A Proper Router Station Cabinet #4 - Final Touches

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Blog entry by Lenny posted 03-09-2011 12:39 PM 3924 reads 6 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So here is my final post on my Proper Router Station build aka Blake’s Router Station – The Sequel. Please see my blogs section for the prior three posts if you are interested in the whole series. I fashioned the basic cabinet after one Blake built and I want to give him one last word of praise for a great design and execution. Thanks again Blake for answering all questions I threw your way. I added some personal touches, most particularly the accent stripe on the doors and drawers and the drawer pulls.

The cabinet is built under a Porter-Cable 7518 router attached to a Pinnacle v2 router lift and sits in a Woodpecker offset table outfitted with an Incra LS Positioner fence system. The cabinet incorporates a lower chamber that houses a small shop-vac for dedicated dust collection both above and below the router.

The final step was to mount the above-named hardware onto the cabinet base. I began by placing some foam weather stripping on the top edge of the plywood to act as a cushion/seal for the tabletop.

And here is the completed unit with the top in place, screwed down via the corner braces shown in the first photo. It was NOT fun reaching through the top drawer opening to get that rear screw in.

This photo shows the router chamber including the hole at the back that draws the dust down to the shop-vac and the lower chamber that houses the shop-vac:

Here you can see the shop-vac cord coming out the back of the cabinet and entering the upper chamber on the side, where it is plugged into the switch. The other cord is from the switch and gets plugged into the wall outlet. The router of course is also plugged into the switch. The DC hose comes from the shop-vac and runs up to the dust port on the fence system:

The bad news is, I tried out the unit and I have next to no suction. I will have to analyze this to determine where the problem lies. There is a wye connection in the lower chamber that takes the DC to the two locations and the vac is only 2.5 hp. Still, I would expect more suction than is being produced, so I will check all fittings and how well the upper compartment is sealed and go from there.

I thought I would post some close up photos of a drawer handle since they were not that visible in my prior post. Here you can see how I used the Dremel tool to complete the shape of letters when I didn’t want to scroll all the way through, for example, between the two “N”s. You also get a better view of the spacers I made for my fingers.

Also, while this could go in the review area of LJ, I thought I would share a bit about how impressed I was with the packaging of the Woodpecker tabletop. Here is a photo of how it came, corrugated and stiff cardboard, wooden supports all around and strapping. I was impressed and pleased.

Thanks to all who followed my progress on this build and to those stopping by now.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

28 comments so far

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile


273 posts in 2417 days

#1 posted 03-09-2011 01:11 PM

Hi Lenny,

If I made something that beautiful….heck…..I’d keep it in my living room. What woodworker would not want such a great place to put his beer and pizza ?
Nice Job Lenny!
Can’t wait to see your next piece. Your a talanted and imaginative wood worker for sure.!


-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile


273 posts in 2417 days

#2 posted 03-09-2011 01:14 PM

Hi again Len,

Just a thought here…you might want to try smooth pipe…what I used for my clothes dryer. The ripples in the flex hose probably causes drag on the vacuum. Also,....I would be sure to put in a HEPA FILTER in your vacuum…otherwise the finest particulate dust will excape and become airborne. Cellulose has been already verified as a carcenogen.

-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View ellen35's profile


2649 posts in 2430 days

#3 posted 03-09-2011 01:18 PM

Lenny! Those handles are about the most creative handles I have ever seen… certainly one of a kind!
As a matter of fact, that router cabinet is one of a kind.
Looking forward to seeing it in person one of these days!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View SPalm's profile


5158 posts in 2879 days

#4 posted 03-09-2011 03:11 PM

My that is pretty. I want one.

Thoughts about the suction: I also would think that smooth pipe would help, but you still need it flexible, and I don’t know such a pipe. But a bigger thing is that I don’t see any exhaust for the output of the vac. The air that goes in must go out, and there is no out. (?)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View patron's profile


13394 posts in 2338 days

#5 posted 03-09-2011 04:00 PM

way nice lenny
and it even has your name on it !

what is the vent for in the door ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Lenny's profile


1355 posts in 2524 days

#6 posted 03-09-2011 04:54 PM

Thanks for the kind comments everyone. I plan to put on a lab coat and run some tests today but for the time being here are some comments. Paul, while it’s true that flexible hose has more drag, you’ll notice that just about all shop-vacs have flexible hose and work fine or at least sufficiently. I think there is either a leak or maybe the 2.5 hp unit just can’t handle suction from two locations even though the run is very short. Ellen, thanks so much. I have to admit that I am proud of those handles! As for seeing them in person, isn’t it about time we had one of those get-togethers again? Steve and David, I will respond to both of you at once. I don’t know much about such things but I know a vacuum would starve for air if confined in a small space. That is the reason for the floor register in the upper door. When the vac is turned on, it sucks in the dust via the air that is pulled in through the register. Is the air being pulled in enough for output too? I don’t know. When the system didn’t work, I tried running it with the bottom door open and still no luck. One of my first tests today will be to take out the vac and connect it outside the cabinet to see what happens. Steve, I am hoping Blake stops in to see this post and will chime in. He did not incorporate an air outlet in his cabinet. I will keep you posted.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2670 days

#7 posted 03-09-2011 05:12 PM

Hello Lenny, thats goingto be one fine router table. What brand of router do you have in it?

