router table design

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Forum topic by A Slice of Wood Workshop posted 01-17-2011 09:35 PM 7289 views 2 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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A Slice of Wood Workshop

1080 posts in 3414 days

01-17-2011 09:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router table

I have some very basic questions. I’m trying to design a router table that is kind of a bench top, but then again large enough to do what ever I need on it. I’m going to be using red oak (it is what i have in the shop).

Is a top that is 24” deep by about 30” wide a pretty good size?

Can I make the top 1/2” thick?

What does everyone use to mount/how do you mount the router underneith? I’ve seen some router tables on here that have a clear piece, is that plexiglass?

Any and all information, even design ideas will be greatly accepted.

Thanks, Tim

-- Follow me on YouTube-

12 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3315 days

#1 posted 01-17-2011 09:45 PM

You are going to want your table top to be perfectly flat and smooth so it is easier to slide wood on it. I think it will be quite challenging to make a good router table top with oak.

I would advise buying a commercially made router table top and build your own frame for it. Most router tables accept an insert that the router is attached to. A common size is 9.25×11.75 but there are a couple of other sizes out there.

To receive the insert, router tables have a square cut in them with a rabbit cut that the insert sets on.

Here is what I consider to be a very good router table top. Cheaper ones (and more expensive ones) are available.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2934 days

#2 posted 01-17-2011 09:48 PM

Hey Chuck, You might want to consider purchasing a pre-fabricated router plate that fits your particular router. That way, you can use any table top thickness you like & just drop it in. I personally like the plexiglass windows so I can see what’s going on under the table. I think many people choose cheap melamine-coated MDF for router table tops because they’re slick and stable. Oak probably wouldn’t be my first choice but you use what you’ve got, right? Price some melamine MDF & you might be happily surprised. You’ll get some much better advice than mine below, I’m sure of it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View EEngineer's profile


1119 posts in 3854 days

#3 posted 01-17-2011 10:02 PM

What they said!

Also, I think that 1/2” is way too thin for a router table top (unless it is aluminum or steel!). One thing you do not want is for the router table to sag with the weight of the router. Most of the router table plans I’ve seen have the table made out of two thicknesses of 3/4” plywood or MDF Note that the Woodpecker router table Rich references above is 1 3/8” thick.

I think 24 X 30 is a pretty good size. If you want more room I would recommend increasing the long dimension (30 out to say 48”) so you can handle longer pieces of stock. You can offset the router from the center of the tabletop to handle wider pieces (you can probably get 18” easily on a 24” top).

Thses are just my opinions…

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View rogerw's profile


262 posts in 2930 days

#4 posted 01-17-2011 10:03 PM


1/2” thick is definitely too thin. I would suggest at least 1” or better. My first one was 3/4” and within a year it was sagging in the middle by about 1/32”. My next one is going to be 2 pieces of 3/4 mdf glued together for a 1-1/2” thickness and then laminated.

24×30 is minimal. If you can go bigger, do so. 30×36 would be better.

Mounting the router is usually done with a mounting plate which can be purchased or made from 1/2” Plexiglas, composites, or even aluminum.

I would suggest incorporating “t” tracks and some will suggest a miter slot also although I have only used a miter in mine once in the two years I have had a router table.

There are several plans available for router tables out there. One I might suggest is at as a possibility.

Just find some plans, gather the points you like and design your own. Thats what I am doing.

Either way have fun and good luck, Roger

-- >> my shop teacher used to say "do the best at everything you make for your mom because you're going to see it for the rest of your life!" <<

View rpete's profile


33 posts in 3256 days

#5 posted 01-18-2011 01:31 AM

I’m in the process of making my router table using the two sheets of 3/4 MDF with a laminate top. The only thing I don’t like so far and will be fixing, is I used 1/4” plexiglass for the plate. Nowhere near rigid enough. I’m going to switch it out with 1/2” plexiglass. I’ve also considered buying one of those plastic white cutting boards and milling a plate out of that.

View steliart's profile


2893 posts in 2929 days

#6 posted 01-18-2011 05:31 PM

Here’s my 0.2c. as I did this before.
Use at least 3/4 MDF because it absorbs the vibrations much better. I would not recoment the oak keep that for something else.
I laminated my top with Formica which is much harder than melamine.
I used plexiglass 10mm thickness, but if its clear is confusing you need at least a color adhesive on the bottom. It’s very strog and you will have no problems.
24×30” it’s an olk size.
You can use the Kreg leveling system to fit the plate on the top if you dont want to do any major routing or just do it the traditional way.

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3202 days

#7 posted 01-18-2011 10:18 PM

Go to a cabinet shop and get a laminate top cutout for a sink. You can get a number of pretty colors or patterns. And they should be free, at least mine are.

View ncdon's profile


220 posts in 3117 days

#8 posted 01-22-2011 08:37 PM

I made my insert out of corian which I was able to pick up free at a local cabinet shop. They sometimes have sink drops. Corian is very stable and slick so it makes a great insert.

-- Don, North Carolina, Working full time at retired.

View rogerw's profile


262 posts in 2930 days

#9 posted 01-23-2011 10:43 PM

@ncdon – how thick is that stuff and what is the sub-strait?

-- >> my shop teacher used to say "do the best at everything you make for your mom because you're going to see it for the rest of your life!" <<

View bandit571's profile


22026 posts in 2924 days

#10 posted 01-23-2011 11:55 PM

I made my own, using a sandwich of 3/4’ and 1/2” plywood. Screwed down to the frame. Since I lift the router out to adjust it, the “door” is just a way to clean things out. Table height matches the height of my tablesaw.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 3015 days

#11 posted 01-24-2011 01:20 AM

Here’s my two cents . I have not made a assembly top yet but u will get the idea just put rails on the bottom of the mdf instant assembly table .The slots on each side can be used as stops with a other rail.The fence comes on an off but is square .There is a peace of sheet metal that’s 10 thou thick I can stack on the fence for small jointing.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 3926 days

#12 posted 01-27-2011 05:13 PM

Bill Hylton’s Router book – Woodworking with the Router has one of the best sections on router table design that I have seen. It is easy to find on amazon. The router table in my shop pictures is based on his design.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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