Installing A Router Plate
Article Written By:
Jordan Crawford, Owner
In order to make the most your home made router table, you might want to consider installing a commercially available router plate. They not only offer better mounting options for most common routers on the market, but they will also aid in getting better accuracy and nicer cuts. The following is an article on how I went about upgrading my router table by installing a router plate.
After removing the old router the first step in installing the new router plate was simply marking out the location. Once it was in the correct position I used some scrap particle board and double stick tape to create a very simple router template which would allow me to cut the correct sized recess for the plate to sit in.
Usually a template would be made by butting the template stock right up against the edge of the work piece (in this example the work piece is the router plate) but this method relies on a bottom bearing pattern bit. As I don’t own a short enough pattern bit I was left using a straight bit combined with a rub sleeve/ rub collar in the routers base which made things a little more tricky.
When using a routers rub collar for template routing its important that your template is correctly over sized to compensate for the difference in diameter between your router bit and the rub collar, if you don't allow for this your freshly routed pattern (in this case the recess) will come out under sized.
In this photo you can see small MDF strips being used as spacers between the black router plate and the white template stock. These strips worked out to be the exact thickness I needed to compensate for the difference in size between router bit and collar(4mm).
Once the template was set up and secured with tape I could move onto actually cutting the recess. Instead of setting the depth of cut to the exact thickness of the router plate I actually set it about 0.5mm deeper. The reason for doing this is to allow the router plate to be leveled with the table using some form of levelers. In my case the plate had grub screws built in for this purpose but on other models I had seen some just recommend using wood screws drilled into the table to adjust the height.
With the recess cut I moved on to cutting away the rest of the waste with a jig saw. Depending on personal preference you could cut an opening that is just big enough for the routers base to fit through (this method would provide more support for the plate) or you could do what I did and remove enough waste so it allows the entire router to fit through the opening from the top. Just make sure you allow a big enough shoulder for supporting the new router plate.
From there I could now test how the router plate actually fit in the recess and as everything was correctly setup in the beginning steps the plate just dropped in and sat a hair below the surface of the table.
This particular plate came with some rare earth magnets that are meant to help hold the plate in position. The magnets simply get mounted on each corner of the recess directly under the locations of the grub screws. To ensure I drilled the holes in the correct position I placed the plate into the recess with the grub screws protruding from the surface a little and after giving each corner quick tap with a mallet I was left with four small marks indicating the correct locations for the holes that countersunk the magnets to be drilled.
With this done I drilled four holes with an 8mm brad-point bit just deep enough for the magnets to be flush with the surface. Once that was done they were glued in place with 5 minute epoxy.
Finally I was able to mount the router to the plate and mount the plate to the table.
I’m pretty excited with this upgrade to my router table as it will really improve the table's functionality. I will be getting better accuracy and cleaner cuts and on top of this I also have above table height adjustment and with the use of a chuck extension I also have above table bit changes.