Router Table End Game

Went ahead with the plan to re-establish a separate router table, and using the Incra Router Table stand as the base.

Step one was putting the base together.  It comes in a pretty compact form.  Lots of screws!  I also decided to get the optional wheel kit.

Typical of Incra, the basis for the router stand is a complicated, well designed anodised aluminium extrusion.  In this case, it is based around a corner, with two tracks for the fixtures, and two for the 12mm sides.

The wheel kit has one pivot wheel which can be raised and lowered, and two fixed wheels.

The frame together, ready to be wheeled to the shed.  I could have done this down there, but hey, what else are back rooms for?!

The frame at this point was pretty flimsy, and I was just starting to wonder if it was going to be able to withstand the weight of my router table. Being a cast iron top, and not a small one at that, it weighs in excess of 80kg.  But I was still expecting the MDF sides and base would add quite a degree of stability.

The stand was relocated to the shed, and placed in around about its ‘final’ home.

To make room for it, there was again quite a bit of shuffling, and this time the lathe got relocated to the other end of the workshop.

At the same time, I took the opportunity to do a few other jobs I’d been planning, including getting rid of the drawer unit under the drill press table.  The Pro Drill Press table will again be mounted directly to the drill press platform.  I have not liked the old way to raise and lower the drill press, so I’ve added a large cast iron wheel on an extension bar . This will then get secured underneath to the drill press table top.

The extension bar is an old socket set extension bar, and the wheel is from some old thicknesser or similar.  With a bit of adaption, some grinding, then a tapped hole for a bolt to secure the wheel to the bar at the back. This’ll stop me having to reach behind the table to raise and lower the table!  It will look a lot better when the pro top is reattached.

Next, I started adding the MDF sides, base and shelf.  Into the shelf I used an oscillating cutter (a Fein in this case) to cut a square hole.  An oscillating cutter is the modern version of a jigsaw.  Pretty much incapable of hurting the operator (unless you really try!), it cuts a very fine kerf line.  No where near as fast as a jigsaw, but also significantly neater.  An no need to drill starting holes, or tip toe around corners to produce a square corner.

This hole was cut to fit a dust extraction hood in that will sit directly below the router.

This was screwed down, and the 4″ pipe will come out from the lower layer of the unit, rather than trying to direct the sawdust down to a low point and out the side of the base.

Both the upper and lower areas will get boxed off to control dust movements around the base.  From this angle you can also see the shelf supports I’ve added.

I’ve decided to fully box in the router in the first instance, then address what access I do need afterwards.  I’d like to not have to access the router at all, which would be possible if I was willing to use a router bit extender permanently, but I’m still not comfortable with that.

In any case, it was time to add the top, and that involved what was effectively a dead-lift to get the top in place.  Cast iron is heavy!  What I’d do to have a gantry crane in the shed!

With the sides and bases added, the stand became a lot more rigid.  With the weight of the top, it all became quite functional, and once I add a few screws etc, everything will lock together nicely.

Still plenty to do to finish the table, but I got it to the point I wanted for the weekend – it really looks the part.

Some outstanding jobs: Add the starter box, attach the Wixey digital height gauge, cut the access point to the router, connect the table to the 4″ extraction system.  Down track I’ll be adding some drawers to store the various LS positioner rules, some in-table router bit storage and who knows where else the ideas will lead.  Happy with how it is looking so far!

Incra Laminated Breadboard

Ever since seeing Perry McDaniel’s breadboard, I have wanted to try one myself – doesn’t look particularly complex, but it has been one of those projects I’ve just never gotten a round tuit.

tuitSo with the clamp review, and finally obtaining some purpleheart which I always planned to use as one of the timbers, I begun cutting.

First job was to get the dust extraction up to spec again – after finding the thicknesser blocked the DC inlet too quickly.  It looks a bit confusing in a photo – it is slightly less confusing in real life 😉

Dust Collector with Preseparator

Dust Collector with Preseparator

The tablesaw, and router feed directly into the DC.  The thicknesser and planer feed into the precollector.  There are 3 different sanders that happen to be feeding into there, but they don’t need as much air draw so they won’t suffer from any performance hit caused by the preseparator.  The bandsaw also feeds into that line, so will assess how it performs, but as a general rule it is also a pretty fine dust that will be fine with any lower air flowrate.

