New Router Table #4: Adding the Base

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by jeffbranch posted 09-04-2013 02:21 AM 1824 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Drawer Construction Part 4 of New Router Table series Part 5: Building the Top »

Making a mortise with an old drill press.

I have said before that an old rickety drill press is better than no drill press at all. In the photo above, I am using my Dad’s old Craftsman bench top drill press to do some deep mortising.

This drill press shakes worse than a wet dog; it shakes so much I feel like I need to call someone to help me keep everything in place. I am doing some mild exaggeration here, but in the photo above I am using several clamps while drilling some mortises. The clamps keep things secure while the drill press vibrates away. Old and rickety, but it still does the job (a new drill press will be my next power tool purchase).

I have heard recently two different podcasts which discuss high profile woodworkers who don’t have the latest and greatest table saw, or hand tool. Either old tools are being used or very rudimentary processes are being employed to make excellent furniture. I used to hide the fact that the drill press I use is so humble and old, but no longer. :)

The goal: fabricate the parts highlighted in blue and attach them and the casters to the router table.

As I work on the base for my router table, I need to make a number of mortise and tenon joints. I recently watched a really good video at which shows Gregory Paolini using a plunge router to make a quick mortise. I also have seen Chris Schwarz using a drill press to create a dovetail joint (I love the large photo at the top of Chris’ post).

For my mortises, I had originally thought to make them using my router table – plunging stock onto a 1/4 inch spiral bit, but I need to make a 3/4 inch wide mortise 1 1/2 inch deep. The drill press is better suited for this and I happen to have a 3/4 inch forstner bit, so the drill press won out.

After using the drill press to remove most of the stock, I still needed to square up the mortises and cut the corresponding tenons. This involved work with some chisels and my block plane. Since I am very much a novice at this, fitting the tenons to the mortises took some time, but it only got a little tiresome. I’ll get faster at this with more practice.

Note above on the four sheet rock screws – these attach the base to the inside of the cabinet.

Time to add paint to the face frame and touch up some paint where I used the sander earlier in the build process. Again, the combination of high quality paint and a good quality brush make this process a lot of fun.

At this point, I need to add the dust port to the back; a step which would have been a lot easier if I had cut the hole for the port prior to gluing the back in place. But I think I have a good, but slightly complex method for doing this. It will involve my router and a pattern cutting bit. I am trying to resist buying a hole saw kit which I would not use very often. I will then begin working on the top which signals I am more than half way through this build. Stay tuned…

Thanks for reading – Jeff


4 comments so far

View robscastle's profile


8541 posts in 3654 days

#1 posted 09-04-2013 02:43 AM


Nice work on the mortises! don’t be too concerned about your drill press as long as it does the job is a useful tool.

I have a hand drill mounted in an after market frame as a drill press, its got to be over 20 YO by now but it works well and to replace it I would have to outlay a considerable amount. So whilst it working OK it stays that way.

The router table looks good. I made one many years ago with almost the same construction it served me well until I left something heavy on the top and warped it, at the time the shaper I have now was on special and was cheaper than a router table so I bought it.

The top of the table is now the base for the shaper with the original wheels still in use.

BTW I noticed in your construction there was no support blocks on the inner side of the wheel frame, You may have added them later but if you haven’t you may want to consider putting them in as I found by my error that with no inner support the wheels with the rotating base, the base distorts/flexes slightly and the ball bearings may/could fall out, eventually ruining your rotating wheels!

-- Regards Rob

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 4102 days

#2 posted 09-04-2013 11:40 AM


Thanks for the tip on the wheels. I did not see the need to add support to the inner corners since it is such a small area left unsupported. I’ll pop some blocks in there so the casters stay in perfect shape. I thought the casters were a little pricey.


View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4784 days

#3 posted 09-04-2013 06:52 PM

Your router table is coming along very well Jeff. I am currently making a combination bench, assembly table from 2X4 Douglas fir. I also used a forester bit like you did with my drill press for the 16 deep mortises I needed. Much better than routing them in my opinion. The tenons were a snap. I cut the shoulders on my table saw and the cheeks and top and bottom edges on my bandsaw. I left the tenons a little thick and then shaved them with a wide chisel to a nice fit. I also have a router table similar to yours in that I also used fir with mortise and tenon frame and panel construction like you are doing. It still looks new after several years of use and is nice and solid, so I think you are definitely on the right track with your design, which looks very good so far.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 4102 days

#4 posted 09-05-2013 02:26 AM

Mike – a friend thought the M & T joinery was overkill, but I wanted to make them just for the practice. I am doing several things on this project just because I have not done them in a while – the raised panels are another example. Thanks for the comment! :)


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics