My New Router Table #6: Finishing Touches

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Blog entry by Blake posted 11-28-2007 07:56 AM 6106 reads 5 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Doors and Drawers Part 6 of My New Router Table series Part 7: Tedious details... Gettin' there »

I’ve been adding the details as I have had time here and there after work.

I finally got my router plate (Incra Magni-lock) which I had to special order through Woodcraft because as far as I could tell nobody carries it. Woodcraft had to order it from Incra and have it shipped to them before shipping it to me. This is what I got:

I liked the actual Incra router plate better than the woodpecker brand version. And after it finally arrived in the mail I was pretty glad I had chosen it. That magni-lock system is pretty nice. I also ordered the extra ring set. Eleven different sizes in all.

Here are the cabinet doors in place: (I got anxious and installed them before I even sanded them. So I might have to remove the doors to do some sanding later)

Now for the drawers… I got the pieces cut to size (more birch plywood):

Then I started setting up to biscuit-joint the drawers together but it started turning into a nightmare of aligning, labeling, marking, cutting, etc., for each part of each drawer. I love the biscuit jointer. But this time it seemed to be taking more time than saving it.

So I came up with an idea: Cut the biscuit slots all in one pass with the dado blade on the table saw. This way I wouldn’t have to worry about marking each biscuit position. I had never heard of anyone doing this before. Have you tried it or heard of anybody doing this? I gave it a test run:

It seemed to work just fine. The single dado blade was the same width as the biscuit cutter. And with the way I set up the fence in relationship to the dado blade I was able to do the edges and faces with the same set up:

The continuous biscuit slot worked beautifully and saved a ton of time. I was able to just tap the biscuits in wherever I wanted and didn’t need to do any marking first.

Here is a finished drawer without the drawer front. I made the drawer fronts already but I have to install the drawers in the slides first so I know how to align the fronts. You can also see the first (top) drawer which has already been installed in the cabinet:

I wouldn’t recommend this method for fine cabinetry but it sure is practical for something like this.

It will be nice to have the drawers in place. As you can see in one of the above pictures I installed the Incra positioner and fence. I guess I forgot to take pictures that day. The next thing I need to do is work on making a precise template to rout out the resess for the router plate.

Oh, I also forgot to show you pictures of the hardwood edge-band I put around the formika/particle board table top (Sorry). It is 1/2” thick and I screwed and glued it to the edges with epoxy and then plugged the screw holes. That is the first time I have ever used my plug cutter! That is a slick little drill bit. I will take some more pix of some of these details next time I am in the shop.

-- Happy woodworking!

12 comments so far

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4229 days

#1 posted 11-28-2007 12:30 PM

It’s lookin’ really nice Blake. But your idea with milling a groove for the bisquets, although sound, actually leaves you with less glueing surface and a weaker joint on the plywood. The better thing you could’ve done would be to install a hardwood “spline” for the length of your groove. Your cabinet has many other glueing and fastening points that will beef up its strength, so I don’t believe you’ll have any problems. If you do though notice a future joint failure, back it up with wood blocks.

Gonna look real nice when it’s done!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4229 days

#2 posted 11-28-2007 01:06 PM

Hey Blake, check out the features on this router table project. I like the bit storage and dust collection ideas.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View shaun's profile


360 posts in 4144 days

#3 posted 11-28-2007 02:04 PM

Sweet table Blake. I’ve got one in the works myslef as part of my shop re-hab but my day job has kept me from completing it. I’m hoping to get back at it soon.

-- I've cut that board three times and it's still too short!

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4292 days

#4 posted 11-28-2007 02:14 PM

Very nice Blake. Great design. Thanks for showing!

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4201 days

#5 posted 11-28-2007 02:44 PM

That has become a very neat cabinet and router table, Blake. It seems to me it would have been less effort to just build regular drawers. I also agree with Daoo about having less glue area. I’m sure it will be fine. On my saddle shop work bench I used a simple lock rabbit for the corners of the drawers. It was done on the table saw and has seen constant hard use for the last 17 years with heavy contents.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Karson's profile


35153 posts in 4639 days

#6 posted 11-28-2007 03:11 PM

Great Blake. I like the cabinet Idea. I might have to reorganize my design. I noticed my router table top has bowed over the years.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 4196 days

#7 posted 11-28-2007 03:12 PM

Looking sweet! That is going to be a nice router table. As far as drawer construction goes I like to rabbett the front in and dado the back, route a 1/4” groove all the way around for the bottom and glue and shoot the whole thing together with brads. I use Baltic birch ply for extra strength.This makes a very strong drawer thats easy to machine and assemble. I have also just done quick ones, butt jointing the ends into the sides and locking the whole thing together by glueing and shooting the bottom on. I make a small jig to keep everything square while assembling. This method works good for light duty drawers.


View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4121 days

#8 posted 11-28-2007 05:17 PM

Way to go Blake. For another quick add to ply drawers, try some iron on birch edge banding on the top edges. Just iron it on, and route back the overhang with a flush cut bit. You can buy it at the big box stores.

Kind of dissapointed to see that ball peen hammer instead of your maple mallet :)

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4457 days

#9 posted 11-28-2007 06:33 PM

I’m envious, Blake. You are doing a terrific job.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4113 days

#10 posted 11-28-2007 08:05 PM

Dadoo, you are right about the fact that that joint will be weaker. But I think for these drawers it will hold together ok. They will be relatively light duty. And easy to replace if they fall apart.

Spalm, my mallet was close at hand for whacking the parts together and into alignment. I did use it a lot on that project. But that little ball peen was perfect for sinking the biscuits into the slot… they were just a little tight. That hammer is actually one of my favorite tools. It’s short handle and small size makes it perfect for when I just need a little localized persuasion. “Tap tap tap.”

I promise I won’t do the “biscuit slot” again, fellas. But I just want to get ‘er done. And it was either that or brad nails through my nice birch ply (which I would like to avoid if possible).

Wait, or the rabbet method, but I didn’t think that really worked on plywood? Does plywood hold together with just a glued rabbet??? ...oh I just read your post more carefully… Lock Rabbets or rabbets with nails. Ok, that would hold.

Thanks for the comments and advice.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4113 days

#11 posted 11-28-2007 08:13 PM

Darn, I just realized something. Even if I fill the thing with brad nails they are covered up by the drawer slide!!!

OK, so I am just gonna fill those things with nails all they way across. That will reinforce the joint. Maybe even screws with pilot holes? Wow. I wish I had just done that in the first place. That would have really been faster.

Hindsight is 50/50. Live and learn.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4127 days

#12 posted 11-28-2007 10:23 PM


One thing you might want to do is laminate the top. I have laminated MDF as the top and it surely helps a lot (pieces slide much better). Might be too late though.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

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