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Cabinetmaker's Router Table


Cabinetmaker's Router Table

You won't find this router table in any store or catalog.

By Dave Munkittric

You won't find this router table in any store or catalog. But, it incorporates all the best features found in those store-bought systems at half the cost!

At AW we’ve had the opportunity to study and use most of the router-table systems on the market. From that experience we’ve designed our own fully featured, easy-to-build router table. Build this version rather than buying a commercial cabinet-based router table and you’ll save enough money to buy yourself a new router!

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Assemble the cabinet with butt joints and screws. Use the toe-kick as a spacer for locating the bottom shelf. Spring clamps are like having a third hand for supporting cabinet parts during assembly.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Glue together the two top pieces on a flat surface, such as your tablesaw. Sandbags (wrapped in plastic to avoid spills) provide the clamping pressure. Be sure to offset the two pieces by about 1/4 in. This will give you two clean edges to place against your tablesaw fence as you cut the top to final dimensions (see Photo 3). 

Trim the built-up top on the tablesaw using the two offset edges against the fence. You’ll have to make four cuts to get the whole top square with flush edges. Leave an extra 1/2 in. on the width for trimming the hardwood edges (see Photo 4). 

Cut the top to final width with the hardwood edging glued onto the sides. The hardwood is placed just shy of one edge on the MDF core. This leaves a clean edge to reference against the tablesaw fence for the first cut. The second cut is made to final width and leaves the hardwood perfectly flush with the edges of the MDF.

Apply the plastic laminate. Slip sticks prevent the plastic laminate from sticking to the top before you have it properly positioned. When the laminate evenly overlaps all four edges of the top, slip one stick out at a time and apply pressure to the laminate using a block of wood or a roller.

Rout the recess for your mounting plate. Build the template to fit snugly around your mounting plate. Use a top-bearing flush-trim bit to cut an exact-size opening. Make sure the template is deep enough to accommodate the bit length. Use a jigsaw to cut a hole in the center of the recess, leaving a 1/2-in. ledge for the mounting plate (Fig. A).

Rout channels for the T-track with a 3/4-in. straight cutter and an edge guide. Cut the full-length dado at the front of the table first; then cut the stopped rabbets on the two edges. 

Rout slots in the fence parts using your newly built table and a temporary fence. Drill a 1/4-in. hole at the beginning and end of each slot. With the router turned off, set the blank against the fence so the 1/4-in. straight cutter protrudes through the first hole of the slot. Hold the blank firmly and turn on the router. Push the blank forward until the bit reaches the second hole. 

Cut notches in the fence parts with a jigsaw. Once the fence is assembled, the notches form an opening in the fence to accommodate the router bit.

Assemble the fence with screws. Check each support block for square before you use it. Perfectly square support blocks ensure a perfectly square fence.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker March 2003, issue #99.

March 2003, issue #99

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