I’ve nearly completed with Norm’s Deluxe Router Station, which has been fun but challenging. Of course like any other project, I planned on having it completed and be onto the next thing by now, but unfortunately there isn’t enough time in the days, weeks or months! And now it’s cold in the shop, which is why I’m sitting here typing this blog, rather than out in the shop finishing the darn thing!
So the story begins several months ago as I was in desperate need of a router table to make the custom trim work for the kitchen. I had a craftsman router and router table when I first started woodworking and of course in Craftsman style the router broke. I bought a Porter Cable router, which doesn’t fit in the craftsman table, which honestly, I wasn’t too disappointed, the table wasn’t much better than the craftsman router! For a while, I got by using a friends router table, which he was storing in my garage, but then, he finished his shop and took it back. So I began looking for a new router table, considering all the options. I considered the Rockler, benchdog router tables, but concluded that I didn’t want to spend $300-$400 to a table with no storage. I put strong consideration into building a router table in the extension wing of my table saw, which I thought that I could save floor space and even had my father in law make some custom metal brackets to attach to the fence. I concluded that it would be better to keep the table saw and router table separate.
So after seeing another Deluxe Router Station project on Lumberjocks, I sold the wife that I could build the Deluxe Router Station for less money than buying one and have a better table in the end. I know what your thinking, but honestly at the time I didn’t mean to be dishonest with my wife. I ordered the dvd and detailed drawings from Norm’s website, which showed up in the mailbox a few days later. I swept the dvd out of my wife’s hand, as she rolled her eyes and ran to the dvd player. I watched the dvd at least twice that night and thought, no problem.
And the Project Begins…
Soon after, I bought the lumber, which included the birch ply, mdf, and a sheet of laminate…not too bad. I started by building the top, which luckly I had enough scrap oak for the project. I had to cut the top to size with a skill saw and trimmed with flush trim router bit rather than using the table saw, since the top is 35” wide and my table saw fence only goes up to 33”.
I referred back to the dvd a couple of times and made an interesting observation. Watching Norm felt like I was watching an instructional video in fast forward! I have gotten accustomed to the pace and detailed instructions of the WoodWhisperer and other podcasts, that the 22 minute television format doesn’t seem like enough. It seemed like Norm brushed over many of the techniques in the name of fitting the format as opposed to podcasts, that show the techniques, step by step in detail.
I routed the slots for the fence in the top which I found to be difficult getting the bottom 3/4 slot to line up with the top 3/8 slot, while keeping them parallel to the edge using Norm’s method. Needless to say one of the slots is off by about 1/16 of an inch, nothing I’m going to get too worked up over, but was disappointed none the less. I then cut the hole for the rockler router plate following the directions on the video. I had to size the hole down since rockler no longer sells the plate that Norm used in the project. I ended up ordering the template from rockler to cut the hole to final size on the top, which was well worth the money. I’m not totally happy with the support hole for the plate, but it’s functional and I’m a perfectionist! With the levelers, it’s level and there isn’t too much slack in the cutout. If I had to do the top all over, I would probably come up with another technique or jig to make the slots and cut out for the plate.
The case went together fairly well other than some not so flat birch plywood. I bought the plywood at the local big box store, but I figured, it’s only shop furniture. The plywood was flat when I bought it, but turned into a potato chip soon after I brought it home and started cutting it down. I also had difficulty cutting the plywood down with with the skillsaw. Even with the Bora Clamp and saw guide, the cut was straight but the blade of the saw was not making 90 degree cuts. It’s a cheap plywood blade, so all I can figure out is that the blade is flexing. I ended up cutting everything down to rough dimensions, then cutting them to final dimensions on my table saw. Again, I was limited to the width I could cut on the table saw, but the cuts made on the table saw were perfect. Glue up was a little hairy, but only because I don’t have near enough clamps and I tried to glue up too much at once.
Time to Build a Fence
I am currently still working on the fence, in it’s third draft. I cut the base only to discover after checking websites and a trip across town to the Woodsmith Store that I couldn’t get the dust port that Norm used on the fence. I ended up ordering a universal dust port from Woodcraft and remaking the base with a cutout that are the right dimensions. I was most excited to use my new to me bandsaw to make the angled cuts for the support pieces for the fence. All pieces were given a 1/4” round over on the maiden voyage of the router table minus a fence and drawers. And in my style, I screwed up, AGAIN! Nothing big…I was routing the round over on the larger fence pieces and obviously I didn’t have the depth knob tight on the router and it moved, taking a bite out of the top. Don’t worry, I mixed up some epoxy with MDF dust…Good as new! So what’s left on the fence…route the t-slot groves, one more coat of poly on the mdf and assem buh lee.
Drawers and More Drawers
I made a small change to the drawer configuration. The plan calls for two smaller drawers on the lower right and a larger drawer on lower left, but I chose to make two large drawers on the bottom. Call me strange, but I like symmetry. I still need to drill the holes for the bit storage drawers and the other drawers are ready for assembly. I still need to purchase some drawer slides for the bottom drawers, hopefully they fit!
Hopefully very soon, I will be posting the completed project. So how much did I misrepresent the total cost of this project to the wife. Well honestly, I don’t know yet, haven’t even begun to add it up….maybe out of fear. I can say that my router bit collection at the start of this project was limited, but now I have a good start at filling up those router bit storage drawers!