Routing #1: An old and faithful friend - my router table

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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 05-26-2013 02:04 PM 5189 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Routing series Part 2: Micro adjustment for a router table fence »

I’d like to introduce the router/table combination that I use for all my projects.

Its about 600 mm square x 1000 mm high. It also doubles up as an extension for my workbench (left in the picture). The top is MDF (oiled). It has front and rear slots for sliding fences and a mitre fence. Underneath the the top is this

An ancient Hitachi M12, 1/2” router that I was given, many moons ago, propped up on a Leyland Mini car jack (height adjuster). My bit collection, adjustment spanners and various fence and hold downs.

The top has a 240 mm x 6 mm clear acrylic insert onto which the router is mounted.

I chose this material as it allowed me to fix a scale under it which I use for rough setting of fences. There are mounting holes for two other routers that have been used in this table. I don’t tend to bother with height adjustment screws for the insert, preferring to shim the insert up, where necessary to get it flush with the top. Like me it is showing signs of wear and tear, particularly around the mounting holes (I’m a devil for over-tightening things) and is due to be replaced soon, with similar. I will also be addressing the issue of the rather large clearance hole (for the router bit) by use of inserts with various size holes in them. Ideally this hole should be kept to as small as possible (whilst allowing the bit to pass through) for safety.

This is the main fence

Which was based on one by Patrick Spielman in one of his excellent routing books (sadly since lost). It has grown organically over the years and currently sports a polyurethane front, nice and slippery. Like the table its covered in holes containing 8 mm threaded bushes for attachments

Adjustable endstops.

and hold downs.

The whole set-up can’t have cost me more that about £70 over the years (router bits excluded). I hope it serves to show that you don’t need expensive kit to make things with. For designs for things like these you could do worse than consult the books and blogs that are out there. My suggestions would include (but are by no means limited to)

The New Router Handbook and
Router jigs and Techniques both by Patrick Spielman

Jig Making for the Router by Roy Sutton

and there are many, many more out there.

If you’re new to woodworking and don’t have much money, don’t be put off. You have other things like time and skill (which you will acquire, believe me) which will help substitute for this.

The next part of this blog will be about accuracy and how it can be achieved for next to nothing.

Be seeing you

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

6 comments so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3503 days

#1 posted 05-26-2013 02:40 PM

Thank you, Martyn, for taking the time to produce this series. I’m sure it will benefit others, as well as myself.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3282 days

#2 posted 05-26-2013 02:44 PM

Hi Martyn,
The one I worry about is the acryllic plate that has crack on screw countersunk. But other parts are excellent. Thanks for showing again your work secrets. I am thinking already to use the car jack for a thicknesser.

-- Bert

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3396 days

#3 posted 05-26-2013 02:54 PM

6 mm Acrylic is perfectly adequate for this job, especially considering that the weight of the router is held by the car jack. That’s what 12 years of continuous use and over-tightening will do, Bert.

I think you’ll find I mentioned its going to be replaced.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View PineChopper's profile


188 posts in 2556 days

#4 posted 05-26-2013 02:57 PM

Thanks for sharing. I’ve needed a router table for a long time myself.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9238 posts in 3280 days

#5 posted 05-26-2013 05:33 PM

Very nice setup! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View pintodeluxe's profile


5914 posts in 3173 days

#6 posted 05-27-2013 06:42 AM

Brings back nightmares of my old M12V mounted in a table. Man, that thing was a pain to change bits.
I was sure glad when I got my Freud router, makes life so much easier.

Glad it works for you, that’s what counts.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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