Using the Rule/Scale on a Router Table Fence


TomInNC
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I have one of the SawStop router tables that I have attached in-line to my table saw. The fence for the router table has a ruler on it with a 0 in the center and measurements out from zero in both directions. In videos online I have seen similar rules on other fences, but I have never seen anyone use the rule for anything. What (if anything) do people use this ruler for in practice? Because of how the fence attaches to the table, the 0 on the scale is not forced to align with the location of the center of of the collet, so it seems like even using the rule to measure the distance in each direction from the bit would require you to somehow center the zero at the center of the bit, and it isn't clear how to do such centering without a lot of fiddling/testing. 

Somewhat related question: is there a good way to change the speed of a router while it is mounted inside a dust box on a router table? I am using the Bora Portamate. The speed dial is on the top of the router, which means that it is facing the ground when it's mounted in the lift. Since I really can't see much of anything in the box, whenever I change speeds I resort to using my cell phone to take pictures inside of the box to see where the setting is at. 

 

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1 hour ago, TomInNC said:

Because of how the fence attaches to the table, the 0 on the scale is not forced to align

I consider "rulers" like this to be decorative. 

1 hour ago, TomInNC said:

is there a good way to change the speed of a router while it is mounted inside a dust box on a router table?

Ditto.

1 hour ago, TomInNC said:

I resort to using my cell phone to take pictures inside of the box to see where the setting is at. 

Next time you're at the drug store check out the beauty dept for a small hand mirror.  I have a 3" model.  Inexpensive, and a valuable tool in the shop.  e.g. I use one it at the drill press to check the alignment of the bit to my mark from multiple projections without contorting to look from the side of the machine.

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Are you saying you can’t set a router center to a fence? You set a table saw or miter stop on one side of the kerf. Why can’t you do this to center? If I put a rule on my fence to center, I can easily move the wood to the correct start and ending point os say a mortise….

 

You either can or cant… You have to excuse my on stuff like this. I spent too many years making patterns for cabinet guys so they didn’t have to think..lol

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If the zero is at bit center the measurements are not exact if the fence is open to clear a bit.  I get that.  I consider rules of this kid as a reference, not an exact dimension.  I don't know if I said that well; I often hold a pocket rule up to something to check for an interval or a relational dimension.  That is, the distance from the 7" tick to the 7-11/16" tick is still 11/16" even if I do not start at zero.

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On 12/3/2022 at 5:42 PM, wtnhighlander said:

The issue with most router fences is that they are not restricted to a single axis of motion. That means nearly every movement of the fence will require the ruler to be re-aligned to center, wasting a lot of time.

Yes, this is why I was confused about how the ruler is designed to be used. I have a ruler on my table saw that I use extensively. To calibrate the table saw fence ruler, I just creep up on cuts to get something that measures almost exactly 1 inch with dial calipers. Then, I adjust the cursor to the 1 inch line. This calibration will hold for a long time as long as I remember to screw down the cursor on the fence.

For the router table fence, it wasn't obvious to me what the equivalent calibration procedure would be to ensure that the zero mark on the ruler was properly zeroed on the bit. One thought I had would be to put stops at identical distances (e.g., 2 inches) to the left and right of the zero. Then do a drop cut on a test piece. If the bit was zeroed, the groove should be centered on the test piece. This seems a lot more cumbersome than setting up the TS cursor, so I thought I might be missing something. 

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On 12/3/2022 at 4:11 PM, gee-dub said:

If the zero is at bit center the measurements are not exact if the fence is open to clear a bit.  I get that.  I consider rules of this kid as a reference, not an exact dimension.  I don't know if I said that well; I often hold a pocket rule up to something to check for an interval or a relational dimension.  That is, the distance from the 7" tick to the 7-11/16" tick is still 11/16" even if I do not start at zero.

So in this case are you saying that you measure the distance from the outside of the bit to the ticks to the left and right of the bit?

 

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I picked up one of the UnaGauges with the 20% off coupon last week. I will look into whether one of the configurations might work along the fence. 

 

 

https://www.rockler.com/betterley-una-gauge-universal-alignment-and-adjustment-gauge?sid=V91076&gclid=CjwKCAiAp7GcBhA0EiwA9U0mts_eRUjj0GJa4Xr9DGQ_qbjujaPCiSfieDcXDFzkrBO2_MMoOrOHZBoCibsQAvD_BwE

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On 12/3/2022 at 4:11 PM, gee-dub said:

I consider rules of this kid as a reference, not an exact dimension. 

