Cast Iron Router Table progress

Been having some difficulty in obtaining the cast iron wing I needed to mount the router under, as it seems the manufacturers in Taiwan? China? sent a whole stack of the wrong stock, and it will be a couple of months before more arrives.

In the meantime, I have gotten one, and will use one of the standard blanks in the other position, and will decide downtrack whether to replace it with a second router position or not.  I may decide instead to revert back to the original plan, and mount the second on the tablesaw after all.

Be that as it may, this is how we are progressing so far.

Underside of Router Wing

Underside of Router Wing

This is the underside of the new wing.  Not pretty, but then it doesn’t have to be – the machined surface is the important part.  There is also a coating to prevent corrosion during delivery on this side, and I’m actually going to leave that in place.

As you can see, there are a number of T Slots to mount the router to.  I was originally considering attaching the Triton quick release plate to this, so the router can be removed as necessary, but as 2 of the slots correspond nicely to the two main mounting points on the Triton router, I’m thinking I will go ahead by directly mounting the router instead.  I have a couple of high tensile bolts specifically for the task.  I may also use the original Triton hold-downs to add some extra support to the router, to clamp it firmly to this base.

Wings laid out

Wings laid out

Next, I laid out all the wings that will make up the new top.  Looks quite a respectable size doesn’t it!  There are holes in each wing that I will use to bolt them together with high tensile bolts.

Cast Iron Router Table

Cast Iron Router Table

Flipping the wings over, and we get a first look at what the new router table will look like.  It is about the size of the table saw.  To quote South Park…… SWEEEEET!

There is an insert to fit the hole in the router wing (still to come).  If I did place a second router into this table, it would be the 2nd panel from the right that would be replaced.  The paint on the sides was obviously applied without adequate cleaning before painting, so it flakes off easily.  No matter to me – I will remove it all, as I’d rather see the silver colour of cast iron, than some poorly applied off white paint anyway.  The holes in the sides you can see are for affixing the tablesaw fence rails, but I probably won’t be using them.  Instead, I may line the sides with a timber strip all round, but won’t decide that until the base is finalised.

Again, the size of the top may seem incredibly excessive, but wait – there is a reason, and it is a gold anodised reason…….

Incra LS Positioner

Incra LS Positioner

Sure looks the part now!

After all, when the other main tools in the workshop all have cast iron tops (tablesaw, drill press (although mine now has the Pro Table on top of that), bandsaw, planer (jointer)), why shouldn’t the router table, as one of the main workshop machines?  Note the thicknesser was conspicuously absent from that list – have to do something about that!

The Incra is held down by two MagJigs (as I have discussed in the past), and I can now utilise the other MagSwitch tools – the featherboards, other jigs with MagJigs included etc.

So instead of the router table always having to be some shop-made construction from MDF or melamine or similar, or pressed steel, or a wing tacked on the side of another tool like an afterthought, it has serious presence, and joins the 100+kg club as well.

Yes, I know there is such an animal as a shaper table, and this goes a long way towards being a home-constructed version of one of those, but there is one notable difference.  Find a shaper table that can take an Incra fence like this puppy 🙂

I also like the significantly large area in front of the cutter – plenty of stock support here.

Router Table with Gifkins Dovetail Jig

Router Table with Gifkins Dovetail Jig

And plenty of working area when using jigs, such as the Gifkins Jig pictured here.

The top is missing a point for a starter pin for free-hand routing (when using bearinged router bits), but I have a couple of ideas for that – either drilling and tapping another hole, or going for a router free-hand guide like this one from Professional Woodworkers Supplies

Freehand Router Guide

Freehand Router Guide

I’d need to make a minor mod – adding an extra base with a couple of MagJigs included – heh – that just came to me – that will be by far the easiest solution.  See – I LOVE having a cast iron router table!

I’d love to have a full blown router lift included – that would turn this router table from the gold plated solution to the diamond solution.  Maybe one day…..  It wouldn’t be that hard – just replace the existing router wing with one that has the cavity cut for the router lift.  They do exist (Carbatec sell one).

The only problem I’ve come across is in the design of the router wing.  The back edge is machined flat, the front edge isn’t.  They obviously didn’t expect anyone to try to add a wing on that side (why not??), so I will have to decide what to do about that.

A bit of a gap

A bit of a gap

It means there is a minor gap at the extremities.  I have to be carful when bolting this together, as I will need to add spacers in there – if not, I could easily crack the side off while tensioning the bolts – cast iron being rather brittle.  It may be too small to be a real problem, there may be enough ductility in the cast iron to cope, but why take the chance?

The Problem

The Problem

As you can just see in this final pic, the metal of the side is thickest in the middle, and thinner towards the ends.

The optimum solution, and the one I’d prefer, is to take the plate and get the edge machined flat. Now who do I know who has that sort of metal working machinery (ie, a mill)? 😉

If Triton manufacturing was still operational, I might have been able to do it there…. oh well…. there are other alternatives.

So that is the progress on the new router table.

Perhaps not as pretty as Norm’s (New Yankee Workshop), but perhaps it is – I will let you decide 🙂

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