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Thread: Another router table miter slot (actually a straight-cutting bit) question

  1. #1

    Another router table miter slot (actually a straight-cutting bit) question

    Although I know the topic of whether or not a miter slot is useful in a router table, I plan on having one in the table I'm currently building. When the location of that slot is discussed, often the defacto answer ends up being "same distance as the table saw miter slot."

    While this answer seems to be logical, it's also somewhat incomplete. There's the question of which table saw slot given one's distance is highly dependent on blade (or dado stack) thickness. If I assume we are talking about the left hand slot (in my case, for a left-tilt saw) which is relatively fixed in relation to the cutline (for square cuts), there is still the question of the reference point for the router. Using the centerline of the router will bring the miter slot closer to the cutting surface than on the TS, so any zero-clearance jig riding in the slot would get trimmed by 1/2D of the bit.

    So it would seem that a good bet would to place the miter bar slot the same distance away from the outside edge of whatever the most commonly used bit which is probably some sort of straight cutter?

    OK, so now for the question, as I've just started building a collection of 1/2" shank router bits (having graduated from the 1/4" trim router world), would folks recommend setting that dimension with a 1/2" diameter straight bit as a "go to"? Would anyone advocate using a larger bit as the standard?

    I know its overthinking things a bit, but sometimes overthinking can be fun and I like the avoid the sting of future "head slapping" realizations. Thanks, in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Blog Entries
    I use the tablesaw slot distance that I primarily use. This lets me use jigs on both without a lot of changeover effort. This can be approximate as saw blade, dado stack and bit profiles will all be different. The important part to me is that they be about the same so I don't really notice the difference within the normal setup of any jig for the operation I am about to do. If the difference is within about 1/2" I don't care. If it is 2" it may as well be more since I will probably have to do a greater amount of setup to any jig to compensate anyway. I set the router table slot about the same distance from the center of the collet as the tablesaw slot is from the blade. I don't have a 'most often' used router bit. A production shop probably does. Don't over think it. Go through the motions of an operation that would involve both machines and see what you think.
    I always forget . . . Is it the letter "S" or the letter "C" that is silent in the word scent?
    - Glenn (the second "N" is silent) Bradley

  3. #3
    EDIT: Just realized it appears you want to have a sled-jig to use on the both the TS and router table. Depends on the largest bit you use, but I'd give yourself an extra 1-2" on the router table so you don't cut it off with a router bit.
    Last edited by Stewart Lang; 02-25-2021 at 2:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Northwest Indiana
    Table saw has a pretty much fixed distance on one side of the blade, varying a bit with tooth set. Router table is varying from a center line with very bit change, so it may depend more on the type of work you're doing than anything, and how you use the miter gauge. My table is purchased, so i'd need to measure to center of collet when i got home if you wish. But, for me the miter gauge is used to push material through the cut--and often the aluminum fence face is used to attach a sacrificial backer. I just need enough fence face to between the miter slot and the bit to be a reliable contact point to control the workpiece. (not sure that making sense--but suffice to say that there is a lot of flexibility in the slot distance)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    The most logical distance from the slot to the bit, is one that would allow your miter gage or most common sled you want to use. The slot distance has nothing to do with a table saw, unless you use the same aftermarket miter gage..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I would err toward farther away than too close. I used mine primarily for finger boards. I made my jigs to ride the fence.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Perth, Australia
    This is copied from my website ....

    No mitre gauge track!

    A router table is a wonderful resource. However, a good router table does not need to be complex. In fact, I much prefer the KIS principle. My first router table was simply a piece of MDF with a hole for the bit. The fence was a 2x4 clamped alongside. It did good work. While this latest router table has many bells and whistles, it is still relatively simple compared to many.

    This is my solution for a mitre track ...

    There are two reasons to have a mitre track. The first is to attach a feather board. As I mentioned earlier, the JessEm guides do the task of holding the workpiece both down and against the fence. If the JessEm is not sufficient, I can still attach a feather board.

    I was using a feather board on the table saw today to size drawer backs ...

    The feather board can do double-duty at the router table. I drilled and tapped four bolt holes in line with the centre of the table ...

    The feather board can slide back-and-forth when bolted this way. It can reach to the fence ...

    The forwards holes are where a mitre track would go. This is as far back as it would extend if in a mitre track ...

    However, the second set of holes allow for a wider range ...

    The second reason for a mitre track is to use a mitre gauge to either rout out tenon cheeks, or joints such as cope-and-stick frames or box joints. There are alternate solutions for these.

    The main issue I have with the mitre gauge method is that it requires that the fence be parallel to the mitre track. Fences are rarely so in my experience. The closest I came to this was when I had a router table in a previous table saw, and it shared the table saw fence (which tracked parallel to the blade). This is not the case now. The fence rides unequally in tracks, and one side is moved to fine adjust the setting. In short, a mitre track is useless.

    To make a tenon cheek, or cope the end of a stretcher for a cope-and-stick joint, simply use a backing board against the fence ...

    This will not make box joints. In reality, for myself, it is unlikely that I would ever make box joints. I just cannot see a need. The closest is a dovetail joint, and I prefer doing these with hand tools. Still, were I to make a box joint, the accessory of choice would be a linear fence. These are easy-enough to build ...

    Here is an excellent video on YouTube building a linear fence ....

    Regards from Perth


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Upland CA
    I will keep it simple. If you plan to use a miter gauge in the miter slot, make sure the slot is far enough away from the largest bit you might ever use in the RT, to ensure it will not eat the miter gauge.

    Slotless in Upland
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  9. #9
    I canít think of a single router operation requiring (or better done) with a miter gauge.

    Other than pattern routing every operation I can think of is done registering off either the fence or bit bearing. Plus it requires some way to clamp the piece to the gauge. Last but not least, fences are never parallel to the slot.

    All that said, I do have one but itís only use is to hold a feather board. I let that determine the placement.

    I have seen people do cope joints with just a miter gauge and no fence - pretty scary.
    Last edited by Robert Engel; 02-26-2021 at 6:01 AM.

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