Me too. On my router table my fence slides front or back. I have rulers on the left and right. As well as the other direction. To true up the fence the rulers are very helpful. This morning on the table saw I was making a 1 1/4" dado x 1/4" deep. The dimension required 2 passes. My first attempt on the second pass I intentionally cut it a tiny bit tight. I visualized how tight, then I moved the fence one or two more times keeping in mind the reference.

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On 12/4/2022 at 5:52 AM, TomInNC said:

So in this case are you saying that you measure the distance from the outside of the bit to the ticks to the left and right of the bit?

 

Hmm, sort of.  I would probably be measuring with a rule from the bit edge to a stop block.  I guess I am not sure of the value of a rule on the fence per se.  Maybe I am just not clear on the use case.  What are you doing that requires this rule for reference?

If I am looking to do a stopped groove or profile I am not going to use a fence mounted rule; I would measure the actual with something I trust.  If we are talking about fence position I have a PRL lift that offers an etched rule that gets me close.  After that I use a rule or something like this shop made gizmo to get to the actual dimension I want.

depth-gauge-2-003.jpg.c36aea4c13596f13a20b884925d03a5a.jpg

I think you are talking about left to right positioning.  For this I generally measure from the bit to the point I want with a steel rule.  Sometimes I measure to a tick mark on the piece to be milled.

833066510_19-GUS-longmort-1.jpg.af987dd9d52b1ee55ad6c4914c09b0e0.jpg

Basic but very workable.  I also see rules on tablesaw sleds and have one on my miter gauges.  Can't say that I have ever inherently trusted them.  Settings and use cases of these tools change too much for that (for me).  I always check with a trusted measuring tool.

For the odd times when I want to move the fence forward while retaining the angle I rigged up a couple of old Incra Original jigs to a base board and a fence. 

1422331470_IncraFence.jpg.4e4c0adbc690c04a0760f556160f3217.jpg

I see they still sell them but they have gotten really proud of them :unsure:. This lets me step the fence forward or backward in 1/32" steps but nothing else.  Not the kind of thing everyone needs or would want to store in the shop :D.

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On 12/3/2022 at 8:10 AM, BillyJack said:

I use the table rule 100% of the time. I used the Altendorf, Powermatic, rules all the time. 
I use them 100% on mite4 saws. If you set it, you should understand it, but this is why I only use full kerf blades.

+1 

I have my blades ground to .125" with unrelieved sides so they can be sharpened and remain at .125".  I use the tablesaw for a lot of joinery.  I have a lot of jigs for said joinery.  The kerf being exactly 1/8" makes the jigs reliable, and incremental, and exact measurements are very repeatable. 

The router table is a bit of a different beast but it all depends on what you are doing.  BillyJack's three-router table for raised panel doors is a great example.  This is not something we might all use but if you do a lot of framed panel doors it is a rock star. 

Your router fence measuring rules are not as constrained as a table saw / slider.  The router table uses a centered, spinning cutter.  The orientation of the fence is pretty non-critical other than distance from the bit center. 

The table saw deals with dual planes of operation; table plane and blade plane.  The fence rides a constrained rail or rod in relation to those planes.  This makes their rules pretty precision and pretty accurate.  The pivoting of a router table fence makes fence-borne rules pretty variable.

Did that makes sense or should I just go to bed :lol:

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I stay with one manufacturer for table saw blades and router bits. I think the last tablesaw or miter saw I I bought was 13 years ago. I like many were hitting EBay regularly looking for that great deal. Delta brand saw blades were made by leitz and I bought many.. Outside of the deals back then, I buy nothing but Amanda.. I do have a Tenyru Gold Medal blade , but have never used it..

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  • 1 month later...

I have a ruler on my specialty fence that I use for cutting "Beaded Inset" face frames. You need to know exactly where the center of the bit is. I put a 1/2" shaft in the router, and the set the stop 1/4" away from "zero", and then slide the jig until the stop touched the 1/2" shaft.

From there you need to precisely set the stop at different measurements to make the necessary cuts in the face frame.

Quarter Inch Beaded Inset Face Frame.jpg

Router Table with Beaded Inset Fence.jpg

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