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Super Router Table

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Project by Mork posted 12-01-2015 03:59 AM 2208 views 1 time favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my final router table!

I found some industrial surplus! A 24” square table with a 1/2” steel plate top plus a handful of linear slides that ride on 16” x 3/4” steel bars. Junk for some and pure gold to me!

The main complaints I’ve had with past router tables is, difficulty bit access, small table size, no miter slot and noise. This new design address all of these areas. First step… a clamp to hold the router. Yep another surplus item, a 6” x 6”x 1” chunk of solid steel did the trick! I cut a hole in the 1-inch steel with my 1942 Logan metal lathe (Newly restored toy for me). I was going to make a clamp out of it but ended up using three 3/8” bolts like set screws with brass slugs in the hole to secure the router. It’s a Porter cable router with little nubs to act like threads in the stock router base but I ground them off. This router is dedicated to the new table :o) Seems like a very solid mount! The top is made of 2 layers of Advantec. I’ve never messed with this stuff before but it seems to be very dense, smooth and solid, especially after 3 coats of poly. The lift mechanism has a 12 TPI 1/2” all thread but I have a chain driving it with unequal sprockets that make one turn on the adjustment 1/16” inch. The first few pictures show a sliding fence that is tucked under the table. It flips up when needed and takes the place of a miter gauge. It has about 16” travel but that is more than enough. Any board wider than this can easily utilize the back fence. This feature work amazingly well! It’s incredibly smooth and seems to float on the table top. Of course the only part that touches the table is the teflon slide toward the end of the sliding fence.

I also tried an experiment here. The back fence is a massive chunk of white oak (harvested a few years ago from a neighbors tree) and i cut T-slots in the front of it. In other words, this allows me to change the front surface if the fence and I can also change the thickness. So I can make a slight offset now and use the table as a jointer. It worked WAY better than I anticipated although for long boards some hold down rollers would be good.

The pictures show the rest better than I can describe. I wish Lumber jocks would let me upload about 15 pictures!

Oh well… I can insert them later in the comments… feel free to ask questions.





25 comments so far

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Mork

267 posts in 2238 days


#1 posted 12-01-2015 04:02 AM

Here’s what I started with…

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Mork

267 posts in 2238 days


#2 posted 12-01-2015 04:02 AM

The lift

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Joe Lyddon

9435 posts in 3515 days


#3 posted 12-01-2015 05:03 AM

GOOD JOB! Mork!

How well is the dust control just behind the cutter? ... still have chips around the sides, on top, etc.?

Looks really Good!

I’m surprised you used so much wood for the top when you had that steel top… (??)

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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bkseitz

294 posts in 773 days


#4 posted 12-01-2015 06:00 AM

Mork, cool design! Do you think the tilt top is a better way to go for Router tables? I really like the long table top; One of the shortcomings I see in commercial tables. Same question as above “what are you doing about dust collection and how is it working?

Saw a lot of fixed tops when I was researching designs for mine, so thought going with the flow was the best option for my first table project. Still working on it though—had to switch to other projects which put this monster on hold. Woodpecker Wonderfence and Rockler supplied Incra Mast-R-Lift II in a 2’ x 4’ x 1” MDF top with plans to add a sliding table, storage and dust collecting cabinet.

It will be an upgrade to my old craftsman router table. Which has become nothing more than a junk collection table at present

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

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RJ2

151 posts in 3248 days


#5 posted 12-01-2015 12:40 PM

every time I get a nice router table going, I put a jig on it for some project and , don’t want to mess with it .

-- RJ, Tampa Fl, RJMETALWOODS.COM

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Mork

267 posts in 2238 days


#6 posted 12-01-2015 12:42 PM

The reasons for the table thickness is to keep it flat. First there is about a 12 inch unsupported overhang on both sides and the top of the steel table is warped. Fortunately it is basically flat but low in the middle. Plus the wood is not attached to anything, it’s simply the weight of the wood holding the table down. My original idea was to use a Plylam beam as a table top. These beams are amazing but I had no way to surface plane the 24 inch width. Dust collection is probably 95%. I wish it was better but really not too bad. I think making the table insert hole smaller would help this and I may make several inserts for different diameter bits in the future. The fence is fantastic in many ways but I took a shortcut here… I originally wanted to have a hand crank that moved the fence parallel to the top. I’ll probably inlay rulers under the back side of the fence to aid in keeping it parallel but most often this is not an issue anyway… only when using the sliding fence. Overall I’m pleased with the table.

