Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Router Table: Part 6 (Really)

I had bronchitis. I know I have written about it already, but it needs to be repeated: I had bronchitis so bad I nearly passed out in the shower! And that was AFTER I had gone to the doctor and was already taking antibiotics. My wife was also sick at that time, and she had taken some medicine which made her a little loopy. My son was home, however, and he and his friend, Dylan, from Kansas, drove me to the doctor's office.

The second round of antibiotics was much stronger than the first, and it made an immediate difference. I felt much better by the next morning. But I started coughing a lot. A whole lot. So much so, and so violently, that I tore some muscle tissue in my rib cage. And then I dislocated a rib. It still hurts.

The upshot of all of this is that my router table project was seriously delayed. In fact, just this afternoon I finally got it to the point where I could stand it up. It is now mostly leveled, and I only have to trim it out, add a fence with dust collection built in, and some shelves on the front side, and I have to secure the table to my table saw so it doesn't try to walk away during use.

I have already been asked why I didn't replace the right extension wing of my table saw with the router table. I felt I was better off having as much stability as possible for large projects. Anyway, if I had replaced the wing I would have built all the way to the ends of the rails, so what's the difference, other than having the router mounted a bit further to the left?

You can't see it, but that's a Porter Cable 890 Series router mounted under a Rockler router plate.

Dust collection is built into the table with PVC parts. There's a "Y" attached to allow collection from the fence using the same shop vac.

Tomorrow I have to finish painting a cardinal to be placed on my grandmother's grave in a couple of weeks. While the paint is drying I'll continue working on this router table.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Router Table Interlude

Over the weekend I came down with something, maybe the flu. Whatever it is it knocked me on my ass for the better part of two days.

I was able to work for a while today, but I started getting tired after about 90 minutes. I have attached the legs to the underside of my table. I'll get more done tomorrow. The glue has to dry anyway.

I had another project going last week. I have written a piece of music for the Alvarado High School Percussion Ensemble to perform, and one of the instruments it calls for is a couple of pieces of PVC. In the end I opted for a couple of pieces of plastic electrical conduit, 90º elbows in fact. And I built a stand to hold them so they can be played. I'll cover that in more detail tonight or tomorrow.

Right now I'm going to sit down and take it easy until my son gets home. And in the meantime you can go to Facebook and start following my page there. That would be greatness!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Router Table: Part 6... sort of...

All right! I had a concern before I started this project, but everything was working out so well I set that concern aside. I probably should have listened to my instincts.

Melamine is a wonderful material. It has very low friction, so objects can move around any way I want them to. Great. Glue won't stick to it very well, either, so anything that gets splattered on it will clean up with little fuss.

But, even though I reinforced the top with a glue line between two layers of hardboard, the material began to flex a little. I added a row of screws along the edge, something I had determined was a bad idea some time ago, and the top was still developing some very slight high spots. Tightening the screws meant flaring out the edges of the counter-sunk holes they were living in, but I tightened two particular screws and one of them started plowing through the bottom of the hardboard.

At that point I threw up my hands. And then I threw out the melamine.

I am building a new top over the same substrate. This top will be thicker, so I'll have to raise the level of the router plate, but that's not really an issue. I'm building it out of MDF, the same material that makes up most of the table already. It's very hard and very flat. And there's no real reason to attach it to the substrate. It will just sit there and there will be no forces applied to cause it to warp out of shape. Right now it is dead solid flat, sitting where it will live from now on.

This weekend I will rout out the hole in the middle, using the old top as my template. The jig I built would do the job just fine, but it will be simpler to align the new top with the old because they are exactly the same size.

I promise to have photos ready very soon!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Router Table: Part 5

Part five already? Wow.

Well, here's the table with most of the screws in place. I left one unscrewed for some reason. After this there were a few more screws added for stability. I don't want the top to move up and down for any reason.

Here is the top after I chamfered the edges. For those of you who are not woodworkers, "chamfer means to put a 45º bevel on the edge. I do this with a router bit, but it could also be done on a table saw or with a hand plane. I chamfered three edges of the table, leaving the edge that will butt up against the table saw square.

Here's the collection of various pieces of cardboard that serve to raise the top level with the red oak edging, exactly where it should be.

