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Adjustable Height Worktable/Router table and more

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Project by MT_Stringer posted 06-04-2014 04:31 AM 3491 views 47 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a new mobile workstation for my small workshop (one car garage). I have built a few cabinets and needed something lower than my worktable so I can assemble the cabinet carcases.

So, I got to thinking. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to build something I can use a lot and for different things. My original thoughts and plan have gone through several iterations, mostly in my head, and while I am asleep!

Listed below were my expectations:

  • Adjustable height work table
  • Lowest position to be used to assemble cabinets or other projects that are too tall to assemble on the work table
  • Make it easy to adjust the height either when raising or lowering the top
  • Set the height at a comfortable height for sanding operations.
  • Build a sanding station to clamp onto the table (future project)
  • Incorporate the design so the table can be positioned level with the work table (34 1/2 inches) to help support projects longer than 48 inches.

Table top size is 30×37 inches

Note: The table height at the lowest position is 28 inches. The highest position is about 39 inches. Thirty seven inches is just right for my comfort level when routing.

Design

With the help and advice of my friend MobilePaul, I decided to build a frame using 2×4 premium studs from the big box store. I ripped off the round edges leaving 1 1/2×3 inch stock with which to build. Some glue, some screws and some pocket screws and a few clamps and I wound up with a nice sturdy frame.

The top portion consists of a similar frame attached to four legs. Each leg is simply two pieces of 3/4 inch Baltic Birch glued and screwed together. One side of each leg has a routed slot in it. I drilled and installed two 3/8 inch bolts for each leg. They are glued into the lower framework. I used the Gorilla glue and they are stuck like Chuck! Some fender washers and 3/8” knobs from Woodriver (Woodcraft) round out the adjustable part. Note: When prepping for final cuts before assembling the upper frame, I put several pieces of plastic (flexible cutting board) between the frame and each leg to force a little clearance, then cut my pieces and put them together.

The 3/4 inch top has an edge band around all four sides and filler strips underneath in between to edge and the frame. This provides 1 1/2 inch thick edges for clamps. I rounded off the corners and then cover the top with a piece of Formica.

To facilitate raising and lowering the table I bought a scissor jack from Harbor Freight. It is big, but I made the decision based on the fact that it came with a speed wrench and a hex head on the jack. I could hook up an impact wrench and get-after-it if I wanted to.

I mounted the jack on a couple of 2×6’s I had laying around. A couple of pieces of scrap 1/2 inch plywood filled in the open area on either side of the jack.

After some careful measuring to determine the jacks’ maximum height and it’s lowest position, I fabricated a “spacer” which is working out great. I made it using more short plywood cutoffs with pocket screws and screws and glue. The jack is bolted to the frame and the spacer is bolted to the jack. I didn’t attach the spacer to the top frame. Just no need to do it.

If you look closely at the top frame, you will see a couple of cross braces. They are attached with pocket screws only (no glue).

Table design – rev 1

So there I was admiring my work when it hit me- why not install a router plate on one end? The way the frame and cross members are placed, a router plate will fit nicely and be well supported. This a perfect opportunity to resolve some issues I have been dealing with. The opening in the Rockler plate is too small for my raised panel bit to fit through. So, I bought a Kreg plate pre-drilled for the Bosch 1617. It has a 3 9/16’s inch opening so the bit will fit. It also comes with a wrench for twist lock quick insert plate changes. This should work out well.

To protect the router, I will remove it and drop in a filler plate when I assemble a project.

Table design – rev 2

When I checked my email, I had received an email from Highland Woodworking. It just so happened they had the Triton 3 1/4 hp router on sale! So I ordered it and another Kreg plate predrilled for the Triton (including the hole for the height adjustment tool to fit through.

When I started this project, all I wanted was a shorter table for assembly work. Those plans have changed dramatically.

The dual router installation turned out nice. After routing the recessed lips and cut the remainder away, I installed some brass threaded inserts and 1/4 inch capscrews so I could level the plates.

Hope you like the pictures.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas





23 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

15304 posts in 1936 days


#1 posted 06-04-2014 08:29 AM

Great build and idea…. Sweet set up and love that you can adjust the height! this will serve you for many yrs to come I’m sure A+

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View SteveKorz's profile

SteveKorz

2131 posts in 2462 days


#2 posted 06-04-2014 10:08 AM

Looks terrific!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Roger's profile

Roger

15305 posts in 1552 days


#3 posted 06-04-2014 12:00 PM

Very good fabrication and engineering Mike. Looks gr8

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View eztrigger's profile

eztrigger

95 posts in 675 days


#4 posted 06-04-2014 12:36 PM

I love the scissor jack. adding this to my idea list!

