Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #21: Quick and Dirty Mod for my Cheapo Router Table.........but not quick and dirty enuf......

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 03-14-2010 05:51 AM 3467 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 20: More progress on the Crosscut Sled, a Travel Stop Part 21 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 22: Done with the Router Table Mod...Dirty, but NOT QUICK. LJ's is to blame.....SHAME!..... »

Spent a lot of time yesterday and today, just making my old cheapo router table that I bought long ago, Vermont American, fit my new router. It fit it fine, except, the only way to get the motor in and out was to remove the table from the base, the legs were not high enuf. I could change bits above the table, adjust the height of the bit from above the table, things I never expected when I bought this emergency rotor replacement, although I did a lot of research in a couple hours deciding which router to get. I got the Bosch 1617 EVSPK. Dyanamite router kit, with both fixed and plunge bases. The fixed one is for the table, which I think is the reverse of the usual. In any case the whole kit is a delight. Quality stuff and top rated, ain’t the internet great?..........(-:

...........but even from the reviews, I didn’t understand that I could change bits above the table, and set the height above the table….....those features were recent additions.

Another issue, the router table did not have good dust collection, so might as well fix that while I was at it.

Made a SketchUp Plan, measured everything in detail so that the new wood parts would fit the metal table top.

So, planning to put a router table in my TS cabinet extension as the long range and quality solution, this was suppose to be quick and dirty. Somehow it is taking me awhile. I will dwell more on that tomorrow, but today, I will just give some background.

This is especially for DennisGrosen…..who likes picture books….........for you Dennis…..........(-:

This is the parts to the table, I cut them out on my yet to be completed sled. I need a functioning router table to complete the sled miter arms, and some other gizmos for the sled…............

I am using some old warped plywood, might as well get rid of it on this quick and dirty doesn’t have to last for long, maybe 6 to 18 months at most.

Decided to put the switch for the router, and the plug in strip in the door. There wasn’t much other room in front, where I thought the switch ought to be.

Cut out the window with my scroll saw. Then I routed out the section for the bracket for the plug in strip freehand, worked pretty good. Squared up the corners with a chisel….....pretty standard stuff. Set back the strip about 1/4 inch to give enuf wood to mount it on.

And here is the plug in strip sitting in its place…............

..........the router table top from the bottom, with the fixed base attached, and the extensions now separated…....

... and here is what I used as a router table to round the edges of things, since sharp edges are hard on my arms and hands, an old persons problem…..........the B&D work table is 30 years old, but still comes in to use now and then….....

Here is an old project, my benchtop downdraft table in use, with my old Hitachi orbital sander, and the door to the router table on the way, sitting on Bench Cookies from Rockler, a great combo with my downdraft table.......

So a lot more tomorrow, I have glued up and finished the mod, and I am part way throught the electrical, a whole new story….........

..........this is not quick and dirty enough…..........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

8 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3298 days

#1 posted 03-14-2010 12:47 PM

Looks good Jim. I have a relatively new Work Mate B&D folding bench a got about 5 years ago. It was the display model and the last one on hand at my local home improvement center. I was super lucky and got it for 1/3 the usual price. What a deal! Also in spite of having a well equipped shop I have used it often for outdoor and away from home projects and it even comes in handy in in the shop occasionally.

I’m glad your happy with your new router. That model has had many positive reviews and with table height adjustment it can’t be beat.

I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems to me that the B&D bench might be good for some types of hand held routing. A board could be placed between and level with the top surface of the jaws which would leave a nice surface on either side of the router to run on.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4263 days

#2 posted 03-14-2010 12:51 PM

Your old router table looks pretty young yet at age thirty. <(;0}#

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3128 days

#3 posted 03-14-2010 04:54 PM

That old Work Mate shows the earmarks of going through the first remodel of this house in 1985. It was not extensive, we repainted the ceilings, repainted the woodwork, and we redid the kitchen. I think I had someone else install the cabinets, but I did the rewiring in the kitchen for the stove and double oven, as well as adding enough outlets for a modern kitchen, and walling in an open space to gain cupboard space. But I bought that Work Mate in Fairbanks, probably about 1980. The most important thing is that it folds up. I have used it countless times and hours, but I think it should be retired. Either that, or refurbished. I could probably do the latter, but I might be better off buying something similar and new.

Should have more on the router table today with any luck. It has had its coat of Watco, and I am in the process of wiring it.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3128 days

#4 posted 03-14-2010 04:58 PM

Can’t remember when I bought the router table, maybe 15 years ago, and didn’t use it much until recently. But it set up well with a couple of clamps in the Work Mate. The top is press fit to the new frame, which will have good dust collection. All I have to do is put in a few screws to hold it on. But I should have pictures before the day is out. I did not intend to put this much work into it, but I had to sand it because my arms and back of my hands bruise easily when hitting sharp surfaces. Oh well, I suspect it will get a lot of use.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3138 days

#5 posted 03-14-2010 07:30 PM

Is it just me?

I swear … there’s something about Jim Bertelson’s posting style—the text and the pictures—that could fascinate me … even if the topic was how he made himself a peanut butter sandwich, for lunch!!

Jim? I have never in my life seen a squarer cut. I ‘grabbed’ the image, and measured it against a virtual engineer’s square … and … it’s at least to the 0.0003” tolerance of the online Groz.

Good show, Man. Good show!!

-- -- Neil

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3079 days

#6 posted 03-14-2010 08:35 PM

No Neil it is not just you :-)

thank´s for the book Jim I´m pleased thank you very much :—))
and I´m with you on that above table adjustment I can understand
how it´s done with the plunge router but I deffentlig can´t see it
for me when you say it is possible with the fixed base but if you can
have that lucky for you
I think the plunge router is the most used here in Denmark I have
never seen them with fixed base and never heard that a pro. use
them here either

the B&D work mate even on the small side for me is probebly the
best folding bench ever made for DIY people heavy enoff to stand on
light enoff so you remmember to cary it around and have a clever
vice build into it
I never had one but I will considder buying one if I have to make
a remodeling again

nice little down draft table you have there but is there enoff
downdraft those holes looks big to me
but what do I know I have never heard of a downdraft table
before I entered L J


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3128 days

#7 posted 03-15-2010 12:19 AM

Thanks for the attaboys, I need them. I just finished this project at 1400hrs on Sunday. Quick and dirty my a—.

Gonna have to watch Alice in Wonderland, Matrix, and a few other fantasies before my brain is befuddled enuf to believe your measurement techniques…...........(-:

Yes, I was perplexed when I first read the instructions on the Bosch, but yup, you use the fixed for under the table, they even sell a dedicated version of the fixed base without the handles for under the table. Don’t ask me. All I know is that it works well. But you can adjust the height above table, although the range is not as great as with the plunge, although I don’t think that is important, and you can push it up high enough to change bits above table, just did it today.

The downdraft table depends on a substantial dust collector air flow, which my DC has. It has the most powerful motor in the shop. If you notice, one of the panels has no holes. The three panels are exchangeable for each other and I have another blank, and another panel with holes. So you can have one one to three panels with holes depending on what you are working on. That’s another strange solution from my perverted mind. I exchange panels all the time as I move from one part of the project to another.

That old B&D Work Mate has served long and well, about 30 years.

Well, off to find a bit to eat, and to do the blog about the router table. Done with the shop this weekend, phew….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3079 days

#8 posted 03-15-2010 12:52 AM

clever way of doing it with the downdraft and becourse the peice you are working on
allso cover some holes and this give you even more downdraft around the piece
I will think of this the day I need a downdrafttable tank´s for the tip


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