Jun 28 2011

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New Router Table Fence: The Frame


Since I gave my old router table fence away, I needed to make a fence for my new router table — the old fence was too small for the larger table I built anyway. I didn’t follow any specific set of plans when I made the fence, rather I used the same construction methods as my old fence, only I made it longer.

Starting materialsFor the frame of the fence, I ripped three 3×36″ strips of 1/2″ Baltic Birch plywood. Then for the face I ripped a 3×32″ strip from a 1″ thick piece of 24×32″phenolic coated plywood for the stationary part of the face. I turned the remaining piece of phenolic coated plywood 90° and ripped two more 3×21″ strips for the sliding portion of the face.


Setup for cutting s rabbetThe first step was to cut a 1/4″ deep by 1/2″ wide rabbet along the side of one of the pieces of 1/2″ plywood. I set up my table saw with a 1/2″ dado stack and a zero clearance insert. I clamped a sacrificial board to the fence so I didn’t chew up the table saw fence with the side of the dado blade. I also clamped a feather board to the fence to keep the stock flat against the table. This ensures the rabbet will be the same depth along the whole edge.


IMG_2502This piece forms the vertical part of the fence behind the more slippery phenolic pieces. I used the second strip for the base of the fence, and I cut the third strip into the triangles to keep the face at a right angle to the base.


IMG_2503To align the triangular supports, next I cut four 1/2″ wide by 1/4″ deep dadoes into the both the horizontal and vertical fence boards with my table saw.


IMG_2506To make room for the router bit, I cut out openings in both the face and the base with my oscillating tool. I don’t have pictures for the next part but I drilled a series of holes through the dadoes and then drilled counter-bores in the face and bottom pieces for attaching the triangular supports.


IMG_2507When I started screwing in the triangular supports I discovered that I had drilled the holes too close to the edge so the ends of the screws were sticking out of the wood. Since I had plenty of spare plywood left from the third piece of plywood, I just cut some new triangular supports with flattened corners rather than redrill new holes. You can see the new supports in the first picture.


IMG_2517With the frame assembled, I needed a way to enclose the space around the router bit so that I could collect dust and chips. I had purposely spaced the middle two triangular supports 6″ apart so I could use the rest of the 6″ strip of plywood as a back.

I cut the ends at 45° angles on the table saw — you can see where I almost screwed up in the picture. I tested the back, and found I needed to shave a little off one side to get it to fit. Then it fit so tightly that I figured I could just leave it as a friction fit. Then I used a circle cutter on my drill press to cut the hole for the 2″ PVC coupling that just happens to be the perfect size for a 2-1/4″ shop-vac nozzle.


IMG_2522After epoxying the PVC fitting into the hole, I fit the back into place in the frame. I hooked the shop-vac to the dust port and dropped some sawdust into the router bit opening — the dust collection seemed to work fine. To finish the fence frame all I needed to do was drill holes for the T-bolts that hold the fence to the T-tracks built into the router table.


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