Multi-function bench feedback

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Forum topic by JustSomeGeek posted 08-03-2011 02:20 PM 1153 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2686 days

08-03-2011 02:20 PM

Hi folks!

I’ve just joined LJ and am still finding my way around, so apologies in advance for any stupid questions!

I am currently making the transition from forced DIYer (spousal oppression), to taking up woodwork as a hobby. So i need to get my workshop in order and find out what all the tools, joints and pointy things are actually called and meant to be used for.

My first project (like many before me) will be a dedicated router table/bench with a few addidtions. I would really apreciate some feedback/advice/suggestions before i build this:

The bench will be made using old kitchen worktop & ¾” MDF on industrial 5” castors

Insert plate: I wanted this to be either transparant or opaque so i can mount a light underneath the workpiece as well as from above. Are all/most inserts a standard size? After seeing the price of these things, i was toying with the idea of getting a cheap white/opaque chopping board from the £/$ store and making some out of that.

I want to incorporate my table saw into the bench. Every other design i have seen shows the saw mounted at 90° to the bench. I intend to mount mine so the workpiece travels along the bench and uses it for support instead. As i think i will mostly be cutting boards from large pannels, or making long cuts, this seems to be a more logical solution. Any reasons Not to do this? I already have a compound mitre saw for most cross cuts. I would extend the saw dadoes to let a sled travel the entire length of the bench and be used for the saw, jigsaw(?) and router, though i need to find some “U” channels for this to match the saw.

I am going to make other inserts for a second (same size) hole to mount my jigsaw for use as a scroll saw, and belt sander (any other tools that would benefit from bench mounting?) Blank inserts for using the bench as a work surface.

I intend to have selectable dust extraction options for the saw fences and beneath the table. This would let me have an insert with holes to use as one of those “sucky-table” things if i need one.

One or two of the power sockets to be regulated with a rheostat or something to adjust the speed of whatever is plugged into them.

Having seen the price of a router lift, i came up with the idea of using a cheap car scissor-jack which should only cost a few quid/bucks. Any other ideas for an adjustable lift?

“T” channels at regular intervals for fences, mitre guages, coffee/beer holders etc.

I think that’s most of the major design points i want to consider so far (apart from an under-counter fridge ;-)

Also, it’s not a big issue as i need to adapt things for myself, but i will need to sit and work most of the time. My wheelchair isn’t practical in the garage so i have a stool. I also have difficulties holding things firmly for long periods, so if anybody has any ideas for this then, great!

Any feedback is most gratefully received!

Thanks peeps,

-- Vorsicht! Woodworking n00b, please be gentle with me! :-)

4 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3168 days

#1 posted 08-03-2011 03:13 PM

Some folks make their own from 3/8” (10mm) polycarbonate sheet.
Not sure of a source in Scotland, however.

The cutting board material is usually HMW or UHMW polyethelyne. It might be a little too flexible.

View JustSomeGeek's profile


5 posts in 2686 days

#2 posted 08-03-2011 04:42 PM

Thanks Crank, i can find 10 & 12 mm easily enough.

I don’t know anything about this material. Will 10mm of this stuff really withstand the torsion and kickback from a router?

-- Vorsicht! Woodworking n00b, please be gentle with me! :-)

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3662 days

#3 posted 08-03-2011 05:00 PM

sounds like a good plan. 10-12mm of PC should be enough for a router – as long as it’s not too big. I used 1/4” for mine (granted it was a smaller 1 3/4 horsepower model) and it was fine.

as far as a router lift goes, lots of recent router models have above-the-table adjustment capabilities, which means you don’t need a lift anymore. It might be worth looking into.

View JustSomeGeek's profile


5 posts in 2686 days

#4 posted 08-03-2011 06:01 PM

I had a look on Fleabay, and a common size seems to be A4 in 10 & 12mm. I wanted to make sure my insert is the same size as commercially available ones in case i want to change it in the future for something more specialised.

I just looked at my router for the first time in months and it doesn’t appear to have a way of adjusting it from above the table. Although it does have a suspicious looking screw aligned with a hole in the baseplate which i just have to investigate. It’s also got a small plastic screw-in plug which has what appears to be a switch mechanism behind it, i guess this is to override the safety system for mounting it(?)

I’ve been thinking about whether to get a new router specifically for the table, and keep this one for hand-held tasks, but i already need to spend a bit on other tools & table parts, so i’ll have to make do for a while.

-- Vorsicht! Woodworking n00b, please be gentle with me! :-)

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