1.) What You’ll Need
You’ll need some tools to make the table, of course, but if you’ve got the beginnings of a woodworking shop already you’ll be able to set this one up quickly enough you can use it before the weekend is over.
You’re going to need the following:
- A Wood Router
- Scrap MDF or Plywood
- A Drill
- Hole Saw Bits
- Scroll Saw
- Wood Glue
Get everything together.
If you don’t have a router yet, keep in mind that this table is most usable for trim routers or medium-sized routers. If you’re going heavier you’re going to have to do some extra reinforcement.
2.) Preparing the Table
Either remove the bottom plate from your router or grab an extra one if you have one available. First you’ll need to cut a piece of board to the dimensions you want to work with, 24”x24” will be fine for most people.
Using a pencil, mark out the plate in the center of the board. Trace the whole thing, but be especially careful to mark out where the screws are. Depending on your router, there will be three or four screws you’ll need to sink.
It’s really best to use countersinking heads for this, but don’t worry too much about it if you don’t have any handy.
Drill the screw holes, and you should end up with a great place to stick your router. Next you’ll want to use a hole saw in order to cut out the middle.
You can screw the router on to this construction immediately. In fact, you should, to make sure everything fits cleanly.
3.) Make the Frame
You’ll need a frame to support your table, otherwise you’ll have to work in pretty sketchy conditions. It needs to be quite sturdy in order to support both the weight of the router and the possible stress of you pushing pieces along.
We’re going to cut some basic joinery in order to achieve a sturdy frame, then glue it together. If you’d like, you can also place a screw through the corners of the frame to have a little bit more insurance. The table you created should be a few inches longer and exact fit in width to allow it to sit flush with the top.
A scroll saw is probably your best bet here, but with a little bit of ingenuity there’s a wide range of tools which will allow you to pull this off.
You’re going to need two sets of frames, one for the top and the bottom of the box, so get them all cut then get to gluing. Use the glue generously, then clamp the frames and let them sit. If things get a bit gooey on the outside, just clean it off with a rag.
If you don’t have enough clamps, add some screws to the mix, just make sure they’re long enough to get through the middle piece of joinery but not so long as to go all the way through.
Let them sit and dry, and go cut some scrap wood to make the outer dimensions of the box. You’ll want to make the base protrude on the sides of the table by three to four inches, depending on the amount of room you have available.
You’ll also want to cut an extra piece to fit over the bottom frame. When everything is dry, you’ll just have to zip it up with some screws. Make sure there’s the side panels come up as far as your table is thick to allow for it to sit flush at the end of construction.
As you can see in the above, we also made some cut outs to allow the router handle to clear when it’s being mounted or dismounted. This can be done simply enough using a scroll saw or jig saw, but if you want to avoid it you can build the table large enough you won’t have to worry about it.
With the frame in place, all you’ll need to do is add some finishing touches to the table and a fence.
4.) Mounting the Table
There are two ways to approach mounting the table at the end of your project.
The way we did things was to simply drop it in. Approach the frame diagonally with the table, putting the router down first, and you’ll be able to easily disassemble the router table for a little bit easier storage.
You can also screw it down if you want something more permanent.
There’s still one problem, however, which is the fact that the hole is too large to be safely used in most cases. We handled it by cutting an additional two boards the size of the table then drilling holes which were appropriately sized for the bits we were planning on using.
Drill some holes in the corners and you can screw the guards off to your table when you’re using them to prevent any slipping.
That’s your best bet, in all honesty, since using the huge hole in the center will lead to a lot of problems.
5.) The Fence
A fence is how you make sure that your cuts are in a perfectly straight line, but there’s no need to invest in the hardware required to make a moving one for most jobs. Instead, you can clamp pieces of wood and the fence together easily.
It’s probably a good idea to mark the common measurements you’ll be cutting with a pencil or marker, at say ¼”, ½”, 1” and so on. This will allow you to save some time when you start using it in earnest.
Then you’ll just need to attach the clamps at the right line and… voila. You now have a functional router table.
By adding a router table to your workshop, you’ll find that a lot of jobs become a whole lot easier. It’s not the fanciest table, but it can be built in just a few hours and you can get started on your next project quickly and simply.
Of course, with your newfound workshop capabilities, you might just find yourself wanting to build something better quite soon.