Custom Router Table

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Project by Minion posted 12-06-2011 09:38 PM 13821 views 24 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Recently I have gotten into cabinetry and decorative box making with an emphasis on precision, so I decided that it was time to bench my PC dovetail jig, clamps, and all other devices I used to use for handheld routing, and build a table that would make certain tasks a lot easier, and other tasks more precise. Building this table was the first real piece of furniture I have ever made, and it provided LOTS of lessons in planning, tooling, and assembling.

I made the decision early to spend my money on the top (Rockler HPL), the fence (INCRA LS 17) and the lift (INCRA Mast-R-Lift II for Rockler tables made by JessEM), and let the chips fall where they may as far as other expenses went. So needless to say this was about a two month long project, during which I made parts as I had time, and money to do so.

The entire cabinet is made of poplar, which I know isn’t the prettiest of woods, or the hardest of the hardwoods, but structurally it is sound, and I managed to make sure all of the good looking grain was showing. The drawer fronts are also made of poplar, but all out of one board, so they all match. I haven’t decided to finish it quite yet because I have yet to see poplar finished in a light color well, so I may just leave it bare (unless any of you know how to get a Tung Oiled Maple look). I really don’t want to turn it green to any extent, which is what I have found happens when you finish poplar with oil, even if only slightly.

There are a couple features besides the drawers, that I made special for my needs. You may notice the outfeed tables/INCRA extension. I began to realize that I do quite a range of work, and need a larger surface, so decided to make outfeed tables that are trimmed to hide the leveling structure underneath. Both of the tables float on four bolts so that they can be leveled and adjusted throughout the year to account for table movement.

The other special feature is the dust collection. I absolutely love the Mast-R-Lift II, INCRA edition with the steel insert plate, however I couldn’t figure out how to get under the table dust collection effectively. I finally figured out that, using Rockler’s under the table dust collection system, I could cut into the plastic rim of the fixture, and insert magnets that would stick to the bottom of the insert plate. It adds about 10 seconds to the process of changing a bit, but in my opinion, totally worth it!

I have gotten to use it for about a week now, and I am very happy with it.

17 comments so far

View ChrisK's profile


2051 posts in 4048 days

#1 posted 12-06-2011 09:51 PM

Looks very good. I need to rebuild mine. I read on here somewhere that if leave the popular out in the sun for a day or two, eh green turns brownish. I have not tried it yet, a sun lamp may do the same thing. UV is UV.

-- Chris K

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25717 posts in 4072 days

#2 posted 12-06-2011 10:50 PM

Very nice router station. You’re a man after my own heart. I made one a while back and I love it. I did not get the Incra adjustment, though. Nice job,. you love working on it!! You appreciate it more because you made it your self!!

Nice piece of furniture. Ask you wife it you canvput it in the living room!!...................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4522 days

#3 posted 12-07-2011 12:55 AM

Excellent router setup

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View Minion's profile


16 posts in 3369 days

#4 posted 12-07-2011 03:50 AM

Outside in the sun get’s rid of the green huh? I’ll have to give that a try come summer.

Jim – I asked her, and she said if I could Garuntee that the dust collection would collect 100% of the dust, she would think about it. Sounds like permission to buy a 2HP Dust Collecting behemoth, right? ;)

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 3856 days

#5 posted 12-07-2011 05:40 AM

Add some red tint to your oil finish. Red + green = brownish.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View topcat's profile


43 posts in 3395 days

#6 posted 12-07-2011 06:00 AM

Nice router table. I need to build one of these myself. I may be alone here, but I like a clear poly finish on Poplar. To me, the green and white streaks are even better when you throw in some purple streaks. It’s a wood with character :)

-- Tom - As you get older, you learn to hide your mistakes better

View Lenny's profile


1687 posts in 4493 days

#7 posted 12-07-2011 10:33 AM

That is a sharp looking and functional router station. Well done! The under-table DC that you came up with is awesome. It looks to me that because the collection is so close to the router bit, you eliminate the need for above table collection. Will you be placing this unit on a mobile base or adding casters? As set up, it appears you are limiting the length of boards you can push through the bit. Also, is there an external switch or do you reach underneath to turn the unit on? Again, great job on a nice looking router table station.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View cavemancarpenter's profile


55 posts in 4679 days

#8 posted 12-07-2011 03:33 PM

Great Table! Did you use any plans as a base to start from? I’d like to build one also so any measurements or tips would be welcome.

