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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to forum, fairly new to routing. I will have a shop in the very near future and am contemplating a router table. I have decided to build my own as opposed to buying a commercially built one for various reasons. I like the looks of the table available from Oak Park and may actually use a plan. I have viewed many pictures of cool tables here on the forum and all of this great info has me wondering about the basis for my table idea. It is my intension to build my router table into my workbench top. I was planning a 3 foot deep (or so) long benchtop and planned to use the plate mount approach and use a plate dummy to cover the hole when the router table wasn't in use. Why have I not seen this approach? Is it unwise? Do you need the flexibility to move all the way around a router table? Or do most folks not want to 'work' something like that into their work bench top? I've never had my own workshop, have known people who do and have many "wonderful" ideas of how I want to do mine. I realize that most of my 'wonderful' ideas are probably half baked. But instead of having yet another free standing tool in the shop that you either place strategically or move in order to use, I thought to multi-task the bench top. Thoughts?
 

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I'm fairly new to the world of routers myself, and recently built my own table. One of the items that led me to building a stand-alone router table was the lack of clamping surface area on the existing accessory table in the table saw that I had been using.

With my new table, I have a minimum of 2-1/2" of clamping surface on all edges. You may need to consider T-track or some other clamping method if you go with a built-in-the-workbench method.

The clamping surface being available was an immediate help just a couple days ago when I needed to build a quick jig to route a matching groove in 17 cabinet door panel replacements.
 

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I am on the eve of building my own table as well. I am not new to woodworking, but I have done so little of it over the past 5 years or so that I don't consider myself very experienced. However, one thing I do know, a long table is a great idea. I am planning to build a 2x3 foot table with 1 foot extensions on each side. This is based on the experience I had routing 500+ feet of baseboards.

Which brings me to my point. If you are planning to use your bench I would be very sure that it is straight and flat. You don't want any sagging or rising which will mess you up. I don't think you would need the flexibility to move around the table. The only real concern I can see with building your table into the bench is that for larger projects you may run into issues gluing up one section while wanting to route others.
 

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I personally like the abililty to stand anywhere at my router table and can access the bit. I think that is I were to make it into my work bench I would not like the lack of access.
 

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Workbenches are usually stationary. You want some room behind the bit as you do in front of it. A 2 foot board need four feet it you route along the lenght.
So moveable table is better.

You will need a good plate to mount the router, no sagging at all.
You also want and need room for a decent fence.
 

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jimcrjfo said:
New to forum, fairly new to routing. I will have a shop in the very near future and am contemplating a router table. I have decided to build my own as opposed to buying a commercially built one for various reasons. I like the looks of the table available from Oak Park and may actually use a plan. I have viewed many pictures of cool tables here on the forum and all of this great info has me wondering about the basis for my table idea. It is my intension to build my router table into my workbench top. I was planning a 3 foot deep (or so) long benchtop and planned to use the plate mount approach and use a plate dummy to cover the hole when the router table wasn't in use. Why have I not seen this approach? Is it unwise? Do you need the flexibility to move all the way around a router table? Or do most folks not want to 'work' something like that into their work bench top? I've never had my own workshop, have known people who do and have many "wonderful" ideas of how I want to do mine. I realize that most of my 'wonderful' ideas are probably half baked. But instead of having yet another free standing tool in the shop that you either place strategically or move in order to use, I thought to multi-task the bench top. Thoughts?
Here is my take on your project. It would be simple to have a drop in router in a newly constructed workbench. When you make the workbench you can take in to consideration the space need for the router and access to a few basic accessories that are nice to have at hand (wrenches, bit, push blocks, template guides etc). Keep in mind a vacuum set-up to keep chips at bay. Also clamping might be difficult unless you address this in the design. You could leave the router in place when not in use but be sure to have a cover over the hole to keep junk out. BUT this will work well only for certain projects so I expect you will want a stand-alone table soon.



Some of the drawbacks of the bench idea are; if you have to route an 8' piece you need clear space for 8' + in the in-feed side and 8' + in the out-feed side, that is a lot. I have my table clear of most things for maybe 4’ stock after that I have to move the router table to get more space. Second when using a starter pin I often rotate the work piece away from the pin after the cut is started and that takes space in other directions. So I guess I’m saying I need to keep the router table movable.



A personal problem I would have is that I pile stuff on my benches so I would have to keep moving things to get at the router table……. I have one workbench that I have not seen the top of since 1983 or so.

Ed
 

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If the bench is against a wall it would limit the room needed for some of the longer work that you may be routing. I have tried various methods, and I have also had a
heavy duty shaper. The shaper certainly was'nt portable. In order to save room in my shop I decided to get a table that could be portable or have a base and serve as a
fixed machine. I have the Oakpark router table and some of the other additions, like the mitre guide and raised panel system, they all work fine. They can be placed anywhere in the shop which helps, where space is at a premium. The only thing I have
added is a fence of myown design. Good luck..Woodnut65
 

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ejant said:
Workbenches are usually stationary. You want some room behind the bit as you do in front of it. A 2 foot board need four feet it you route along the lenght.
So moveable table is better.
Can I guess that you feed your wood front to back, like Bob and Rick? Whereas, I feed right to left. It is funny how I assumed a right to left feed when I thought that an unmovable bench would be okay. But you raise a very good point, I take what I said back. Go moveable.
 

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I recently constructed a router table from scratch. I used recycled counter top material for the top. It turned out a little larger than I wanted, and not as much clamping overhang as I wanted, but still works pretty well. I used a comercially available router plate. This table replaces the Craftsman table I purchased a year ago. My wife bought me a Craftsman router last year. I knew almost nothing about routers. I have learned enough to know I need a better router. The table also has a way of moving it in the workshop. I used a tip from a woodworking magazine to make standoffs with wheels almost touching the floor. When I pick up one side of the table, the wheels lift the table off the floor, and I can move it around. Also, I am working on dust collection using the plastic plumbing pipe split in half. I had to cut a couple slots in the router plate where it sits over the pipe. I have a small shop vac inside the table to provide the vacuum for the dust collection. Hopefully, this will work. Total cost so far is about $65, including plate. I can take a photo if anyone interested.

Jerry
 

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Snowshoe said:
Jerry,
I'd like to see a photo of your setup -- sounds rather interesting.
I'll be away on business for a week. Will send photo when I get back. I tested the dust removel that I set up for the Woodhaven router plate today. Works reasonably well. A lot better than what I had before. I have already thougt of improvements.

JErry
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gentlemen,
Thank you for taking the time to respond with some background. I was using narrow thinking when I wanted it in the bench top. Really hadn't considered all the implications and I appreciate your thoughts.

Jim
 

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My first router table was the Porter Cable thing -- it was part of a package deal that included the 690 router, a D-Handle base and the PC table. At $139US, it was a smokin' deal!!

It didn't take me very long, though, to discover all of the uhhh... shortcomings designed into that table top and fence. I got a fit of inspiration from an older edition of the MLCS "tech manual" and went to work.

You can see the results at www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/RT/ . (My entire cost to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear was a whopping $10US.)

I've included a link on that page to that old edition (long out of print) of MCLS' suggestions on How To Build Your Own Router Table. It's a .pdf file you can download and print.
 
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