Build your own router table tops.

You can build your own router table from our router table plans as one of your beginning woodworking projects or build several to speed up the projects that you make to sell.

In my shop I have a lot more router table tops than I do router table bases. When I set up my machines and jigs to build a standard item I simply switch router table tops with the router already attached that's ready to go. (This only works for standard items that you make a lot of.)

A variation of this method is having the tops already set up and just adding the router. Storing extra router table tops with the fences and stops already set will save a lot of time when you're building an item every now and then and don't want to tie up a router. When storing these tops I write on the router top what project it's for, the bit to use and the height of the bit.

Some tips to think about...

Match the router table top to the job to be done.   The majority of the tops that I use are made from laminate countertop cutouts. Some have the router table fences permanently attached for one particular job.

The router bit hole should be close to the same size as the router bit.   You can easily cut this hole by mounting the router base to the underside of the table and then slowly plunging the bit up through the top. If the router bit you need to use for your project can't be used to make the center hole then use one close to the same diameter that will work.

Match the router to the work.  You don't need a 3 hp plunge router to make 1/8" roundover cuts and you can't use a 1/2 hp light duty router to make deep or wide plunge cuts. Always buy the best routers you can afford and match them to the work to be done.

Make your tops double thickness. When you build your own router table top you should use a double layer of substrate around the router base. This reduces vibration and results in a smoother cut. The bottom layer surrounds the router so you don't lose any router bit up and down adjustment. A double layer also keeps the surface flatter.

I also like to use a hardwood edge trim around the edges of the top. I use 3/4" x 1-1/2" oak or hard maple mostly because that's what I have a lot of in the shop. This heavy edge trim helps keep your router table top from warping. When I glue the top laminate down I lay the laminate over the trim. This keeps the top smooth with no bumps. I've also found that if I slightly chamfer the edges it keeps the edges from chipping and looks better.

This is just a few things I've learned from my own shop. When you build your own router table you may have totally different needs so your tops my need to be built differently. Hopefully some of the features I've listed will be helpful.

Here's a step by step way to build your own router table top.


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