Just this week, Rockler introduced still another option in an ever-growing collection of router safety and performance accessories. Designed to provide the perfect complement to the recently released (and already very popular) Deluxe Router Fence, the new 4-Piece Router Accessory Kit comes with every router table add-on necessary to make even the most fastidious projects smooth, clean and safe.
The included dust collection port is something that most Deluxe Fence owners will probably want to buy separately, regardless what they decide about the kit. It’s designed specifically to accommodate the Deluxe Fence’s taller, more substantial aluminum primary fence, and makes catching the dust from this almost uniquely debris-intensive piece of equipment quick and tool-free. The Deluxe Dust Port also has one decided advantage over other router table ports. It has a low profile rectangular base, which means that you can use it along with the Incra Universal Positioning Jig, or any of a variety of other popular fence positioning systems. In fact, it would be worth considering no matter what Rockler fence you own. It bolts to any Rockler fence in a couple of seconds, and includes a damper mechanism that makes it easily adaptable to the Standard Fence’s shorter bit opening.
The featherboard set, however, is clearly the centerpiece of the kit. By all estimates, the common featherboard is a necessity when it comes to any router table operation that demands a high level of accuracy. A featherboard’s spring-like fingers hold the stock in firm contact with the fence and/or the surface of the table, greatly reducing chatter and wavy, uneven cuts. This effect has the added benefit of leaving the operator free to concentrate on moving the stock at a smooth, even feed rate, which can be crucial with tear-out or burn prone wood species. A featherboard also considerably improves the safety of many router table operations. The angle of the featherboard fingers makes sliding stock in one direction fairly easy, but extremely difficult in the other. And while a featherboard does not represent a guarantee against kickback, it does greatly reduce the likelihood of sudden, unpleasant surprises.
Most experienced router table users consider downward pressure featherboards – like the two fence featherboards included in the kit – standard equipment for a good many router table cuts. Joinery cuts, like the edge profile cut on door frame stock, demand both extremely accurate and extremely consistent cut heights if the joint is to fit together correctly. A featherboard helps ensure that the stock stays flat on the surface of the table throughout the operation, and can have a surprising effect on the results of all kinds of exacting router table work.
Why does the kit include two fence featherboards? Using two featherboards – one on the in-feed and one on the out-feed side of the fence – isn’t pointless overkill. Ideally, downward pressure would be most useful directly above the bit, but in many situations, the height of the bit makes this impossible. Stationing two featherboards in close proximity on either side of the bit is the next best thing. Doing so helps keep the very end of the cut as smooth as the rest by continuing the downward pressure after the stock clears the forward featherboard. With thin stock, the second featherboard prevents the stock from flexing upward after it clears the jig, and it helps minimize the vibration and chattering that can plague cuts in narrow and thin stock.
Keeping the stock up tight against the fence is equally important; the kit takes that into account as well. The Double Featherboard included with the kit perfectly matches the purpose of the Deluxe Fence. With its higher, more rigid vertical support, the deluxe fence is designed to handle cuts that require tipping the stock up on edge, such as cutting the profile in a door panel with a vertical raised panel bit. The stacked featherboard design applies pressure both at the base of the stock and a little ways above the bit, making it much easier to control the feed of panels, wide moldings, and anything else that needs to be run through on its edge.
In short, the Deluxe 4-Piece Router Accessory Kit will give owners of the Deluxe Router Table Fence all of the most useful auxiliary router table equipment in one money-saving package. And better, every component is designed specifically for the purpose, and for easy, no-tools-needed incorporation into the system. For everyone else: we encourage you to learn more about the Rockler Deluxe Router Fence, and what makes it one of the most popular additions to our selection of router table equipment in years.