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Router Table Basics

Rather than having to secure the workpieces somehow and then move the cutter over it, a router table allows you to you secure the tool and then move the workpiece over the cutter. This lets you guide the workpieces with confidence and means you don’t have to fight the weight, torque, and vibration of the tool.

A router table also offers large surfaces, namely the table and fence, which support and guide your workpiece. Plus, the table and fence accept accessories like a miter gauge, guards, featherboards, and others which make routing safer and easier. To use a router table successfully, you need to get familiar with its components and their functions.

Table
The table is, of course, the key component in a router table. It provides a flat, smooth surface for your workpiece to ride on. The large surface simplifies routing large pieces, but it offers better control when working with small stock, too. Tables can be made from many different materials, but one of the most common is MDF. It’s dense, stable, stays flat, and dramatically reduces vibration and noise coming from your router.

Insert Plate
On most router tables, the router mounts to a removable plate that fits into an opening in the table. This setup lets you easily remove the router for changing bits, servicing the router, or even using it handheld.

Miter Gauge Slot
Most tables also have a slot that accepts a miter gauge. That means you can support workpieces when routing across the grain. On some tables, the miter slot is paired with a t-slot for mounting accessories.

Fence
The second most critical component of any router table is it’s fence. Its mission is simple; to hold your workpiece in a constant position relative to the bit as you rout. That makes the router-table fence a lot like a table saw rip fence, only more complex with built-in vacuum shrouds, off-sets for edgejointing, etc.

Featherboard
Featherboards prevent kickbacks and keep your cuts smooth, consistent, and straight. Kreg’s True-FLEX™ Featherboards feature a unique wedge-lock system which allows the featherboard to be attached to a variety of shop tools and quickly removed by simply loosening the handles.

Power Switch
With your router positioned at the center of your router, it becomes a good idea to have your on/off switch more easily accessible for fast shut-offs. The Kreg Router Table Switch features a 2-Plug design which allows it to control two independent devices at once (think shop vac).

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© 2010 August Home Publishing............................................................................ From Kreg and Woodsmith Magazine

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