Home Made Horizontal Router Table

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Forum topic by maniac424 posted 01-22-2010 12:32 AM 6342 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 3251 days

01-22-2010 12:32 AM

I’m planning on building a horizontal router table and was first planning on following plans from Fine Woodworking issue #147 in which the height adjustment is done by pivoting a plywood swing arm that the router is attached to.
My only concern is how securely would the router height be maintained by a couple of wing nuts, during the routing process especially when a number of identical cuts have to be made. Late last night I saw a picture of MLCS’s horizontal table and as often happens to me late at night, for some reason. I had a moment of clarity, everthing clicking into place and I could see exactly how I could build this design and what to use for the various components. Before I start buying my materials, I just have a few quetions. First, I was thinking of using a press screw as the height adjusting mechanism as its fairly inexpensive (less than$20) and I’m wondering whether the threading would be to coarse for my purpose, in that the slightest turn of the screw might cause the bit to move to much, making it very difficult to finely adjust the bit height. Next, I’m planning on having the plexiglass panel that the router is attached to riding on 2 pieces of Bench Dog
T-Loc Trac, which would be screwed (and maybe some JB Weld) to 2”anodized aluminum square tubing ($42 incld shp) . The tubing has a 1/8” thick wall.Or I could use 1 1/2 square tubing with a 1/16” wall ($27 incld shp). I would cut to fit wood to fill the inside of the tube, so that the screws holding the T-Trac will be more secure, having additional material to bite into. Having never worked with this T-Loc Trac I was wondering if it would be strong enough to take the repetitive torque and vibration of the router. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

10 replies so far

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3323 days

#1 posted 01-22-2010 03:26 PM

I have a horizonal table I got at MLCS and the 4 wing nuts, they have knobs but same thing, work great. here is the link, might give you a few ideas for your build.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3402 days

#2 posted 01-22-2010 03:55 PM

Here’s another website you can get some ideas from. This is a scratch built project, but the demos are really good.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3850 days

#3 posted 01-22-2010 04:35 PM

a press screw won’t give you the fine tuning abilities that usually is related to router work. you’re better off getting a lead screw and nuts. shouldn’t cost you more than the press screw in total. I think McMaster Carr has some, and also HD and Lowes might have these (steel I believe)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3547 days

#4 posted 01-22-2010 05:53 PM

I used a press screw on my horizontal table. It works ok, but there is a little bit of backlash to contend with. To secure the router height I used a couple of phenolic knobs. I also used a 1/2” phenolic board for my router plate (it is blue). The phenolic is great. It is flat, rigid and smooth.

In hindsight on my machine, I do not regret using the press screw. Visibility is weak though. To set up the height requires some hole peeking. I usually set up with scrap. Once set it has great repeatability.

View maniac424's profile


6 posts in 3251 days

#5 posted 01-22-2010 06:45 PM

Paul what did you mean when you said, “but there is a little bit of backlash to contend with”? I heard that working with phenolic can be pretty nasty, creating a lot of fine dust and putting nicks in carbide surfaces. What’s your take and what type of saw blade and router bits did you use on it. Great looking router table. I really liked your multi-directional sliding tray system. From your photos I couldn’t quite tell how your vertical adjustment mechanism works. I can see the screw coming down through the wood behind the phenolic plate but can’t see where it would attach to at the bottom, which would cause the phenolic plate to move up & down. Do you have any additonal photos or diagrams showing this, as your system seems like it might be much cheaper to make than the $47 it would cost me between the T-Loc trac and the square aluminum tubing.

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3547 days

#6 posted 01-22-2010 09:26 PM

Back lash means that you can move the handle back and forth slightly before the threads engage. Maybe 1/25th of a rotation. It feels loosey goosey. As you adjust, you just need to recognize when you engage the threads. It is not hard at all. If you use one you will immediately see what I mean.

Phenolic does leave shavings or dust like wood would, but not so many little airborne particles. I used a regular saw blade (WWII) and 1/4” carbide router bit. I think it is a great material for jigs and fixtures. I purchased mine from LeeCraft, but I called to order directly. Finding the phone number was a pain. I believe I called WoodCraft and asked them for the LeeCraft phone number from their manufacturers phone number list. I got the impression that it is a one man business. I told him what I wanted, and he said as long as color didn’t matter he would take care of me. And he did.

There is a pressure plate at the bottom of the press. I rigged a piece of scrap 90 metal to attach it. You could use wood screwed or bolted to the phenolic, and then screw the pressure plate to that.

I have plans for this. Email if you like. You will see that I modified mine a bit from specs. It still cost apx $100 to build. I used baltic birch plywood, and there are t-tracks on this also.

If you decide to build this, everything being square is critical. Your joints will be off if you don’t set this up square. The router plate needs to be square to the base, the bottom table needs to be a right angle to the router plate and must track straight toward the bit. The top table also needs to be square to the router plate, and track parallel to the router plate. You will notice in my second photo that there is a white strip that is on one of the tables. That is UHMW plastic strip that I used as a shim because when it was complete, it was off slightly. Not a big deal.

I use this for mortises and sliding dovetails.

View maniac424's profile


6 posts in 3251 days

#7 posted 01-23-2010 05:38 AM

Paul I am not allowed to send messages yet as I haven’t sent the required # of post yet. I would appreciate if you could email me the plans. Thank you.

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3547 days

#8 posted 01-23-2010 07:42 AM

I need your email address.

View maniac424's profile


6 posts in 3251 days

#9 posted 01-23-2010 09:35 AM

Paul , my email is, and thanks again.

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3448 days

#10 posted 01-23-2010 09:45 AM

If you click on the persons icon, you go to their LJ homepage. Underneath it will be an envelope with ‘send a message.’ It goes to whatever email address they signed up with. That way you don’t have to list your personal email for the whole world. There aren’t any required number of posts to send messages.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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