Every woodworking handyman wants a benchtop router table with many great features such as a router table fence, a router plate or other router base, a drill press, and measurement tools for perfection routing.
However, buying a quality pre-made table like CNC router table, you know it is going to be expensive. That is why more and more people are making their own benchtop router table. If you’re looking for a super easy way to build a router table you should definitely look at starting with a kitchen cabinet.
You’d be surprised how easily these can be retrofitted to create the perfect router table where you can save some money and also save some time. Now, technically, you’re only using the countertop portion of the old cabinet to make the actual router table, but the cabinet portion is going to be helpful if you want something for it to stand up on. Of course, that’s only if it’s going to be a permanent fixture.
The Pieces You Need
Countertop – You’ll want something that is at least 6 linear feet because that’s going to give you a 3-foot table. This is about the minimum you’re going to want to get basically any kind of project that you want. These pieces, however, aren’t very long when you consider it’s a kitchen cabinet so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a scrap somewhere.
T-nuts, eye bolts, washers, router table insert plate, 1/2” router bit, wood glue, ½”, 1 ¼”, and 2” coarse thread screws – You’ll need several different kinds of connective pieces to help you put things together as you go along. Your best bet is to bring your boxes of miscellaneous screws and pieces for this part.
Metal rails – You’ll need rails to help support everything, so a 6-foot piece of 1” rail will work. You can find these pretty easily or use something you might have around the house. Vacuum hose adapter – You’ll be surprised how this is actually going to help you get everything put together quickly and easily.
Putting It Together
- You can use a circular saw or a table saw to start the cutting process but you want to cut off any backsplash that your countertop may have. If the main portion of the countertop isn’t flat you may also want to cut that section off as well (this happens sometimes on the front of countertops).
- The first hole you want to make is for the insert plate. You need it to be 3 ½” from the back edge with at least a ½” guide around the outside. Set your router bit depth and stack your guide material with the plate itself and start cutting the inner edge of your groove. Make sure if you’re using a table saw you put the laminate side of the countertop face up and if you’re using a circular saw you put it face down. This will prevent chipping.
- You’ll want to help finish out the hole by cutting the inner edge of the groove that you’ve created.
- Attach your rails to the underside of the countertop to form a support system for when you use your router and your plates on the table.
- Next, you’ll need all of your cut pieces to assemble your framework and fence. You need a 6” x 28” base, a 3 ½” x 28” face backer, 5” x 30” face, 2 2 ¾” x 4 ½” dust pen pieces, and 6 3 ½” x 5 3/16” brackets.
- Take your base and lay it flat on the table. Then attach two of the bracket pieces to each other using glue and repeat for another two brackets. These will go on the outer sides of the base piece with 1 ½” of space between the side edge and the bracket on each side. Next, measure 6 ½” in from the outer edge and 4” back and screw in one eye bolt and each side. The T-nut will fit into the bottom of the piece.
- Cut a half circle in the middle of the back side of the base board that’s 4” wide at the base and 2” deep. Repeat on the face backer.
- Surround this circle on the base board with one bracket on each side. Attach the dust pen pieces to each other to form a 90° angle and cut a hole in one of the pieces that is the diameter of your vacuum hose.
- Take the final piece and carve a half-circle in the middle of the back that is sized to work for your router bits.
- Make sure you drill pilot holes and use coarse threaded screws as a fine threaded one will not hold.
- When it comes time to attach your fence face to the underside of the unit you want to use 1 ½” screws through the backer and then use the T-nuts carefully.
- Your table is now ready to go, though you’re only going to have a surface at this point. If you use the entire cabinet you can set up the router table in your garage or workspace in its own permanent (or semi-permanent) location.
You can find even more information by checking out the Family Handyman right here. You’ll see pictures and more demonstrations of just what you need to do and how you can make sure your table is going to be in tip top shape. After all, that’s the most important part, right? You need a table that you can trust to use your router with and you definitely need something that’s going to last at least a while. You don’t want to put your time and effort into it and it doesn’t work.
The best thing about this particular router table, however, is that you’re not going to spend a whole lot of money. So when you do have more money to spend, you can pick up a nicer, newer table that really suits all your needs and you won’t have to feel bad about getting rid of this one. But, in the meantime, you have something that is definitely going to make all of your projects a whole lot easier and a whole lot more enjoyable at the same time. That’s definitely going to be a big benefit for anyone.