I started not to post this because I butchered the top with my plunge router. I figured I would show my mistakes and all. It might help someone else. This is my first “shop tool/jig” project so bare that in mind while looking. If there is anything you see that I can improve please let me know. I started by removing the original metal table saw extension wing and spreader bar...
I used all the existing holes in the fence rails and cast iron table. I just used 2×4 material for my frame to give me more meat for when I enclose the router with a box for dust control. For the top I used 3/4 inch birch ply as a base and glued a thin melamine type board to it.
(-Side note: I picked up about 30+ pieces of all different types of sheet ply and wood at a discount hardware store in their “defect” stack where I live for $30 and the top I used on this project came from that pile. It was used as a cover sheet from one of their suppliers.)
Once I had the frame built and the table glued up I pre-drilled and screwed the table in place. Then I located and measured for the table saw’s existing holes and transferred those measurements to the new router table and installed it using the table saw hardware.
Once it was in place I had to make sure it was perfectly flat and true to the table saw and figure out where to mount the router. I used a hand plane very carefully and a manual hand sander to get it just right. Next I cut out a hole in the table just big enough for the router to slip into. After the hole was cut out I then decided on a router plate size and made it from the same stuff as the top since I had plenty to spare. Now, here is where I got tired and should have stopped for the day, but I just HAD to finish the top so I could insert the plate. I set my plunge router to the dept of the melamine and routed out the size of the plate I made. I locked the plunge while I was using it and forgot to unlock it when I set it down to the side (big disappointment), but that didn’t stop me. I didn’t use a guide and tried to free hand the outline of the plate (I have done this before with good success), but I was tired and trying to finish for the day so I got sloppy.
If there was any point during this whole project to take my time this would be that point, but I didn’t and here is the result of that… Like I said, I started not to post this project b/c at this point I was so upset with what I had just done to my nice, clean top, but I kept going and in the end all I have to do is turn the table over (not the frame) and glue in another piece of melamine. Not a huge deal, but not necessary either. Once I actually leveled the plate all the imperfections didn’t matter. To level the plate (no pic) I have 6 small round head screws under the plate just screwed into the table. The router is secured to the shop made plate with it’s original screws (I removed the router’s factory plate). I then counter sank 4 screws into the plate to give it a nice firm fit. To remove the plate and router I have to remove 4 screws.
The router can be removed through the hole with the plate attached, but I had to take off the router handles. I have a Skil router mounted to this table and it is working out rather nicely. I can change the bit from the table top by unlocking the router mount and extending it to it’s highest capacity (this is done by reaching under the table, not bad at all). To set the router height I unlock the router mount, move it up or down and lock it back, then use the fine adjustment to get it just right. I plan to build a box to enclose it with a door and also a shop made lift.
The fence was pretty simple to make, it’s just a couple pieces of 3/4 ply and some 45’s to hold it together. I did add some pieces of wood to the back between the 45’s to make a couple storage compartments (to hold the wrench or router bits while I’m working). I will be adding an adjustable sacrificial fence front, a t-track to the top portion, adjustable slides in the table top and a miter slot (just waiting on that stuff to come in).
I received the parts to finish my router table and fence and I also took the time to re-do the table top. This time I didn’t cut out a plate insert. I just attached the router to the underside of the top and I will eventually purchase a nice insert. I am pleased with the way everything turned out. The t-track is attached to a permanent piece on the top portion of the fence and the lower part of the fence is adjustable for different size router bits. I added a miter track to the table top to accept my table saw miter gauge (I had to remove the little wheel, though). I purchased the Rockler router table accessory kit which includes 3 feather boards (2 for the fence and 1 for the table), the knobs and t-bolts to connect them, and a 2 1/2” dust port. I also purchased a router bit guard that attaches to the t-track, which I’m not sure how well I like it due to the fact that I can’t adjust it as low as I would like and I think that’s because of where I installed the t-track. Overall I’m happy with it and best of all I can change anything without too much hassle.
Receive future Blog posts by email when you subscribe below, it's free:
Subscribe and receive our free e-book!