Shop-Built Horizontal Router Table

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Project by Peter Oxley posted 02-01-2012 08:34 AM 55647 views 45 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to build a horizontal router table, and I found a bunch of different plans with all kinds of vertical adjustment mechanisms, but I wasn’t thrilled with any of them. Then I came across a commercial table from MLCS that used a handwheel directly above the router to slide a square router plate up and down, and decided I liked that solution.

Unfortunately (in my opinion), most commercial and shop-built horizontal tables suffer from one design flaw: the four lock knobs used to secure the router plate at the correct setting.
  • Four knobs to lock it down? Four?
  • If they stick out the front where you can get to them, they could potentially be in the way of an odd-size/shape workpiece
  • Seems like a pain to get to the two below the table

I wanted to lock my height with a single knob, which I did by putting a jam knob on the adjustment screw. Unfortunately, this led to another issue: getting the baseplate flush with the fence and keeping it there. Turns out, the four lock knobs serve this secondary purpose, too. I dealt with this problem by building a carriage that rides on sliding dovetails (some of my friends may recognize a trend here). If built carefully, the dovetails can be very tight and still slide smoothly and easily when waxed. I purposefully left a gap between the carriage and the router base, then used screws through the base and jack-screws through the carriage to adjust the baseplate to perfect alignment with the fence. You can kind-of see the jack-screws in the third picture.

Since I don’t have to access lock knobs under the table, I was able to make a channel for dust collection directly under the cutting area. This does a great job of clearing the debris. You can see the wind-tunnel in the fourth picture.

The adjustment screw is 3/8”-16. After adjusting the wrong direction several times, I labeled the hand-wheel. It’s pretty bad when you have to leave yourself notes about which way is up!

The cross-member can be adjusted up and down, but I never move it. Probably wouldn’t do that again.

I’m thinking about building a mortising attachment for it, but that’s not very high on my list right now.

Materials are PB Melamine, Baltic Birch ply and soft maple, as well as various hardware.

If you’re planning to build one of these, check out this horizontal router table for more ideas.

——- EDIT 02/02/2012——-
I just wanted to add a couple of points about safety with a horizontal router:
1) The router bit should be below or in the workpiece, not above it
2) The workpiece is fed from left to right – the opposite direction from a standard router table

-- -- --

18 comments so far

View GlennsGrandson's profile


443 posts in 3470 days

#1 posted 02-01-2012 08:41 AM

Nice work, I really like the design.

-- Grant - N Dakota

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3836 days

#2 posted 02-01-2012 08:52 AM

Nice job! Looks to be as “relatively” simple as it could be. That just means you did a GREAT job engineering it. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy using this machine.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View obi999's profile


213 posts in 4569 days

#3 posted 02-01-2012 09:36 AM

This thing looks pretty good. Very well done and i think it does a great job for a long time.
Thank you very much for sharing, this gives me new inspiration for maybe a future project!

-- *** the german lumberjock ***

View bowtie's profile


990 posts in 3507 days

#4 posted 02-01-2012 02:02 PM

nice build, ive got notes on several machines and most of my jigs look like graffite on a railway car

-- bowtie,.....jus passin thru....

View kaschimer's profile


89 posts in 3551 days

#5 posted 02-01-2012 05:33 PM

The finished result looks great! I need to queue this one up in my list of things to do…

-- Steve, Michigan - "Every piece of work is a self portrait of the person who accomplished it - autograph your work with excellence!" - Author unknown

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4738 days

#6 posted 02-01-2012 06:20 PM

Wow this is really nice ,this should serve you well for a very long time.


View Ken90712's profile


18051 posts in 4350 days

#7 posted 02-01-2012 06:55 PM

Well done, should serve you well for a long time!

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

View Rembo's profile


408 posts in 4112 days

#8 posted 02-01-2012 08:53 PM

moment comes when I am too ready to make horizontal rasspolozhenie ..
thanks for the reminder!
good job!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3658 posts in 4874 days

#9 posted 02-02-2012 06:13 AM


We really like your idea with the sliding dovetails. We never seem to route anything thicker than 2” on our horizontal router table so the knobs don’t get in the way. I didn’t bother putting the knobs on the bottom since the acrylic is held in place by the table.

Thanks for sharing. If I ever make another one, I’ll be sure to incorporate your sliding dovetails!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View billybonkers's profile


17 posts in 3467 days

#10 posted 02-02-2012 06:26 AM


View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

385 posts in 3562 days

#11 posted 02-02-2012 06:36 AM

Nice work! And billy, you win the ‘random post of the day award’, haha.

-- Ryan

View billybonkers's profile


17 posts in 3467 days

#12 posted 02-02-2012 06:37 AM

Wow, you Haasen is quite the Hassel.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1427 posts in 5036 days

#13 posted 02-02-2012 04:19 PM

lightweightladylefty mentioned and linked to a similar table that she built.
Click for details
If you’re looking for ideas for your own table, you should check out her project as well!

-- -- --

View Ranger97ab's profile


37 posts in 3476 days

#14 posted 02-10-2012 06:09 AM

That is really cool, nice work. Kinda reminds me of this guy I saw on u-tube, he invented this thing called the panto-router. you should check this thing out, he’s got a router on it’s side but it moves all over the place pretty wild.

-- I Live for Sawdust Flying ! Randy- Lacombe, Alberta

View Yosi's profile


2 posts in 3399 days

#15 posted 04-10-2012 09:34 AM

Sir Peter Oxley,

I am looking about a router table that can help me very much and I Find your Horizontal router table on the internet on The LunberJocks Forum.

I am living on the other side of the globe I am retired and I am working for my family only for my pleasure and burning time. I have a very small shop, Workbench, small 3 axis cnc router table builds DIY, Makita Medium band saw, A Metabo table thickness thinner machine, miter saw 12 inches, Bosch table saw 10”, routers Makita, Bosch and DeWalt, trimmers (I like Routers).

I want to build a Router Table and when I see your article in Lunberjocks forum I was very impressed and It is exactly what I need, more important than a Vetical Router Table (Take less Place).

Can I use the Bosch 1617 set router for that I have not so much choice in my country. Most of the time I bought from Rockler, MLCS, INCRA Workcraft etc. Although the price of shipping cost.

I want to build a Router Table and when I see your article in Lunberjocks forum I was very impressed and It is exactly what I need, more important than a Vetical Router Table (Take less Place).

Can I use the Bosch 1617 set router for that I have not so much choice in my country. Most of the time I bought from Rockler, MLCS, INCRA etc. Although the price of shipping cost

Is there a possibility to buy the Horizontal Router Table plans you make? I will be appreciated that very much.

Sorry for my poor English languish.

[email protected] or [email protected]

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