Router Table #3: Simplifying and Completing the Design

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 12-21-2009 06:49 PM 7613 reads 2 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The Motor's In - Triton 3.25hp TRC001 1/2" Precision Router Part 3 of Router Table series Part 4: cabinet frame started »

Finally had a weekend with shop time, but alas – mother nature had other plans.

Saturday was 14 degrees (F). a bit on the chilly side of things, but I figured I need to make use of that time. so I took out the phenolic sheet (36”x36”) and marked it for both 24” width and 28” width. I wanted to get a visual representation of the actual top size. the 28” looked a bit too wide in sketchup, and the 24” is the “standard” when you purchase a top. looking at both marked sized the 28” does looks somewhat too wide, and does not conform to the golden-aspect but the 24” was too narrow especially considering the cabinet space I want to have underneath. I decided on the 28” and made the cut.

I dont like working with phenolic. I really dont. the dust gets on everything, and is super fine. I worked outside with mask/goggles on and made sure garage doors are closed, it still made a mess on everything. I then vaccumed the remains. if it was a warmer day – I might have also air-blow clean my tools (circ-saw) but in such cold temp. my air compressor won’t compress air. it’ll run and run and run, but the pressure in the tank won’t rise- seems like the air is leaking from the actual motor or the motor is not even capable if compressing the cold air. sucks – but that’s the DCs job. oh well. have to clean it up when it warms up a bit (summer?)

because of the phenolic dust – I did not have my cam with me, so pics of the top will only be seen later. I took the top and put it on saw horses in the garage which I re-organized to make room for the router table – It will be positioned as an outfeed table for the TS.

Sunday was a bit warmer, but the 8” of snow kept me from getting to the garage. instead, it was snow throwing day. it was snowing for most of the day, and I did not care much for the idea of being inside the garage when snow might be blowing in (cracked window, under garage door)... instead, I figured I might make use of the time to finalize the design in Sketchup and get mentally prepared for the parts I need to make.

This is what I came up with:
Router Table -Shaded View

the triton router will be mounted directly to the top with no plate – if It doesnt work out I can always cut the opening bigger to drop in a plate later on. under the router there will be a pullout shelf that can house the 2 routers I have for storage. and a set of drawers on the other side for everything router related (layout tools, bits, inserts, jogs, accessories, etc), the shelf under the router is slanted towards the back for DC purposes:
xrayed router table

what I like about sketchup, is how it makes things easier, when I can explode a view and get a simpler idea of the parts I need to make, their sizes, and hole/alignment locations:
Exploded View

for lack of materials, I may replace the full sized 3/4” thick back piece, with 3 narrower parts, and cover it up with 1/4” ply/masonite to cover the seams. I don’t really want to get a full sheet just for that missing part.

I’ll let this image settle in a little, and this week hopefully drive this project from start to end during the xmas days off from work.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

26 comments so far

View ellen35's profile


2742 posts in 3945 days

#1 posted 12-21-2009 06:54 PM

What do you mean whining about blowing 8” of snow!! We down here on the Cape are shoveling 20 inches!
Nevertheless, nice sketch-up drawings.
Hope to see the real thing soon.
Happy holidays.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View FenceWorkshop's profile


267 posts in 3637 days

#2 posted 12-21-2009 07:37 PM

I have been trying to use sketchup. How long did it take you to design that with it? That would take me a month at my sketchup skill level.

-- Brent -

View cjg's profile


11 posts in 3657 days

#3 posted 12-21-2009 07:41 PM

I just updated my router table and went 36” wide and love it. It works great when you are doing larger items.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4161 days

#4 posted 12-21-2009 07:47 PM

Thanks guys,

ellen – I am NOT whining… I merely said that instead of WORKING wood- I was PLAYING with snow… ;)

Procenseworks – took me about 4 hours from start to finish on this design. mostly due to design issues, and thinking through it. once you become familiar and comfortable with sketchup it becomes a tool just like anything else – at your disposal. use it as often as you can, and it’ll become easier and better. one of my fav. assets. and it’s free too.

cjs – thanks, the 24” just seemed too narrow – maybe ok for box making, but I want to have something a bit more versatile. still not your 36” wide, but wide enough for what I plan to use it for.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4470 days

#5 posted 12-21-2009 08:23 PM

Nice design and SU work dude…..Did you model the Triton or found it somwhere? You doing dados/rabbits or just but joints on the casework?


View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3015 posts in 3950 days

#6 posted 12-21-2009 09:19 PM

This looks good Sharon. I wish you had done that little sketchup workshop at the gathering we had. I’m good with computers. Heck, I did it for a living and in education for awhile. It’s just in my old age I’m a bit lazy.
I’m glad to see you have some drawers deeper. I’ve found that some router bits, along with the holders are pretty tall. One of my drawers takes them but I had to make a slanted slot to hold them in if I wanted to close the drawer.

