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Thread: Help using plunge router on small elements?

  1. #1

    Help using plunge router on small elements?

    Hi everyone.

    I recently got a new plunge router with an edge guide, but I'm not sure how to safely mill a groove in small dimensions of plywood.

    I'd like to make a small tray, so I need to put a groove along the bottom of the pre-cut walls for the base.

    routing_groove_in_small_piece.png

    If it was a long peice, I could presumably clamp it parallel to the edge of a table, to run the edge guide along.

    But because it's so small, I have no room for clamps.

    Can anyone help me out?

    Do I need to surround it with some sacrificial wood? Is there a better way to route small pieces without a table router?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Lebanon, TN
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    If you don't have a table saw or don't want a complete through Dado, yes I would surround it with scrap wood and make a set of guides, on the scrap, to guide your router.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Stick it down with double stick tape and surround it with like thickness material to provide proper support for the router base. That said, this kind of grooving process is best done on a router table with a jig to hold the material safely.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Central Missouri, U.S.
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    Another way would be to make your groove on a longer board before cutting it to size, say 12" long or so, leaving you some room to clamp it down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Stone Mountain, GA
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    It's much easier to do that on the router table, and you can just feed the parts through one after the other instead of stopping and rejigging for each.

    You can make a quick table with a bit of plywood or mdf, bolt the router to one side, plunge the bit through. Rig up some legs or just clamp the table to the bench, then screw or clamp on a fence.

  6. #6
    Hi,
    One option is to turn your plunge router upside down to turn it into an ad hoc router table. Turn it upside down, set the bit to your desired depth, attach a fence to the baseplate with hot glue or double stick tape or small c clamps. Secure the router in a workmate or bench vise or something similar, grab a push block, and rout away.

    Alternatively, you could quickly make a large baseplate out of some scrap plywood, to facilitate what I am describing above. Here is a video of a guy demonstrating the same idea although he made a fairly large baseplate with a pivoting fence which he then clamped to the bench. To do what you want, it can be simpler. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnhKtUKCnFo

  7. #7
    Thank you to everyone here!

    I think it might be worth my time to eventually build an adjustable jig to hold small pieces, with a raised edge to guide the router.

    Building a table router is also an exciting project idea! I have a cabinet and just need some way to raise/lower the router (maybe a car jack).

    You've all given me plenty to think about. Thank you.

  8. #8
    That video is great, thank you for sharing!

    My router requires the power trigger to be held to operate, so I need to rig some kind of zip-tie plus another switch on the power cable for safety... but the general idea should work perfectly. Thank you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Doylestown, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Leye View Post
    Thank you to everyone here!

    I think it might be worth my time to eventually build an adjustable jig to hold small pieces, with a raised edge to guide the router.

    Building a table router is also an exciting project idea! I have a cabinet and just need some way to raise/lower the router (maybe a car jack).

    You've all given me plenty to think about. Thank you.
    I was thinking of a bearing guided slot cutter like this:

    https://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shop...ht=slot+cutter

    What brand of plunge router do you have? Some plunge bases have a means to adjust height from above a router table. If you don't have a built-in height adjuster, I have one of these:

    http://www.routertechnologies.com/routerraizer.htm

    It uses a 16 tpi lead screw so move the router 1/16" per turn. You may or may not wish for a finer adjustment.

  10. #10
    Thanks Curt.

    I have a cheap Lidl Parkside router. It's a solid bit of kit, but doesn't have all the extras so it won't fit the Router Raizer.

    However, I can just plunge it to the correct depth and lock it in place. That should be fine for a while. If I find myself needing to adjust a lot, it's probably time to make a proper table router

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by David Leye View Post
    That video is great, thank you for sharing!

    My router requires the power trigger to be held to operate, so I need to rig some kind of zip-tie plus another switch on the power cable for safety... but the general idea should work perfectly. Thank you.
    David,
    What make and model router do you have? I'm really surprised it would not have a locking switch.
    Edwin

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
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    1,115
    If nothing else, invert your router, clamp it securely, and use your edge guide as a fence if it is just a couple of small pieces. You will find a router table invaluable for these kinds of operations.

    Doc
    As Cort would say: Fools are the only folk on the earth who can absolutely count on getting what they deserve.

  13. #13
    Lidl Parkside POF 1200 ... it has a depth lock, but not a constant power switch.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by David Leye View Post
    Lidl Parkside POF 1200 ... it has a depth lock, but not a constant power switch.
    Very interesting, haven't seen that particular router before. The spindle lock and the shape of the baseplate look reminiscent of the old Elu routers. I wonder if you might be able to use a spring clamp to hold down the trigger button. Good luck with the project,
    Edwin

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Doylestown, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Leye View Post
    Lidl Parkside POF 1200 ... it has a depth lock, but not a constant power switch.
    David, I think I found a manual (in German) for your router

    https://www.manualslib.com/manual/11...f-1200-B2.html

    If that is the correct manual, page 3 item 5 looks like a power-on lock.

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