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Forum topic by jdcook72 posted 403 days ago 1136 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jdcook72

10 posts in 540 days


403 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: cabinet router table joinery question

I recently completed the first part of a project, a router table top, and now I’m planning/designing for the next part, the cabinet to put it on. I’m fairly new to woodworking so my projects so far are few and mostly shop stuff so I have very little practical experience although I’ve read and watched countless articles and videos. I’ve reviewed numerous examples, plans and how to videos for router tables and have gleaned the basic construction methods. My table is of non-standard dimensions since it was built for the Incra LS positioning system, short side to side and longer front to back, 29”x48”.

My question is about the carcass construction for the cabinet. I’ve seen configurations, or variations thereof, similar to picture 1:

-shelf and divider pieces to define sections for drawers with dados to reinforce the joints.

My cabinet will have similar but I will need to define sections that are in line with each other as in picture 2:

This is not the actual configuration of my cabinet but it illustrates the basic concept of the question. Would it be better to break up the shelves/dividers with a single horizontal piece as in picture 3:

Or a single vertical piece as in picture 4:

And why? I’m planning to use some type of 3/4” plywood with 1/4” dados. Or, is it a bad idea to have a dado in the same location on each side of a piece because it would weaken it too much? Would a dado on just one side be sufficient since I’m planning to have rabbets/grooves in the back skin to help everything lock up?

Just now, while putting the post together and looking at the pictures again, I’m thinking that a single vertical piece would be better since it would provide support at the edge by the wood in compression versus a single horizontal piece hanging in the middle from the thin web left after the dados are cut. The middle horizontal pieces will not be load bearing though since nothing will be resting/hanging on them and all drawers will be attached via glides on the sides so maybe this isn’t a factor. Maybe ease of construction one way or the other is a bigger influence or maybe the forces at play are different and the cabinet as a whole would be stronger one way?

I have the basic layout of the cabinet complete; I’m just trying to figure out the joinery and what will work best. Eventually I can post some pictures of the top and my tentative cabinet design if that would be helpful.

Thanks.


12 replies so far

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1964 posts in 908 days


#1 posted 403 days ago

Options 2-4 won’t work because of the upper center divider doesn’t provide allowance for the router. Option 1, because it is divided into 1/3rds, the center 1/3 is where the router would go, and would be best choice of the four.

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2280 days


#2 posted 403 days ago

kdc68 – this is planned for the Incra type router table which has the router at the left side of the table top so these configurations actually would work just fine.

for the OP question – go with the 1 piece horizontal and 2 vertical dividers. that way the 2 shelves made from the 1 horizontal piece will have more support to hold weight due to the vertical underneath it providing it ample support in the center. if you break that into 2 they rely solely on the strength of the dadoes. probably not a life altering decision in this case given size of shelves and capacity to hold weight, but in general that would be the deciding factor – supporting weight. also the middle dadoes would not be as deep as in your drawing as to keep as much material in this horizontal piece without sacrificing it’s strength.

That said, in your case, if you will only have the 3 verticals (opposite to what I suggested in previous paragraph) you could make the horizontal shelves adjustable (not dadoed in) so that you can change the size of the compartments as you see fit later on. – that would be another design solution to consider.

and don’t forget – you won’t be having that top piece there as this is where your table top goes.

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

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1964 posts in 908 days


#3 posted 403 days ago

PurpLev..

Ok gotcha

Mine, and like many others I seen, is based off his option one…that’s why I responded as such

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View jdcook72's profile

jdcook72

10 posts in 540 days


#4 posted 403 days ago

Thanks for your input but as I stated in my post, my example wasn’t the actual configuration of the cabinet, just a way to illustrate where there will be vertical and horizontal dividers in line. And your statement assumes I would try to David Copperfield the router right through one of the dividers? I may be green but please ;-p My question isn’t where to put the router, it’s what is the best way to build a cabinet.

View DoubleJ's profile

DoubleJ

9 posts in 1844 days


#5 posted 403 days ago

I would go with option #4, that make the most sense to me, this option will be fine with the Incra LS positioner

-- JJ, Ohio

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2280 days


#6 posted 403 days ago

kdc68 – the incra router tables have the router opening elsewhere than yours – not in the center lengthwise:

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

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kdc68

1964 posts in 908 days


#7 posted 403 days ago

jdcook72...my apologies….I wasn’t assuming anything

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1964 posts in 908 days


#8 posted 403 days ago

PurpLev…thanks for the photo…

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2280 days


#9 posted 403 days ago

no problems – like your router table – the contrasting door panels work great there. (sorry for going off topic)

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

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1964 posts in 908 days


#10 posted 403 days ago

jdcook72 and PurpLev....as it may appear, I am the “green” one here….I didn’t know up until now how the Incra system was configured…

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View jdcook72's profile

jdcook72

10 posts in 540 days


#11 posted 403 days ago

It seems in my attempt to simplify my question I have caused more confusion by leading people to believe the picture represents my actual design, where the shelves, dividers and top will be. I will have to try and get a better representation posted later. Maybe I should rephrase the question specific to cabinet joinery and ignore the fact that it is a cabinet that will be going under a router table top?