Once the machines were again online, I was able to take a piece of mahogany, and one of purpleheart and run through the inital stock preparation, with all the generated dust and shavings whisked away to the extrator.  To any really observent amongst you, yes, I have turned the DC around.  This gives me better access to the start/stop switch (and was necessary with the location of the precollector, as it pretty much blocked access to the back corner).  It also means that the demented spider of tubing is more intrusive into the shop, but again, necessity is the biggest force of nature!

Resaw with MagFence

Resaw with MagFence

I resawed both the mahogany and purpleheart, but I did my usual trick of trying to get too much yield out of the timber I have.  Sometimes a bit of wastage is necessary to get the stock you need, but it is a lesson I still need to learn.  I ended up, after dressing the timbers, with stock that was thinner that I wanted.  This does reflect that I am still struggling to find where to get good timbers from at a reasonable price.

Once all planed and thicknessed, it was time to move to the tablesaw.  For this project, I finally used the Incra LS Positioner on the tablesaw for the first time actually using it as a tablesaw fence.  I used the MagJigs to hold it down, which worked ok, but I found it did need some more holding force, so I will add an extra two MagJigs, which will be overkill, but there is no such thing as too much where it comes to locking down a fence securely.

Incra LS as Tablesaw Fence

Incra LS as Tablesaw Fence

On the tablesaw, I ripped increasing widths of timber, from 2mm to about 15mm wide.  This worked well with the Incra, although it would have been better if I had remembered that it is an imperial measuring system, not metric!  Even so, the absolute precision of the Incra worked well – it clicks into precise location without having to microadjust the fence position with a fist-tap (as is normal practice).  A really interesting look at the Incra system.

After taking the mahogany and purpleheart through the ripping process, they were then interleaved, and clamped in the Jet Bar Clamps, which are really nice I must say.  They stay balanced where they are put, whether horizontal or vertical, they don’t slip, clamp tight and really look the part.

 Mounting in the Jet Bar Clamps

Mounting in the Jet Bar Clamps

I haven’t glued these up as yet – consider this a dry-fit.

Storing vertical

Storing vertical

I didn’t realise how stable these clamps were when vertical, but the job was in the way at one point, and I went to put it on the floor, and did a double-take when it stayed quite comfortably where I placed it.  A definite bonus of this sort of clamp design IMHO.

Ready for glue-up

Ready for glue-up

This is as far as I have gotten with the project – next I will be gluing it up, topping and tailing it then rotating the ends through 180 degrees, finishing with a router dressing of the edges.  Mahogany wasn’t my first choice of materials – I wanted even more contrast between the lighter timber and the purpleheart, but even so, unfinished as it is, it still looks the goods.

Router Table Upgrade now ver 3.0.3

Got the CI (cast iron) plates to the shed, and cleaned up overnight, so had a chance to play around a little with the layout to see how it might all work.  After a couple of iterations, I have been forming some more solid concepts with what I want to achieve.

Firstly, to the cleanup.  As we saw in the earlier post, they were wrapped in plastic with some horrible looking surface (which I hoped was antirust) and it turned out to be.  Very sticky too.

I decided to try some thinner on it, to see if that would budge it easily.

CI Wing Cleanup

CI Wing Cleanup

It did!

Spun Metal Bowl

Spun Metal Bowl

BTW, I find a small collection of these spun metal bowls very handy around the workshop.  In this case, it’s holding the thinner that I’m using, but they are good for all sorts of things, from collections of miscellaneous screws, to soaking old rusty components, to BBQ salads. Well perhaps not.

CI Router Table, Incra and MagSwitch

CI Router Table, Incra and MagSwitch

So once I had all the plates cleaned, I laid them out and placed the Incra LS Positioner on top to see how it would work, and what size table I really needed.  It also confirmed for me that just using two MagJigs is sufficient to solidly lock the fence down for routing operations.  Doesn’t the CI top look the bees knees!

Choosing a Layout

Choosing a Layout

After trying a few different options, (and remembering I still have 2 wings to come, cut with the hole for the router), I decided that I wanted a smooth wing nearest me, then 1 router wing, then the other two smooth wings.  Having a second router mounted would cause it to be too far from me to operate safely, and the LS Positioner is not long enough to service both locations from the one mounting point.  Not that I can’t move it, but that defeats the purpose.

