Bench top router table with lift & accessories

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Project by bluekingfisher posted 10-19-2014 08:10 PM 3177 views 13 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this little bench top to bridge the gap where my spindle moulder fails. I noticed when using small diameter router bits, usually less than 25 mm or so the top RPM of the SM which is around 10,000rpms, was not enough for the small bits to be effective. This caused chipping and excessive tear out on some material.

I also had a woodpeckers router lift which I bought several years ago now and on sale and at today’s prices seems ridiculously inexpensive , so I wanted to make use of it and solve the tear out issue at the same time.

Like most small shops, space is at a premium and I was already struggling, but I cleared some stuff and set it next to my chop saw eventually. I have just enough space to run stock past the saw without snagging on it.

It is just a simple box made from recycled 22 & 18mm laminate faced MDF and iron on vinyl edge banding. Nothing special about that but I encountered a couple of problems which I thought some chaps may find interesting or maybe of use in case faced with a similar issue.

The two major ball aches I faced relate to, not unexpectedly, cutting the recess for the router lift plate and an out of square face of the fence .

Firstly the recess. My solution was to make a template which I would then use to route out the recess with a pattern cutting bit.

I used the actual router plate to ensure an exact shape of the recess. Unfortunately, there are two spring loaded bearings on the edge of the short and long side of the plate. So, when I thought I had the batons snug to the plate the bearings pushed the batons out a tad as I was screwing them in place. This created a couple of gaps which I could have lived with but as I was still at an early stage I would try to rectify this.

I didn’t have a big enough piece of MDF left to make another template so I thought I would shim the template by using several layers of masking tape to minimise the gap for the final fitting.

It worked out well, what do you think? I did chip the laminate a couple of times when dry fitting the plate.

I am always concerned about how quickly accidents can happen in the shop so I installed a magnetic NVR switch to prevent accidental start up, fairly simple job to make it a safe job.

The other dilemma was the fence. I used a 600m length of 95×95 x 6mm aluminium angle, bought for 8 quid on eBay. The trouble was it was 1.5 degrees off square. Not a lot, you might say but over the height of the fence the gap was sizeable and as my fence is over 150mm tall the space was amplified. You I’ll see in photo 5 the back of the fence. The two round knobs at the top of the fence either side of the dust collection are tapped into the fence so I could micro adjust the fence outward then shim it. I also inserted a steel screw into the fence in front of the bolt so when I adjusted the knob it would push against the steel screw head in the fence pushing it out and not bite into the MDF. A couple of nuts jammed it in place. The brass pin is the pivot starter pin for free hand routing, which I again tapped a hole and screwed in place so I do not misplace it.

The Ali is soft but still a challenge to work, just remember, always drill Ali and brass dry, no lube.

I have included a couple of photos of the milling procession the fence in case you are interested Cutting the face adjustment slots were done as you would a piece of timber, just took a few more passes, six in fact. I used an HSS bit rather than a carbide bit, worked OK.

I used a jig saw to remove the bulk of the material for the opening to accommodate for the bits. I don’ t know why I cut the aperture this big as I will do all the major work like fielded panels on the SM?? It took two good quality blades to remove that much metal, even on slow supped with the pendulum action off, it wrecks the blades. A little file work smoothed off the edges.

Milling the slots was the first job for the now operable router table. I just used a scrap of MDF as the temporary fence.

Well that’s about it, I also tried to incorporate a space for all the tooling and accessories associated with a router table. You can see what I have tried to achieve in the photos hopefully. I hate having to root around trying to find whatever it is I am looking for. I even added a couple of magnets to the rear of the fence so I could hang the steel rule which I use as a straight edge for aligning bit bearings.I also made a small stop block and a bit guard. This I made from a scrap of polycarbonate which I cut to rough shape then bent into shape by using a heat gun until hot,then formed in the vice. It’s not perfect, but good enough for the job.The stop block helped ensure I didn’t over cut the slots.

I have now used it to build a couple of small projects I have to say being able to crank the bit up and down from above the table is indeed a real luxur.I am pleased I took the time to build it.

