Home > Woodworking > Router Table Top Glue-up

Router Table Top Glue-up

I was hoping that the top glue-up on my router table was going to be “easy” but prior to the work, I had come up with some concerns. The router lift plate fits very snugly and needs to bolt through to the MDF underneath meaning that I absolutely must glue it in exactly the right place. I suppose that I could have left the router lift/plate bolted in place during the entire glue-up but somehow I just couldn’t convince myself that getting glue all over the machine AND potentially having to break it free from the table was the right way to go about it.  So I came up with a plan ……

The Glue-up Plan

Like all “great woodworkers” I had come up with a plan for what I was going to do. I would bolt the plate in place, spread the glue, fit the panels together, clamp it (so it doesn’t move), then place a scrap panel and a bunch of weights on top. Easy peasy…. But wait, in order to keep glue off my plate, I’ll use some painter’s (blue) tape along the plate edges. Wooooh there good buddy, “do you think the tape will be too thick?”

So I proceed with the glue-up and OMG the panel seats but now I can’t get the plate/lift out!  I panic, pull everything apart, ripping tape like crazy, now the top isn’t glued but the router lift is stuck to top and the glue is setting up all the while. Sigh….

OK, finally I’ve freed the router lift, reseated it without tape, set the top in place, used a couple of spring clamps to make sure I hold it, then lift out the router plate/lift. Like an obsessive compulsive, I now worry that I might have moved the top. I reseat the lift, pull it out again and once again worry that I might have moved the top. Repeat for about 4 iterations. I’m sure it’s fine, but I will find out tonight. I must be a nut job….

What did I learn?

1) During my last glue-up I tried using an old playing card to spread glue and I learned that it didn’t work very well. The card wasn’t stiff enough and once wet became the consistency of cooked pasta. This time I used a trim paint roller and it worked great! I rinsed it out after so I’ll see if it can be reused. See I can learn from others!

2) Where possible leave things proud then trim after it has been fitted. If I could have glued up the top, then routed the hole afterwards it could have saved some grief. But that was never my plan. I used a jig saw to cut the plate hole and I learned to cut inside the line, leaving material that I removed with chisel, block plane and drum sander on my Dremel. It worked and although not perfect, it came out entirely servicable. Not too bad for a first try.

3) I used two threaded brass inserts for two bolts used to secure the router plate to the top. I knew that I would have to drill staight holes for these but I never realized that the blade on my largest slotted screwdriver was smaller than the inserts. Holy cow, and even with a reasonably straight hole drilled they still don’t screw in straight. That’s OK, a few strategic taps with my tack hammer helped to keep it on track. It would appear I got it “good enough” but really, why is everything challenging?

Tonight’s plan is to route the edges flush and use my pin nailer and glue to put some trim around the edges. Tuesdays and Thursdays I get about 2 hours of shop time and because I’m doing everything for the first time, progess is glacial. Susan tells me that’s OK, it isn’t a race and I’m just doing this for fun.

Working and learning and having fun …..

Sincerely yours,

The Turtlecovebrewer

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