I talked a little about the challenges I went through making this top, so I’ll keep the summary short. I laminated two halves of a full sheet of MDF together, got it trimmed to 27×43, then went about cutting the hole for the plate. It went badly, and the entire piece was trash.
I went back to the store and got them to cut a new sheet in thirds. I took one of those, trimmed to 28×43 (might as well), and cut the hole for the plate. This time, before I laminated anything together. It went just fine, so I proceeded to glue it together and I used screws at predetermined marks to keep it secure, then trimmed to match both the outside and the plate hole. I then marked the location for the Incra positioner, and drilled four holes. I rounded off the corners as best I could.
Next, it was time to laminate. I attached the Formica bottom, and trimmed and drilled out the four positioner holes again. Repeat process on the top side. Plate hole was naturally trimmed away as well. I installed the plate, using the insert screws as guidance to place the inserts. It went well, except one of the insert adjustment screws broke through the plastic threads. Kreg has another one being sent to me, good customer service there. Other than that, the plate is very well seated in the opening. The Incra positioner installed in my predrilled holes just fine, and it’s a smooth operation. I screwed down the top to the old base for use while the new base gets built. I tried to laminate the edge, however I couldn’t get good pressure/adhesion around the corners, and didn’t want to leave a sloppy job, so I took it off. It would have been a nice finishing touch, but oh well. I’ll add a miter slot for it soon.
The top is so much bigger than the old one. The old is 864 square inches, the new one 1204 – nearly 50% bigger. It will be great for routing, but my space will take a hit. It will be imperative to come up with a good base design that will hold as much as I need it to. I am also considering storing the 1400 systainer in the router table. Just seems to make sense, but I will have to see what the room situation looks like. I could make a little box that fits behind to store the accessories. I will also have to see if I end up selling the 28084. If I decide not to, I’ll need to store that as well. I don’t need it, but I’m not going to just give it away – it’s too good of a router.
This is the last top I’ll build. I’ve decided that at some point I’ll transition to the Incra Cleansweep inserts, which require an Incra router plate. This, when hooked up to dust collection, sucks the debris back down into the router cavity. With all the dovetails and box joints I want to make, a worthy investment. Because of this, I will be purchasing the complete Incra top when appropriate. The other reason is I really don’t like making these. When you consider the amount of time it takes, plus the cost of materials, I’d rather be doing something else. The MDF was $30 (twice, this time), the cement was $12 (again, twice), and normally the laminate is quite a lot more than what I paid for it. My laminate is pretty much all used up at this point, save for a small scrap that I may finish the right side of the saw with. $47 or so for plain white laminate and you’re at $100 without factoring your time. The Incra top is $239 plus shipping, or $286 at Amazon. If you didn’t already have a plate, that would put you at $200 for a DIY job. That price tag looks a bit more appealing, right? Perhaps not this summer or fall, but next spring I may pull the trigger.
The base will start being looked at and built probably the latter half of May or early June. I have some things to take care of in the meantime, and I have to think carefully about how this new table is going to impact how I work in the shop.