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Home made router table

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Project by PocketHole69 posted 07-02-2010 10:36 PM 7638 views 9 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted a router table but didn’t have $300 for a nice one, so I built this one from parts from rockler and a sheet of plywood. In total it came out to around $125 and I’m for the most part happy with the results.

This is my first “shop” project where I built a tool / jig, and it turned out “ok”. It’s based on a plan I got from an old Shopnotes.

My table saw, a $99 sears special, really sucks. The fence was impossible to keep straight and tight and the miter gauge had so much slop just about every cut was out of whack. Burnt wood, kickbacks, crooked cuts, the works.

About half way through cutting I got pissed, threw some stuff around, call the wood some strong words, and then got fed up and went down to Home Depot and bought a new table saw- the Rigid R4510. I bought this based on LumberJocks reviews and I was not disappointed!

As I was putting together the new saw and explaining to the wife why I needed it, I was thinking to myself “watch me get this together and everything still be all crooked and messed up, because maybe I just suck.”

Luckily for my pride I was wrong- it was the table saw. Man, the difference between a $99 and $500 table saw is light night and day. Straight, accurate cuts, more power, and a new Freud blade I picked up with the saw made all the difference. From then on, the project went much more smoothly.

Because I had to recut most edges except for the table top I had to slightly modify the Shopnotes plan. Instead of lapped joints I used pocket holes for most of the base to make up for the recuts and slightly smaller panel sizes, but in the end it turned out well. There are still a couple panels in the base with burned or slightly crooked edges but they don’t affect the table or accuracy and its a “shop project” so I don’t really care. It’s rock solid and functions fine.

The plans included instructions for building the fence, but Rockler had their fence on closeout for $29.99 so it seemed like an unbeatable deal.

Construction:

1/2” Baltic Birch. All pieces were cut from one 5’x5’ sheet.

Fence, miter track, and router accessory kit including the featherboards and dust collection port are from Rockler.

I made the router place from a piece of 1/4” plexiglass. Those nifty aluminum plates sure do look neat, but I was on a budget and the $16 piece of plexiglass won that one. I routed the groove in the table top slightly deeper than 1/4” and then installed 8 leveling screws through the bottom to bring the plate flush. Because my “workshop” is also my garage, I figured it would be best to leave room for leveling in the future in case humidity or heat caused expansion and contraction.

One day, when I trade in my crappy Skil router for a nice Porter Cable with through the table adjustment I’ll invest in one of those fancy blue plates.

I learned a lot on this project- how to cut panels accurately, how to route grooves (hell, this was the first time I’ve even USED the router), gluing and clamping, measuring, the works. This is probably the most complicated thing I’ve ever made, so I’m pretty proud of it even though its not pro work by any standard.

I’ve got enough wood left over to build a drill press table for my benchtop delta, so thats the next project on my list. Then I’m going to make a crosscut/miter sled for the new table saw. Eventually, I might even make something thats not a jig :)

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA





10 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

15102 posts in 1879 days


#1 posted 07-02-2010 10:44 PM

Love the saw dust on the car! Great project sure you will get use out of that baby!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View lanwater's profile

lanwater

3088 posts in 1624 days


#2 posted 07-02-2010 10:53 PM

Very nice router table. Great job!
I share your frustration with the low end sears table saw. I am on my third and last table saw.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View noknot's profile

noknot

548 posts in 2132 days


#3 posted 07-03-2010 12:31 AM

WOW that puppy is everything you said it would be, the day you dragged me out of the house to get that wood I knew you had it in ya. Great work pocket hole

-- GO DAWGS!

View dub560's profile

dub560

606 posts in 1604 days


#4 posted 07-03-2010 01:05 AM

very good

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View MostlyHarmless's profile

MostlyHarmless

21 posts in 1584 days


#5 posted 07-03-2010 01:43 AM

I love the Plexiglas router plate. I’m not experienced enough to know of any drawbacks it has, but being able to see your adjustments without having to bend in half or lifting the table top sure looks convenient.

-- If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1727 days


#6 posted 07-03-2010 06:09 AM

I like the plexiglas a lot. It’s very easy to see what you’re doing for bit changes and height adjustments. My router has some LED lights on it, which are completely useless when using the router in a table but are great for helping you see what you’re doing down there looking through the plexiglas.

It does have a little flex if you put point pressure in the middle, but its not been an issue so far since wood is moving across from right to left, etc. and not pushing down on one spot. If I was making the table over again I might use 3/4” stock so I could step up a thickness and get more stiffness.

The smallest sheet of plexiglas I could find was enough to make 2 plates, so I’ve got enough material left over to make another one if this one gets worn out or I get a new router.

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

View Skylark53's profile

Skylark53

2565 posts in 1751 days


#7 posted 07-03-2010 07:41 AM

This looks great. You are so right about the difference in the good tools and the cheap stuff. It appears you’ve built a router table that will fit right in with the “good” tools.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View doordude's profile

doordude

1085 posts in 1673 days


#8 posted 07-03-2010 07:54 AM

nice job pockethole

View nmkidd's profile

nmkidd

758 posts in 1863 days


#9 posted 07-03-2010 07:06 PM

Nice table…....something I need to build as the one I have is a cheap piece of cow dung!!!.......what is your tables finished dimensions?

thx for ths inspiration….enjoy your new saw and router table

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1727 days


#10 posted 07-03-2010 08:46 PM

Doug, the tabletop is 20”x30”. If you want you can send me a message and I’ll see if I can get all the dimensions for you if you’re interested.

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

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