Horizontal Router Table Fixture

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Project by Scomel Basses posted 02-03-2014 05:31 PM 9384 views 33 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a horizontal router table I made in an effort to move away from traditional mortis and tenon joinery to a loose tenon method. I feel the loose tenon style simplifies the joinery and makes for a joint that is as strong or stronger than the traditional method. I mostly built this on the fly with only a general idea in my head. I built the router carrier first using drawer slides for the X and Y movements. Originally I was going to use a dovetail way method for the X and Y but decided to go with the Accuride slides after buying them at a Woodcraft that was closing. I was able to get both sets for a total of $4.50. Slides can be a problem because of the slop built into them. I solved this by planing shims that would put enough pressure on the slides to stop the slop but still allow for smooth movement.

The router can be raised and lowered using a knob, threaded rod, and a T-nut. The router mount height can be locked in the back with a couple knobs. The work piece is reference off the face of the router mount which is flush to the table. I decided that instead of using a center line as a reference for aligning the work piece I’d use the starting point of the mortis. The beauty of this design is that the left starting point is static, being the same for every mortis. The only thing that will change the starting point is the size of the router bit used. I have reference lines marked for 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, and 3/4” bits which are the ones I most commonly use. With type of reference I only need one stop block that control mortis slot width from left to right. This stop block is controlled by a threaded rod that spans the width of the base and is adjusted by a knob on the side of the machine. The block itself is just a square piece of wood with a T-Nut in it. The sliding base has a block attached to the front allowing it to stop on the block. The best part of this design and the fact that left side of the mortis always has the same zero stop point is that I was able to attache a tape measure that allows me to very quickly set-up the stop for the total width of the mortis. For example, if I want to make a mortis that is 2” long, if I use a 1/4” bit I set the stop at 1 3/4” which will give me an overall width of 2”. If I need a mortis that is wider than my bit, say 1” wide, I use the 1/2” bit, rout the slot referenced off the left side of the mortis, then flip the work piece and rout referencing off the right side of the mortis.

After the pics were taken I made an attachment for the table allowing for regular horizontal routing when using bits like raised panel types. It’s basically just another table raised up a couple inches from the main table attached with flip latches on the side. The table has an opening at the front to allow the bit to get below the table and be raised into the work piece.

This table has worked exactly as I hoped it would and makes loose tenon joinery extremely easy. I will use it for every M&T joint where possible. I will probably another on of these fixtures in the future now that I have a better idea how it works with some minor changes. It won’t be anytime soon as this one works like I wanted it to. I probably should do a video of this thing in action as I think it would give much better idea how it works. Right now I use it by clamping it to my assembly table but I think I will build a stand for it and leave it ready to go.

8 comments so far

View CL810's profile


4063 posts in 3872 days

#1 posted 02-03-2014 07:31 PM

Very interesting Scomel. Looks like you work well “on the fly.” Well engineered and executed. Thanks for posting – favorited.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View bbc557ci's profile


596 posts in 2957 days

#2 posted 02-03-2014 09:31 PM

I’m also a proponent of loose tenon joinery, and for the same reasons as you. I built a cherry kitchen table and an ash side table bout 25 years ago using loose tenons, no nails, screws or pegs and have never had a joint let go.

Great design.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 4004 days

#3 posted 02-04-2014 12:04 AM

Very, very well done.

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 02-04-2014 01:22 AM

Excellent work!

It looks very serviceable and should be able to handle even a larger router if needed.

Funny, it was favorited 8 times before me, but only four replies.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Scomel Basses's profile

Scomel Basses

169 posts in 2880 days

#5 posted 02-04-2014 01:58 AM

Thanks for the comments! For a router I’m currently using a Bosch 1617 which works very well. I leave the fixed base permanently mounted and use the plunge base for everything else. In my router table I use a Triton 3hp. Since this design works so well I may in the distant future re-build it using extruded aluminum and such and make it look like an actual machine. I probably never will but it’d be fun…and kind of expensive.

View Mark55's profile


164 posts in 2947 days

#6 posted 02-04-2014 02:12 AM

This is great. I love shop built machines. Nice job!

-- Mark, Newton, NC.

View Ottacat's profile


521 posts in 2735 days

#7 posted 02-04-2014 12:56 PM

Looks great, would love to see a video of it it in action.

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3960 days

#8 posted 02-04-2014 12:58 PM

Very… Very cool! Well done…

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

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