Concrete Router Table Top?


John Page
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What got me started was a redesign of the cheapo router table I currently have, and instead of using wood, I thought about granite like Steel City uses on some of their tools. But then, a friend suggested pouring concrete, and I thought why not? It would be cheap enough that even if it failed spectacularly, it would not be a huge deal. The main attraction is that I can fashion the holes and slots into the mould, which would be much easier than in cutting granite. 

 

Are there any serious problems with using concrete? I would need to finish it with something, probably an epoxy or something to make the finish a little lower friction and a little less porous/out of plane. Has anyone here tried or heard of doing this? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

John

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In addition of what Steve posted, you will need plywood to form the mold for pouring the concrete. And doing simple things like installing a t-track will be a nightmare.

 

Two sheets of 3/4'' plywood or MDF laminated together plus a formica top make a better and cheaper router table top than using concrete.

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Thanks gents! I may have to grab some MDF, but for the longest time I've steered as far away from it as possible just on principle. As for why...why not?  B)

The MDF, Formica, and beer option sounds much better though! The weight is not really a problem, maybe even a good thing. Cracking and chipping, though... Not a fan of either of those things, and to be honest I didn't really think that would be so much of a problem, given that it would not be getting wet or frozen. Never done anything with it though, so that is totally a gross assumption. 

Thanks for the feedback!

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They do concrete counter tops all the time you could pour it into a mold made out of melamine the top would be the surface that's in contact with the melamine so essentially your pouring the router table up side down you need to vibrate the concrete to get the air bubbles out once the top is out of the forms and has cured a couple weeks seal it with a concrete sealer than wax the top and buff it out. You would have to make a void where the insert would go it would have to be the same shape as the insert I would make that out of pink or blue foam insulation that they sell sheets of it at HD or lowes just glue it to the melamine with some silicone caulk you can also buy what they call fiber mesh which is just some fiber glass strings chopped up it's added to the concrete when mixing it adds strength to the concrete top and prohibits cracking it can still crack but it lessens the possibility. The bagged concrete mix is made with the minimum amount of cement in the mix I would buy a bag of cement and add some to each bag as you mix just add the same amount to all the bags being mixed.

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I would just go back to the granite idea. A scrap of granite is cheap as long as you don't care about the color and to have a granite guy with the right tool whip out the hole is cheap also. I had my sink hole cut for $35. A router plate would be a little more just due to the fact the shop wont have the template already premade. Now days well equipped stone guys can whip something like this out in 10 minutes after the template is made the days of using saws and coring bits are gone.

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I wouldn't even consider using poured concrete. For one, without it being heavily reinforced, concrete is very brittle. Move it across the shop, corner falls onto your foot. No thanks.

Granite though is an option. You can even cut the hole yourself. I grabbed a 6 pack of tile blades for my jigsaw, a diamond top 1/2 drill bit and cut my own don't rebates in 3 vanities. Slow and steady.

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John, using concrete as a work surface has its advantages, but I suspect getting it flat AND smooth enough to work well as a router table would be much more trouble than it is worth.

The techniques for making countertops seem like they would work.  Though getting a surface that the wood slides smoothly on and such would not be too easy.

 

You would certainly not want to use a basic bag of concrete.  Recipies like these might work OK

 

http://www.expressions-ltd.com/Concrete_GFRC_Recipe_s/1888.htm

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  • 2 weeks later...

What got me started was a redesign of the cheapo router table I currently have, and instead of using wood, I thought about granite like Steel City uses on some of their tools. But then, a friend suggested pouring concrete, and I thought why not? It would be cheap enough that even if it failed spectacularly, it would not be a huge deal. The main attraction is that I can fashion the holes and slots into the mould, which would be much easier than in cutting granite. 

 

Are there any serious problems with using concrete? I would need to finish it with something, probably an epoxy or something to make the finish a little lower friction and a little less porous/out of plane. Has anyone here tried or heard of doing this? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

John

 

I cringe at the thought of that fine concrete dust getting down into bearings.

My alternative would be something made out of a ceramic material. And ceramics are today not cost-prohibitive.

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I cringe at the thought of that fine concrete dust getting down into bearings.

My alternative would be something made out of a ceramic material. And ceramics are today not cost-prohibitive.

I don't think that would be too much of an issue as long as one made it with countertop grade concrete.  Of course that is getting to be an expensive proposition unless you have the tools and materials from other projects.

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Concrete isn't that brittle. The modulus of rupture is approx. 7.5 x sqrt(f'c) with f'c being the compressive strength at 28 days. The sack mix at Home Depot etc should yield at least 3000 psi compressive strength if mixed well. if you are bored and it seems like fun then I say go for it.

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You could make a router table top out of crushed svarovski crystal if you like, but it's going to be way more trouble than just sandwiching 2 layers of MDF together and laminating with arborite, and probably perform worse.

 

There's a bunch of reasons listed as to why concrete is not suitable. It's not even a cost thing, since by the time you make a mold for the concrete, get the proper mix, mix it and pour it you're behind financially over 2 handy sheets of MDF at Home Depot. Debating the minutia about how concrete could be bad (like bearing dust, lol) is like debating the arrangement of the deck chairs on the sinking titanic.

 

Just trying to be the voice of reason.

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The only posts I saw that pointed to unsuitability I know to be false. I might buy practicality as an argument if you don't have concrete experience. I don't see a need to rain on someone's parade if they want to try it though. I have built and seen too many counters out of the stuff.

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