BTW.. I’m in Southern Maine and got 1/2” of snow. NOT FAIR. Storm of the decade and it decides to miss us.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4266 days

#7 posted 12-21-2009 09:43 PM

Great looking desgin, I went with Norms and MODed the top a bit. I have been very happy with mine other than my top has sagged a it and I did not cleanly cut in the router plate (therefore the sagging). I am of planning on a rebuild of the top but as for teh case it is very solid.

Looking at your design it will work very well for you. However, you may want to consider making the bottom tray on the right a bit taller. I was very suprised at how quickly I filled up the two bottom big drawers on my cabient. Yes, all router related storage.

Have you given any consideration on bit storage? I will be glad to send you the layout on mine if you would like. My cabinet is holding close to 60 bits and has plenty of room for growth.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4387 days

#8 posted 12-21-2009 10:14 PM

It looks a lot like mine:

Click for details

And here is the blog with details of the building process:

My New Router Table

There’s a lot of info in there as I built it by trial and error. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

-- Happy woodworking!

View JimDaddyO's profile


620 posts in 3591 days

#9 posted 12-22-2009 03:45 AM

How do ou do an explode view? Is that a plug in? Nice bench!

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3957 days

#10 posted 12-22-2009 04:00 AM

Great job with the drawings. The design looks very functional. Look forward to seeing the finished product.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4161 days

#11 posted 12-22-2009 04:32 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone!

As Dave mentioned- the exploded view was done manually. the way I work with Sketchup is very similar to how I work wood. each piece/part is a component and represents a board/panel/plate as they would appear in real life. I can then route/dado/shape/etc these parts/components and treat them individually as I would in the shop. maybe I’ll make a blog on how I designed this router table from scratch if anyone is interested in the design/digital construction process.

back to the exploded view- I simply copy the router table group/component, and literally – explode it into the sub parts, then I move the parts around as I see fit to give me a convenient and useful view of the whole piece as needed.

David – I modeled the triton from scratch myself. I only did a ‘rough’ represantation of it just to get a feel for size, controls (where the switch and plunge control will be in relation to the operator) and opening in the table. maybe I’ll post it on 3dwarehouse if I’m brave, and feel like I wanna finesse it a little more.

Daniel – I was thinking about that lost opportunity to turn the laptop on and go through some ideas in sketchup – maybe we can setup some dedicated sketchup meetings sometime? the drive might be long… but you never know. or an online one-on-one? if I recall you’re on a Mac… so we can set something up either with iChat, remote desktop, or another.

the top drawer is set for layout tools, and is very shallow, the second drawer is set for bits. it will have ~2.5” clearance for bits- but as you brought up the subject – this might not be enough – what is the tallest bit you have?

sIKE – thanks! yes! I’m interested in bit storage, as I mentioned – I may have cut it a bit short on the height for the bit storage drawer… what’s yours like?

Blake – I saw your blog a while back, and read through the blog of the guy you based your table on. to be honest – I tried to break away from the look of your tables, but I guess you can only change so much when the design is ‘right’. how does your DC work? satisfied with it?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4161 days

#12 posted 12-22-2009 04:53 AM

not at all Dave… thanks for bringing this up.

a little tidbit from this post: I actually made the router table model as a sketchup model. saved the file, and closed it. Then to make the different views, I created a new sketchup file, imported the router table to it, and copied it 2 times – one for the ‘regular’ view, and the other for the exploded view.

when you import a model into sketchup it brings it up as a component which makes things real easy.

now, the funny thing is- when I was making the exploded view, I was using the component → explode. and was amused by the fact that I’m actually using the (sketchup) “explode” functionality to make the (woodworking) exploded view… 2 different things which intersected quite nicely (pun intended). :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4387 days

#13 posted 12-22-2009 06:35 AM

The dust collection works great. You will need some cross-ventillation so it doesn’t pile up in certain places. This can be accomplished with an adjustable opening opposite of wherever the suction happens.

I have since added above-table dust collection for certain operations which throw chips OUT (no matter how much suction you have below the bit) similar to this:

-- Happy woodworking!

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3865 days

#14 posted 12-22-2009 06:58 AM

That really looks like a well thought design, and lots of storage. I do like that see-through view, really helps to visualize things.

How soon till we see the real one? ;) Don’t rush it just to get it done, take your time, that new router isn’t going anywhere. :)

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4492 days

#15 posted 12-22-2009 03:57 PM

Hi Sharon;

Great job with sketchup! If I tried that, it would take me much longer to draw it then to build it.

I’m wondering why many of the designs I see for a router table show a one piece fence.

I’m prone to make the fence with adjustable halves, much like a shaper table has. Since some bits actually profile the entire edge of the board, the piece is narrower after the cut has been made, and a one piece fence won’t touch the piece after it passes the cutter. Almost like jointer beds, which are independent, so they support the piece before and after the cut.

Just curious about this.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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