My New Router Table #3: Finishing Cabinet Assembly and Dust Collection

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Blog entry by Blake posted 11-07-2007 09:09 PM 12011 reads 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: ...A Pile of Potential Part 3 of My New Router Table series Part 4: Table top and drawer slides »

This project is really coming together. That biscuit jointer really makes quick and easy work of cabinet assembly. I have never really gotten a chance to use it before.

I ordered an Incra Magni-Lock router plate through Woodcraft. It seems to be on the slow boat. But hopefully it will come at about the time I need it.

Anyway, more chronicles of the progress I made on my day off yesterday:

Here is the cabinet fascia with half lap joinery, 3/4” x 2” Beechwood (the most inexpensive hardwood at the local yard), glued and clamped together:

Yes its true, my clamp collection is used to small jewelry boxes. But I say, work smarter (and cheaper), not harder! So for $15 these ratcheting tie-down straps held the cabinet face securely to the carcass until the glue dried. The whole face was biscuited to the carcass:

The clue has dried and I found some casters I like. They have rubber wheels and a lock that I like for about $11 each.

Finally, the cabinet gets flipped to rest an all fours. Also, you can see I added a melamine shelf for under the router. This slick surface will allow the dust to slide toward the dust collector more easily. At this point I had not figured out how to best direct the dust toward the chute, or where to put the chute.

I had decided that I would use the bottom-left space for a dedicated dust collector. I figured out that I would have just enough room for the smallest Craftsman vac that still has a 2 1/2” hose (the 6 gal model). This will also cut down on noise. I will probably add some noise insulation inside the vac compartment as well. This will be a huge improvement over the vac being outside the cabinet. (Maybe I could insulate the router compartment too?) I may not even need earplugs!

I wired a switch that would simultaneously activate the router and the vac. This gives each there own plug in there own compartment, leaving the router compartment sealed airtight. Their is also a 15 foot cord which powers that switch box. That cord comes out the left side of the cabinet. Notice the yellow cord end in the vac compartment (below) and the black cord end for the router:

The switch is a rocker/paddle style. This is so I can later add a large safety “Stop” paddle. Notice the router table power cord coming out of the left side:

I spent a couple of hours trying different things and thinking about how to best direct the flow of air/dust toward the dust collection chute. I wasn’t sure where to put it either. Should it be directly below the router? Maybe over to one side?

Finally I came up with a plan. I decided to create a sloping shelf with a thin, wide opening below it. Under the shelf would be the chute, which is hooked up to the vac. This way any dust which landed on the shelf would fall right down to the opening and get sucked in. I will make a small vent in the sealed router-compartment door which will allow a cross-flow of air from front to back along the slick melamine surface directing dust right to the chute.

So this is the chute (that connector will be installed underneath the hole to connect to the vac hose):

And this is the sloping shelf (Chute is underneath):

(By the way, those corner brackets above are for securing and leveling the table top)

I hope it works as well as it seems like it should. The idea is that if the router compartment is airtight, and air is being sucked out through one hole by the vac, then suction will be created at the only other opening which is right around the router bit. I may also add a second dust collection port which consists of another hose connector on the back of the router compartment (behind the sloping shelf), and a hose which goes from there to the fence (which has integrated dust collection). This way chips and dust will be sucked away above and below the router bit.

-- Happy woodworking!

14 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4061 days

#1 posted 11-07-2007 11:09 PM

Hey Blake,

It’s coming along really well. I like the idea of a dedicated dust collector. Overall it looks like you have a lot of elemements that are really handy in a router table. Nice!


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3987 days

#2 posted 11-07-2007 11:48 PM

I too, like the idea of a dedicated dust collector. For a bit there I thought you weren’t going to put dust collection on the fence. I have it on the fence and not underneath. I am going to remodel my router table soon and will address that at that time.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4115 days

#3 posted 11-08-2007 01:29 AM

Wow. Great progress. I need to build a router cabinet too and am getting inspiration.

You might want to google dust collection. There are some peculialarities of vacuuming and suction to investigate. My understanding is that there are some other tweaks you can do to maximize suction and that some are counter-intuitive.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3899 days

#4 posted 11-08-2007 02:13 AM

Interesting! Thanks, gizmodyne. Check this out...

