The Router Table Saga #1: The setup

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Mark Shymanski posted 03-28-2008 05:42 AM 973 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Router Table Saga series Part 2: My first *JIG*!!! »

I’m finally setting up a shop in the east half of our two-car garage. I’ve got some rudimentary tools and even more rudimentary skills and a whole lot of enthusiasm and a very understanding Wife, so I bought a router to add to the 20+ year old fixed base B+D router I have. (I will have to write a review of the Triton 2 1/4 horse router when I’ve put it through its paces).

Working on our dining room table a chair set that a buddy of mine was making for us I asked him about what was important in a router table. He pretty much concurred with the reading I’d been doing about the key features (Flatness, rigidity, smoothness, large enough work area, fencing etc). I’d priced out commercially available ones, and ones that are of a reasonable size start at about $300 and go up (man that Benchdog cast table…). I took this as an opportunity to build something better that what can be purchased ( a common affliction amongst woodworkers I understand :-) so set about reading a whole lot more on design and use of router tables and then decided to make my own. I’ve worked with AutoCAD a fair bit (did my thesis using AutoLISP and a whip and chair to get the software to do what I needed…but that’s a whole ‘nother story) and knew that software design was the way I wanted to go (can’t draw a straight line with a ruler;-) and had heard about Google’s Sketchup (from a Canadian woodworking magazine). Downloaded it, being a typical guy I didn’t read the instructions and just started playing with it….after going back to the tutorials I got up to speed in no time and sketched out what I thought I wanted. I really like the ability to putter around with different joints, angles etc and see what the project will look like (then I found the rendering bit and was really happy with the process). I created a model and have started creating sawdust. The interesting thing I’m finding is that since I had to ‘build it’ in sketchup I have a much better idea of how I am actually going to accomplish this project.

Its late here and Jenn has suggested that 0500 comes really early so I’d better quit blogging. I’ll get more to the point next time.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

6 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3952 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 05:44 AM

That’s what design software is for. Do all the thinking up front. That’s the real work.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3839 days

#2 posted 03-28-2008 11:12 AM

I am glad to hear about your design process. Sounds like you have it down pretty good. I sure wish I could come to grips with SketchUp.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3786 days

#3 posted 03-28-2008 12:00 PM

Hi Mark,

Your post makes a lot of sense. Sketchup is a nice tool. Doing the virtual build first does indeed enable us to better understand what is going on when we get to the actual build itself.

Thanks for your post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ww_kayak's profile


70 posts in 3689 days

#4 posted 03-28-2008 03:45 PM

I’ve found that if I build it, in Sketchup( or whatever), the way I would in real life, it forces me to make mistakes, or see design flaws, before I cut a piece of wood. Plus I can use it, during lunch of course, to get my shop fix while I’m at work ;)

AutoLISP… Thesis?... Man you could write stuff that creates moldings, compound curves, joints, and tons of other stuff all at the click of a button :)

-- Tom, Central New York

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3677 days

#5 posted 03-28-2008 04:16 PM

Well I’m back… sometimes I’m glad computers are never as fast as I want them to be as it allows me time to read explore LJ more.

Yeah the software really lets me figure out stuff I would have done out in the shop dulling bits and burning wood in the process. I really like the ability to putter with designs first. I’ve still got to work on the dimensioning.

Thanks for the comments about my process rikkor, I found once I adopted the Sketchup way of doing things whilst using it…it is unlike many of the drawing packages out there, drawing became much easier to work with. Once I stopped doing CAD type stuff with it and used it more as a design/sketch pad it started working for me. The videos and tutorials really helped also.

AutoLISP is a deep dark black recursive hole I never want to explore again. The darkest most troublesome caveing experience I ever had was no where near as scary as doing AutoLISP… Give me C or even .Net stuff any day. Now I’m going to have to spend more hours in the shop to drown the AutoLISP blues ;-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View ww_kayak's profile


70 posts in 3689 days

#6 posted 03-29-2008 04:58 AM

HAHAHAHA… been there ;)

-- Tom, Central New York

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics