Dead Simple DIY Router Table

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by mo62987, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. mo62987

    mo62987 Tele-Meister

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    Recently built a parts guitar which has piqued my interest in a scratch build. Watched a bunch of videos on the 'tube about jointing with a router, routing bodies with templates, etc... common theme seemed to be a router table. Moved over to videos about DIY router tables. Apparently these folks making the DIY tool videos already have a shop full of fancy toys/tools (which I don't) and end up putting more time and $$ into the DIY version than just buying something off the shelf.

    So I built one on the cheap with minimal fancy things and materials you can get from any big box hardware store. I'm sure a lot of people here have their own version, and this has probably been posted before... but I'll drop it here anyway. Total cost was ~$20 from Home Depot and about 2 hours of build time. Could have been quicker, but I'm a measure 9 times, cut once, jack it up anyway, measure and cut again kinda guy ;)

    Tools:
    • Saw of some kind (I used a miter but a hand saw would work just fine)
    • Jigsaw or router
    • Drill
    • Straight Edge and/or square
    Materials:
    • (1) 2'x2' 3/4" MDF panel
    • (1) 1"x3"x6' select grade wood (need craft grade type stuff here to make sure it's as flat and square as possible off the shelf)
    • Handful of screws (I used sheetrock screws cause I had em laying around)
    • A couple bolts ~2" long with matching washers and wing nuts
    • Optional - couple 2x4 scraps
    • You might also need a few machine screws that are longer than whatever comes with the router to mount it to the table (this was a problem i ran in to, see step 4)

    Pics are pretty self explanatory I think, but here's a step-by-step of what I did:
    1. Find the center of the MDF, mark it, and mark a centerline in one direction (for reference later)
    2. Drill a hole in the middle large enough for the router bit (hole saw would have been great for this. I used a jigsaw)
    3. Use the router base as a template to mark and drill the mounting holes
    4. Countersink the mounting holes so the mounting screw heads are flush
      4a. Drill all the way through the MDF trying to accommodate the really short mounting screws (faceplam)
      4b. Re-align router base, re-mark new mounting holes
      4c. Repeat steps 4a and 4b as many times as it takes for you to get it through your thick skull that you need to just go get longer mounting screws:oops:
    5. Cut the 1x3 to length for the fence. 2 pieces at 2ft to match table width
    6. Trim a nice little square from the middle of both pieces with a jigsaw or router
    7. Attach the two in a right angle. Use screws or glue here, as long as it's square!! I also cut some little 45 degree pieces from the leftover of the 1x3 for stiffeners
    8. Mark and cut the guide slots for the fence to ride. Will need the jigsaw or router for this. Mine extend almost all the way to the back of the MDF so i can get it out of the way completely for freehand cuts.
    9. Drill matching holes in the fence and insert bolts, washers, and wing nuts. (Washers on both side of MDF for more bearing surface)
    10. Fine sand the front face of the fence so your work piece slides easily
    11. Finish it off by screwing MDF to legs of some kind. I just used some scrap 2x4 as runners/stiffeners on the bottom. I plop it on some scrap wood between two sawhorses and let the router hang through. You could build taller legs if you want to be able to make it a benchtop type thing.
    Anyway, enjoy:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    Very nice job!

    It will serve you well... until you decide to buy one of those fancy ones!!
     
  3. Ziggy587

    Ziggy587 Tele-Meister

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    Nice!

    Any plans to add a lift down the road? I like the one that Steve Ramsey posted a video of. It looked straight forward (and cheap) to build, but he couldn't post the plans.

     
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  4. mo62987

    mo62987 Tele-Meister

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    hmmm no plans for a lift at the moment. If the need arises i might tho. I'd have to look at that design a little better, but i'm not sure it would work for my fixed based router. Looks better suited for a plunge router??

    Side note - been watching a LOT of that guy's videos lately
     
  5. mo62987

    mo62987 Tele-Meister

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    Let's hope so! Unfortunately, the little money i can spare spending needs to be on decent wood and parts, not tools

    EDIT - actually a table saw is on the current birthday/father's day/Christmas list
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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  6. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for posting this.

    It so happens I will be building a router table this week and so it's a chance to steal some of your ideas ;-)

    I thought about putting mine on a workmate or sawhorses, but Harbor Freight had a stand on sale that, other than not being collapsible, should work well.

