Router Table #9: Drawers, Bits, and a little Playtime

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 01-17-2010 07:36 AM 6563 reads 2 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Insert an Insert an Insert an Insert an.... Part 9 of Router Table series Part 10: A Cold Front - Drawer Fronts that is »

Had some shop time today with 42 degrees outside, it was quite a lovely day. my compressor came back to life also – I guess when it goes below 40 the air is too thin for the compressor to be able to raise the pressure in the tank.

I also got the radiant heater from Lee Valley. Last time around, by the time I decided to order it- they were out of stock, and just received new stock this week. it works well, not as well as I was hoping for, but decent. To turn it on/off you have to yank on a fabric string – I would have preferred a more standard switch. we’ll see how it’ll be in the long run.

So,Today I had planned to finish up the drawers for the cabinet, but what I really wanted to start with was to setup the router in the table properly – shim the plate, drill the plate for the height crank handle, and get the table to be operational.

I noticed that the opening for the plate I had made was a tad bit too tight. I didn’t want to have to push the plate in – just to drop it in easily. I ended up opening it up a tad bit with a chisel. If I ever install another plate, I’ll make sure it goes into the template easily. too tight in this case wasn’t the best idea.

the second thing I noticed was that the Incra plate has a high spot in the middle lengthwise. If I put a straight edge on it, it’ll rock left to right. this was a little disheartening, but I’ll contact Incra and see if there’s anything that can be done about it as this can make some operations quite unbearable.

At that point I cut the (remaining) drawers parts on the TS. and decided to route the slot for the bottom using the router in the table. the bit that I have for undersize 1/4” plywood is 1/4” shaft which means that for the Triton router I have to use a collet reducer (from 1/2” to 1/4”). I don’t know if it’s my bit, my collet, my reducer, or just my inexperience with this type of work – but I had a really hard time keeping the bit in the router. it kept on sliding up and out – it actually caused the bit to poke thorough the 1/2” plywood drawer side – completely through it! when all it was supposed to do was route a groove 1/4” deep. at last I tried to overtighten it, and I believe it did the trick as the bit did no longer slide out – however when I took it out of the router, I had a hard time taking the bit out of the reducer – as if the reducer got crimped. does anyone with experience with reducers had this happening before? is this normal?

luckily – this is shop furniture, so I did not care much about the messed up drawer side.

after this. things started to get better. the router is very nice to work with in the table. the height crank handle is GREAT! bit change above table is AWESOME! and the Incra MagnaLock rings are very convenient. the only thing with them is that the magnet picks up every metal to it – such as the router wrench, and other metal debris which can interfere with the ring sitting flush. not a biggy, just different I guess.

the drawers construction went without a hitch. and I was able to fit them all in on the first try. most of them already have dedicated purposes, while the rest will get their share later:

Drawers Installed

the slides are a mismatch from slides I used in the past that no longer are in use. 2 are under mount, 2 are side mount, and 1 is full extension which I will use for the bits drawer as that one requires the deepest reach.

Router Bit Arrangement

I like to see the profile of my router bits when I’m searching for a particular cut, and that is why I’m not a bit fan of the horizontal bit holders that some use. I have been playing around with an angled rack concept which allows me to see the shape of each bit quickly, and also allows me to keep my bits drawer shallower, leaving more depth for other drawers:

Router Bits Drawer setup

I got the idea for the angled rack from a router-bit-storage-cabinet plan I got from Freud (when I got their Avanti 13 router bit set). Using Sketchup I decided on the best angles, and size of each rack for my needs, and came up with a 15 degree back cut which gives me enough space behind/underneath the bits to grab them, and also keeps the bits from protruding above the drawer height:

Bit Rack Angled Cut

I actually stack 2 different width racks to more storage, and I’ll repeat this dualrack configuration 2 more times into the drawer, for more 1/2” bits and 1/4” bits storage.

So Far So Good. nothing perfect. but certainly getting functional and convenient. I was finally able to group everything router related into a single area.


