Router Tables: basics on the accessory for mounting wood routers - Part 2
Although the concept is simple in the extreme (a table on which to mount your wood router) this must-have unit deserves a few minutes of extra consideration. A wood router table does more than just provide a stable work area and a way to introduce your wood to your router bit rather than the other way around. A quality router table, whether made by yourself or one of the excellent models currently available such as those from Porter cable or DeWalt, can expand your quality of work and your abilities substantially.
Simple but powerful!!! An accurate router table fence makes a HUGE difference.
Router tables do more than just hold your router in an inverted position - they help stabilize your work without having to clamp the wood itself. They provide easy control of depth and edge settings in a repeatable manner. They provide mounting points for fixtures and jigs to help with more difficult passes. Many advanced features and inlay work simply couldn't be done freehand or with a non-mounted router - or, if it could, a very skilled hand and extensive jig system would be required!
Of all the vital elements in a good router table, perhaps the most important are the guides. It's important to know how they function. The primary guide, which all tables will have is called the router table fence. It runs along the back of the table behind the bit and is adjustable. The fence should ideally be at least three inches tall to help stabilize wood when cutting on edge. It should have the ability to be quickly locked into position.
Accurate measurements built into the fence system are a plus, but will add cost to the unit. The surface of both the table and the fence needs to be smooth and allow easy feeding of materials across them. In certain cases, the distance from the fence to the bit dictates how deep from the edge of the stock the bit will cut. You may also use that distance to specify where grooves or channels are aligned in a work piece. With these techniques in mine, a uniform and precise alignment of the fence is vital to the functioning of any router table.
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