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Router Table

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Project by Dekker posted 10-16-2007 12:49 PM 2247 views 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Built: 2000

This router table was built to be functional, not beautiful. I also wanted it to be CHEAP. I had just bought my router and the project I was working on required it to be table-mounted.

It is made from a single sheet of 3/4” MDF. It is essentially a box formed by butt, rabbet, and dado joints, with a center shelf supported in dado grooves on the sides. The top is a double-thick layer of MDF to prevent it from deforming with the weight. I did this because I was concerned by the “sag” I saw in the MDF when it was a full sheet, but in hindsight, I’m not sure it was entirely necessary. I added a track for a miter gauge on the top. There is even a kick-plate / support below so I can stand right up to the table when I work. I used corner brackets to add stability, and the top is further supported by a beam of MDF located behind where the router is suspended.

The router is held in place by a Freud router plate that I recessed into the top, supported by a ledge all around, but with a hole in the middle where the router hangs down.

The “door” is the only non-MDF material, since I didn’t want the door to weigh 20 lbs. It is held shut by magnets, and it has an additional magnet to hold it in the open position. I store my router bits and associated tools in the enclosed cavity, which helps to keep them dust free.

Being over 6’ tall, I made the table rather tall (I don’t have the measurement handy) so I would not have to lean over so much when I am routing. I may put my tablesaw on wheels someday to bring it to the same height, but that’s a low priority nowadays.

As for functionality, it’s very good. The only complaint I have with it is the router plate is sunk a little too low, probably 1/32”, maybe 1j/16”. Doesn’t sound like much, but as I slide a long board across the router bit, it gets “raised” slightly as it cliimbs the far side. It’s not noticeable to the eye, but it is to my hand, and I’ve been unable to “shim” it correctly to compensate. I may raise the ledge a fraction by using putty all around, and re-routing it, or I might cut strips of paper/tape to size and apply it to the bottom of the router plate to add height where needed. The nice thing about an MDF construction is that it is HEAVY. This adds stability to the table so things don’t bounce around when I’m using it. Of course, this also makes it more difficult to move around the workshop.

Cost – Approx $35 + tax
  • One 4×8 sheet of MDF $30?
  • Angle brackets 6 @ $0.50
  • Magnet door holder 2 @ $0.50
  • Plywood door – FREE (scrap)
  • Door handle – $0.50

-- Dekker - http://www.WoodworkDetails.com/





13 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2621 days


#1 posted 10-16-2007 01:00 PM

Looks like your router table works fine. No need for frills on a piece of working equipment. To adjust your insert, you might consider placing a little screw in each corner under the insert. Then by adjusting the 4 screws you could level the insert.My Jessom FX has leveling screws built in and it sure causes a mess when they are out of adjustment.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Dekker's profile

Dekker

147 posts in 2539 days


#2 posted 10-16-2007 01:10 PM

Thos, I had thought of that, but my concern is that the screw would “wiggle” itself down in the MDF. I guess I should just try it anyway, and if it does move I will put a grommet/insert at the top to hold a machine screw instead of relying on the MDF for traction.

-- Dekker - http://www.WoodworkDetails.com/

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15699 posts in 2877 days


#3 posted 10-16-2007 02:26 PM

So what if it wouldn’t win any beauty contests? It’s cheap and it gets the job done! (Come to think of it, this sounds like a few women I used to date.) :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jpw1995's profile

jpw1995

376 posts in 2956 days


#4 posted 10-16-2007 02:39 PM

I think you did the right thing by using two pieces of MDF for the top. The first time I made a router table I only used a single piece of 3/4” birch ply, and eventually it sagged. It drove me crazy until I figured out what the problem was. I’m a big fan of the simple but useful design. I built mine to replace one of the steel wings on my old Delta contractor’s saw. Works great, no frills.

-- JP, Shelbyville, KY

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4473 posts in 2736 days


#5 posted 10-16-2007 03:31 PM

Less bells and whistles and more function that’s what we need. Nice job.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2695 days


#6 posted 10-16-2007 03:35 PM

Nice! Function rather than form! Good idea for a shop piece!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2652 days


#7 posted 10-16-2007 03:54 PM

Good piece of functional woodwork!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2726 days


#8 posted 10-16-2007 04:03 PM

I’d get a lot more “non-shop” projects done if I kept things simple. If it is level, holds the router without sagging, and has ample surface area, who cares what it looks like. Alas, I do like to make em pretty though. Nice job. Looks like a big router, Freud?

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Dekker's profile

Dekker

147 posts in 2539 days


#9 posted 10-16-2007 04:34 PM

USCJeff Yes, it’s the FT2000e. Pretty good workhorse.

-- Dekker - http://www.WoodworkDetails.com/

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1766 posts in 2649 days


#10 posted 10-17-2007 03:34 PM

I had this GREAT idea years ago and built a router table out of a piece of scrap counter top. It was a 2’x2’ piece of 3/4” MDF and had a laminate surface which was quite slippery. Mounted it to the tablesaw and it worked great! And then it eventually sucked the moisture out of the atmosphere and sagged…1/32”. Just enough to be unnoticeable to the naked eye, and just enough to throw a desktop breadboard edge out of whack costing me a gazillion man hours sanding and scraping. The edge was made of hard maple. The desk sits in my den today.

My advice…Take your router out of the table when not in use. Place a straight edge on it once in a blue moon to check for sagging. MDF takes epoxy real well…Using masking tape, you could epoxy that edge where the router plate is “sunk too low” and then reroute it to bring it up to proper depth. Same thing for screw and bolt holes…Epoxy will strengthen those as well.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Dekker's profile

Dekker

147 posts in 2539 days


#11 posted 10-17-2007 03:42 PM

Thanks for the advice Dadoo. Now I am left with the choice of “permanent” fix with epoxy/filler, or an “adjustable” fix with the scews… I’ll be heading out to the workshop/garage in the next couple weeks, so I’m going to have to tackle this sooner than later!

-- Dekker - http://www.WoodworkDetails.com/

View cheller's profile

cheller

254 posts in 2767 days


#12 posted 10-20-2007 12:09 AM

A option for shimming (although you’ve gotten some good suggestions for more permanent fixes) is to use old business cards.

Nice functional piece.

-- Chelle http://artsgranddaughter.blogspot.com

View Dekker's profile

Dekker

147 posts in 2539 days


#13 posted 10-22-2007 12:27 PM

I needed my router table this weekend, so I decided to fix the problems.

I removed the router plate:
Plate off

Then I drilled a hole in each corner, and counter-sunk it on the top to recess the nut, and counter-sunk it from the bottom since the bolt I had would not reach through 1-1/2” of MDF
Drilled holes

I then put a bolt through from below, and added the nut. For now, I made sure the bolt was proud of the surface.
Installed bolts and nuts

I then replaced the router plate/insert. Note the height it is now at…
Inserted plate - pre-adjustment

... and so I adjusted the four corners until a freshly planed board could sit flat across each corner.
Fully adjusted

Dadoo, thanks for the tip for removing the router… During my alignment process, I noticed the center of my plate is actually dipping in! It’s very minor (1/32” or less across 12”), but I’ll definitely have to keep an eye on it.

-- Dekker - http://www.WoodworkDetails.com/

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