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Thread: A Disposable Router Table

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    A Disposable Router Table

    There are lots of fancy full cabinet router table plans out there. I frankly don't have the space for one of those in my shop, unless I do some serious rearranging, and get rid of some tables or such.


    There are also lots of commercial tables out there, priced all the way from (piece of junk) to (not bad) and right up to (sound of passing out). Some are portable, which would work in my current small shop.


    But, as this is (so far) still a hobby, cost is an issue that cannot be ignored or claimed as an expense on my taxes.


    Finally, I'm also trying to see how long I can get along with this old (ancient?) Rockwell router that I my Dad gave me when he retired. I've got a nice Hitachi plunge router for hand work, so I thought that this old D-handle router could live out it's life permanently table mounted. I could buy a new one, but do remember the previous paragraph.


    So this is what I came up with as a cheap, simple, accurate, and portable, router table solution. It is a sort of a cross between an article in the April'05 Popular Woodworking magazine, and Pat Warner's basic design, and of course my own humble design skills round out the plan and bring it all together.


    I call this a "Disposable" router table, as the cost is low enough to be practically free. Also, the effort to build it was pretty minimal, so if I only get some limited use out of it -- even if only enough use to find out what I want to change in the next one -- even then it will have been worth while.

    top-woodline.jpg



    I started with a Seven Dollar piece of half-inch MDF, 24x48" in size, from the local big box home store. Along with that I also picked up a short extension cord, and a few electrical bits. Net cost for the whole table, therefore, was no more than about Twenty dollars.


    The MDF was cut down to 2'x2' to give a top, pictured here. (In the photo it was being used with some Woodline dovetailing jig parts.) A hole is drilled for access to the router bit, and some holes counterbored for mounting the router base. I removed the D-Handle, to make the base smaller for mounting.


    The rest of the MDF was cut into a sort of horseshoe shape to fit around the router, and then glued and screwed to the top in a torsion box arrangement to keep the top flat and strong. I purposely made this smaller than the top, as I'll want the edge open for clamping.

    under.jpg



    This underneath photo shows the sub-top assembly. It also shows the electrical hookup. The extension cord was cut, fed through a switch, and out the back. The sides are some random scrap plywood, ripped to about 12" tall and fastened to the two sides of the torsion sub-assembly.


    back.jpg



    And here is the just mentioned back. A few curved scraps of wood give space for winding up the cord when I stash the router table away.


    top-fence.jpg



    That brings us to the end. No fancy router raising gizmos, or above the table bit changing options. Just take the motor out of the base and do the work from above. The fence is a simple affair, which is clamped to the table for use. I will be making some adjustable sacrificial faces for sliding closer to the bit, but haven't gotten around to it just yet.


    The top was finished with a quick coat of Tried-n-True "original wood finish", which is just a mixture of beeswax and Linseed Oil. Wiped on, allowed to sit, and buffed out.



    That's all for now. More details after I've used it for a few months.


    I know, it's hardly anything fancy. Let me repeat: Even if I only get limited use out of it -- even if only enough use to find out what I want to change in the next one -- even then it will have been worth while.
    "It's Not About You."

  2. #2
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    Much nicer than a chunk of plywood with a router motor screwed to it like I have used several times.

    I don't have a router table as most work is done on the shaper but I have a set up similar to yours on the "to do list".

    I like it. A typical easy, cheap and useful solution to a problem. Seems to be what many of us are very good at.

    Joe
    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius De Rei Militari III (paraphrased)

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  3. #3
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    Art -

    I like it! I especially appreciate the "torsion box" top ----which should do a VERY good job at keeping it flat!! Excellent and serviceable...

    THanks for the post!

  4. #4
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    Hey, that's a really nice setup; practical and it does the job. That's what it's all about sometimes! Nice work, Art.
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  5. #5
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    I Like.......

    I like it Art! Plain,simple,gets the job done.

    "We don't neeeed no stinkin' router lifts!"
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  6. #6
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    I like it!

    Art, I'm sure that the experience of building it was worthwhile, and I'm sure that you will get a lot of great use out of it.

    Nice work!

    My biggest issue with using router tables is dust collection. I think you'll find the experience of using this table even more enjoyable if you add add a door to the front, close in the back, and add a dust collection port to the side. Adding a vac hose to the fence wouldn't hurt either.

    Or perhaps you don't mind sweeping, that's ok too
    When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
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  7. #7
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    Art,

    Looks like that will work just fine...

    My only suggestion would be to mount the electrical switch on the outside so it would be easier to get to.
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  8. #8
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    That's a very workable router table. I think I could find room for one like this.
    ________
    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathew Nedeljko
    My biggest issue with using router tables is dust collection. ...
    I forgot to say "A Work In Progress" in the original post. The fence is by no means complete, and a DC hookup is mandatory. The under-table DC was something I wasn't sure about. I know that closing in would work, but for now I went with the simplest/minimalist-est design. Time will tell.
    "It's Not About You."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Burlington NC
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    Good post Art. Hopefully a router table is my next shop project and your setup is basically the same as what I have in mind doing and the underside view gives me a few ideas.

    Nice setup inexpensive, accurate, and functional works just as good as expensive does.
    He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the very last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder
    Also, the effort to build it was pretty minimal, so if I only get some limited use out of it -- even if only enough use to find out what I want to change in the next one -- even then it will have been worth while.
    I think it's smart to start simple for this very reason. The temptation can be to try and build in everything you might want and need, but those things often aren't fully apparent until you've spent some time getting your hands dirty.
    Looks good and 'skookum'!


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