Building the Fence

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A router table isn't complete without a fence. This fence has thite features worth talking about:

• integral, adjustable clamps

4. Assemble the ballast box. It's prudent to assemble the box without glue to check how the parts fit together, allowing you to make adjustments if necessary. When it goes together easily without glue, get out the glue, adjust die clamps, and set your cauls close at hand.

Apply glue to the tails, and assemble the box. Fit the bottom into its groove during assembly, but don't glue it there.Clamp the assembly until the glue sets, and use a wet rag to wipe up any glue squeeze-out before it sets.

5. Screw the box to the stand. The box. as previously pointed out, fits in the bottom of the stand, hanging from the lower rails. It butts against the bottom of the cleats attached to the lowest side rails.

Fit the box first. It may need to be sanded or planed to fit between the legs. When you get it to fit. clamp it in place and drive screws dirough it into both the front and back rails.

After getting it mounted, back out the screws, and remove the box for painting.You can reinstall it after both the box and the stand have been finished.

The dust pickup is made for a shop-vacuum hose, and it sets the hose as close to the tabletop surface as possible. What I've found is that dust and chips lend to pile up at any lip or ledge between the tabletop and the hose opening. So I eliminated that lip by setting the hose opening low and angling it toward the tabletop surface.

You can use this pickup with a hose direct from your shop vac, or you can incorporate it into the table-wide dust collector by running a short length of hose from the fence pickup to the router compartment.

The broad base and the integral clamps work together to provide solid clamping, regardless of the fence orientation. First of all, let me point out the clearance around the large plastic wing nuts that tighten the clamp blocks against the underside of the tabletop. All too often on commercial fences, these knobs are crowded against the fence facing: Tighten the knob, and you scrape your knuckles on the facing. Not with this fence.

The fence can be quickly removed from the table completely. Just loosen the clamp knobs and slide the fence




Studded knobs for optional facing



Studded knobs for optional facing


Alignment screw

Clamp-bolt hole

Clamp-bolt hole

Alignment screw



_ in holes for ( J mounting optional facings





FENCE Cutting List


Qty. Dimensions




r X A" X 43"




r X AW X 43"


Pickup sides


Va" X 2ft" X 2ft"


Pickup back


Va" X 3" X 3 Va"


Pickup top


Vs" X 2%" X 4¥to"

Clear acrylic

Clamp blocks


2'/4m X 2ft" X 4"


Split facing plies (optional)



Baltic Birch plywood

Split facing laminate (optional)


•/.6" X s ft" X 22"

Plastic laminate

Split facing backing (optional)


IV X Sft" X 22"


Split facing slides (optional)


X ft" X 1 5"

Phenolic plastic

o ct


4 brass roundhead screws, #6 X I" 2 panhead screws. #8 X I" 2 carriage bolts. Vs" X Aft" 2 flat washers, J/s" I.D.

2 plastic wing knobs; #85J94 from Woodcraft Supply (800-225-11 53)

4 plastic knobs, 1 ¥a" dia. with 1 Va" studs; #DK-20 from Reid Tool Supply Co. (800-253-0421)

off the ublc.There won't be any loose parts to deal with, either The clamps and knobs stay conncctcd to die fence, whether the fence is on the table or off.

1. Cut the parts. Look over the pans and their dimensions. as specified by the Cutting List. My inner designer kept whispering to meVlJse oak so it matches the stand and cabinet facings." So I used oak for the wooden parts of the fence. You can use another wood, or you can face-glue two layers of '/.'-inch plywood to form the base and facing.

Select dry, straight-grained, defect-free stock for the bc&c and facing. You want them to stay flat and tnie over the long haul. Joint, plane, rip, and crosscut the stock to the dimensions specified by the Cutting List. Each clamp block is formed by face-gluing three layers of Vinch hardwood stock.

Radius the back corners of the base and the lop corners of the lacing, as shown in the drawing Fence Flans. This can be done on the band saw. Or you can use a plunge router with either a trammel or corncr-rounding templates to radius these corners.

2. Cut the clamp blocks to shape. The contour and dimensions of the clamp blocks are shown in the CUinip Block Pattern of the drawing Fence Plans.

