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Zero-Clearance Router Table Insert
My router table plate has a hole that the bit sticks through. The trouble is, the hole is far too big when I'm using some of my smaller bits. And that seems unsafe. What can I do?
Huntington Beach, CA
Greg, you're right. This is an unsafe situation. Many pros make custom inserts for every router bit in their shop (see drawing at right). This is the best way to get the tightest possible fit.
Replace your current insert, or make a new one from scratch. Buy a piece of plastic or hardboard, no more than half the thickness of your phenolic plate. Rout a rabbet into the current hole in your plate. Trace the outline of your insert on the plate, then bandsaw the new insert to size, and screw it in.
Once it's installed, you can slowly raise your router bit (while it's turned on) into the plastic to cut a hole the exact size you need. Bearing bits will require you to drill a properly sized hole first.