Router table upgrade

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Project by Bulkhead posted 03-02-2015 12:16 AM 1614 views 6 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was one of my first “projects” completed late last summer. I picked up a Porter Cable 7518 installed in a Rockler lift and table for $300. The stand was the common, open framed steel stand you see frequently in their stores and catalog.

I wanted to enclose it to manage dust and add drawers for storage. While there are many really nice router tables showcased on the site, I didn’t want to spend the time or money on such a table but didn’t want the dust created by an open stand table either.

So a little hardboard, poplar, a piece of plexiglass and some basic electrical component and baltic birch for drawers, and voila – I had a simple router table.

The cavity below the table slopes down from front to back as do the sides, so gravity works with the vacuum to gather all chips. I used detachable hinges for the small door on the front so it can be removed. The router speed selector is facing the front of the table for easy changes.

There is a small drawer up top due to the sloping floor of the dust collection cavity and it is as deep as it is to accommodate the lift and router in its lowest position.

The lower drawer is much larger and is a welcome storage location for both router specific things as well as other small items.

Regarding the electrical, I opted to use an externally mounted outlet that is wired to the on/off switch for connecting the router. While I could have directly connected the router to the switch, I wanted the flexibility to unplug the router and not have to swap cords. I was reluctant to recess the outlet and switch into the dust collection cavity below the router table due to dust, but am rethinking that decision now. I don’t like the exposed wires and boxes but wonder if dust within those would be a hazard..that was my original reason for not putting them in the cabinet.

This project was really an opportunity for me to use the equipment I had recently acquired as I outfitted my shop. I used the router itself for the drawer fronts and an Earlex sprayer to apply the water-based urethane finish to the drawers. Both worked great..

For a little effort and money, I think I ended up with a very functional table and sharpened some skills. Hope this can serve as an inspiration for a “middle of the line” router table for others!

4 comments so far

View Steve187's profile


34 posts in 1746 days

#1 posted 03-02-2015 12:42 AM

I don’t yet consider myself a “woodworker” because that, to me, conveys a level of skill I don’t think I have acquired . . . WHAT????? This router table upgrade looks awesome. In my world, if I’m successful in fastening two boards together at a true 90’ angle I load the family up and take them to Dairy Queen for a dipped ice cream cone and celebrate. lol
Regarding the electrical, could you maybe use a little caulk to seal any “leaks” after you install the junction boxes? I don’t see dust as a problem. Also, you could use those gray watertight boxes and conduit. (Just a thought).
Again, awesome job Bulkhead. Look forward to seeing pics of the kids activity room remodel. GO NAVY.

-- Steve (North Louisiana, near Ruston)

View David Drummond's profile

David Drummond

97 posts in 2083 days

#2 posted 03-04-2015 01:39 AM

Looks great! Nice use of dead space. One thing I would like to mention though is the drawer joinery. It should be rotated 90 degrees to take advantage of the strength of the joint like the picture below. This does two things; 1) hides the drawer bottom dado when a drawer front is attached and utilizes the locking joint.

-- "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do... Explore, Dream, Discover” Mark Twain

View Bulkhead's profile


14 posts in 952 days

#3 posted 03-04-2015 05:42 PM

Hey Dave,

Thanks for the feedback! I agree 100% regarding that joint on the drawer. I should have seen the mistake as I was making it, but alas, I didn’t!

I am using dovetails on my next set of drawers for my next project. Hopefully that goes well.


View Shopsmithtom's profile


787 posts in 3613 days

#4 posted 07-13-2015 01:47 AM

I haven’t done much router work, but have been watching Craigslist for a while for a router table because I simply can’t afford to pop for a new setup.
I stumbled across this Rockler table & leg setup & got it for $80, looks unused. (Dewalt router underneath not included, already had that)
Your project is just what I’m looking for as inspiration for doing much the same thing that you did with your table. I haven’t dropped by this site for quite awhile & I’m glad I checked in.
Great job!

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

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