by Joe Johns
on the woodworking list at The Oak has basically covered everything
you ever wanted to know about router tables but were afraid to
ask. And so, what prompted me to write this article? Well, there
was general chatter about which router - fixed or plunge - worked
best mounted in the table, some friendly bantering as to whether
or not a vacuum port should be in the router area and whether
to buy or build. Indeed, it appeared that some folks were about
as vague on router tables as most woodworkers are on nuclear
T he best place to start, I suppose, is to determine the need for a router table. Quite simply, if you have a router then you need a router table. A table allows the woodworker to perform operations that would normally be virtually impossible without one. Since the purpose of this article deals with building one rather than the how-to and/or uses of a router table, I'll leave the reader to their own devices in finding this information. However, I will point you in the general direction of Patrick Speilman, perhaps the most well-known authority on the router; his books on the subject are quite extensive.
N ow that the issue of need has been resolved let's cut to the chase and start making your new router table....
The size of the tabletop for a router
table shouldn't be much greater than 2' x 3' therefore the size
of my carcass was 21" d. x 33" w. while the height
should be determined by the user (my basic carcass is 30 1/4"
from the floor but add the tabletop and the feet, the overall
height is 32 1/2").
Just like the workbench, the router table's height should be where you can stand comfortably over it while work is being performed. This is also a safety issue because being able to see exactly what is going on while using the router table should be of paramount concern to the operator.
The actual dimensions of this carcass are 20 1/4" d. x 33" w. x 30 1/4" h.
4 partitions - 19 3/4"
x 24 3/4"
I made the toe-kick 4 3/4" high
so that by the time the face frame is placed onto the carcass,
the resulting space between the bottom of the face frame and
the floor will yield 3 1/2", which is pretty much standard
for a toe-kick. I also allowed the toe-kick to surround three
sides so that a person can stand comfortably anywhere around
Face frame cutting list (stiles are vertical, rails are horizontal - I used Red Oak because of its hardness but use what you wish)
2 outside stiles - 2"
x 26 3/4"
Assembly of the face frame is straightforward, however be sure that the shelf rail is 12" down on the center stiles and the drawer rails are 4 3/16" apart. If the carcass was assembled correctly, the inside edges of the center stiles will be flush with the center partitions and the shelf rail should be flush with the shelf.
The face frame will probably get your
vote as the section most likely to make you set your hair on
fire. This is because of the number of pieces all needing to
be glued and set into their proper places all at the same time.
But, if you work on it with a plan and don't get excited, you'll
adapt and overcome.