So the plan is back to having the other router wing mounted on the tablesaw, and this table to become a 680 x 1000mm cast iron router table.

Final operation would look something like this, with MagSwitchable jigs in play!

Looking the part

Looking the part

Just need the one with the hole in it so I can bolt it all together and start thinking about the base.

Router Table 3.0

“In the beginning” seems a good place to start…..
Stu said ” Let there be a router table”, and there was, and it was good.

Router Table 1.0 was a Triton RTA300 on the router table stand, and it lasted a number of years before I outgrew it.
Router Table 1.5 was then born in pursuit of a higher degree of flatness, and it has been documented on here (and elsewhere) as the RTA upgrade with a new aluminium top added to the existing table.

Router Table 2.0 then eventuated, primarily to accommodate the Incra Fence I now use, and is around 1100mm long to maximise the working range of the 17″ Incra LS Positioner. It was mounted on a never-finished melamine box that was meant to have cupboards and drawers, dust extraction and skinned with raised panels etc so it looked the part. But we never quite got there, and it has been used in its semi-completed state for something like 2 1/2 years!

Jump forward again a number of years to the present day, and we have the first step in the development of the next router table.

Router Table 3.0 has begun.
It is still very much a WIP (work in progress), and the final configuration is yet to be finalised (mostly still in my head), and I have some options I still need to pursue to see which will influence the final design.

However, I can reveal the first step in the process – the development of the top. There is still a couple of sections missing – still in transit from Brisbane or something. The top is going to be Cast Iron, and in fact will be made from about 5 Tablesaw extension wings joined together. It will measure 1250 x 680mm, and will feature not one, but two routers (TRA001) complete with independent starter boxes. This is so I can have one set up as the primary router, and the other with a pattern following bit semi-permanently mounted. (It will be removed when I am doing dovetailing, so I can set up one router with the dovetail cutter, and the other with the straight cutter)

Cast Iron Tablesaw Wings

Cast Iron Tablesaw Wings

The wings are still wrapped in plastic, and coated with (hopefully!) a preservative / antirust, and so that will need to be cleaned off.  These are in fact, extension wings for the TSC-10HB tablesaw from Carbatec, and were meant to be the RW optional wing (router wing), with a hole for the router, and extra router mounting holes, but as one of the guys at Carbatec put it – the holes “fell off in transit”.  Must have been a big pothole!  Not that it matters, extra wings are useful on a tablesaw, and for my router table these plain wings are perfect for the task.  Now I just need the two WITH holes to finish the job (and hopefully there are no potholes between Brisbane and here!)

The entire router table top will weigh in at 70kg (154lb), plus the Incra fence, and routers of course.  There is no mitre slot, and that may seem strange, but I’ve one in my current router table, and I’ve never used it.  Meant to, but never got around to making featherboards etc

The new table will make significant use of the MagSwitch technology, with the Incra LS Positioner held down with 2 MagJigs, and the MagSwitch Pro Featherboards will be used to control the workpiece infeed and outfeed.

Gathering at the Inc(r)a Temple

So the inaugral get-together of Incra users (and wannabys – or should that be wannabuys!) happened today at the Woodworking Warehouse.

A combination of old and new faces from other events, a bit of an Incra demo – specifically the 1/2 blind dovetail by James (who demonstrates for the importers (Professional Woodworkers Supplies (PWS in my shorthand)), and also PWS themselves (Marita and Grahame) who came along with supplies and food (obviously true woodworkers!)  So thanks to them for their involvement and support in having the day, and to the Woodworking Warehouse for donating the use of their premises.

James Demonstrates the 1/2 Blind Dovetail on the Incra

James Demonstrates the 1/2 Blind Dovetail on the Incra

So the ice has been broken, and we’ve seen again the setting up and use of the Incra, for this joint at least, so I guess we now need to actually get out to the workshop, and duplicate the process!

The next meeting (perhaps in February – what with the wood show, Christmas, January break, it is a hard time of year to coordinate any other gatherings!) I hope we will get to see / show a through-dovetail, and also what projects have been made between now and then.  There are still a whole heap of projects in the Incra Project book that I really want to make.

