The router table – design

There’s little time before it starts getting uncomfortable to work outside, so I need to design this quickly and get it done, or stew over it all winter. I’m choosing to get the design over and done with so I can get this built. This is an interesting project because there are some challenging size constraints throughout. You can see here that for the overall mockup of the shop I just slapped the router table on the end of the saw. To actually create it though, I need to take some measurements and incorporate them into a brand new design that I can then use to build it. I feel the most important aspect of any router table is the top. A solid, dead-flat surface for your work to glide on. I like miter and T-slots to lock down a fence and any accessories, so those are included in mine. However for this top, the most important aspect is fitting it between the rails of the saw so that the rip fence can slide over it without a problem.

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Here you can see some measurements I jotted down while I was briefly outside.

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It’s 22 3/8″ between the rails on the main body of the saw, so I’ll use that. That guarantees the fence will fit. I have almost 45″ from the main part of the saw to the end of the rails, however there is some clearance issues with the handles on the right side of the saw. The handles are about as long as the wheels stick out, so that’s a good measurement to go by. There’s some space between the handles to do something with, perhaps. I was going to do a step-by-step in Sketchup of creating it, but that got boring. So I’ll just describe. First thing I do is create a box with the measurements I need for the top, and bring it up to 36″, the height of the saw top. I think I remember the casters I have are right at 5 1/4″ high, so I take that amount off of the bottom. I want my top to be two 3/4″ sheets of phenolic ply, which is just under 1.5″ total. Since I’m not sure of the exact dimensions of the ply, I keep it at 1.5″ for the top, and can adjust later by taking a router and taking off a very thin section at where the casters mount, if necessary. I create the outline of the top, then I take out the length of the handles underneath the top. The rest of it is pretty straight forward, creating the T-track, miter slot, dust collection and storage on the table. I added a fence from online, plus a switch on the side. The top drawer and router door are designed to clear the saw rails, or at least I hope they do. It also gives me space above the top drawer to run the power to the switch. Hopefully.

I’ll be verifying the dimensions this week and starting construction perhaps by Friday. Depends on how much material I need and the time available. It’s also scheduled to be fairly chilly, so I might not have the itch I normally do.