-- SATISFACTION = a large pile of sawdust and a great finish when the job is done

View s_grifter's profile


186 posts in 3434 days

#9 posted 12-07-2011 04:30 PM

very nice router table, I am in the process of rebuilding mine for the third time. Great Job.

View Ken90712's profile


17919 posts in 4155 days

#10 posted 12-07-2011 06:33 PM

Great job and I’m kinda jealous of the Incra sytem I have thought about getting it but my router table is on the end of my table saw. I have been told it takes some time to take it on and off the table.

Great work all the away around.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3927 days

#11 posted 12-07-2011 09:16 PM

Love the grain on the drawer fronts. Good idea!

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3530 days

#12 posted 12-07-2011 09:54 PM

At first i thought this was an old dresser converted into a router station like what a lot of people are doing now with bathroom sinks. Once i realized it was a very nice station built by you i thought to myself why couldn’t you take an old dresser and turn it into a router station or some other piece of shop bench? obviously not some heirloom piece, but something solid but in junk condition that someone is trashing or selling for dirt cheap? you got my wheels turning minion

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Jacob Lucas's profile

Jacob Lucas

100 posts in 3398 days

#13 posted 12-08-2011 03:39 PM

Awesome table! LOVE the router bit storage! And for the finish, I would use a waterbased polyacrylic from Genereal Finishes, or #345 from Fuhr. Waterbased won’t tint the wood as it’s applied nor when it’s drying.

View Minion's profile


16 posts in 3369 days

#14 posted 12-08-2011 09:30 PM

To answer some questions…

Lenny – No, I won’t be putting the unit on a mobile base, or casters. I really like it in it’s current “solid state”. For all intents and purposes, it stands as a tank, and the only thing that moves is the router bit, and the piece I am working on. And to answer your other question, I do have a separate rockler fence that allows for above the table dust collection, and also feeding lumber in from the side, which gives me practically, unlimited infeed/outfeed space. As far as a power switch, I plan on having one, however I can’t decide where to put it…any suggestions?

cavemancarpenter – No, I didn’t use any plans, per se. However, I did use several references, including scotts router table, found here: The easiest thing to do is to is to find out the widest bast you need to support your routing needs, make an external frame, and let the rough frame determine the dimensions of everything else. It mostly involves measuring to the nearest 32nd, and the ability to divide by two. Also, Pocket screws, are a great choice for this project, because they will all be hidden. However, I have a couple tips for using pocket screws that I wish I would have known before starting this project. 1. Think about what you are screwing into, if it’s a corner post, depth probably doesn’t matter, but if it is a perpendicular face, then you should ease up on the depth of the pocket to avoid the screw protruding through the outside face of the perpendicular piece. I would have loved to use mortise and tenons, but A: I don’t have to tools, or skills to do that. B: It would have taken forever to do that many. and C: It’s just a router table, at the end of the day, it’s just a tool. 2. Make sure you clamp the wood before driving any of the screws. Becuase the pockets are angled slightly, you may accidently drive the board you are fastening past “flush”, or wherever you wanted it to land for that matter, with the opposing board, creating a 32nd, or in an extreme case, a 16th of an inch lip. 3. Just because it has a washer head, doesn’t mean you can’t still split the wood. 4. Make sure you have the right screws. I found quickly that as far as pocket screws go, it doesn’t quite fall into the hardwood category, the softwood screws hold a lot tighter in poplar. As far as construction goes, I used 2×2s for the cornerposts, and 1×3s to support the top and bottom, then 1×2s to finish the frame. Here is a picture of the frame.

Let me know if you have any more questions, I wish I would have taken more pictures along the way.

View slimjim145's profile


10 posts in 3645 days

#15 posted 12-09-2011 03:04 PM

That is an awesome setup. Great work

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