So thanks to all, and I hope everyone got something out of the day.

Incra User Group (Melbourne)

Just in case some have missed the discussion (on the Australian Woodworking Forums), we are going to have a go at getting an Incra Owners Group (Melbourne) started. At this stage there have been no decisions about the structure, frequency etc, but it is intended as a way of users (and potential users) to get together, see techniques demonstrated, be able to pick the brains of other users etc.

It is something we have discussed on the forums a few times (actually going back to October 2006) – getting a collective together to nut out some of the finer points, learn from each other the subtleties of the Incra system so we can start to really master it, and it is time the concept was dusted off. There was some discussion back then of vid casting the sessions for out-of-towners, and is certainly something we will work towards – in the first instance videoing aspects of the session, and particularly the demonstrations and getting them onto the web, with a view downtrack of having a live feed from a meeting that can be watched, and questions etc asked live from remote locations.

Thinking of September, dodging the Grand Final, Father’s Day, Triton Club…. October is a long way away, and is the Melbourne Wood Show anyway.

Looking at the 27th September, and given how sizable this is likely to get, we are looking at a location able to cope – TBA, but potentially somewhere like the Woodworking Warehouse has been proposed (but not yet approached). Professional Woodworkers Supplies is definitely interested in supporting the concept, and will be helping with catering on the day (among other things!)

I was initially looking at existing owners, but with the change in venue, it is certainly open for owners, and interested parties (call them potential owners ). The focus, at least for the first meeting will be the router positioning system (I term it that way so the focus is off any specific Incra Router fence positioning system). Again, down track it will be great to see other aspects of Incra, such as how the positioner improves use of the saw table.

I have managed to make a reasonable dovetail in the past on it, but haven’t had a chance to take another crack at it, so I’d still be an Incra dovetail virgin, but through the Professional Woodworkers Supplies I’m sure some more knowledgeable demonstrators can be arranged. The bottom line of this group is collaboration – learning from each other how to get the best out of the system.

It’s a shame Auld Bassoon won’t be there – he was always keen on the concept – gone but not forgotten.

More details to come shortly, particularly how to indicate interest in attending the meeting – we will probably have an email address set for it, so this is more a pre-head-up!

The MagJig and the Incra Fence

I had an idea a while ago as soon as I saw the MagJig by MagSwitch – this has the potential to a problem that has perplexed me for ages. How do I get in incredible accuracy of the Incra LS Positioner fence on the Triton?

The problem was always fixing the fence down well enough to use the fence accurately, yet able to be removed easily, and without damaging the Triton top (ie drilling holes etc). Now that I also have a cast-iron cabinet saw, it also provided the perfect solution for using the Incra fence on that as well (and there is NO way I’m drilling holes into that top!!)

So off to the drill press, and a couple of 40mm diameter holes later, and the MagJigs inserted, we have a perfect solution.

MagJig by MagSwitch

The MagJig inserted through the mount that I use for the LS Positioner on the router table

MagJig by MagSwitch

The LS Positioner secured firmly to the tabletop. Now, to qualify the photo, I have removed the vertical panel support from the LS Positioner, but I have not removed the Wonderfence, which you certainly would before using the LS Positioner on the tablesaw.

Secondly, I would definitely use the Deluxe Aligner to ensure the fence was perfectly parallel with the blade (or more precisely with the mitre slot in the table.

The Deluxe Aligner is perfect for the task. (Obviously this is a photo from my file, and is not aligning the fence!!)

Finally, and one of the great things about the Incra LS Positioner is once it is set up and parallel to the blade, it is an absolute cinch to zero the fence to the blade, allowing extremely accurate cuts to be made. You’d definitely want to ensure an absolute minimum of blade runout, because the LS Positioner will give 1/1000th of an inch accuracy to your cuts!

And just to prove a point, here it is on the Triton, turning it into a precision machine!

Incra LS Positioner on Triton with MagSwitch

There will definitely be more posts / video on this in the future – the possibilities are too good not to explore this further. (Again, if this was actually about to be used, the Wonderfence would be removed leaving the straight fence only). Attaching a false (MDF) fence to that would then allow the blade to be partially buried in the fence for shaving cuts, or the use of a dado blade (but not on the Triton obviously!)

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