    What does the lift do for you that the router's plunge adjustment doesn't?
     
  7. Ziggy587

    Ziggy587 Tele-Meister

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    It'll work with a fixed based router!

    I love WWMM! Steve Ramsey and Mathias Wandel are my two favorite wood working channels on YouTube. Though Mathias' router lift, like many of the things he does, is much more complicated LOL.

    With the lift, you can adjust the height from the top of the table. Otherwise you have to reach under the table, which isn't just inconvenient it's also harder to dial in the right height.
     
  8. LeftFinger

    LeftFinger Friend of Leo's

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    With the right lift you can change the bit from the top as well
     
  9. mo62987

    mo62987 Tele-Meister

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    That sure would be more convenient. Height adjustment would be great from the top too. There are some things that take a bit more time to adjust, but hey, I was basically just trying to throw something together that could get me through a body build. Maybe I’ll make a legit table some other day.
     
  10. Ziggy587

    Ziggy587 Tele-Meister

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    I didn't mean to delegitimize your table in any way. Yours has about the same amount of function as mine (don't let all the plastic accessories fool you) but you paid a fraction of the cost for yours LOL. Sincerely, great job!
     
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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    A router table with a fence that moves, or a place to clamp a straight edge is all you really need. I built guitars for 20 years with nothing more than Sears craftsman routers attached to a plywood and Masonite top that had 2 x 4 legs. Yeah, you had to bend over to turn it on/off and adjust it higher or lower, but that was do-able. I'm tempted to re-make another like it because the last two commercial ones I bought were crap.
     
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  12. mo62987

    mo62987 Tele-Meister

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    Haha... no offense taken! Didn’t mean for it to come off that way. Was just agreeing that the other accessories would be a good thing to have (some day)
     
  13. mo62987

    mo62987 Tele-Meister

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    Pretty much the reason I didn’t buy one. Gotta drop some real $$ for one that looks like it’s worth it’s salt.
     
  14. Ziggy587

    Ziggy587 Tele-Meister

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    Realistically, if you're needing or wanting a router table then you probably have the required skills and tools to build your own. I really regret buying the Skill table that I got, but I needed a table in a pinch. I had very limited time to complete a project, so I opted to buy the table thinking it would save me the time of building one. The funny part is that it ended up costing me more time than if I just built a simple table! I went to Lowes and bought that Skill table and a Skill brand router. My thought process was something like, "The Skill router MUST fit the Skill table, they're the same brand!" Well, live and learn I guess. The Skill router was not compatible with the table so I had to waste time returning the router and finding a compatible one.
     
  15. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Holic

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    This is truth.
     
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  16. mistermikev

    mistermikev Tele-Holic

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    nicely done.
     
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  17. mo62987

    mo62987 Tele-Meister

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    Well that’s unfortunate. This is why we don’t assume :lol:

    Wanting to get started on a real project is another reason I didn’t get too worked up about building anything elaborate too.
     
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  18. Ziggy587

    Ziggy587 Tele-Meister

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    And I'm pretty sure it fit more models of OTHER brands than it did Skill models!
     
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  19. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    eons ago, I built a router table sort of like that from an old pat warner article.

    One layer of 3/4MDF

    Two jointed pieces of oak glued to the bottom on edge to make the surface rigid, and i did use a router plate (pat warner did not suggest that) because the table was going to be a door machine more or less.

    The bottom was all bolted together 2x4s, open, and my fence was a laminated oak fence (that was a little bit overdone).

    I used it for a long time and never had to do anything to it other than plane the surface once as the mdf swelled due to shop humidity.

    I sold the router (PC7518) and threw the table away last year when I finished my kitchen. I didn't know that there would be so much routing in guitars and hadn't started making them yet. I so much preferred my table to all of the overwrought gadget laden garbage that's peddled. T-track router stuff is mostly lightweight junk, and a crutch.
     
  20. sudogeek

    sudogeek TDPRI Member

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    I found a Bosch router table on CL for $50. Bought it for $40 (new $200). It’s not anything like some of the high-end Rockler offerings but does the job. It has grooves in the deck so you can use various sleds like my home-made jig for making finger joints.
     
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