Sometimes, I intend to write a post but, for one reason or another, it takes me a while to actually get around to writing it up and publishing it on this site. This ‘station’ was completed several weeks ago and, in that time, I’ve made numerous attempts to sell it, with a couple of potential buyers very interested at the moment. I made it with the intention that I’d be able to use it and further my woodworking but, that’s not practical in my current workshop, when I have much more of a need to use the other machines in close proximity.
Continuing on from where we last left off, here follows the conclusion to the build…
It looks as though I’d just finished installing the MDF dust hoppers, at the end of my previous post on this project. The router table was already in position but, I still needed to extend the fence rail so that I could use the rip fence across the width of the router table as well; offering width of cut capacities beyond 24in/600mm.
For this, I purchased a 1m length of aluminium channel from an eBay seller based in Dorset. It arrived quickly and in perfect condition. Price was reasonable, even with the delivery costs. If I knew of a local supplier though, I would’ve naturally used them in the first place.
One problem you can see in the above photo is that the profile of the new track (right) doesn’t match up perfectly with what’s already on the table saw (saw). I needed to remove a few millimetres from one of the ‘side’ and, after a little advice from one of the UK forums, I opted to do this on the router table, with an old straight cutter and the router set on its slowest speed; removing only a fraction of a millimetre with each pass.
It wasn’t necessary to complete the full depth of cut. As I got close, the remaining ‘sliver’ of aluminium was so thin and fail that it could easily be peeled away from the rest of the profile, as you can see above.
I then drilled the new track and countersunk the holes, ready for screwing in place. Before I could do that though, I needed to ‘level’ it to the height and depth of the existing track. To do this, I sunk several screws in to the base, supporting the length of the aluminium.
A quick test of the fence in its new track revealed that its locking mechanism was being obstructed, which meant I had to rebate and rout-away some of the supporting timber beneath.
I got everything lined up correctly and found that the fence locked securely to the new track, even though it’s only 3mm thick:
You can see it above but, the front ‘edge’ of the original track remains slightly thicker than the extension piece I’ve fitted. This causes two minor problems:
1. I cannot securely lock the fence down over the join.
2. It will lock tightly on to the new track but, because of its lesser thickness, I need to wind the Bristol lever and screw in that much further.
I’ve never been certain of how best to address this and, if you have any suggestions of your own then, I’d love to hear them. If I could find a thin piece of ali and a successful way to bond it in place, that would probably be the best answer. My other thought (as a woodworker) was to bandsaw a thin strip of timber and, somehow, attach it to the aluminium… I’m not sure how resistant wood would be to regular clamping pressure or, how I’d go about attaching it… Epoxy resin?
You’ve already seen me add the ‘shop-made fence clamp attachments that’ll save me the minor expense of buying a new pair of G-cramps. In the long time since I left this project in the mire, I’ve been able to test the dust hoppers a bit – or, at least, to see how well they work…
I still have some issues to address with my dust extraction setup and, I hope to bring those to your attention soon in a short video. But, even if I was able to draw a high-rate of airflow from the lower extraction ports I fitted, I fear as though it would make little difference to what you see above (this photo was taken after cutting finger joints).
MDF has too much friction and the angle itself isn’t steep enough; that’s my gut reaction. I’ll try to incorporate something better in to my next router table, which should be underway in the coming weeks.
It is finished and, to be honest, I feel quite relieved to have a couple of buyers interested in this, even if they’re only prepared to go slightly lower than my £300 asking price. Don’t get me wrong; I quite enjoyed making this and having to overcome several obstacles. I just feel almost as if it was all in vain, as I was never going to find the space to use it in my current workshop.
Still, I hope it provides many years of happy service to another discerning woodworker. If I can shoot a brief video of this before I hand it over then, I will do that, even though I don’t have any scrap materials spare with which to demonstrate the width cutting capacity.
Hopefully, I’ll soon be able to start using my workshop to make things for something other than the workshop!! 😉
Thanks for reading.