Homebuilt Router Table

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Project by SomeClown posted 04-29-2010 03:25 AM 5193 views 6 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch


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!

-- There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

11 comments so far

View Frankton's profile


68 posts in 3033 days

#1 posted 04-29-2010 03:47 AM

NICE JOB! Excelent!

-- Danger lerks behind every oppertunity to learn common sense - Chip Estrada

View Juansnapon's profile


36 posts in 2979 days

#2 posted 04-29-2010 05:27 AM

WOW that’s as nice as I have seen in a Rockler magazine. Good job I am currently working on incorporating a router table in to my Table saw hope it looks as good as yours. Did you buy a kit for the inlay of the router plate or did it free hand?

-- Juan, Fresno CA.

View SomeClown's profile


63 posts in 3009 days

#3 posted 04-29-2010 05:57 AM


I bought a template and pattern bit from Rocker. The template and bit are here: (item number 20956 for the template; item number 33536 for the bit.)

As I said, reviews are mixed with some people complaining about ‘slop’ in the final results. All I know, is I’m a network engineer by training, and used to reading, learning, and following directions… maybe that got me the good result vs. people who thought they knew what they were doing. All I know is that it worked extremely well, and got me what I wanted.

Probably the one thing I would have done differently (besides what I mentioned above) is to have cut out the opening in the sub-floor of the table first and top first with the melanine top not attached, then routed the groove in the top and attached it to the table. I think it would have made the cutting a little easier overall.

-- There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12758 posts in 3186 days

#4 posted 04-29-2010 01:41 PM

nice work… looks pretty solid…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View BuilderMan's profile


92 posts in 2987 days

#5 posted 04-29-2010 02:36 PM

Nice table. I like the large top.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3604 days

#6 posted 04-29-2010 03:48 PM

That’s a beauty!
The large work surface is really nice !

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View JoeCool's profile


83 posts in 3460 days

#7 posted 04-29-2010 05:31 PM

How are you going to collect the dust?

-- Joe Cool

View SomeClown's profile


63 posts in 3009 days

#8 posted 04-29-2010 05:36 PM

It doesn’t show in the pictures really well, but I have a dust port on the back of the fence and I currently have the shop vac (Rigid) and attachments I hook up when running the router. As an aside, I also use shop vac hooked up to my random-orbital sander and can sand forever with no dust.

Eventually I’ll get a dust collection system put in place, run some lines around the garage, etc., but that’s probably a couple more tools away. Gotta buy my table saw once the government gives me back the money I loaned them last year. :)

-- There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3096 days

#9 posted 04-29-2010 07:18 PM

Good job!! I am sure you will get some good use out of it.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4008 days

#10 posted 04-29-2010 07:27 PM


It’s hard to believe some clown built this. LOL

Great job!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3060 days

#11 posted 04-30-2010 03:30 AM

Great job on the table. Looks rock solid.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

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