Festool CMS Router Sliding Table and Miter Gauge - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A great addition to the CMS Router Table for anyone who does a lot of cross grain work.

Festool CMS Router Sliding Table and Miter Gauge

Festool CMS Router Sliding Table and Miter Gauge

The Festool CMS is a premium router table system designed to be used exclusively with either a Festool OF1010 or OF1400 router. For those of you not familiar with the Festool CMS Router Table, it's available in two formats – the CMS GE is a free-standing unit, while the CMS VL is attached to a Festool MFT/3 multifunction table. The legs on the free-standing CMS GE can be folded, enabling it to be easily transported to and from a job site, or used atop a work bench as a benchtop router table.

You can purchase the CMS GE in two formats – the 'Set' version is fully decked out with all the accessories (outfeed table, sliding table, miter gauge, extraction hose), while the 'Basic' model, which I recently reviewed, comes without any of the accessories.

If you'll be doing a lot of end-grain routing on the CMS – milling the rails and stiles for cabinet doors, cutting tenons, lap joints, miters, dovetail housings, and the like – a miter gauge is a worthwhile accessory to consider. I recently extended the functionality of my CMS by adding the sliding table (#492100) and miter gauge (#488451). You should note that while Festool sells these two accessories separately, they are, in fact, interdependent - that is, you can't use one without the other.
Minimal components make for quick assembly

Installing the sliding table and miter gauge is fairly straight forward, as there are only 6 components – just follow the steps outlined in the user guide. It took me about 15 minutes to complete the installation. Checking that everything was level, and making a few minor adjustments took another 10 minutes or so. 

Typical for Festool products, the components are well machined, and everything fit precisely together. Everything is made of anodized aluminum except the ABS plastic knobs.

Flexible rail mounting

There are three thumbscrews on the front of the sliding rail (circled in red above), that enable you to mount the rail either towards the front end of the router table, or the rear end, depending on the routing task you're undertaking. I found that for wide panels having the rail mounted towards the rear (bottom left photo) works best, while for small, narrow stock mounting the rail forward seemed to work best. Fortunately, switching mounting positions only takes about a minute.

Limit stops keep the sliding table from falling off the rail

The rail comes with two small rubber limit stops – make sure you install one at each end of the rail, as they prevent the sliding table from coming off the rail. While you can mount them anywhere along the rail it's probably best to position them to the maximum on each end of the rail.

Aligning the rail to the router table top

You want to ensure that the miter gauge, when mounted on the sliding table, doesn't scrape against the CMS router table top. If it does, you slightly loosen the thumbscrews that secure the rail to the CMS table, and then turn the adjustment screw on the top of the rail until the miter gauge just clears the main table. You'll want to check both ends of the table.

Aligning the sliding table to the router table top

You may find that the fence is not parallel to the main table. If this is the case, you can loosen the two sets of clamping screws (left photo) below the sliding table (one set is at the front end of the table, one at the back) and then turn the adjustment screws to adjust the sliding table relative to the main table. I found that I had to fiddle with this adjust three or four times before I got it right.

Table glides smoothly

At 7-3/4" by 12" the sliding table isn't overly large. However, the sliding table extends the usable work space between the bit and outside edge of the table from 7-1/7" to 17", making it much more convenient when working with wide panels or longer stock.

The table glides effortlessly along the rail, and you can lock it in position at any point along the length of the rail (photo insert).

Two part miter gauge

The miter gauge consists of two parts – a clamping bracket and the miter gauge arm with swinging head. The clamping bracket slips onto the miter gauge arm, and a locking knob holds the two components securely together. 

Miter gauge attached to the sliding table

The assembled miter gauge is attached to one of the V-channels on the sliding table. While there are V-channels on all three sides of the sliding table, for all practical purposes you'll mount the miter gauge on the rear channel, as shown in the photo above. You only need to turn the round clamping knob at the back of the clamping bracket a couple of times to secure the unit to the table. Installing or removing the miter gauge takes about 5 seconds.

Miter gauge is easily positioned and locked in place

I've found that most of the time I leave the miter gauge positioned toward the back of the sliding table. However, you can quickly move it to any position along the 12" length of the sliding table. Once the locking knob is tightened the miter gauge is rock steady. 

Fully adjustable fence

The 2" by 22-3/4" miter fence can be placed on the miter head in either a tall, horizontal position (as shown in the photo above), or in a short, vertical position. Lifting a spring loaded indexing pin (right photo) enables you to position the miter head to the required angle.

Easy-to-read scale with ample detents

The miter head has an easy to read scale marked in 1-degree increments. There are a generous 17 detents, and you can tilt the head a full 92-degrees to the right and left. Once the angle locking knob (located just above the indexing pin) is tightened the miter head doesn't move at all. The miter fence can be independently adjusted by loosening the fence locking knob (just below the arrows). I find this set-up very quick to use.

Shop made stop

The miter gauge doesn't come with a stop block, which I find handy to use when routing small stock. This isn't a problem because you can make one fairly quickly. However, I was a bit miffed to find that the T-slots in the fence won't accommodate standard 1/4-20 T-slot nuts and bolts (which are 1/2" wide). A 3/8" square nut works well, though I've yet to find a matching knob with threaded bolt.

Convenience and versatility

I use my router table quite a bit, and I've found the sliding table/miter gauge to be a convenient addition. I find that dados, rabbets, and grooves cut on the router table are crisper than those made on the table saw. Of course, not all dados can be milled on the router table, particularly on large panels, but in general, I find it quicker, and more convenient to use the router than mount a dado blade on the table saw. Cutting miters on the router table is also easy, as you don't have to mess around setting up the bevel angle – it's machined into the router bit. Same goes when making lock-miter joints for small boxes and drawers, and cutting the splines for miter joints – quick and easy on the router table.

If you're thinking of purchasing a Festool CMS router table, I highly recommend you opt for the CMS SET model – it comes with all the accessories at a much better price point. Once you start using the sliding table/miter gauge I can't but think you'll really appreciate it's versatility. If you already own a CMS Basic model, and you find that you're doing a lot of end-grain routing, bite the bullet and get the sliding table/miter gauge accessories – particularly if you make a living working wood. Prorated over a conservative 10-year life span for the unit you'll be looking at an investment of less than $70 a year – a reasonable annual cost to incur for the added functionality that you'll get.


Sliding Table:

  • Anodized aluminum
  • Tool-less assembly
  • 7-3/4" x 12" table
  • 46-1/2" overall length
  • 36-3/4" travel
Miter Gauge:

  • Anodized aluminum
  • Tool-less assembly
  • 2" x 22-3/4"
  • 92-degree range right and left
  • 1-degree increments
  • 15 detents (0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 67-1.2, 75, and 90-degrees)

MODEL:Sliding Table: 492100
Miter Gauge: 488451
PRICE:Sliding Table: $424.00
Miter Gauge: $212.00
MADE IN:Germany
SOURCE:Where to Buy
January 2015

Carl Duguay
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