The clamps arc easiest to form with a band saw and stationary sander. You can enlarge the pattern, transfer it to the glued-up clamp blocks, then saw out the blocks. The sander will make quick work of smoothing and rounding the edges. (To make the blocks duplicates, all you have to do is

Sticking a paper layout to the clamp block is surely the easiest way to transfer the pattern to the work-piece. Enlarge the pattern on paper, and make a copy for each block you plan to cut. Use spray adhesive on the blank and the paper. When the adhesive has dried, lay the paper on the block and burnish it down.

stick them together with carpet tape and sand both at the same time.)

As an alternative, you can saw out the clamp blocks with a table-mounted saber saw. Or you can rough them out on the table saw; the details of doing this are related in the direcdons for making the Split Fence on page 237.

Finish shaping the clamp blocks by sanding or filing a narrow flat at the jaw's tip. Then round-over the exposed edges on your new router table. Be sure to use the starling pin.

3. Drill the holes in the blocks. The clamp blocks are hung on the base with -Scinch carriage bolts.To keep it from twisting out of position, each block has an alignment screw protniding from the top. This panhead screw projects into a hole drilled for it in the base.

Drill the Vinch holes for the clamp blocks, as indicated in the Clamp Block Pattern of the Fence Plans drawing. Then drill a pilot hole for the alignment screw, and drive a *8 X I-inch screw into it. Leave the screw protruding about % inch.

4. Drill the holes in the fence base. Following the drawing Fence Plans, lay out both the bolt holes and the alignment-screw holes on the fence base. I tend to worry about such stuff, so I set the fence base on the router table top to confirm that the hole locations were right. I wanted to allow a little side-to-side adjustment of the fence yet guarantee that the clamp block jaws would be in contact with the tabletop, regardless of the sidc-to-side positioning.

Drill the bolt holes using a 3it»-inch bit. Then drill the alignment-pin holes with a bit somewhat larpcr than the screw head's diameter.You want the screws to keep the blocks from pivoting out of position, but you don't want them to jam in the holes.

5. Cut the bit notches in the base and facing.

'Hie notches, which are dimensioned for you in the drawing, house the bit. Lay out the notches. Notice that facing's notch has a %-inch-radius arc, which is fomied by boring a 1 '/¿-inch-diameter hole. On the band saw or with a saber saw. saw in from the facing edge to the hole. In similar fashion, the notch in the base is formed by boring '/¿-inch-diameter holes at the corners, then sawing in from the edges to the holes and from hole to hole.

6. Assemble the fence. Use glue only. Be very precise, and be sure the face is square to the base. Particularly check the outside faces with a square. (Set the clamp blocks aside for now.)

After the glue has set and the clamps are off the fence, scrape off any glue squeeze-out and joint the bottom surface to ensure that it is perfectly square to the facing.

7. Cut and attach the dust pickup sides. The pickup sides are small, and their edges should be beveled to fit properly against the fence and the back. Exercise


o et

Cut the vacuum hose port with a hole saw in a portable drill. Turn the fence upside down and clamp it, as shown, at a corner of the workbench. The trick is getting the hole started in just the right spot without having the hole saw skip off the mark. I found that you can begin at an angle low enough for the pilot bit to bite into wood, then, before you get in too deep, change the angle of the hole by raising the drill as you saw.

To clamp the pickup sides to the fence, you need a couple of clamps and a pair of wedge-shaped cauls. Apply a clamp to the side's top edge and the base bottom, as shown. Then set a caul against the back edge of the side and apply an additional damp, squeezing the side against the fence facing.

224 Router Magic appropriate caution in cutting these parts on the table saw. If you have a chop saw or a sliding compound miter saw. use it to cut these parts.

Ik-gin by ripping a foot-long piece of %-inch stock to the width specified by the Cutting List for the sides.

Use a sliding T-bcvel to capture the angle of the notch in the base to the surface of the facing. Tilt the table-saw blade to this angle, and crosscut the board in two. Make one beveled crosscut on each piece. This beveled end butts against the facing.

To cut the back ends of the sides, you have to make a compound miter. Save the tabic saw's bevel angle, and swing the miter gauge to 22'/i degrees. You need a scrap facing attached to the miter gauge to support the work-pieces as you make this cut, as I'm sure you'll sec. Before you make the cuts, mark the sides so you don't mix them up and get the angles going the wrong way. (The bevels on the ends of cach piece must be parallel).

