7

I have a router table top with a laminate surface and a rubber edge band on the sides. I made it years ago on an MDF core.

Now, I'd like to have a miter slot on it. How should I go about cutting that slot? Should I simply fire up the router with a mortising bit?

I'm mostly concerned about cutting through the laminate top and rubber sides. I'd hate to have the laminate crack or peel chunks of it. Also, not sure about the advisability of cutting rubber with my router bits.

Any advice? Perhaps I should score the laminate somehow before-hand? Or chop through the rubber with a knife instead of the router bit?

  • The approach recommended for cutting an opening for a router plate seems to just involve using the router and a template to trim both the laminate and the mdf back a bit... so maybe just routing along a straightedge would work. Might depend on how well the laminate is glued down or exactly what the laminate material is, though. – keshlam Aug 5 '15 at 4:39
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If the router table top is removable, I would just tape over the edges of the slot, turn the top upside-down, and run it over my table saw using a high-tooth-count blade. Dado blade optional; just run multiple passes if using a normal blade. For the cleanest result you should make a very shallow pass first to score the edges, but a miter slot isn't very deep anyway so it may not be necessary.

I wouldn't worry about the rubber edge banding too much with a table saw blade, but you could wrap tape from the top to the bottom around the edge along the cut line to better secure the rubber edge banding during the cut.

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Here's how I would go about it.

First, I would score the edges of the miter slot with a very sharp knife to establish your margins. Ideally, this would go through the laminate, but at the very least should give you a crisp edge. If I was able to slice through the laminate, I'd then peel it off the top of the table.

Next, if I was unable to cut entirely through the laminate, I would use a circular saw with a blade specifically made for laminates (similar to this Bosch model) to establish the shoulders of the miter slot and attempt to minimize tearing of the laminate. I've heard of people mounting the blade backwards to also minimize tearing but haven't tried it myself.

After having the depth and sides of the miter slot established, it's a simple matter of finishing it off with a straight bit using the router, guided by a straight edge.

As far as the rubber edge is concerned, you should have no issues cutting through it as I have described. If you're still worried about it, I'd just trim out the area with a knife beforehand.

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