Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Router Table Design

Earlier this week, I did say that I was going to buy a sheet of 18mm MDF today for the floor-standing router table I was going to begin building this weekend…

Well, I haven’t been able to get as much done on the design-front and, until I’m more certain of the finished dimensions of some of the components, I’m a little cautious of ordering a sheet and having it cut to size – to fit in the back of my van and also, to make life a bit easier handling it at the workshop.

Still, I’d like to share where my design is in its current state, after a brief moment of play in Google SketchUp last night.

My old bench-top model had a 600mm x 450mm surface area, That was fine for most jobs but, if I’m going to make a floor-standing version then, I figured I may as well build it more like a floor-standing machine. Also, I tried drawing it out in SketchUp and, with a height of around 900mm, it just looked badly out of proportion.

Instead, I’ve settled on the dimensions of 800mm x 500mm on top. I reckon 900mm x 600mm might be a bit tight for my current setup and, being realistic about things, I only spend most of my time machining reasonably-short furniture-scale components.

Biscuit joints and pocket screws will be used for most of the construction and I’ll try to paint the whole thing white with emulsion. I’d like to keep the lower area clear for power tool storage (approximately 400mm height inside) and the two side partitions could be used to house cutters, tools and other accessories… I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll bother to add drawers here or, just leave the spaces ‘bare’ for now (drawers could always be added later).

I’ll be lipping the four edges of the 18mm MDF top with hardwood for durability, before laminating over both faces with a Formica (plastic laminate) material for reduce friction when feeding timber. For a table of this size though, should I be looking to double the thickness of the top to approximately 36mm?

If you look below the top, you’ll see a timber ‘skirt’ or border that surrounds the MDF cabinet (sorry, I should’ve used colours to further distinguish the two materials). My plan is to pocket-screw these in to the underside of the top. They should help to reduce sagging and also, I could screw through these directly in to the MDF (I see it almost as a quick-release feature… Just, perhaps not an absolutely necessary one!).

That lower shelf might be added to disguise and house the extraction plumbing for some kind of dust hopper. However, it would probably reduce some of my storage height below (I still need to measure the necessary dimensions for my router).

Underneath, you can see two blocks (left) and, on the other side, two representations of 75mm swivel castors. They don’t need to be braked; my thinking is that I could lift the table at the left-hand end and drop it down to wherever required when I need to use it. I’d have to fit a handle to make lifting easier and I did actually implement something identical to my initial table saw cabinet, less than two-years ago…

Table saws though, require a different range of clearance all round; which is why I eventually moved on from that idea to fit two extra castors in place of the blocks. On a router table, you generally only feed the wood along the one axis, even with shaped, template or bearing-guided work.

Here’s a shopping list of what I need to buy so far:

18mm MDF (one sheet – MR?)
Formica (plastic laminate)
Aluminium Mounting Plate for Router
NVR Switch
Pocket Hole Screws for 18mm MDF

…Anything else?

Thanks for reading.

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3 responses to “Router Table Design

  1. Brendan Shaw 28/04/2012 at 00:59

    Looks like a good project Olly – I just may copy it 🙂 If I had a router, yup, still dithering.

    Brendan

  2. OG 30/04/2012 at 09:37

    I would rather suggest fixed castors over swivels. Once the table is tilted the castors will have only one way to move – towards the inner of the table – so they will behave like fixed ones anyway. Fixed ones also tend to be cheaper and more strudy.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 30/04/2012 at 18:03

      That’s an excellent suggestion – thank you.

      If only I hadn’t gone out and purchased two swivel castors this morning… D’oh! 🙄

      If it does become a problem though, I can always replace them.

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