The new router table base

Designing something that has to fit a certain space is always harder than freely designing something, at least for me. You’re always having to shoehorn in what you need in defined parameters, versus building your storage nicely around what you have or anticipate. While I waited to have everything I wanted for my router operations, in reality I could have built this the minute I settled on a router table dimension.

In reality, it’s a super simple design. It’s four boxes, really. Well, it’s one big box divided in half, and divided in half again. One box, the upper left, houses the router and paddle switch. There will also be a hole for current and future dust collection. A fixed shelf separates it from the lower portion, storage. It’s much the same on the right side. Another fixed shelf/dust shelf, to keep the whole case together nicely.

The storage will be pretty much all drawers, as I’ve found that’s really the best way to keep everything organized and reachable. There’s really nothing I own that needs to sit on a shelf. Because the width (or length, depending on how you look at it) of the base is more than the current one, the drawers are going to be a good bit wider. They are also going to fit this time, being made directly for the application.

There will be a slight bit of future-proofing going on this time. A bottom drawer will be deep enough to house an additional router, should I come across the need to add one back. I’m sure this will be where my trim router(s) go assuming I don’t go for a Festool. Speaking of which, there should be room for one or two systainers should the need strike. Shelf pin holes via the LR32 will go everywhere except for the router box, so adjustments can be made at any time and not put the base itself in jeopardy of being outmoded. While I’m hoping to at least get the OF1400 over to the router table for consolidation purposes, if the need to store other items in another drawer or two take precedence, then it’s not that big of a deal. What I’ll be doing soon is taking an exact inventory of what I’m looking to store in the router base. I’ve taken some pictures of some stuff there already, but it’s not comprehensive.

There’s one other storage need here, and it turned out to be the trickiest to get my head around. The templates for the Incra positioner. I think I may have talked about it before in a router table-themed post, but I finally settled on a solution. I will be cutting dados in a material to be determined, and mounting them like drawers in the table somewhere. There’s 50 templates, plus another ruler template, so I’m aiming for 51 slots. Each template is half an inch wide, and just over or right at 17 inches long. I don’t yet know how many drawer-like things this will need, because I haven’t worked out just how wide the slots need to be nor the space between. You never know if you can get away with a half-inch or need just a touch over. The formula for figuring something like that out would be .5x+(nx+1)=z, or close enough. You need to figure out the number of templates, which are .5″ each. Then you need the number of dividers, which is the number of templates plus one. All that has to fit within 19″, or more likely 18″ after you account for mounting.

For example, let’s say I wanted to fit 25 templates at the exact width, with a quarter-inch spacer. That’s 25(.5) + 26(.25)= 19. That’s too many for one drawer, because it would be exact width of the drawer space. I’d have to make the spacers thinner or use the plywood box as runners by using a sliding dovetail. So, the aim will be to split everything into three equal parts, which 51 happens to do: 17 templates on each shelf/drawer. 17(.5)+18(.25)=13 inches. Plenty of room to expand the template space slightly to 5/8″. That turns out to be just over 15″. Still plenty of room to mount in a 19″ wide space. Now the trick will be putting something together that will make selecting and finding a template easy.

The new router table will use beefier casters like I have used on other projects. The ones on now, which I believe to be Harbor Freight, are squeaky as hell and need to just be tossed. I believe I already have a set ready to go on, but if not I will use the ones on the miter saw stand.

I have yet to really drill down the exact dimensions, as I might stretch or shrink by up to an inch in any direction. The height needs to be as close to the table saw as possible. A touch lower is preferable to a touch higher, but it can be massaged either way. Once I figure that out, the trick will be seeing if I can get the structure done from one sheet of ply (hopefully), and line up the center divider so that each side is exactly the same width – crucial for being able to move drawers around as needed.

Next up is to verify the height of the table saw, and verify the height of the casters – should be 5.25″. I’ll then gather all the stuff that will be going in the table and see if I can figure out just how many drawers I need, and where everything will go. After that, it’s all over but the building. I should have one more post about the router table base before the build begins. However, with Christmas fast approaching, I do not have a set time table.

I really am looking forward to a fully functional router table. There’s probably some deja vu here, as I wrote pretty much this same post in April. It turns out my hunches were correct, and the simple and modular approach was best.

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