Necessity is the mother of invention. I have this saying above the doorway into my shop because just about every day I am having to create something new to be able to complete what work I have set out for that day. Yesterday it was a portable router table to replace the piece of $#!* Skil router table I bought from HD some time back. The router table has always been a pain in my arse and was never truly good for routing anything well. When I milled all the pieces for my Greene and Greene style clock and it became time to route out the rabbits for the stiles I just about cringed when thinking about using that crappy Skil router table. I remembered all the curse words I used when making my planter boxes using the table and did not want to even touch this gorgeous Mahogany with that horrible waste of money and material that didn’t deserve the title “router table”. So, I scoured the internet and came across a video by a gentleman name Trip on Youtube. His channel SailingandSuch can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/SailingandSuch. the video on his portable router table peaked my interest and looked to be exactly what I was looking for. Armed with my new video knowledge, I headed to Home Depot to buy a quarter sheet of half inch plywood for my new table. I wanted to build this table from a quarter sheet of plywood for two reasons. One being that I had to get it into my car because the trailer has a seized bearing and two, I figured that there would be other people such as myself who do not and or can not lug around full sheets of plywood to and from. This will be the every mans router table!
So on to the build…
This is the start of all this. I bought this router a couple years ago from HD to do a bunch or round over work I was doing at the time. The table itself is not all that bad. As long as you do not need the fence and you do not mind that the router shifts with even the slightest pressure and moves all around making accurate cuts impossible… IMPOSSIBLE!!! I can’t remember what I paid for it but I will never buy another Skil product again and will never buy something I can make myself.
I started out by cutting off a section 16 1/8” with the 1/8” to be cut off later when I glue up the stiffeners. I added strips to the underside to both stiffen up the top as well as give it a recess in which the table base would fit into and lock the top. I used a 1 1/4” forstner bit for the bit opening and used the base of my PC router to align center and mark the holes for mounting. I picked up some 3/4 inch 10-24 machine screws when I bought the plywood to attach the router base firmly.
The pieces were also cut and attached in this manor to maximise the quarter sheet of plywood. I wanted to get the entire project out of a single sheet and not have to use any more.
While the top was drying, I ripped all the base material and cross cut all the sections to final dimension
The legs of the base are glued at a 90 degree angle to greatly stiffen the table and make it more stable. in my original design before coming across Trips video I was going to use 2×4 material but I’m glad I went this route as it gives me more space to work with under the table and is rock solid.
I glued on the stretchers making sure everything was square and pin nailing it in place before adding clamps for good measure. The base sits perfectly flat and has no wobble at all when sitting on my table saw.
With the base complete, I was able to route out the grooves perfectly and have uniform depth throughout all the grooves, something I was NEVER able to do with the POS Skil router table. The fence in the picture was one I built for the Skil table because the plastic crappy one that came with it was not straight and would always cause the material to hang up on the back side of the bit and would shift all the time. You can use a piece of hardwood or even a 2×4 thats been trued up on a jointer clamped directly to the table as a fence.
With my new DIY router table, I was able to get perfect grooves and Rabbets making for a perfectly aligned and true clock case. This table it going to get a lot of use in the future, something I never would have said for the Skil table.
I’d like to thank Trip and anyone interested in building a DIY router table like this one should definitely check out his Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/SailingandSuch.
-- Are you going to use that piece of scrap?