Ever tried setting up your router table with a steel rule?  I’ve done it tonnes of times, and it is a compromise situation.  If you have a split fence, it is a right pain even finding the fence zero point with a basic steel rule.  If the fence is solid, you still have to ensure the rule is square to the fence.  So that is how it is done in a lot of workshops, and yes, you can set up the fence that way.  The question is, how do professionals do it?

One workshop created their own rule on a CNC machine, and used it successfully for years in the gilding and picture framing business on complicated moulding setups, before deciding it might actually be something that the wider woodworking community might actually be interested in.

The basic premise is a transparent rule called a CutSetter with clearly defined markings, and the reference plane is not a thin edge of a rule, but the full side.  Each mark position is offset so there is no chance of getting mixed up with which line you are reading off.  It only measures to a maximum of 100mm from the fence, but that describes 99% of all setups.  The interesting part of this is the reference points.  The fence is long (obviously), as is the edge of the rule that references off it.  What it is measuring to is the tip of the router bit, and the markings are also basically a point reference.  Simple, smart.

CutSetter - Setting Fence Position

The other benefit of a long edge against the fence is that it makes it very obvious if the two halves of the fence are in line.  Or, if they are not intended to be in line, the markings at the edge allow you to choose the amount of offset.

Aside: A rule has the measurements start from the end, whereas a ruler has a gap between the end and the measurements

Setting Fence Depth - Through Ruler Reading

Setting Bit Height

The above-two photos show the router-fence distance and height accurately set.

It is a very quick and easy tool to use, and often will be all that is needed to set up your router table, and repeat setups.  I like this tool – it is simple, and does the job it is designed for.

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