If you’re passionate about woodworking, you need to have a complete workshop at your disposal in order to create complex projects. Without a router table, you won’t be able to increase your accuracy and work on more complex and diverse woodworking projects. But not everyone can afford to buy a router table, this investment taking a pretty sum of money out of your wallet when you make it. If you want to save money and enjoy having a router table at your disposal, read the following lines to find out what materials you need and how you must proceed.
Materials and tools you need to build a router table
Materials required: a safety power tool switch, 1-5/8-inch screws, contact cement, polyurethane finish, 2-inch washer head screws, and nail-on furniture glides.
Tools required: clamps, glue, a corded drill, a drill bit set, a countersink drill bit, an extension cord, a jigsaw, a router, one-handed bar clamps, tape measure, wood glue, and a table saw.
Features that you can add
To make the router table as functional as possible, there are certain features that you must add along the way. For this part of the project, we advise you to read comprehensive reviews of the best router tables of the moment. You can find useful router table information on Routertable.reviews, a site which analyzes the construction, the features and the specifications of the most practical router tables of the moment. Read those reviews and try to make your own table as practical as the router tables that can be found on the market. There are a few basic features that you should definitely include.
Vacuum ports are necessary for the cabinet and the fence because they provide suction on both ends of the router bit for the table to be as clean as possible. You can add a deep drawer in which to store all your routers and accessories. The external safety switch is essential because it allows you to turn the router on and off without opening the cabinet door. When creating the table, make sure that you use MDF because it provides increased stability, it comes flat, and it remains flat for a long time. Last but not least, install plastic furniture glides that allow you to slide the router table across the floor easily.
How to build the cabinet
First off, you have to decide what height the router table must have to make it comfortable for you to use it. Next, you can proceed to build the cabinet of the router table. Cut the cabinet parts and band them with maple or another hardwood edging of your choice. When you glue the edges, use a masking tape to hold the parts in place until the glue dries. If you encounter stubborn edges, use the extra force provided by clamps to hold them in place. Afterward, assemble the cabinet using the washer head screws. When the cabinet is finished, hang the doors using hinges. Next, nail on the glides, mount the external switch and cut a hole for the power cord.
How to make a solid and flat table top
On the sides of the MDF core, glue layers of hardboard. When the glue is dried, trim the hardboard, and cut a hole through it and the MDF using the router base as a template. After you cut the hole, center the table top on the cabinet. Cut a hole in the cabinet top. Add a second layer of cardboard to the table top without cutting a hole in it. Add the hardwood edging and the plastic laminate to the table top. Now it’s time to move on to installing the router. Drill a hole large enough to suit your largest router bit with a hole saw. Mark and drill screw holes to fasten the router base to the tabletop. Center the tabletop on the cabinet and fasten it with screws driven from inside the cabinet to finish with this step.
How to make the fence
Take an MDF plank and cut a hole in it. Next, cut the plank in half to make the base and the rail of the fence. Cut slots in the fence rail that allow the fence faces to slide in or out. Afterward, set the fence rail on the router table. Clamp on a temporary fence, turn on the router and push the stock from right to left until the bit enters the hole situated at the other end. Turn the router off, and join the two fence halves with screws and glue. Add the dust port and the triangular fence supports. Cut a fake fence face from MDF, drill holes that align perfectly with the slots on the fence rail, and test the fit. When the fit is right, use the fake fence face as a pattern to drill the real fence faces. Now you can bolt on the faces and start using your router table.
Build or buy?
What we can tell you right from the get-go is that buying, as well as making your own router table, are two perfectly fine options to go with. We will not persuade you to go in any direction as you have probably already thought about both alternatives. What we can do is present a few pros and cons of each option for you to more easily decide what is in your personal best interest.
Building your own table – Pros and cons
- It is a relaxing activity for those who truly enjoy taking up woodworking projects;
- As you have already figured it out after reading this article, it isn’t hard at all to make your own routing table;
- You end up saving more money than you would if you were to buy the table;
- You get to customize every element – size, design, features.
- If you are not skilled, you might end up failing with this project;
- It does take a generous amount of time to finish the woodworking project;
- You expose yourself to injuries during the building process.
Buying the table – Pros and cons
- No design flaws – when you build the table, there is the possibility that you might make mistakes;
- The table comes with all the features and accessories you are interested in;
- More convenient as you will not put any effort into making it yourself, or lose any time for that matter either;
- You can find reasonably priced tables – just set aside a budget and stick to it.
- If you skip on research and reading professional reviews, you might end up investing your money in a product that is not really worth it;
- Depending on the choice you make, you could end up spending more money than you would have if you were to build it yourself.