-- "Some get spiritual 'cause they see the light, and some 'cause they feel the heat." --Ray Wiley Hubbard

View ChrisK's profile

ChrisK

1282 posts in 1829 days


#5 posted 06-04-2014 12:42 PM

Nice table. I like the idea of a table that has two routers in it. I think my next router table will include two routers. That will make some projects go a lot faster by not having to reset the router when you have to make new or replace damaged parts.

-- Chris K

View hotncold's profile

hotncold

588 posts in 292 days


#6 posted 06-04-2014 01:27 PM

Great idea and very well done!

-- Dennie - Tennessee - Every Pro was once an Amateur. Every Expert was once a Beginner. So dream Big and start Now!

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1586 posts in 1020 days


#7 posted 06-04-2014 01:46 PM

Now that’s a work horse of a table.
Thoughtfully designed, solid construction, multifunctional and compact enough for the smaller shops yet sized to be a workable assembly table.
I’ve enjoyed my Triton 3 1/4 hp router, mounted in that Kreg plate for a little over a year now, so I’m certain you will be pleased with that choice. It spins the Big bits and stile and rail bits effortlessly.

Very well appointed table. Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards. – Len
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

468 posts in 1125 days


#8 posted 06-04-2014 02:11 PM

Very cool Mike, I’ve been pondering something like this as well. Is this the jack you used:

http://t.harborfreight.com/http-www-harborfreight-com-1-1-2-half-ton-scissor-jack-66907-html.html

If so, just curious why you didn’t go with this one:

http://t.harborfreight.com/2-1-4-quarter-ton-trailer-stabilizer-jack-96406.html

Thanks for your input.

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2106 posts in 1979 days


#9 posted 06-04-2014 03:25 PM

Matt, it is the second one you linked to. Mainly because it came with a speed wrench and has a hex head on the jack screw.

Thanks for all replies. I still need to make a couple of filler plates to cover the openings when I do assembly work. And add a couple of paddle switches for starting and stopping.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Knothead62's profile

Knothead62

2364 posts in 1709 days


#10 posted 06-04-2014 04:16 PM

Sheer genius! That is a great design with multiple uses. Thanks for sharing the pictures and detailed project.

View neverenougftackle's profile

neverenougftackle

195 posts in 594 days


#11 posted 06-04-2014 05:11 PM

Hi Mike, When I first saw the adjustment knobs in your, Adjustable Table I immediately ask my self how does he get those knobs to hold under pressure. Several decades ago I made an adjustable saw horse from one of those soft back books of “Shop Tips and Tricks” . The week point and also its supposedly key feature is those holding knobs. THEN I saw your jack idea,,,,,,OK say’es I, that would work !!!!! HEY Mike, how does that saying go, about building a better mouse trap ????

Question Mike,,,,,,could the jack and its ply. support be reversed ??? I am at the age I dis like bending over so much. Something libable to pop out of its socket.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2106 posts in 1979 days


#12 posted 06-04-2014 05:33 PM

“Question Mike,,,,,,could the jack and its ply. support be reversed ??? I am at the age I dis like bending over so much. Something libable to pop out of its socket.”

In my case, that would interfere with the routers. as you jack raise or lower the jack, the screw also raises or lowers since it is in the middle of the scissors.

There won’t be any problem with the knobs (knocking on wood). :-) They are holding securely. The only time I will change heights is for the different operations such as routing, project assembly, sanding, or to level it with my worktable at 34 1/2 inches to use it as an extension for long projects.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

12347 posts in 1853 days


#13 posted 06-04-2014 06:20 PM

Nice design, Mike!!...........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View steve_in_ohio's profile

steve_in_ohio

1167 posts in 358 days


#14 posted 06-04-2014 08:57 PM

awesome design, great work

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View prospector45's profile

prospector45

135 posts in 478 days


#15 posted 06-06-2014 01:28 AM

Extremely well designed and constructed. Will last a long time

-- Skilled craftsman are not cheap, cheap craftsman are not skilled. Bert, Wooster

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

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