-- Happy woodworking!

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4078 days

#5 posted 11-08-2007 04:39 AM

Great link Blake! thanks. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4118 days

#6 posted 11-08-2007 05:00 AM

Lookin’ good Blake. I think your slanted shelf should work pretty well because the bit will throw the dust and chunks to that corner and the slant is plenty. What was the logic for the chute behind the slanted shelf?

Nice looking wheels. Are they really rubber or urethane (like inline skate wheels)?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3899 days

#7 posted 11-08-2007 06:07 AM


The wheels? Idono. Squishy. Not hard like plastic. That’s all that mattered to me.

As far as the chute behind the slanted shelf, that is to create suction along the entire width of the compartment. This will be created by the slit underneath the shelf. It seems to work well so far. I turned on the vac and dropped some sawdust on the middle of the horizontal melamine shelf and they got sucked right under the slanted shelf (and into the chute).

I think the action will be enhanced when the compartment is fully enclosed and the only opening besides the router bit hole will be a vent located on the door. This will create the cross flow of air to push the chips and dust under the slanted shelf and into the chute.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4118 days

#8 posted 11-08-2007 06:15 AM

Ah. I see what you mean with the chute behind the slit. Pretty slick.

I asked about the wheels because I read something about the “right type” of wheels to get for your shop cabinets. There was comment about rubber vs. urethane stating that the rubber has a tendency to develop a flat spot over time if the cabinet is not moved frequently… I think this would really depend on the weight of your cabinet and also how uneven your floor was/wasn’t. I’m guessing yours wont be too heavy unless you decided to store a bunch of beefy items on the right. I have one of those Rockler tables with their casters right now and it has rubbery wheels and I don’t have any issues.

I look forward to the next post.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3899 days

#9 posted 11-08-2007 06:44 AM

I am not sure what the wheels are made of. But thanks for the tip. For the relatively low cost I guess I could always get new casters when they ware out. But I know what you mean about the flat spot. I don’t think this cabinet will be heavy enough to matter. Mostly I will store router bits, tools for changing bits and fence parts, fence accessories, plunge base for router, etc.

-- Happy woodworking!

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4090 days

#10 posted 11-08-2007 06:56 AM

Blake that is an awesome looking router table. I’m building a cabinet for my Bosch 4000 Contractor Saw and have been thinking about dust collection under the saw. You just gave me the solution, I think. I will be using my big DC – but the principle should be the same.

Also, when you say that you are going to install the vacuum under the router, in a sealed compartment (insulated for noise), do you think that your vacuum might need some type of ventilation? Just wondering, hate to see you burn up a good shop vac.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3899 days

#11 posted 11-08-2007 07:11 AM

Yes, the lower vac compartment will need a good vent (or where would the expelled air go). But the router compartment (above) is airtight to control the flow of air and sawdust.

I will try to engineer some sort of muffler, however, so that the noise from the vac does not come out as easily as the expelled air. I would like to make the unit relatively quiet inside the box.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4124 days

#12 posted 11-09-2007 08:00 AM

Nice work Blake. Good thinking on the venting the exhaust in the cabinet. It looks like you put some research into the airflow issue to maximize dust collection.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View kimball's profile


323 posts in 3322 days

#13 posted 12-22-2010 05:55 PM

Hi Blake,
I have been looking over your router table blogs and I really like it. You are doing a great job. The only suggestion that I can make so far is conscerning your shop vac for dust controll. The air that the vac sucks in needs to get back out. Might I suggest that you drill some descent sized holes in the bottom. I realize that the noise will increase but so will the vac’s efficency. Perhaps some ear protection would help as your router will be loud by itself. I wear hearing aids so I just shut them off during loud steps of a project.

Good luck, Kimball

P.S. I was just wondering what the dimensions were. I am 5’9” and I made my present one 40” high. I like it because I can get close to my work and it’s not like it takes a lot of leverage to push stock through. But even so, it may be too tall for many others.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3899 days

#14 posted 12-23-2010 08:50 AM

Kimball, Thanks but I finished this router table about three years ago. There is an exhaust vent in the back. There is more information about the finished project here.

-- Happy woodworking!

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