Work on the router table has progressed well – slowly but surely. I started out with a couple of old laminated desk tops (pardon the mess!). These table tops are going to work pretty well and are almost the perfect size – 750 x 1500.
I’ll trim off the edges, square them up then laminate the two together to form a single top @ 38mm thick. The postman has arrived with my Incra goodies… the LS 25 (metric) Super System and 3/8″ Aluminium Magnalock insert plate.
I used Selley’s Kwik Grip to join the two pieces together – wish I’d bought a mask as this stuff took me way back to my childhood helping Dad on the job… boy does it pack some punch! The instructions on the can stated that it would bond IMMEDIATELY on contact… they weren’t kidding! As I wanted to square up the tops anyway I wasn’t worried about them being out by a little, but a few dominos would have helped with alignment if perfect alignment was necessary.
I let the adhesive dry for about 25 mins and then lay them together and clamped as best I could using the hodgepodge of clamps I had available.
Waiting waiting… tic toc! Now on to the template for the insert plate. I wanted to take a fair bit of care with this stage as I hadn’t done any hand-held routing since high school! It is a good opportunity to put the new OF1400 through it’s paces. I toiled long and hard over my hand-held router choice – OF1010 or OF1400, I liked the 1010 for size/weight and ease of use as a hand-held router, but the 1400 packs more punch and has the added bonus of 1/4 and 1/2 inch collets and a nifty ratchet setup for bit changes. In the end I settled on the OF1400 and am very pleased with my choice – the weight so far has not been an issue. The way I did it worked well all be it a little time consuming. I started with four strips of 12mm MDF and used double sided tape to create a template around the insert plate.
Now since I’m still learning I then made a test cut on a piece of 16mm MDF. It didn’t turn out too bad… I used a 35mm forstner bit for the corners – not quite the right size but the closest I had. I wrapped an old sanding disk around a small bottle of Loctite to finish out the curves to the correct radius. Fiddly but achieved a nice curve. The plate now slips in easily without too much slop. After a bit of testing, adjusting and sanding the plate is a good fit – not too tight, not too loose!
So the table has had about 18 hours to dry, time to square it up. I love how easy and versatile the TS55 is – I’m definitely a Festool convert… they say it only takes one sip of Koolaid to get hooked… couldn’t be more accurate!
I marked the centre line down the table and the position of the LS Positioner to get the distance right to the centre of the router plate. I have to say I love my new Incra and Woodpecker rules/squares – very accurate and very useful. Time for a deep breath and to get stuck into the real thing. I’ve never used a template thingo (I’m certain that’s the technical term!) on my router before but I figured it could be useful here to remove the waste material on the inside. I used a 5mm straight bit with a 40mm template guide – leaving me with a nice, even 15mm ‘border’ inside my MDF template. This would be an ample sized ‘shelf’ for the router insert plate to sit on.
After clamping my MDF template to the table top I started with an 8mm drill bit to create a starting point then ran around the template at a shallow depth of 2mm just to test the waters… easy does it. I then increased the depth approximately 4mm each pass. A gradual increase in depth meant dust collection remained manageable and I wasn’t pushing the limits of the narrow bit too hard. Looking good so far.
Due to limitations with the length of my bits in combination with the plunge depth I had to improvise a bit to achieve the cut out depth of 38mm. I then used my pattern cutting bit to remove the outer section to a depth of 3/8″ (9.525mm) for the insert plate. It was a bit time consuming but worked out pretty well in the end.
I’m pretty happy with the results. The saw mark you see on the right is the result of my impatience. I attempted to use my plunge saw to remove the waste material and didn’t spend enough time with my set up – I’m pretty annoyed with myself but fortunately it’s not going to be seen. Due to the nature of particle board I’m considering routing the step an additional 6mm and adding a layer of 6mm masonite (I have some scrap laying around) so the levelling screws won’t wear away the particle board over time. I’ll also seal the exposed particle board to protect from moisture. The 10 included levelling screws make it really easy to ensure the plate is perfectly level with the table top. The next step will be to put the edge banding on. I’ve got some 42 x 19mm Ash that should go nicely. I intend to make the cabinet out of Ash veneered ply and considering using African Purple Heart for the dovetail detail in my drawers. Should be a nice combination.