Simple Router Table | Popular Woodworking Magazine

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Simple router table

While many carpenters I spend the weekends making fixed router tables, mine have always been very simple, driven by convenience, and the desire to do other things. My first was just a router base screwed onto the underside of a piece of plywood. I simply fixed the plywood to a workbench, installed the cutter and bit, fixed it to a board like a fence, and let it tear.

Things haven’t changed much in my shop. I still like the convenience of a router table that I can quickly take apart and put away, so I don’t lose the space a stationary router table would require. One thing that has changed, however, is that the router table I use today is more sophisticated. It has an aluminum router plate and a swivel enclosure with dust collection. This table only takes an hour or two to build and can last for years. To make your own, you’ll need a router plate and a dip router equipped with a pattern guide.

The router plates produced work great. They include backlash-free inserts for safer routing and make it even easier to store the router table when I’m done. The method I use to install the router plate is almost foolproof and will work for any square or rectangular router plate (the one shown here is from Rockler, see Source). This method is also very accurate, so it is also suitable for use on the table of the most luxurious routers.

Make the table and install the plate

The first step is to choose a suitable piece for the table (A, Fig. A), which must be absolutely flat and very rigid. I usually use 3/4 “plywood. Table dimensions can vary, but I prefer a large surface, with at least 12” of support on both the entry and exit sides of the tip.

Block the table with one end protruding from the bench, so you can make the hole for the router plate. Locate the plate on the table so that it is centered between the sides and moved towards the front edge. This orientation makes the table more versatile: the short edge works for most routing operations; the long side provides additional support for large pieces such as door panels.

1. Begin by placing the router plate on the empty router table. Clamp pieces of uniform thickness all around to create a milling template. Then remove the plate.

Use the router plate to create a pattern to drill the hole. Place the dish on the table and then frame it with scrap pieces of uniform thickness. The pieces at the ends of the plate must be exactly the same width as the plate. Clamp the pieces securely around the mounting plate, making sure the joints are flush (Photo 1). Then remove the router plate.

2. Remove waste by plunging, using a twist drill and a model guide. This leaves a 1/4 ″ lip inside the attached drill template.

Use a plunge cutter equipped with a 3/4 “OD model guide and a 1/4” twist drill bit to cut the center (Photo 2). Move counterclockwise around the module and hold the model guide firmly against the model. For best results, complete the cut in several passes, dipping the tip of the cutter slightly deeper with each subsequent pass.

3. Route a stop to seat the router plate, using a template tip. The depth of the stop must correspond to the thickness of the plate.

Install a 3/4 “diameter tip of the template and use the attached template to create a 1/4” wide ledge to seat the router plate in the table (Photo 3). A bit pattern is a dip-style bit flush trim; its bearing is mounted above the cutters. Set the dive depth slightly shallow to start and only destroy a small spot. Measure the depth of the stop, adjust the depth of the dive and try again. When the depth of the rebate is exactly equal to the thickness of the mounting plate, go ahead and mill all the way around. Remove the model pieces. Then mark and drill the 3/8 ″ pin hole for the fence.

4. Attach the base from the router to the router plate. Reinstall the router engine and then insert the router plate assembly into the table.

Disassemble the router by removing the motor from the base and the base plate from the base of the router. Then screw the router base to the router plate, using the base plate screws (Photo 4). Reinstall the router engine and then install the router plate assembly in the table.

Build the fence

5. Assemble the pin fence with cookies and glue. Make sure the joint is flush on the bottom when fastening the parts together.

The swivel table fence is easy to use and adjust and includes dust collection. A wing nut at one end and a C-clamp at the other hold the fence firmly and is adjustable in small increments – a slight change at the end of the fence’s C-clamp results in a fraction of that change in the center, where the bit is. The fence itself consists of two pieces. Model the face (B) and drill a 3/8 “hole in the base (C) at the pivot point. Then glue the two pieces together (Photo 5).

6. Check the fence to see that its face is square to the table surface. If it isn’t, use the jointer to make it square.

Cut the top (D) and sides (E) of the dust collection box and glue them together. Cut the back (F) to fit and drill a hole for the dust collection tube. To create a durable connecting piece, I cut an old extension tube from a vacuum cleaner and glued it into the hole, using construction adhesive. Vacuum parts can often be found in thrift stores.

7. Mark the location of the router tip and drill a pilot hole through the bottom of the fence at that point. Then lift a larger router tip through the hole and into the fence to create an opening suitable for milling and chip removal.

Install the swivel fence and make sure its face is absolutely square to the table surface (Photo 6). Then make room for the router tip (Photo 7). Rotate the fence on the router and mark the center of the tip. Remove the fence and drill a 3/4 “diameter hole in the bottom at the mark. Reinstall the fence on the router and gradually lift a slightly larger spike through the hole and into the fence. Screw in the vacuum box and you are ready to go. milling.

Simple router table cut list


First name



Thickness x W x L





3/4 “x 28” x 28 “


Fence face


Hard maple

3/4 “x 3-1 / 2” x 41 “


Fence base


Hard maple

3/4 “x 2-3 / 8” x 41 “


Top of the dust box


Hard maple

3/4 “x 2-3 / 8” x 7 “


Side of the dust box


Hard maple

3/4 “x 2-3 / 8” x 2-3 / 4 “


Dust Box Back


Hard maple

3/4 “x 2” x 5-1 / 2 “

Figure A) Exploded view


Rockler Aluminum Router Table Plate (different versions for different routers), $ 69.99.

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