My first router table was one of those real small tables you can get at your local HD. I think it cost about $45. It worked OK but for longer pieces it just wasn’t the one I wanted to keep past a year or so. My son bought it for me as a Christmas gift. Nice son – you betcha.
A couple of years go by and I received a Rockler router table as a gift. The next day I went out and bought the steel legs and locking casters to go with it. Now I had a good router table. About a year later I bought a router lift for the table. Now, I really was in business.
Then, of course, Norm has to go and build his Router Table II. I was now truly inspired. I made a cabinet to surround the router table legs. Put an upper shelf in the table that was sloped to help get rid of sawdust and chips into the shop vac. On the lower shelf I divided it in half and put another shelf on the right side to hold wrenches and the like. The larger side on the bottom left is used to store another router and the plate from the original small router table plus anything else I wanted to put in there.
I used a good grade birch plywood for the sides. The face frame and doors were from poplar. I had never cut miters for doors before so I experimented with that. The top door has a plexiglas window so I can see just how much stuff is in it so I know when to clean it out. My dust extraction is a 4 hp shop vac so it is not powerful enough to extract everything.
I took off the switch from the old table and used it on the new one. The router was a PC690 1 ¾ hp model. About a month or so ago, I was making the blanket chest and was going to do some serious routing and wanted to get a more powerful router that would be dedicated to the table. Upon looking in the router lift manual I discovered the only models that would fit, I didn’t want to buy a new router lift, were the PC 890, a DeWalt and a Makita. I just didn’t want to spend $200 plus so I went on EBay and found a PC890 2 ¼ hp variable speed soft start motor, with no base, for $129. I ordered that, installed it and I am one happy camper. I don’t really do any heavy duty routing where I need a 3 hp plus router. Yet.
I store a couple of homemade jigs on the back side of the cabinet. One jig is a coping sled and the other is to hold small pieces when I route freehand. I also made another fence of 4’ x 2’ melamine to use when I have to stand some pieces up against the fence. I routed a T-Slot in it so it fits in against the metal rails of the fence. It takes less than 5 minutes to remove the standard fence and replace it with the tall one.
I now try to use the router table for almost everything. It is one of the most important additions to the shop.
-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.