamp it down, and rotate the featherboard to slightly decrease the distance between the featherboard and fence. Tighten the clamp before routing. When properly adjusted the fingers flex slightly when they push against the stock, and you'll be able to feed the board forward but unable to pull it backward.