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best table insert?

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  • best table insert?

    I am looking for a good material to use for a router table insert. As it stands I am going to be building two tables. I've magaged to find ~1/2"x12"x24" inch acrylic for only $20 or am I better off with a 3/8"x12"x24" phenolic (garolite grade xx) for a cost of $25. Now cost is going to be a big factor for me, so I will be cutting costs wherever I can. Is it really worth the extra money to get the phenolic sheet? or are the two products fairly comparable?
    You can\'t make footprints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt, and who wants to make butt prints in the sands of time.

  • #2
    At the prices you are talking about, it might be better to just purchase an insert. For example, click this link to Northwest Power Tools. They have a Rousseu 3509 insert for $29.

    This is a highly recommended insert and the one that I use. It has removable inserts so you can match the opening to the bit size. And it includes a starter-pin which is needed for freehand bearing work.

    You can skip the template and save a few bucks, (you will need to make one for you home made insert as well).

    -Ready to go, no fabrication needed,
    -Removable inserts
    -Smallest opening can accept standard PC router guides
    -Includes starter-pin

    Cons for building your own:
    -Needs fabrication
    -Need to purchase and install a starter pin
    -Bit opening is fixed. Must build several inserts
    -Not much savings at the prices you mention

    I'm sure there are lots of other inserts of similar price and features.


    • #3
      I've used the Rousseau for a while now and love it. Only thing you need to do is give the red ring a light sanding with 100 grit to make it easier to get in and out.


      • #4
        A commercial plate like the Rousseau is nice for the multiple bit openings and other goodies. If you want to go really cheap though, just laminate some thinner acrylic. I got some 1/8" acrylic for free and glued it up with some plastic model cement to make 3/8". This made some inexpensive, sturdy router bases for edging and large bits.


        • #5
          I remember a discussion some time ago and someone stated they used this stuff with favorable results as an economic alternative for router table inserts, I kept the link but have never used the product or source.


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          • #6
            Thanks for the link Woodslayer! That stuff appears to be good cutting board material and I've been looking for a 24" long piece to slice up standard size paper stock for my large format inkjet printer.

            P.S. I should have added where I found free acrylic. It was from a trophy/engraving shop. They sometimes make mistakes on signs and they just throw it away.