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bkseitz

294 posts in 773 days


#7 posted 12-01-2015 06:11 PM

Understand about the table flatness; why my top is 2-piece 1” MDF bonded together. When eventually supported by the cabinet it will maintain a really flat surface. I had tested out the idea by building a prototype stack-up across four support points with 10x the max weight I would ever place on the table (i.e., it would be heavier than I could lift and control).

I went with a pre-made fence system that had a gross movement capability and a fine screw adjustment ( Wonderfence ). I had considered designing my own but backed off as the project seemed to be getting too large for my skill and capabilities (just assembling the table top and cutting out the router lift hole seemed a stretch. I chewed up two Rockler plate patterns.

What I like about your design is that it looks like bit changes and setups are going to be a snap. It has a nice clean look.

What I like about my design is that I think the precision I’ll get from a rigid surface and the machined fence controls. Setting up my router and fence will likely be more time consuming. And given my novice woodworking skills I can use all the guiderails I can get for now.

Initially I started out with wanting a bigger more stable table—the Craftsman table tipped when I ran a large piece through it after it dropped off the end of a poorly positioned roller stand and knocked over the outfeed roller stand. Suddenly I was looking at a router spinning at top speed and a table leaning over on two legs. Scared the heck out of me. I thought I had set up everything to be as safe as possible. That convinced me I needed a wider table to address the projects I plan to do.

From there I looked at how awful the “pro fence” was on the table—at time of purchase I guess it was average for the market but required a lot of tweaking to get the fence positioned right and dusk collection from the back with a shopvac wasn’t cutting it. Most of the designs I saw online had cabinets with raisers below the table dust collection. I thought that was a good idea but when I saw a dual collection setup I thought that was the best option. The Table / Cabinet have a few more shop sessions before I complete it. Like the Kreg Jig cabinet I saw on video which maybe the inspiration for mine. I may however, add a downdraft table a la Stumby Nubs onto the same scaled up cabinet behind the router fence—this would give me more mass and a wider footprint that would be less likely to tip with large pieces.

When I feel more confident about my router skills I’ll likely build another table with less training wheels

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

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Joe Lyddon

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#8 posted 12-01-2015 09:37 PM

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helluvawreck

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#9 posted 12-01-2015 09:40 PM

You did a nice job on this router table.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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Mork

267 posts in 2238 days


#10 posted 12-02-2015 01:35 AM

bkseitz, your fence looks like a good one. I’m seriously considering some kind of screw adjustment on my fence plus a box underneath to catch the 5 or 10% of the dust that the top doesn’t get. Also I occasionally move the fence back and make dados a few inches in from the edge and the current dust collection doesn’t catch anything in this case. Also the tilt table is definitely the way to go! I think my design could quite easily be adapted to a simple wood cabinet and a tilt table would give great access to the bit. One thing I should have done different is to make the hole in the steel top larger. It’s still pretty easy to access the bit but a larger hole would provide more room for a wrench… Although with the 1-1/2” thick top the collet nut is usually above the steel table height.

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bladedust

191 posts in 1729 days


#11 posted 12-02-2015 02:50 AM

@bkseitz – i’m in the process of finishing my router table and really like your fence. can you tell me who makes it?

-- ok, is it cut once measure twice, cut twice measure once???? I know....I'll just keep cutting until it's long enough.

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bkseitz

294 posts in 773 days


#12 posted 12-02-2015 05:13 PM

@Mork, @bladedust – I had spent most of 2013 looking at tables and fence systems at my local Rocklers and Woodcraft stores, talking with people at a local woodworking store, and looking at every YouTube video I could find on the topic. I drove myself nuts trying to come up with some off-the-shelf system. The end result was I decided I needed to assemble/build my own.

During the following year I picked up a Incra Mast-R-Lift II at Rocklers when it was “on sale”. One of the sales guys I talk with every month got me a awesome discount. He and the rest of the staff also help with discussing the pros and cons of different approaches—seems like everyone in that store has been a woodworker for decades. I like the Incra as its inserts require no tie-down screws (magnetic) – and easy change option.

