How to Build a Deluxe Router Table

Overview

A router mounted in a table is almost a necessity if you use a large-profile router bit. Although you can buy a router table, a homemade tabletop will save you money, and you can customize it for your specific needs.

Table Top

Step 1

Put on your safety glasses.

Step 2

Cut the MDF into two pieces for the router tabletop with the circular saw or a table saw, according to the size for your needs. A standard store-bought router table is 24 inches by 34 inches by 1.5 inches thick.

Step 3

Glue and screw the top together; the tabletop will be a sandwich of two layers of MDF. Do not use screws where you will install the router plate.

Step 4

Cut a piece of laminate that is 2 inches larger than the top on all sides. You could skip this step and just wax the MDF top with a nonsilicon paste wax. However, the laminate is a better-quality top.

Step 5

Apply contact cement to the back side of the laminate and to one side of the MDF.

Step 6

Wait for the contact cement to dry. Place a few strips of scrap wood on top of the MDF. These will keep the MDF and laminate from touching while you position the laminate.

Step 7

Remove the scraps of wood one at a time starting at one end of the tabletop, and let the laminate and MDF touch. Continue removing scraps until the two are together.

Step 8

Roll the laminate to remove any air pockets and give you a smooth, flat work surface.

Step 9

Remove the laminate's overhang using a router and trim bit.

Step 10

Wrap the edges of the MDF top with a 3/4-inch-by-1.5-inch piece of hardwood. Round over the sharp edges. This will picture-frame the top and protect the edges from damage while also upgrading the table's appearance.

Step 11

Attach the router plate template to the tabletop with double-sided tape. If you plan on using the router table to make mostly moldings and edge work, place the plate toward the front of the table. If you plan on milling large panels that need support, place the plate toward the rear of the table. For multipurpose use, place the plate in the middle.

Step 12

Rout out material from the inside of the template, according to your router plate's specific directions.

Step 13

Install the router plate on the tabletop.

Step 14

Measure your miter track and cut a piece of MDF to the track's length and about 3 inches wide. Clamp the MDF to your table, perpendicular to the router plate, to use as a straight edge. This should be 2 to 3 inches away from the router plate.

Step 15

Cut a dado to install the miter track, using your router and a 1/2-inch straight bit with collar. Cut out the dado in a series of small passes to create a groove for the miter track. This will give you the ability to attach fixtures or jigs to your router table.

Step 16

Screw in the miter track, making sure it is flush with the tabletop.

Step 17

Wax the laminate tabletop with a nonsilicon paste wax.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses Wear a dust mask when cutting MDF

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Sheet of 3/4-inch medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
  • Circular saw
  • Wood glue
  • 1-1/4 inch screws
  • Laminate
  • Contact cement
  • Scrap wood pieces
  • Laminate roller
  • Router
  • Router trim bit
  • Hardwood trim material
  • Router plate template
  • Double-sided tape
  • Router with collar
  • Straight-cutting router bit
  • Miter track
  • Nonsilicon paste wax

References

  • WoodworkersWorkshop.com: Homemade Router Table
  • Shopnotes.com: 6-step Router Plate Installation

Who Can Help

  • "Router: Workshop Bench"; Zachary Taylor; 1999
  • "John Sainsbury's Router Workshop"; John Sainsbury; 1994
Keywords: deluxe router table, shop equipment, do-it-yourself router table

About this Author

Jim Wildman served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communication Chief for 10 years. After his tour of duty in Desert Storm he attended Oklahoma State University receiving his Bachelor of Architecture. He worked as an architect for 10 years before starting his own design/build company. He began writing in 2009 for Demand Studios and published on eHow.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Build a Deluxe Router Table