View Blake's profile


3441 posts in 2872 days

#8 posted 03-09-2011 05:40 PM

Looks great Lenny.

Air in equals air out….

So if there is nowhere for air to leave the cabinet after it exits the shop vac, you will not get any air movement. You need a vent in the back of the lower part of the cabinet… more than big enough to allow the pressurized air out from the vac exhaust. I think this is your main problem.

The more holes you open on the “in” side, the less suck each one will have. So when you split the hose to both above and below the table, each one has only HALF the suck. Then, for the lower hose, if you have an opening at the router bit and one at your front vent, you are splitting the suck in half again.

I have a blast gate that controls my upper hose, and I leave it closed most of the time. Then I open/close my front vent as needed (based on the size of the throat opening at my router bit) to make sure that I have just the right amount of cross-ventilation vs. suction.

My front vent actually stays in the closed position but is loose enough so that the suction in the cabinet pulls the vanes open slightly when the vacuum is on…. I just got lucky in the fact that is is kind of self-regulating.

Good luck.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Lenny's profile


1355 posts in 2524 days

#9 posted 03-09-2011 07:20 PM

Thanks C.J. Hi Blake. Thanks for stopping by and for the input on the vacuum system. I tried various things this morning with the following results: I took the vac out of the lower chamber and hooked it up outside the cabinet. When I tested it, there was little to no change. Next I closed off the side that goes to the fence and just ran the lower portion. Again, maybe a bit more suction but not sufficient. Finally I hooked the lower portion to my 5 hp shop-vac and finally got what I would call sufficient suction. In my opinion, the 2.5 hp vac (and even a 3 hp) is insufficient to effectively capture dust from above and below. I am considering dropping the dedicated dust collection all together and running the upper collection directly to my 4” dust collection system via a 2-1/2” to 4” adaptor. We shall see. I was not aware that you installed a rear vent when you did your build. Maybe you didn’t highlight it in your posts. Thanks again Blake.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4426 posts in 2192 days

#10 posted 03-09-2011 07:51 PM

Hiya Lenny,

I think that both you and Blake nailed the problem pretty good… vac not big enough to handle the air
flow and suction for both ports… need to go bigger…good idea at the time, though.

here’s a couple pixs of my set-up…it works great, and captures almost all the dust from both places…something you might think about changing…..... Rick.

-- " Geezer.......Not young.....Not dead....Somewhere in between.."

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2883 days

#11 posted 03-09-2011 08:28 PM

Great as always! :-))

I really like your dust hookup on the back. Please keep us informed when using the Incra jig, I have one and the learning curve was so steep it’s sitting on a shelf ?

No suction: Try covering the louvre deal on the front and see what happens. IMHO you might have to permanently cover it.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Lenny's profile


1355 posts in 2524 days

#12 posted 03-09-2011 08:30 PM

Hi Rick. Thanks for the input and suggestion. I see that with a homemade fence, you were able to bring 4” hose directly to it. My LS Positioner (fence system) has a 2-1/2” dust port. One thought is to use a 4” wye like you have, run 4” hose to the router chamber and use 2-1/2” hose with a 2-1/2” to 4” adaptor to the other side of the wye. Lots to consider.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Lenny's profile


1355 posts in 2524 days

#13 posted 03-09-2011 08:37 PM

Thanks John. Assuming the router compartment is airtight, closing that vent would be like putting your hand over your shop vac hose. It starves for air. A vacuum sucks in air and the dust and debris in the way happens to go along with it. That vent needs to be open at least a bit. Blake alluded to it being a fine line as to how much. You have an Incra jig sitting on a shelf? That’s an expensive knick knack John. I haven’t even begun to use the tool for the many joints it can make but if nothing else it imakes for a very accurate router table.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4426 posts in 2192 days

#14 posted 03-09-2011 08:52 PM


That will work. That’s how I had mine set up at first, with the 4” going to the router chamber, and a 2 1/2” hose going up to the fence…It works good, but with 4 and 4, it’s much better…..I just leave mine open on both inlets….I went back and looked at your set-up. I think it will work with what we discussed here.

But I would deffinently hook it up to your D.C. if you can….so much better…. Oh… and I followed your blog all the way through…..Great job on the r.t…..beautiful…... EDIT: the router table and fence is just a Norm Abrahm NYW system….

-- " Geezer.......Not young.....Not dead....Somewhere in between.."

View Lenny's profile


1355 posts in 2524 days

#15 posted 03-09-2011 09:14 PM

Thank you Rick. I am at least happy with the look of the end result. What do you mean JUST a Norm Abram NYW system? That borders on blasphemy Rick!

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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