|Project by SomeClown||posted 04-29-2010 03:25 AM||4093 views||6 times favorited||11 comments|
I finally completed my first major project, a homebuilt router table. I’m new to woodworking, though I’m pretty handy with tools in general, and with framing and such in particular. That’s probably reflected in my construction methods… for better or worse.
So, to save space overall, I decided that I wanted my router table to be built in to the very large L-shaped workbench I had already built out of 2×4 and 4×4 framing lumber. I already had a 3/4” layer of low-grade (c or d) plywood down on the top and decided to make it even thicker to support various things, including this section for the router. So, I added another layer of 3/4” ply down, countersinking deck screws to hold it all together. Then I added a layer of Masonite down on most of the bench, and on the router table portion put down a layer of melanine. Those layers were attached with a Hitachi Brad Nailer with the air pressure jacked up just enough to sink the nail heads under the surface. Life was good at this point.
I had already purchased a Bench Dog Pro lift, a Porter Cable 7918 (I think, the big 3 1/4 hp jobby) and some tracks, fence, etc. I bought the Rockler router table template, and the templating bit and began to get serious. Unfortunately, I had neglected to notice that the pattern bit was a 1/4” shank and I only had the 1/2” collet on my router. So, back to the store to buy the bit… and some butcher block oil, just because I saw it and have an old butcher block. Damned store gets me every time.
Back at home, I proceeded to put the template down with double-sided sticky tape (more on that later) and then carefully routed out the opening for the lift. Had to adjust the depth one more time to get it just right, but damned if the thickness didn’t come out perfectly.
Two things I’ll say here, however, about hindsight and all of that. First, a smart man would have realized that trying to cut out the actual hole for the router and lift with a saber saw (2” thick table) with the template in place and the groove routed was a basackwards way of doing things, but whatever. After a lot of swearing I managed to get that done and life was good. Until I removed the template and tried to remove the sticky-tape. Note to self: don’t get such high-quality sticky tape next time.
In the end, however, minimal shimming was neccessary and there’s no play in the lift opening: the template worked perfectly. I only say this because I saw several reviews on the Rockler site indicating problems in this area, and if a novice wood-worker like me can follow the directions and get near-perfect results it should be fine for anyone.
On a side note, the lift certainly didn’t want that router motor to get inside it… I don’t think it’s ever coming out again. One more excuse to go buy a plunge model I suppose!
I’ll be putting some trim on the back against the sheet-rock, and some more on the front, but for now I’m calling this essentially done. I’ve already tested it, and it works just as it all should. Now I just need to find some things to route!
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