Thanks for looking.


Apologies for spelling mistakes, the auto type on the ipad is becoming a real royal pain.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

18 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20007 posts in 4645 days

#1 posted 10-19-2014 08:22 PM

Nice job David. I have been trying to decide if I was a small table or mount it on the table saw. I like your ideas here.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 3949 days

#2 posted 10-19-2014 08:49 PM

Thanks Bob, I don’t have the space at the side of my TS, it it tucked against the wall of the shop. Had I the space I would go that way.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20007 posts in 4645 days

#3 posted 10-20-2014 12:30 AM

SWMBO thinks it is a garage for her car, so I have to be careful too! ;-)) Not sure about the arrangements. Your idea looks really interesting. No matter how I do it, the saw will have to be moved to use it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4546 days

#4 posted 10-20-2014 02:25 AM

At first I thought this was a floor model Router table and the that the fence was 14” tall. Good job


View BusterB's profile


2298 posts in 2977 days

#5 posted 10-20-2014 03:34 AM

ROFL….I am such a loser. When I first saw the pic, I thought that was a full sized router table. I wondered how it was gonna save any space. Anywho, that is a fantastic build buddy. Wanna trade it for my el cheapo one????

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7084 posts in 4164 days

#6 posted 10-20-2014 05:46 AM

Stellar job on the r.t., amigo…...Outstanding…..It has all the amminities of a lagre table, and more…..I guess I’m gonna have to wind up getting a lift for mine, as my old back can’t take stooping over much longer….I like your design,too, bud…..It seems to flow with your shop, and match other equipment you’ve built…..Keep up the great work…...I always enjoy your post and projects…...

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 3949 days

#7 posted 10-20-2014 07:09 AM

Jim, Bubba, Rick. Hey guys, thanks for the input . I must admit it does look a little odd but I am sure it will serve its purpose. The top of table cranking is such a joy to use, as is changingthe bits.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1123 posts in 3282 days

#8 posted 10-20-2014 07:57 AM

Looks really good David and if it does the job, even better. Did you find it easy to mill the aluminium slots?

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Schummie's profile


203 posts in 4734 days

#9 posted 10-20-2014 07:59 AM

Great Job David,
a beautiful, moveable router table, with everything in it what you need.
The first photo I thought it was a normal sized router table, but the second picture
gave a very different picture, a compact router.

Thank you for showing us.


-- Greetings from the Netherlands.

View hoss12992's profile


4178 posts in 2862 days

#10 posted 10-20-2014 11:58 AM

Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View CampD's profile


1818 posts in 4455 days

#11 posted 10-20-2014 12:26 PM

I just purchased a new lift (Jessum) and I am still working out my design,
Some good tips here, thanks for posting.

-- Doug...

View Roger's profile


21047 posts in 3773 days

#12 posted 10-20-2014 12:46 PM

Wow David! What a finely designed router table. Gr8 stuff.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 3949 days

#13 posted 10-20-2014 01:03 PM

Jim – Milling the slots wasn’t too difficult, I drilled out most of the material first to reduce the drag on the router cutter but I think I could have gotten away with just milling straight at the RT.

Henrie , hoss – thanks for the input and taking the time to comment.

Doug – Good luck with your build, one point I would state is, be sure to measure the full extent of travel and that overall dimension when considering the height of your cabinet. I had limited scope in this department as the bench I mounted it on now means the working height of the table is fairly high. However, now that I have it at the height it is it feels comfortable.

Roger – Thanks very much for your input, a compliment indeed from someone who turns out the quality work you do.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3261 days

#14 posted 10-20-2014 03:11 PM

Great design and outstanding craftsmanship—I particularly like your fence and the use of the “L” bracket you customized. Shims are the only way to level the fence to the table, and Biesemeyer even recommended the use of masking tape, building up the layers as needed.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View KE4NYV's profile


138 posts in 2431 days

#15 posted 10-21-2014 12:36 PM

Awesome build! I wish I had room for something like this in my shop.

-- Jason R.

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