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

19 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1784 posts in 4725 days

#1 posted 01-17-2010 07:44 AM

Looking good.

I have had that happen in the exact same situation. I ended up patching the hole, but it was a little scary thinking about the bit helicoptering out at me.

Is it a collet reducer or a 1/4” collet?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 3923 days

#2 posted 01-17-2010 07:49 AM

nice work, the fence u have on there from incra can u do double double dovetails and finger joints with that one?

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View PurpLev's profile


8554 posts in 4283 days

#3 posted 01-17-2010 07:52 AM

gizmo – it’s a collet-reducer. you can actually see it holding the blue bit for 1/4” undersize plywood in the bit rack.

my other/previous router is a Bosch and it comes with 2 different collets, one for 1/2” and one for 1/4” so I never used a reducer before, and never experienced this phenomenal.

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

View PurpLev's profile


8554 posts in 4283 days

#4 posted 01-17-2010 08:02 AM

bigike – I’ve actually never (yet) used that fence. I put it up late tonight after I was all done. for doing the drawers today I had a jointed board clamped to the table acting as a fence.

Incra shows in the manual for this fence how to do finger joints, blind dovertails, through dovetails, and corner post dovetail. theoretically I would assume that double double are doable with this as the precision is down to 1/32” which should be good enough. but I’m not sure if they have the templates for that for this fence. probably can fabricate something.

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

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3802 days

#5 posted 01-17-2010 08:15 AM

That’s a good idea for organizing your bits. Nice job, thanks for sharing

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3120 posts in 4072 days

#6 posted 01-17-2010 08:38 AM

I’ve been following the project Sharon. It’s coming together now nicely. This is going to be not only a useful unit but also one that has a low frustration level.

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

View degoose's profile


7265 posts in 3989 days

#7 posted 01-17-2010 08:41 AM

Way Cool. I too have been following and like what I have seen and read… well done.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View davcefai's profile


37 posts in 4031 days

#8 posted 01-17-2010 09:18 AM

Compressor and cold

The colder air is, the denser it gets so that air density is not the problem with your compressor.

I have read posts about this on other fora and the consensus seems to be that compressor problems at low temperatures are due to the oil thickening and the metal contracting.

-- David

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1590 posts in 4200 days

#9 posted 01-17-2010 01:08 PM

Looking good Sharon, good idea on the bit storage.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View ellen35's profile


2746 posts in 4067 days

#10 posted 01-17-2010 02:17 PM

Sharon, nice progress… and nice to have a little warmer weather to work in!!
That table is going to rival your workbench for quality!

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

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4517 days

#11 posted 01-17-2010 03:03 PM

Looks good Sharon,

I don’t like reducers much for the exact reasons you mention. At first they slip, and then they won’t let go. It seems to be the nature of the game. I guess I always ‘over tighten’ them, so then comes the problem of removal. I insert a 1/4 inch bolt from the back side and tap to get it out. Don’t leave a bit in the reducer for a long time of they kind of really get stuck. After removal, you might have some barbs on the shank that will need to be filed smooth or you won’t be able to get it back in. Rinse and repeat.

Can you get a collet for that router? Saves a lot of headache.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View PurpLev's profile


8554 posts in 4283 days

#12 posted 01-17-2010 05:04 PM

thanks everyone.

davcefair – thanks for the tidbit. glad to hear this is a known issue, and not only my compressor.

Steve- I think I read somewhere that there are replacement collets for this router which are self releasing like the Bosch. I’ll have to look it up again – this might be the best and only doable solution. thanks!

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

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 4124 days

#13 posted 01-17-2010 06:30 PM

Really nice use of space, and good looking too.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 3873 days

#14 posted 01-19-2010 01:47 AM


What kind/brand of router bits are those? (the dark grey ones)

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View PurpLev's profile


8554 posts in 4283 days

#15 posted 01-19-2010 03:35 AM

Alonso – those are Freud bits. It’s their Avanti series. they perform very well.

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

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