So I was walking home one day when I found an old discarded drawer in a field near my house. I only had to take one look at it to know exactly what I wanted to make. Having recently acquired my own plunge router, I figured it wouldn't be too terribly difficult to turn the drawer into a makeshift router table!
The following shows my process in making this, for those who wish to try it, or for those who are simply curious. I can already think of over a dozen modifications that I can (and more than likely will) add to the table as upgrades, and will list a few (or more) of them at the end. Not knowing a whole lot about router tables going into this project, I made it all up as I went, using mostly scraps and hardware I had on hand.
I welcome any and all questions, and will explain my reasoning for any design element you may choose to question! ;)
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- (1) Old drawer (this one measured 91/2"x131/2"x171/2")
- (3) 5mm 8 x 30mm Machine Screws
-(1) 2"x5/8"x17" Scrap Wood
-(2) 1/4"-20 3" Bolts
-(2) 1/4"-20 Star Knobs
Step 2: The Drawer and Router
Step 3: Prep Base for Layout
Step 4: Layout Holes for Screws
Step 5: Drill Mounting Screw Holes
After flipping the whole unit over, I drilled 13/64" holes into the table from the inside, using the existing holes in the router base as a guide. I then turned the whole thing back around and counter-bored 3/8" holes, which then had to be enlarged (3/8" was my largest bit), about a 1/4" deep, to get the screw heads below the table's surface.
Once all the holes were drilled and counter-bored, I checked make sure that the weight of the router would actually be supported by screwing in the actual router. With that done I moved on to the rest of the layout.
Step 6: Top Surface Layout
For the router base, I simply unmounted the router from the table, and removed the router base once again. I placed it on top of the table, using the mounting screws as registration pins by inserting them through the base into the holes I previously drilled. After tracing around the outside of the the router base, I traced the inside opening and removed the base from the table. This gave me a visual representation of where my router would be underneath the surface.
For the bit clearance, I only needed to mark the router bit's center point, which was easy with this router, since the opening has corners that I could draw a line through to find the center. Then I measured the diameter of my largest bit, which in this case was rounded up to 11/2" for the larger of my two round-over bits. Using this measurement, I was able to mark a circle with a compass that would later be cut out to allow the bit to pass through it.
The fence location was to be indicated by a straight line drawn across the entire back side of the table top, about 1" from the edge.
Step 7: The Fence
With the dowel centers in the fence, I lined it up on the layout line I made earlier, and pressed down just hard enough to mark the location of the two holes that my fence locking bolts would go through.
Step 8: Adjustment Slot
To accomplish this, I first lined the fence up with the edge of the circle drawn earlier for the router bit. Once there, I pressed down on the fence to mark another center point. With these two points marked, I was able to swingthe fence between them to scribe an arc directly onto the table.
Knowing that the slot would have to fit a 1/4" bolt, I moved pivot point 1/8" to either side of the original point and scribed two more arcs. With everything marked out, I drilled 1/4" holes on all three center points, and then cut out the slot and bit opening. I used a jigsaw to cut both the slot and opening, but it would advise using a hole saw or even a large Forstner bit, if you have either one. Sadly, I don't. =c
Now, it is probably worth noting that I made these cuts after the sun had set, and without an alternate light source (my "workshop" is a small corner of the yard underneath a peach tree), I lost a fair bit of accuracy when cutting, as I was unable to see my layout lines. Please exercise caution and use safe building practices when working with any tools. That being said, I didn't do half bad for cutting in the dark, eh? 'xD
Step 9: Final Assembly
With the fence in place, all I had left was to mount the router, hook a vacuum hose up to the dust port on the router, and pop in a bit! I ran a few test cuts, and quickly began to understand how this simple setup turned an already versatile tool into an indispensable workhorse. I works great, and considering I paid about 1/100 of what I could have, am extremely pleased with the result! I can tell this rig is going to see a LOT of use in the near future!
Well there you have it! With a few leftover parts, and a bit of ingenuity, we've once again proven that one man's trash, is another man's, uh, workshop! xP
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time!
Feel free to comment below! =)
Step 10: Upgrades!
-Cut a matching clearance hole in the fence
-Making a split side fence
-Moving the fence knobs behind the fence
-Support for a miter gauge
-Improved dust collection, including surface dust
-Ability to raise the router with more ease and accuracy
-Custom router plate to increase bit range
-Add feather boards
-"Presets" Gauge/Peg holes (RandomIdeaMan)
After flipping the whole on it's side, I got myself some cheap hole saws at Harbor Freight (not bad, but I may have to sharpen them and/or true up the mandrel) to cut the bit clearance hole. I had also built a simple circle-cutting jig for the router and used it to cut a much cleaner arc for the fence bolt.
I painted the sides blue, from a dream I once had where I owned a cozy little workshop full of bright blue generic looking machine tools.