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Big Router Table on a Budget

comments (7) November 12th, 2012 in blogs

Tom Tom McKenna, Managing Editor
thumbs up 46 users recommend

Its big, and it moves. My new router table is 35 in. wide by 23 in. deep by 33 1/2 in. tall.
Insert gets the hook. A hole in the replaceable insert makes it easy to remove with the end of an Allen wrench.
Slide it in. The insert dovetails into a slot between fence faces.
Switch in easy reach. A side-mounted paddle switch means I dont have to reach under the table to turn the router on or off.
On track. The fence rides in T-tracks mortised into the top and locks in place securely.
A ready port. The dust port was salvaged from an old Freud fence.
What to do with an old biz card. To get the fence face square to the table, I used business card shims.
Standing up straight. Once the assembly was square, I installed the front face.
Its big, and it moves. My new router table is 35 in. wide by 23 in. deep by 33 1/2 in. tall. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

It's big, and it moves. My new router table is 35 in. wide by 23 in. deep by 33 1/2 in. tall.

Photo: Tom McKenna

For years I'd been using a benchtop router table at home. It worked, but it was always a hassle to pull out and then store. Plus it was small, so large workpieces were a challenge.

No more. I finally built a bigger one. But a bigger router table didn't mean bulky or expensive. I saved money by making it out of leftover construction lumber and a few castoff parts from friends, and put money where it counted most: a router lift.

The base and undercarriage for the tabletop were made from a couple 2x4s left over from a home project, all connected with screws and glue. The front and back aprons are pine scraps, and the shelf is a 1/2 in. thick scrap of CDX plywood, also left over from a home project.

I picked up the locking casters from a colleague who no longer needed them, and the dust shroud was salvaged from an old Freud fence, also from a colleague.

The top and fence were made from 3/4 in. thick MDF, and yes, it too was left over. The top is 35 in. wide and 23 in. deep, plenty big for most of the stuff I'll be building. I offset the router lift insert a bit toward the infeed side and toward the back, thinking it would be good to have a little extra room to handle large workpieces. I haven't used the table in real life yet, so I'll have to let you know whether the idea was successful or whether I just outsmarted myself.

The fence is 4 3/8 in. tall and rides in a couple T-tracks. I designed the fence so there's a zero-clearance insert over the bit opening. The insert dovetails into the opening from up top. The design, which I picked up from John White's "Ultimate Router Table" (FWW #153), allows me to replace the insert easily when it gets worn out. But that's not the only benefit. I can install fresh faces to use with various profiling bits, which helps reduce tearout and prevents the work from diving into a too large opening.

I used the dust port from the Freud fence, and I beveled the edges of the MDF inside the opening to create a ramp that helps direct dust up to the port.

I coated the top and fence with shellac and waxed both surfaces to give a smooth ride for the work.

Overall, I'm very happy with the results, and I can't wait to put it to work. But first I have to get some push blocks...



posted in: blogs, workshop, router table


Comments (7)

JohnOSeattle JohnOSeattle writes: I liked the reuse of the Freud dust port and the casters. Can you ID the casters and maybe a source?
Posted: 10:15 am on February 17th

ieiswingle ieiswingle writes: I use a Triton 3-1/4 hp router in my table. Only a LeeValley Veritas router table will hold every router made including a Triton. I don't see why their router plate would not work. Check all of the Veritas router accessories you'll find what your looking for.
Posted: 6:55 am on November 18th

ctrpt ctrpt writes: what router are you using? been thinking of getting the 3 1/4 hp triton router for dedicated table use because of the above the table bit changes and adjustments.
Posted: 7:38 pm on November 17th

Ray_SHARR Ray_SHARR writes: I like this router table, I might even build one. The main modification I would make is to include a track for a miter gague which would improve the table's versatility.
Posted: 7:05 pm on November 17th

woodarby woodarby writes: Yep. Nice table and fence. I saw this fence insert the John White's article, great idea.
Posted: 7:43 am on November 17th

Tom Tom writes: Thanks Vince
Posted: 9:30 am on November 16th

Vinceowens Vinceowens writes: That's a neat router table, nothing fancy, but it will get the work done. I like the idea of the fence sliding in the tracks.

Nice One.
Posted: 2:48 pm on November 14th

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