No workshop?...No problem...poor man's router table

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Project by dakremer posted 01-20-2010 07:03 AM 7273 views 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, I’m a poor college kid living in an apartment. I love woodworking but have no workshop or room for all the woodworking equipment I want. I do have a little outdoor area I can do the cutting at sometimes (so its not so loud). Sometimes I have to improvise. I want to start making some better projects so decided I needed some sort of router table. Here is my version of the poor man’s SIMPLE router table. The stools are regular stools I just have in the apartment, and when I’m done using it, I can just tuck the plywood in the back of my closet somewhere. I will probably at some point get rid of the stools and build some sort of collapsable leg system or something – as it is a little tipsy right now. But so far works awesome!!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

21 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3091 days

#1 posted 01-20-2010 07:14 AM

I’m still going to build a fence for it, and just made my first dado jig so maybe I can install a sled for some accurate cutting.

Any Ideas about maybe inclosing the router in some sort of box to keep it quieter????? It would have to be able to be taken apart for easy storage…...

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View teejay's profile


95 posts in 3265 days

#2 posted 01-20-2010 07:29 AM

necessity is the mother of invention. It sure does suck not to have a dedicated space for wood work, I live in a condo and have the same problem.

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3464 days

#3 posted 01-20-2010 02:30 PM

it works! i’m a big fan of not using lift plates :-)

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 3822 days

#4 posted 01-20-2010 02:56 PM

A plastic trash can that can be doubled as a trash can also. Just let the router cool off a lot. then run cardboard boxes around your chairs. duct tape the corners, draw on the boxes the table of your dreams and voila’ .

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3760 days

#5 posted 01-20-2010 03:41 PM

I have some concerns here regarding safety. Due to noise and dust a router may not be the best tool for a small apartment workshop.

When my wife and I were first married I did my woodworking on the dining room table in our small one BR apartment. I didn’t have much of a budget, so all of my hand tools came from Ace Hardware. A local lumber yard planed my boards for me, and I did all my cuts with a hand saw and a coping saw. The rabbets & dados were cut with hand chisels.

This cherry wall cabinet is one of my earliest projects. It’s been in constant use for over forty years.


-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3083 days

#6 posted 01-20-2010 03:56 PM

When I started out on my own over 35 years ago I had a Craftsman worm drive saw that I mounted into a sheet of plywood for a tablesaw and a cheap Sears router. I’m amazed at what I built back then. I’m more amazed every daywhen I walk into my shop at what I need now, just to cut a board.

You are at your purest of thought, skill and self. Enjoy these days as you explore and ever expand your talents.

Just a note, a lot of new home building sites throw away an amazing amount of usefull wood. These are fall offs of trim cuts, framing and plywood. Make friends with the job foreman, offer to help clean-up on weekends for scrapes. Many will say no, but you just may find an old fart like myself who can help you a lot in your endeavors.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20488 posts in 3105 days

#7 posted 01-20-2010 05:42 PM

Teejay took the words out of my mouth. You are truly resourceful .
To control the noise, build a box around the router that can be easily slipped into place and removed for access to the router-maybe on hinges to swing away. Build it big enough to let the router keep cool too. Lining the box with some sound absorbing material would help too.

Another thought would be to build a box base to stand it on and have a door in it to access the router. The chips would just fall to the floor inside and you could have a clean-out door at floor lever. make the box so it could be folded flat and it could be easily stored with the top

Good luck…...

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

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#8 posted 01-20-2010 06:58 PM

All that counts is that it works,good job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View LarryS's profile


57 posts in 3439 days

#9 posted 01-20-2010 09:12 PM

I have a very similar set-up—on two folding plastic saw horses. I just added a fence that I really like. It’s similar to something I saw in a friend’s “Fine Woodworking: Shop Tips”. The fence is simply two boards glued and screwed together to form and “L”. One end has a 1” long dowel protruding normal to the bottom surface. The dowel drops into a hole in the table top. The dowel and hole form a fixed pivot. The other end of the fence gets clamped to the table. Adjustments are a breeze. Just loosen the clamp, pivot the fence to the new position, and re-clamp. A trigger-type clamp speeds re-clamping. The range of adjustment is really quiet large. When I’m not routing, I lift off the fence and drop the router, and the table serves as a layout, assembly and finishing surface.

-- Larry

View spud72's profile


324 posts in 3493 days

#10 posted 01-20-2010 10:03 PM

Careful, doesn’t look too steady. You want to keep all limbs in tack for when you have a real workshop,

Work safely,


-- Guy,PEI

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1229 posts in 3998 days

#11 posted 01-21-2010 02:51 AM

I’m with Spud on this one. Looks like it would tip over easily. That’s a big router with flimsy legs. Go to another design quick or befriend some one with a shop until you can afford to work safely.

-- Bob A in NJ

View Sam Shakouri's profile

Sam Shakouri

1200 posts in 3087 days

#12 posted 01-21-2010 03:39 PM

Like me you need a big lotto.

-- Sam Shakouri / CREATING WONDERS WITH WOOD.....Sydney,Australia....

View xcalibr1's profile


26 posts in 3228 days

#13 posted 01-22-2010 05:03 AM

I agree with the above statements…..make sure its steady and secure.

When I worked in a custom kitchen shop we did alot of flute work with just a box table with a Bosch router base screwed up under the top. Nothing fancy whatsoever. In my basement I even did the fluted pieces on my 2 project cabinets with a piece of plywood clamped to my table saw and a router base screwed underneath it. I just plunged the router bit up thru the plywood and set my height. Just used another piece of plywood for the fence. Simple but effective.

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3741 days

#14 posted 01-27-2010 07:49 PM

It looks like it works for you. My concern for your well-being involves using it in the apartment and that pretty girl in the picture with you. My wife is probably more tolerant than most of my woodworking messes in the house and I am ashamed to admit I have done something similar in my house… It wasn’t pretty.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3091 days

#15 posted 01-27-2010 08:01 PM

Thanks for your concern! I do not actually do the cutting INSIDE the apartment – that’d be way too messy and noisy!! haha. I have a little outside patio area that I do it in…clean-up is as easy as sweeping the sawdust into the grass!

I see a lot of concerns about the safety, etc. And I assure you it is NOT safe – I have only used it once, because I needed to quick. A sturdy collapsable leg system for easy storage will soon be added! Thanks for the comments, concerns, etc!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

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