American Woodworker Router Table Barre VT
American Woodworker Router Table
American Woodworker Router TableBy Dave Munkittrick
You won’t find this router table in any store or catalog. But, it incorporates all the best features found in those store-bought systems at half the cost! At AW we’ve had the opportunity to study and use most of the router-table systems on the market. From that experience we’ve designed our own fully featured, easy-to-build router table. Commercial cabinet-based tables sell for $400 to $500; you can build ours for a little more than $200. You’ll save enough to buy yourself a new router!
We've also designed a router lift to go with this table. To see this article, go to AWRouterLift.
The All-Important Fence
At the heart of any great router-table system lies a well-designed fence. Ours offers all the best features identified in our router table tool test (AW #92, February 2002, page 64):
• An easy-to-use, tool-free fence can be set and adjusted in an instant (Photo 1).
• Easy-to-make sacrificial subfences can be adjusted for any size bit or used to create zero-clearance openings (Photo 2). They’re easy to make from plain old 3/4-in. MDF.
• Quick, rock-solid fence settings are made possible by T-tracks in the table (Photo 3). For fine adjustments, leave one hold-down tight to create a pivot point for the fence.
• Fence-mounted T-track for attaching accessories (Photo 3).
• A dust port for picking up the debris that routers kick out.
Photo 1: A totally tool-free fence. Forget about wrenches, screwdrivers or clamps for fence adjustments.
Photo 2: Easy-to-make, sacrificial subfences allow you to make a zero-clearance opening for super-clean, super-safe cuts. Simply slide the infeed fence slowly into the spinning bit.
Photo 3: T-tracks provide slide-and-lock adjustments for maximum versatility. They make for super-smooth fence adjustments and convenient attachment points for accessories.
The Sag-Free Top
In this article we’ll show you how to build flatness into your top and keep it there. Our top’s features include:
• A dead-flat top that will never sag because it’s supported by braces built into the cabinet (Fig. A).
• A versatile offset router mount puts the router near the front edge for easy access and easy stock feeding. This is where you’ll do 90 percent of your routing. The other 10 percent will be at the back of the table, which offers more table support for routing large stock, such as door panels (Photo 4).
• Plastic laminate for a slick, durable top. We put the laminate on both surfaces to protect and stiffen the top.
• Our Best Buy router-mounting plate (from AW #85, February 2001, Tool Test: Router Table Plates, page 86) allows easy removal of the router for bit changes and hand-held work.
Photo 4: You can work at the back of the table to take advantage of the large setback to support big stock, like this door...