Kdc68 – No worries and no apologies necessary. My comment was purely tongue in cheek.

PurpLev – It seem that for a given span, splitting the horizontal piece would be better because the effective thickness would be more at the point of support. Like how notching a 2×10 joist in the middle of a span 2 inches at the bottom to route plumbing effectively turns it into a 2×8. Again, I don’t know how important if at all this would be for something this scale. I do like your idea for adjustable shelves, something that I have considered as well but again I’m not sure about the joinery and how much of the cabinet needs to be tied in with the rest to make sure it is strong. Like I said, I have very little practical experience with all this.

I think when I post some more pictures later it will help to clear things up. Thanks to all for the input so far.

View jdcook72's profile

jdcook72

10 posts in 540 days


#12 posted 402 days ago

Ok, here is my actual design for the top. I don’t have any dimensions labeled but for reference the top is 29×48. I’m planning to have the top of the table be about 35 to put it at the same height as my table saw. I was thinking to have it be about a half in lower so I could roll it (I’m planning to put it on wheels) into position as an out feed support for the saw but I think I’m going to make a dedicated folding leaf attached to the table saw for that.

The first picture show cabinet doors in place with a drawer option off to the side but for the materials and extra time required by the drawers, I think doors will be fine. I was planning to use that space to store the handheld router in its case and any other bulky things so I don’t see the benefit of putting drawers there.

The second picture is more from the front of the table.

I was going to leave the top section where the router is open and am planning to use the Keen Products Dust Router for dust collection. I’ve read some positive reviews on it and it seems worth a try. If it doesn’t end up working out, I can still make a cover for that section, put in baffles and go a more traditional approach for dust collection. I’m putting the outlet port hole towards the bottom to give me some versatility should I change it up. I’ll store bits, bit changing tools and other miscellaneous stuff in the drawers on this side. I could possibly use the top shelf as storage with quick access for wrenches and the lift crank. I’d make the facing for the top shelf a little taller to create a lip so stuff wouldn’t roll out if that were the case. I have a Wixey digital gauge attached to the router lift and I’m planning to mount the readout in a way so I can slide it out from under the top when setting the height and back again when I’m done. It will slide out from the front somewhere since that’s where I’ll be standing when cranking on the lift, maybe on some type of T-track or a single drawer slide? I haven’t worked out the details on that yet. I’ll wire up the safety switch and an outlet on the right side so I can just plug/unplug the router. Maybe I’ll enclose that stuff in a little box and attach the readout to that?

The third picture shows a view from the side where I’ll be doing most of the operating.

I was planning the long shallow top drawer to store the books and templates for the Incra system. The other drawers and storage space would be for whatever, hand screw clamps, spring clamps, etc. I usually keep a dust brush and a pair of safety glasses with every tool so I don’t have to walk around to get them from wherever I left them last. That stuff is cheap at Harbor Freight.

Here’s a view from the other side, ooh, ahh.

Here’s the structure for the carcass, I think this is what I’m going to go with based on thinking it through a little more but I’m still open to suggestions on the joinery and what might be better/stronger or easier to assemble.

The top is all done, it’s basically my first shop project and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out; basically exactly to plan.

I was originally going to use a router insert plate and switch my handheld router in and out of there when I needed to use the table. That was the plan almost a year ago when I started gathering parts and pieces for the project. Since then I have been getting a little more ambitious with the hobby and have a better idea of long term goals so I fleabayed the router plate and ordered a router lift and dedicated motor for the table.

I don’t know if anyone has ever had this idea before but this could be a helpful tip to someone planning a router table project. My router lift (as well as the original plate) has screws around the perimeter for leveling the plate into the table top. My top is made up from a couple layers of MDF with a maple border and skinned with laminate. I didn’t know if the leveling screws would wear into the MDF over time from repeated adjustments, vibration or a combination of one because of the other so I wanted to protect the lip the insert rested on. I came up with the idea to use tinner rivets. They are available in different sizes and cheap. I found them in the slide out drawer bins at the hardware store. Don’t confuse these with pop rivets, not the same thing, you can see them in the pictures. I made sure to route the lip for the insert to a depth that would accommodate the head of the rivet and still leave a little room to level the insert up to the table. I set the lift in place and marked the position for the rivets through the holes for the leveling screws. Then drilled holes the size of the rivet body and pushed them into place. Tada! Well, I thought it was a pretty good idea.

Still looking forward to any more input. Thanks.

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