I have a pretty small basement shop. It’s not set up perfectly, but given the constraints I am working with, I think I’ve done pretty well with it. I have:
- a very fragile-looking old water main coming in one wall about 12” above the floor
- steam heating pipes bisecting the shop area right in the middle, about 6ft above the floor. I am 6’1”
- a walk-out door and a set of 5 stairs leading down to the basement on one wall
- about 10×22 feet of total space with a steel lally column smack in the middle of it
Given those constraints, I decided that I don’t have the room for a standalone router table. I then looked into building an extension for my Ridgid TS3650, since there’s a good amount of dead space to the right of the blade that really isn’t useable for anything else. On that saw, the rear fence rail extends about 15 1/2” past the right wing. I decided that 15 1/2” would be perfect to fit a router table into.
I started by laminating two pieces of pre-finished maple plywood together. I love the pre-finished stuff, and I had a little left over from a recent project, so I glued two 3/4” pieces together using construction adhesive. I roughed up the finish surface to give the glue something to bond to, since I wasn’t 100% sure even the polyurethane construction adhesive would stick to the factory finish on the plywood. I knew wood glue wouldn’t stick.
I then mitered and cut some scraps of 1×2 maple and poplar (I only had enough maple for two sides) and glued it onto the plywood.
I drilled three 3/8” holes in the cast iron extension wing to bolt the table to it. I chose 3/8” mainly because that’s the only cobalt drill bit I have on hand. My original plan was to use threaded inserts in the router table and simply tighten a hex bolt from underneath the table into the insert.
However, the only 3/8” threaded inserts I could find at the local hardware store were brass. I bought one to try it, but there is no possible way to thread that big a piece of brass into maple. The maple is just too hard, and the insert too soft. I ended up drilling a large hole in the bottom perpendicular to the hole in the end to allow me to put a washer and nut on the bolt. Not unlike what you’d do with a bed or a workbench.
With an extra pair of hands, I clamped the table into position flush with the cast iron table and marked for the holes in the router table. That’s how I located the side bolt locations. At the same time I marked where the middle of the t-slot would be on the end of router table so I could mark for the bolts into the rails.
In that picture, you’re actually seeing the square head bolts that go into the t-slot in the fence rails, not the regular hex bolts that go into the cast iron table. I got a box of 10 square head bolts from Amazon for $8.
After all that drilling, I got out the jigsaw and cut the opening for the router lift I’d had sitting around for a few years now. I ran across a good Craigslist deal on a Jessm Rout-r-Lift about three years ago, even though I had no plans for a router table at that point. It was a “someday” project. I snapped it up for $35.
Even further back (maybe 4 year ago), I had come across a guy on Craigslist selling a working Freud FT3000VCE router with a broken handle for $15. We settled on $10. I knew it would be a perfect router for a table, since I only needed the motor and switch to work for that purpose. So I’ve had the pieces in place for a while now, I just needed to spend the time to make a table.