|Project by Rob||posted 12-01-2012 08:22 AM||2621 views||1 time favorited||9 comments|
One of the Christmas gifts I received in 2011 was a router kit. I was really excited about all the new types of things I would be able to do with a router, until I realized that the router is only half of the solution to many of the woodworking projects I had in mind—and a router table is the other half of the solution. I started looking at many router tables online and found a lot of them ranging from just over $100 to $700 and up. A lot of the manufactured router tables had legitimate issues that people complained about in reviews, and the mix-and-match parts for “building your own” can add up to $1000 or more depending on how fancy and durable you want it to be. I also found a lot of plans for “easy-to-build” router tables, but those all seemed like bigger projects than I wanted to tackle, since I was (and still am) a novice woodworker and had very few tools at the time. Then I stumbled upon Fine Woodworking’s plans for a “Minimalist Router Table.” Jackpot. I took the idea and made it even more minimalist.
It’s really ugly—no craftsmanship whatsoever. It’s all about improvisation. It would probably take most of you longer to round up the supplies than it would for you to build this, but even mine works very well despite is rough construction. It’s so simple, yet so incredibly useful, I think it’s the first thing anyone should build after getting a router.Materials
- 1 or 2 scrap pieces of plywood (at least one of them should have at least one straight factory-cut edge, preferably about 1/2” thick)
- a handful of wood or drywall screws
- a few nuts & bolts (optional)
- router base (preferably a plunge base, if you have one)
- drill bits
- screwdriver bit for the drill
- any type of saw (hand saw or power saw) or a router with a straight bit (optional; any one of the tools listed here is only required if you only have 1 piece of scrap plywood)
- clamps (optional)
- sawhorses, chairs, or any two items of the same height that you can use as raised supports for your finished router table
Notice that many of the materials and tools are optional. If you have them, they’ll probably come in useful, but if not, you can still build the table without them.How to build it
- If you only have 1 piece of plywood, use your saw or several passes of your router to cut off a 2-3” wide strip, with the factory-cut edge as one of the long sides.
- Find the smoother side of the larger piece of plywood and designate that as the top
- Drill holes in the larger piece of plywood. Countersink as necessary, since the heads will all be on the of the table.
- Remove the base plate from your router.
- Using either the screws, the nuts and bolts, or any combination that works, attach the router base to the bottom of the larger piece of plywood, roughly in the center. Again, be sure to countersink the heads (see picture 2). If working with screws instead of nuts & bolts, you can use a scrap of almost any rigid material to anchor into on the other side of the router base. I originally used a scrap of wood, and later “upgraded” to a piece of PVC (see picture 3).
- Put the straight piece of plywood on top of the big piece of plywood and screw down one end. The straight factory edge is the face of your fence (see picture 4).
- Install a straight bit in your router
- Install the router motor into the base and plunge through the plywood. If necessary, remove the router motor from its base and use your drill to enlarge the hole to accommodate whatever router bit you’ll be using.
- Set the “table” across two objects of the same height
- Adjust the “fence” as appropriate, then clamp or screw down the free-moving end. If necessary, also tighten down the fixed end of the fence after adjusting.
- Plug in, power on, and start routing.
- Bonus tip #1: If your router bits seem too short when using this router table, you can trace around the router base, then remove it and use your router and a straight bit to cut out a recess for the router base (just don’t cut the recess so deep that the remaining wood is too thin to safely support the router).
- Bonus tip #2: to cut circles out of wood, remove the fence and drill a small hole through the center of your non-circular piece of wood, then nail it (through the drilled hole, using a nail the same size or very slightly larger than the hole) into the table at the appropriate radius from the router bit.