"It's not just the big box stores. Even cabinet grade domestic sheets are narrow. I've purchased a new dado stack and new router bits specifically for plywood because, like you've observed, 1/4" is actually 3/16", 1/2"…"
"Count me in on the Triton TRA001 3.25hp router. You can find them around $250. Mine is doing a stellar job. The built in lift isn't as smooth as others but does the job just fine.
I also strongly agree with the need for adequate dust…"
"I haven't had this specific problem but it sounds like you need to make a flange/spacer between the bucket and the table. Maybe made from two or three layers of plywood. This wouldn't be the first time for such a modification."
"The above advice is smart. Another, thought...
Are you using soft or hard maple. The term "hardwood" usually applies to everything but conifers. Even balsa is a "hardwood." The short of it is that common maple is actually softer…"
"That's pine for you. It's rarely suitable for finish work. My corded drills spin a lot faster than my cordless ones. Maybe that would help. Also, remember to go slow and let the tool do the work. The faster you plunge in, the messier…"
"From your description and diagram, 1x2s attached to the studs should be fine. One sheet of plywood will hold but there will be noticeable flex across the front edge. Two would be flex much less.
That said, I would rather run some kind of support…"
"Chevyguy65 is right. Preferably, 1) you need the right blade and, 2) if it's adjustable, a less aggressive stroke on your jigsaw, and 3) move slowly allowing the saw to do the work. Also, you might 4) cut with the good side up or 5) sandwich…"
"I'm with Wilford. Have to keep the shavings out of the way. When I started using a vac, my holes cleaned up very well. Otherwise, clear the bit a couple of times before going to full depth. It take a little extra time but it makes a cleaner…"
"Can you hang all the necessary tools on a wall? ie. miter saw, drill press, router table, band saw, grinder, planer, etc. You'll also want a fairly large tool box for bits, wrenches, socket sets, screw drivers, and more. Add a rack of storage…"
"I experienced the same frustration. 3/4 plywood isn't always 3/4", 1/2 isn't 1/2", etc. Seems to be more of a problem with China plywood than domestic. Be sure to drill a test piece. I usually need set my jig shallow to…"