Rock-Solid Router Table
Easy to build, this workhorse can handle any routing task
Synopsis: This sturdy router table was designed by Peter Schlebecker to stand up under years of nonstop use by student woodworkers at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, and it has been up to that challenge. The MDF and plastic-laminate top will stay flat and stable despite extremes of humidity or rough treatment. The tabletop is the right size to accommodate small workpieces as well as large, and the tall fence fully supports workpieces as they pass the router bit. A miter track is useful for creating joinery. This design can be adapted to any type of router.
One of the first assignments I was given as the new facilities manager at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship was to design and build the best router table I could using common woodworking materials. I started by coming up with a list of must-have features.
First, the table surface had to be big enough to accommodate large workpieces such as pattern templates for bending forms, angle-cutting sleds, frame-and-panel rails on the miter gauge, longer lengths of stock requiring featherboards, and inside curves. It had to be wide enough to resist tipping and shimmying when subjected to sideways forces. Also, the tabletop had to be extremely flat as a reference surface, and it could not respond to the extreme changes in humidity that we get in Maine. It had to remain flat and could not deflect over the years or when heavy downward pressure was applied.
The top needed a durable, smooth, lowfriction surface that would withstand the vagaries of student use. And I wanted the table-edge overhang large enough to support a clamp, without any deviations in thickness that would make it hard to get a clamp to hold properly. My list of basic considerations went on: The table had to be a good work height, and it had to be easy to change bits in the router and make fine adjustments. The fence needed to be flat and rigid, stay at 90° to the table, be easy to set and remove, have good dust collection, and be large enough to support large workpieces and the attachment of jigs and featherboards. The on/off switch had to be large and easily accessible for emergency shutoff, and the whole table had to be easy to clean, especially underneath.
We have had three of these router tables under nonstop use by students at the school for three years, and other than the routers being dropped occasionally, the tables have proved extremely durable.
From Fine Woodworking #195
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