Ask any bunch of woodworkers which is their most essential fixed power tool and you'll get many answers. But ask for the top three, and they will always include the router table.
In recent years, router manufacturers have begun offering routers with height adjustments that can be accessed through the base, when the router is hanging upside down in a router table. This eliminates the cost and complexity of incorporating a router lift into the design to control the height of the bit. These new routers have that built-in.
Inspired by these, a number of writers have published designs for router tables using these new routers that aren't really tables, they're router table tops, meant to be attached to an existing workbench.Bench-Mounted Router TableStow-and-Go Router TableStow-Away Router Table
When I was building my own Real Woodworker's Workbench
, I had to buy a second router. I decided to buy one with an integrated lift, and to use it to build a router-table attachment for my bench, similar to those described above.
It took me longer to get around to it than I had planned, but a few weeks ago I finally got started.
I made it out of a 24"x48" piece of 3/4' Melamine-coated particle board, with a 3/4' backing of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), using a commercially purchased insert plate and fence. Melamine provides a slick, smooth, easily-cleaned surface, which makes it a pretty good choice for a top. 3/4' isn't enough to prevent bending, though, and the fiberboard core isn't as dense as MDF, hence the MDF backing.