My First Router Table #1: The Design

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Blog entry by Dave posted 06-27-2011 02:00 AM 3828 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My First Router Table series Part 2: The Router Table Carcass »

After a year-and-a-half of woodworking I decided I needed a router table of my own. There are a lot of great examples on this site and they inspired me. All you have to do is browse my favorites to see a few of them.

This router cabinet has a lot of firsts for me. I’m using it as both a learning experience and a prototype to convince my wife that I can build something that doesn’t look like I did it in high-school shop class. That’s why you’ll see a bit of over-kill in the “style” department (by the way, kids in shop class now must be WAY better than I was making my traditional breadboard for mom back in the ‘70’s. There are examples here on LumberJocks to prove it – so no offense to you up & coming young woodworkers).

Anyway, with my job, travel, and two kids, I have to plan carefully to get a big-enough block of time to set-up, woodwork, and tear-down so we can use the garage again. But, I have a lot of opportunity to plan what I’m going to do and my engineering background comes in handy for that. To design my router table I used Google Sketch-up for drafting and downloaded a pre-made model of the INCRA LS-17 fence.

I went through a lot of iterations (and a lot of looking around here) before settling on this design. A few of the features I wanted were:

- A removable INCRA LS-17 fence so I can use the table “the long way” too.
- Good airflow and dust collection – there’s a 4” dust port in the back
- Replaceable top – the MDF/laminate top is attached to the table itself with bolts from underneath.
- Lots of storage – the pilasters are actually designed to be pull-out racks.
- Big surface – the top is 25” x 49”.

I’m sure my design isn’t perfect, especially after seeing some of the cool stuff others have done, but sometimes perfect is the enemy of “good-enough.” So, I bought some lumber and went to work. I’ll give an update on that in my next post.

-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

5 comments so far

View scarpenter002's profile


618 posts in 4792 days

#1 posted 06-27-2011 02:55 AM

Is this for your shop, or will this also serve as an island in your wife’s kitchen. ;-) That is one fancy design.

-- Scott in Texas

View Cwj212's profile


8 posts in 3527 days

#2 posted 06-27-2011 03:03 AM

That should be a beauty! I can’t wait to see it.

-- Craig

View Dave's profile


157 posts in 4084 days

#3 posted 06-27-2011 03:06 AM

Funny you should mention it Scott. My wife didn’t want any of my “creations” in the house (smart woman?) so this project is doing double-duty to convince her that I can do “inside quality” work and that the laundry-room rebuild she wants can be done a lot cheaper by yours truly. If you think THIS is overkill wait until you see the storage cabinets I’m designing, LOL.

-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

View PurpLev's profile


8598 posts in 4535 days

#4 posted 06-27-2011 03:12 AM

nice design, although considering your position during use which would be (if facing the router table as see in posted image) to the left of the router bit it would be very hard to follow through feeding the part being worked on since the table will be blocking your path. most router tables are designed as such that they accommodate a path for the operator to follow through with feeding the part being worked on throughout the entire cut safely (so you’ll see the router is positioned rather close to the left side of the table). having something in the way on the other hand is a red light in my mind.

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

View Dave's profile


157 posts in 4084 days

#5 posted 06-28-2011 01:03 AM

You’re right PurpLev. The INCRA fence is best for routing shorter pieces or dovetailing – for that task it looks like the INCRA demos are done standing in front of the table. But, for routing long pieces or doing anything that requires pressure against the fence, it would be a hazard to work from the front. In those situations my plan was to use a different, longer, fence that would span the entire 4’ width of the table behind the router plate.

-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

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