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Shop-Made Router Table: Part II - Adding a Fence
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router table top with fence

Once you have acquired your router table top either by building your own or buying one ready-made, (See Part 1 of this series) You should now concentrate on your fence. It is critical that your fence is flat across the face and square to the table, and stays that way over time.

Over the years I have made dozens of router tables and fences for myself, friends and shops I have worked in. A very stable and usable fence can be made from good quality plywood or MDF if properly designed.

To keep the face flat, it is butted to the base edge, but I cut a shallow rabbet in the face to seat it properly on the base which also keeps the base flat.

shop-built router table top joint in router table fence close up

Braces are added to the fence assembly to keep it square. A plywood plate seals the throat opening and a hole can be cut into it to accept whatever DC hose you will be using, or the brackets can be set farther apart allowing for a ready-made dust port to be used.

zero clearance fence for router table

While the face you just built can be the working surface, It is safer and more versatile to add auxiliary faces to the fence assembly. This “split face” design gives several advantages:

  • The opening can be sized for the bit used.
  • The regular faces can be replaced with tall faces if needed.
  • The outfeed face can be shimmed out for jointing.
  • The faces can be easily replaced as they get worn or damaged.
  • Profile bits can be ‘buried’ into the infeed face making it zero-clearance.

(much more on these advantages in future posts)

The easiest way to attach these is to mill a t-slot into the back of the face that slides over bolts mounted in the fence body.

rockler aluminum router fence

You can now buy metal bodied fences and just add your own sacrificial faces to them. You can buy the faces and even tall faces too!

posted on May 25, 2012 by Ralph Bagnall
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