Best material for a router table fence?
I need to make a fence for my router table. I’ve several magazine articles with plans. Some use 3/4″ ply, some use MDF, and some use Maple?
Your experiences and suggestions would be appreciated. If there are any plywood fans, what’s the best type and where can I get flat material?
I'm using 3/4" mdf. The wood slides nice against it, very flat too.
“The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds..” – Hume
Did you stain or varnish the MDF?
i use shrt pieces of 2" aluminum angle stock. then attach 1/2" hardwood to it
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Plain MDF has pretty smooth surface as is (as long as it's not a cut surface)
The UHMW from another poster is also a good choice.“The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds..” – Hume
I use 3/4 MDF, it lays flat and stays smooth. It has an aluminum backing so strenght isn't an issue, it it was going to be the main structure of the fence I would be worried it would flex
I've thought about melamine because it's smoother and probably would glide easier, just never had any around when the fence needed replaced
I've used all those choices with satisfaction but what I wanted to add was the suggestion of a UHMH sheet to whatever your choice is.
Then I found this;
This stuff makes other choices seem, like well, a drag.
Fifteen years ago I made my fence out of two pieces of 1x4 scrap oak glued and clamped. To this day, it is a straight as an arrow and has been used countless times. Can't compain about that.
The "best" would depend quite a lot on how it's used, how often it's used, how it's stored, and a number of other things.
I'm often milling wood outside and need a decent size router table that is easily transported and durable so my needs are much different from others. Professional carpentry is speed based, even the highest quality work, so the fence also has to be quick to set up and adjust.
For years I simply grabbed a 3' board and clamped it to my router table (3'x2' AC birch plywood). With two quickgrip clamps a straight 2x4 can be adjusted quite easily and micro adjusted with a hammer tap. Unfortunately, it doesn't have dust collection and takes more time than it should to cut away bit clearance. Many very good finish carps still use a simple board as a router fence on the jobsite.
While culling scraps from a scratch build oak staircase a proper fence was made from some very nicely grained and stable oak. Much of what you'll find, hardwood or not, is simply not going to be stable over the long haul because the grain is not right or there are internal tensions from improper drying or whatnot. Vertical grain wood is quite stable, and those that stay true while being cut are the best of all.
After using the oak fence for a year I needed to reduce setup times and gain dust collection so switched to the Bench Dog Pro fence. As you can see it's a rather simple design, essentially an aluminum angle with misc. knobs and slotted tracks to attach and adjust it.
Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.
sq or rectangle tube AL and a hardwood face sanded baby smooth and waxed...
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I use MDF because I make a lot of sacraficial fences and the stuff is cheap.
I second the PatWarner.com web site, a lot of good info there.
My router fence pretty much is a copy of the Pat Warner design shown in the previous post...but I made mine from 3/4 inch thick scraps of cabinet grade oak plywood. I glue 2 pieces togetherand I also glued a piece of formica to it. The formica keeps the plywood form bowing, and is great to slide against.
I just use white 3/4" melamine shelf stock and rip it to width. The white surface makes it easy to make indexing marks when running a lot of mortises.
I use a 3/4"melamine base and a 8/4 X 3" rift sawn staight edge.
Chuck S.live, work, build, ...better with wood