Here you can see the chamfered edge better. Also, there is a coat of tung oil applied to the red oak.

And here is the top. Finished with two coats of tung oil and two coats of satin polyurethane. I sanded in between the second coat of tung oil and the first coat of poly with 220 grit sandpaper. Before applying the last coat of poly I sanded with 320 grit.

This isn't fine furniture, but it deserves to be protected. It will take some wear and tear in my shop.

Next Time: I will begin building the cabinet which will house the router to control both noise and dust collection. And I'll have a little storage in it, too.

A Short Look at My Other Business: Tie Dyed T-Shirts

I've been know as many things in my day. I think, overall, drummer/rock musician has been the one thing I've been known for the longest. These days most people know me as a woodworker.

But I also tie dye T-Shirts, and I'm taking a little time to write about that here.

My business is called 2112 Tie Dyes, and you can find my work for sale at Etsy. The name may be a bit mysterious to some of you, and others will know exactly what it means. But I'll clear up any questions you may have right here: My favorite band is Rush. Rush's fourth album is called 2112. And all of my shirts are named after Rush songs. That's it in a nutshell.

So, here are a few of my shirts...

This is called Far Cry. It is an adult, long sleeved, extra large T-Shirt. It's a 100% cotton heavy weight shirt. This is perfect for spring and fall in the northern states, or winter in the south. Maybe not the winter we just had, but still...

Subdivisions is a 100% cotton child's T-Shirt. it's a small, with very short sleeves. Some little girl is going to be the hit of her school in this.

Here is Madrigal II... because I sold Madrigal in 2009. My son is modeling this shirt. He is 5'9" tall and weighs less than 150 lbs., and this is a lose fit without being baggy. This is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, and the size is adult large.


Here is War Paint, another long sleeved shirt. This one is stretchy. The label says it's an extra large, but it fits like a large. It's pretty warm, too, and it would look great under a denim or leather jacket.

And finally we have Working Them Angels. This is an adult medium, 100% heavy weight cotton shirt. It sells for $26.00.

There are many other shirts from which to choose in my shop. Please stop in and see which ones you want to wear or give to a loved one.


I am participating in the I Made It Blog Party at Everything Etsy. Go check it out!

I Made It Blog Party

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Router Table: Part 4

Alrighty! Here's the melamine top still attached to the jig, but the opening has been routed out. Perfectly, I might add. It was absolutely dead solid perfect, exactly on the lines where I laid out the job a few days earlier.

There is one mistake on this piece, but it was caused by my crappy jigsaw. near one corner of the opening in the top you can see a small nick in the white surface. The saw just had a mind of it's own, turned right and got about 1/32" outside the line. And yes, I yelled.

This is just the top removed from the jig. The mistake is just visible on the upper left of the opening.

The next task was to lay out the rest of the attachment points on the top and the substrate. The good news is that I already had the two points you can see here transferred to the substrate, so all I had to do was screw the top down, lay out the pattern, countersink the points, and sink the screws.

I prefer to use coated decking screws for almost all the work I do that requires screws. Those zinc coated screws you can buy at the big box stores are soft and very prone to cam-outs and/or breakage. I stopped using them a while ago and have had far fewer temper tantrums in my shop since.

Here's the top attached to the substrate. The sides have been squared up and the whole thing is now at it's finished dimensions.

The pattern for attaching the screws is designed to hold the top flat and to ensure that it can only be attached one way. And this isn't all the attachment points. There will be a photo of all of them in the next installment.

The top of the table and the router plate weren't exactly the same. The plate stood just a hair proud of the surface of the top. I had some packaging in the house, some of those boxes they over-package DVDs in, the ones that look exactly like the plastic DVD case. I was going to throw them away until I noticed they were just about the right thickness for this job. I cut them into pieces, distributed them evenly around the underside of the melamine top and screwed everything into place. Perfect fit. Seriously. On the first attempt, too.

Here's the whole thing turned upside down. Three of the four red oak edging pieces have been applied, and you can see the fourth one. I was going to attach these with glue and screws, but I decided not to use the glue in case I want to take it apart sometime in the future for some as yet unknown reason. You never know.

Next Time: The edging is chamfered, a finish is applied, and work begins on the underside of the router table.