Glue the sides in place.

8. Cut and attach the dust pickup back. The back is beveled top and bottom so it can lean against the ends of the sides yet still make full. Hat contact with the base and present a flat surface for the pickup top.The bevel angle is the same as the miter angle on the ends of the sides.

Use the sliding T-bcvel to capture the angle and set up the tilt of the table saw blade. Rip the back stock to width, beveling both edges as you do so. Miter the ends as shown in the drawing Fence Plans.

Glue the back in place. Apply a clamp to grip the back to the base. The clamps applied to hold the back to the sides need the wcdgc-shapcd cauls under their jaws.

9- Make the hose port. After the clamps arc off. use a hole saw in a hand-held electric drill to make the port for the shop-vacuum hose. I bought a hole saw some time ago specifically to make ports for the shop-vac hose, and this is not the first time I've used it. It matches the connector's diameter, so I get a good fit. It didn't cost much, and I think it was a worthwhile investment.

The idea is to start the hole from inside the dust pickup, then complete it by sawing from the outside. The thickncss to be penetrated is too great for a hole saw to cut through solely from one side or the other.

I started the hole from inside the pickup because this gave me better control over the angle and position of the hole. 1 just cycballcd the angle and endeavored to minimize the lip between the bottom surface of the fence and the hose port. If possible, extend the hole saw's pilot bit so it can do its job. which is to help you start and align the hole.

Cut until the hole saw bottoms. If the pilot has emerged through the pickup's back, you can move around and saw from the outside. If it hasn't, chisel out some of the waste and continue sawing from the inside until the pilot bit does emerge. Then you can shift your operation to the outside and complete the hole.

10. Apply a finish. I applied the same polyurethane used on the rest of the router table.

11. Cut and attach the dust pickup top. The top

Is a piece of clear acry lic. I used ^-inch-thick stuff, since I had scraps of it left from making the mounting plate and other jig-and-fixture projects. You can use thinner material if that's what you have. Cut the top to shape. Scrape and chamfcr the edges, and buff 'em for some sparkle. Then drill pilot holes and attach the top with four roundhead screws (I used brass screws to match the other hardware).

12. Install the clamp blocks. Slip a ¿6-inch carriage bolt through each clamp block. Fit the bolt through the base, drop on a flat washer, and turn the plastic wing knob onto die bolt. Tighten the knob firmly to scat the bolt's subhead into the block.

Loosen the knobs, and slide the new fence across the tablctop.'lighten the clamps to lock it in position.

13. (Optional) Make and install movable facings. The basic fence is great. But it's a benefit for certain operations to be able to move the fence facings, pulling them in close to the bit. This is a prime value of the Split Fence (sec page 237), one you can have without building an entirely new fence. A lot of tips on constructing the lacings an be gleaned from that chapter.

In brief, here's how to make these optional facings:

Cut and glue-laminate two pieces of Baltic Birch plywood (or the American-made variety. Apple Ply) to form each movable facing. (Yes, you need two facings.) Rip and crosscut the lacings to trim and square their edges. To produce a tough, slick "working" surface, apply plastic hminatc.

The optional movable facings for the fence are mounted on T-slides made from phenolic plastic. Turning two plastic knobs tightens the slide against the fence, securing the facing. Loosening the knobs frees the facing to be moved or removed. Note that the facings have plastic laminate on the fronts, and backer on the back.

Rout aT-slot in the back of each facing. Use a straight bit to groove each piece, then switch to a keyhole bit orT-slot bit to convert the groove into the T-slot.

To mount the facings, drill four '4-inch holes through the fence's face. Locate the holes as shown in the drawing Fence Flan.

Now cut two 15-inch-long strips of 56-inch phenolic, cutting them the same width as the T-slots in die facings. Rabbet two edges of the phenolic to form T-slidcs. Test the fit of these slides in the slots in the facings, and sand them as necessary for a smooth-sliding fit. Now drill and tap holes in the slides for the studded plxstic knobs. Insert the knobs in the holes in the fence, and screw them into the slides about three turns. Slip the lacing onto the phenolic slide, adjust its position vis-a-vis the bit opening, and tighten the knobs to lock the facing.

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