All Replies on Combination of BB Plywood and MDF for Router Table Top

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Combination of BB Plywood and MDF for Router Table Top

by PresidentsDad
posted 11-27-2018 08:53 PM

12 replies so far

View jonah's profile


2130 posts in 4180 days

#1 posted 11-28-2018 12:56 AM

Why wouldn’t you use plywood? My router table extension is made of plywood and it’s perfectly fine. It’s two layers of 3/4 baltic birch laminated together. I have a hard time believing MDF is going to be in any way better.

View Mike_D_S's profile


605 posts in 3096 days

#2 posted 11-28-2018 02:36 AM

Like any project, you simply need to reinforce where you expect the loads to be highest. You can check out my blog linked below for my DIY router table wing I built for my table saw.

I used 3/4 phenolic faced ply and simply reinforced across the bottom with a couple of strips of 3/4×1 1/2” oak strips. No sag after 3 years with the big PC router motor and a fairly heavy Jessem lift. The strips made a convenient place to attache the home built dust shroud that goes around the router motor.


My blog post

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 3771 days

#3 posted 11-28-2018 03:46 AM

I used 3/4 Melamine over plywood. 8 years with WoodPecker lift and 3 HP porter Cable router and no sag.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View PresidentsDad's profile


139 posts in 1129 days

#4 posted 11-28-2018 07:36 AM

Mainly I’ve heard that plywood is not really flat and MDF sags over time. I was thinking a sandwich of 3/4 BB plywood on the bottom and 3/4 MDF on the top with HPL on top of that would be stiff and flat. Thoughts?

View WoodenDreams's profile


1159 posts in 792 days

#5 posted 11-28-2018 07:50 AM

I would not use plywood for a table top. But would consider plywood as a under layer. My router table is 1” melamine. You want a surface that allows you to slide the board smoothly, across on each pass, with no possibility of snagging on each pass. MDF top would be alright. Have you considered a formica laminate or formica countertop. My next router table I’m planning on using a formica countertop.

View PresidentsDad's profile


139 posts in 1129 days

#6 posted 11-28-2018 07:53 AM

Wooden Dreams…re-read my last comment. :) My thoughts are to make a top that has BB Plywood on the bottom layer, MDF in the middle layer and HPL (aka Formica) on the top layer. My thinking is that Plywood is strong, MDF is flat and HPL is durable.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6502 posts in 3374 days

#7 posted 11-28-2018 11:40 AM

I have not used a laminated top like you describe, but I do think that those who have sag simply have not supported the top adequately. (BTW, some inserts will also sag under heavy weight, suggest you stay with a thick aluminum one). My table is a version for the one Norm built and has support underneath it near the center, both sides of the insert. It’s over 15 years old and still has no sag. I used 1/2 of a 1 3/8” solid core door to make mine, but I think the results would have been the same with any of the materials mentioned.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View HokieKen's profile


15157 posts in 2020 days

#8 posted 11-28-2018 11:56 AM

My router table top is 2 layers of 3/4” MDF with Formica laminated on top and oak edging. I built it over 2 years ago and it’s had my 3.5hp PC router hanging from it since with no sag. I may have to replace my Kreg plate soon because it’s starting to show some sag. But not the top. YMMV of course but I’m happy with the MDF. I don’t see any issue with using ply and MDF either. As pointed out above, the key is starting with something flat and supporting it properly.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View jonah's profile


2130 posts in 4180 days

#9 posted 11-28-2018 02:07 PM

With a decent finish on it, plywood is more than slick enough for a router table top. I put a few coats of arm-r-seal on it and then applied paste wax. It’s as slick as can be.

View Robert's profile


4047 posts in 2362 days

#10 posted 11-28-2018 04:48 PM

I just built my 3rd router table top. That’s because of new routers/new inserts, desire for larger table.

I built everyone the same way: 2×3/4 MDF + laminate.

When you glue the MDF put on a flat work bench and use screws as “clamps”. When glue is dry remove screws. Edge with hardwood and LAMINATE BOTH SIDES & it will not sag – I promise!!.

Be sure to use the thicker horizontal laminate for countertops.

If you build a cabinet will have a cross brace on either side of the insert anyway if you’re worried.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View MrRon's profile


5942 posts in 4125 days

#11 posted 11-28-2018 08:16 PM

I have a 3-1/2 hp router with a router lift hanging from 3/4” MDO. The top has stayed flat for the past 5 years. It’s all a matter of how you support/brace the top. A piece of 3/4” plywood that has bracing 6” away from the router is plenty stiff, but if supporting structure is 24” or more apart, the top will sag.

View PresidentsDad's profile


139 posts in 1129 days

#12 posted 11-28-2018 08:17 PM

Got it, thanks for the info gents!

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