I then bought the fence system from Woodpeckers directly along with some optional equipment Micro-Adjust” The basic fence is called Superfence. The folks at Woodpeckers were really nice to deal with. I bought the stock fence with the idea that I might upgrade it to be 48” instead—would be an expensive upgrade ~$100 on top of what I’ve already paid. Followed by some t-track at Rocklers and 1/2” MDF at Home Depot which I bonded together. The fence and micro-adjuster ride along the t-tracks—a little stiff at the moment but I expect once its in real operation it will loosen up and glide smoother. The micro-adjust—a bit on the pricey side—is like dialing in a micrometer. But wow the precision adjustment is fantastic.

For the cabinet I’m considering building a variation of one I saw in a DVD from Kreg Jig. I’ve a K4 system and I’m really impressed with it but that something I’ll blog about later. After seeing Mork’s tilt top design I’m considering modifying my original design to enable the top to tilt up. The difference being the raiser would tilt up with the table top.

Other design features in consideration are adding a sliding table that Stumpy Nubs built and extending the back out further to add more working surface/mass and a downdraft table from Mr. Nubs also.

I had built what I’ll call a new age workbench / assembly table several years ago and shared the idea around to Drew Short (Rock-n-H Woodshop) who built an awesome upgraded version , my advisory board at Rockers ;-) , and other Online Woodworkers I follow. The whole table is a massive 4’x8’ jig system. It holds down work pieces and jigs ( Hidden Hinges, K4 Pocket hole, etc.) but didn’t consider adding a downdraft table module. Brilliant idea Stumpy! I find most of my shop time is using the assembly table with occasional trips back and forth to stationary machines.

Now I’m debating whether to add drowndraft table to assembly bench or as extension to Router Table or add both Downdraft and Router Table as modules to the Assembly Table. Each option has some pros and cons. Right now I’m leaning towards adding downdraft table as extension to Router Cabinet, but that would mean the table top is fixed.

In general I’m doing here is what I’m known for at work; integrating the brilliant ideas others have into a cohesive system. Which is also why you see so many links from me to other people’s work.

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

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Mork

267 posts in 2238 days


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

bkseitz, it sounds like you have a ton of ideas. What did you mean “the riser would tilt up with the table top”? Did you mean the router lift mechanism? The big advantage to the tilt table is super easy access to the bit for changing and that would defeat this advantage… although, maybe I didn’t understand. Regarding the sliding table link you posted, I don’t think you would be happy with this… or maybe I should say I don’t think I would. I can’t tell you how many times I have clamped jigs and fixtures to my old router table. You should consider having a front overhang with a solid table. If you want to add some kind of guide like mine consider a rail mounted to the front… I even saw a great table that used a high quality drawer slide. I love my new table but the one item I would change is the way the fence adjusts. Of course I’m already planning improvements to the fence :o)

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bkseitz

294 posts in 773 days


#14 posted 12-03-2015 05:50 PM

@Mork, router lift mechanism. “advantage to the tilt table is super easy access to the bit for changing”—that’s the trade-off I made and continue to consider as I move forward. However, with the ease of removing the inserts from top plate and raising the outers seems to make bit changing less of a problem. Only time will tell. However, I continue to look at how others have solved problems or done things and why to gain insights to improve my skills and shop. Maybe I should change my avatar to be a Kitchen Sponge soaking up knolwedge ;-)

sliding table – again another design consideration. Stumpy’s sliding table can lockdown, what I had noodled around with on paper after seeing such was similar mechanism but with additional t-tracks to allow for more tie-downs. If you look at my original design it has a t-track in front of router for tie-downs, feather boards, etc. What I’m noodling around with is adding a sliding table (which is really if you look online, a coping sled). I know I’ve been extremely happy with the sliding table on I added to my contractor saw. Most of the guide aids I’ve added to my shop I’ve been pleased with (e.g., guide rail for circular saw, etc.) the training wheels give me confidence that I can cut, route, etc. with reasonable quality.

The sled pictured below is from Woodpecker also and is a very expensive option for the fence I have (~$250).

”Of course I’m already planning improvements to the fence :o)”—I think we’re of the same mindset. Anyways looking on how to do things better :-)

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

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Mork

267 posts in 2238 days


#15 posted 12-03-2015 06:23 PM

I’m not sure the sliding table in your saw and a router table have all the same advantages… Love you sliding table on your saw! I have a huge cut off sled on mine that handles a 4×8 sheet pretty well. I considered the sliding table but it crowds the left side of my saw. The sled also has a few advantages. I’ve nailed jigs to might quite a bit. Cutting things like a tapered leg is a snap.

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