Greetings! Yes, I know. Everyone and their brother (or even sister) posts pictures of their router tables.
But I did have some questions about my project when I made my introductions. So, I thought I would post some of what I'm doing.
First, here are my requirements. I need this to be collapsible. And it needs to be sturdy. And it needs to be moderately inexpensive.
Why collapsible? Well, it's in our garage and I intend to continue to use it as a garage. When I'm not doing a project, the router table needs to be stowed away so TWO cars can fit in the garage.
Sturdy and moderately inexpensive are both pretty obvious. I sure don't want the final results to be anything other than very, very stable. But on the other hand, I simply can not afford a full blown table top and stand.
Ouch! Anyone know anything about project management? There's an old tale that President Truman was shown some of the problems of bring a project in on time and budge and at the quality desired. He noted that you can have any two of the three objectives (speed, cost, time), but not all three. It's known as the Truman Triangle.
Well, I just described a Truman Triangle in the wood working shop. It needs to be collapsible and sturdy and moderately inexpensive. Can you actually accomplish all three?
Yes! But you need to have the mindset of a hacker. Not a destructive individual, but someone who can take pieces not normally associated with this approach and put together a solution.
Of course, I've been working on this project for the past 20 years. No, really! I've always loved fancy joinery work. Many, many moons ago I purchased an Incra Jig. They now call it the Original Incra Jig. Well, mine is the original Original Incra Jig. But my work life overtook any spare time I might spend on it. Now that I've retired and I need some moderate activity, I decided to complete this project.
So, after a LOT of research, I decided to make my own table and stand. The table is made from a 3/4" melamine board. Yes, I know it's not as stable as it should be. So, along the long sides and the short front and back, I glued (using a polyurethane glue) and screwed 1x4 boards underneath. Melamine boards have the advantage of having a slightly pebbled surface, which improves the ability for things to slide over it. I'll use a silicone spray to enhance that slick feeling.
Along the two long sides, I routed channels for two Hart Designs Utili-Track T Tracks. This allows me to accurately measure placement of the fence from the center of the router plate. Here's this T Track:
Along the front of the table, near the router plate, I decided on a Kreg Combo Track. This provides the T Track or Miter slot, depending on the needs of the project.
And then I decided that I wanted an Incra Router Plate. I went with the plate predrilled for the DeWALT DW625 plunge router.
After doing research, I found that I could purchase a used DeWALT DW625 router, the Router Raizer, and the eXtreme eXtension and end up with essentially a router lift built into this table.
Here's a photo of a modified DW625:
Cool! If all goes well, I'll end up with a router table that will perform as well as one that cost hundreds of dollars for MUCH less.
Because the melamine board is only 3/4" thick, it needed some reinforcement under it. And to make it easier to route out the opening for the router plate, by using the Incra Clean Sweep adapter, it's possible to route the opening with a straight cut bit following the Incra router plate template. I used the Kreg Plate Levelers to help better support the plate in the corners.
Here are a couple images of the Clean Sweep adapter and the Kreg plate levelers:
Note that I cut down the bolts holding the Combo Track in place. Since this is near the front of the table, I didn't want to cut my hand reaching under the table.
And here's the router table top, mostly completed:
Unfortunately, I measured and measured and still got the measurements wrong for the combo track. I'll need to add a shim in front of the combo track. Sigh!
Here's what the Utili-Track looks like, with the rule added to it:
The T-Tracks on the side will allow me to mount the Incra Jig on a board that I can readily move and reposition. The rule in the T Track will allow me to reliably reposition it whenever I want.
Though I found lots of router legs, their problem was both expense and the fact that they were not designed to be collapsed. I finally found work table legs at the Home Depot that should fit the bill:
Additionally, they include the ability to include an outlet built into the legs:
Using a switched outlet, a small appliance cord to connect the router table to power, and a small extension cord with multiple outlets to power the router and shop vacuum, I can create a single switch to drive both my router and ShopVac:
There's still a lot more to do:
- Cut stringers (using a piece of 1x6 and one 1x2).
- Cut and mount the board on which I will mount the Incra Jig
- Mount the Incra Jig
- Add the fence to the Incra Jig
- Fabricate and mount a dust collection box
And of course, in order to do this, I will need to modify some of my other tools to make them more accurate and usable. I will add a Drill Press Table jig. And I will add a Zero Clearance Throat Plate to my table saw.
I'll update this post as I make progress.