Last July I blogged about building a new router table as an extension wing of my Table Saw, it worked well, but recently the router started to flex, and no amount of adjustment solved the problem, so it had to go, I don’t think it was the design, so much as the quality of the hardware I was able to get down here.
After searching the internet for a while, I came across another design, that bolts to your workbench. I used my old Bauker plunger router for this, it wont be long before the brushes need replacing, but for now it is working, since buying my trim router I have found that it has been used less and less. First I had to decide on the size of the router table top, I was sure that 30” long by 20” from front to back will be more than adequate, it will be bigger than the old one, and that gave me more than enough working room. The design called for 1” thick material, but the thickest sheets I have are 3/4”, I also want to keep the weight down, so I cut the 3/4” sheet to size, and then cut a strip of 1/2” ply 30” x 8”, to be laminated along the edge, for bolting to the bench, and another piece to be laminated across the middle of the sheet, to let in the router.
After ensuring they were the right size I glued and brad nailed the laminated boards in place. Once dry I marked out where the router would go.
The idea is that the bars supplied with the router will be used to hold it in place, a groove is cut for them to sit in and a piece of wood is clamped over them on either side to stop the router moving, this way the router can be removed from the board in seconds and used freehand if desired. This was my first moment of panic, because I couldn’t find the bars, I never use them, fortunately they turned up in my box of ‘Oddments’.
Firstly I cut out the recess for the router itself, I had to cut just shy of 3/4”, so I did it in several passes, freehand.
Using scrap ply of the same width to act as supports once much of the waste had been removed, after which I used a bull nose bit to cut the grooves for the bars, firstly in the table top.
Then in the pine that will be used to clamp the router in place.
Next came the router lift, this will allow me to adjust the cutting height, by winding a threaded rod from below.
I clamped the router table to the bench, I had intended to use three bolts, but in the end two, with wing nuts were sufficient. I tried out the old fence, it would have worked, albeit a bit on the short side, but whilst I was building a new table, for the time it takes, I might as well build a new purpose fitting fence.
I had just enough plywood left over for the main part of the fence. I also had to get around another problem, my router does not have a permanent ‘on’ switch, so I used electrical tape to keep the trigger in the on position, and looked out my foot pedal, which I placed between the router and the mains, the router now only works if my foot is in the pedal, a good safety measure.
I cut the opening for the bit, using the band saw, and the slots for adjustment, I drilled a hole at either end, and cut the slot with the jigsaw, ready for 1/4” bolts. I glued, and clamped the fence together, when dry I brad nailed it, and added the rear supports using pocket holes.
I cut a 30° reveal along the bottom to stop sawdust / shavings blocking the work-piece. Then, I cut the sliding face fence, putting a 30° angle both at the opening to the bit, and again also along the bottom.
I used scrap 1/2” ply for this, hence the extra holes, but they don’t have any detrimental effect on it’s use.
That done, I made a hinged flap for the vacuum hook-up, disassembled the whole table,and gave all the working area a coat of varnish.
I finished assembly of the Router Table and lift, this morning, and I have to admit that I am disappointed, not in the table but in the lift, there is too much flex when adjusting it, as a result I have had to drive some screws into the frame, for the time being to stop this. I think the only way to remedy it, is to make the lift out of thicker materials, which in turn will add to the weight…not good. However having said that, it looks good!
The table will function for now, but I know I won’t be happy with it, I will have to get it sorted at some stage, however I have some other house maintenance jobs that need to take priority, so it will have to wait. During that time I will decide whether to redesign the lift, or to start again with another design.
Although I hate to admit it, at this moment in time, in my book this classes as a ‘Fail’.
-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright