Introduction: How to Build a Portable Router Table | DIY Woodworking Shop Project
Do you have a need for a quick and affordable portable router table? I’ve got the solution.
While working on a recent project I had a need for a portable router table, which required me to come up with a quick solution. In this article I show you how to build a portable benchtop router table that I will use to make the trim for a special custom framing project. This project is quick and simple, but capable, the router table includes an adjustable fence, dust collection, and even an area to clamp the table down to any work surface. This table is designed for smaller trim routers, but can easily be adjusted to fit any router, it’s an affordable and valuable addition to any shop. I have plans available below which include a cut-list, instructions, and a Sketchup file.
PROJECT PLANS LINK
SUPPORT TWO BIT WOODWORKS
MATERIALS NEEDED (affiliate links)
- Titebond III Wood Glue
- 2' x 4' sheet of 3/4" Purebond Plywood
- 2' x 2' sheet of 3/4" MDF
- 1 1/4" 18g brad nails
- 1 1/4" wood screws
- Starbond CA Glue
- Starbond Activator
- Rockler JIG IT Hardware Kit
TOOLS USED (affiliate links)
Step 1: Break Down the Plywood
As with every project, I reference my cut list and begin the process by breaking down the sheet goods to final dimensions on the table saw.
Step 2: Make the Clamping Area
Then measure and mark sections on the legs where I will remove material in order for the table to be clamped to a workbench. Over at the bandsaw I cut out the notches. Using the fence on the bandsaw ensures that the cuts are parallel and evenly spaced on the top and bottom.
Step 3: Make Room for the Bit
I mark a center point on the table top and then bring it over to the drill press and use a Forstner bit to make a hole big enough for the router bit to fit through.
Step 4: Add Pocket Holes for Joinery
I use my pocket hole workstation to drill out pocket holes to join all of the table pieces together. If you haven’t seen the build video for the pocket hole workstation, go check it out. I have links to the video and plans in the description below.
Step 5: Assembling the Table
I add a little bit of glue to the pieces and then I clamp the two pieces together and secure them with a few screws. Clamping the pieces together ensures a tight fit and keeps them from moving around during assembly.
I repeat the process to attach the other leg to the rear support and then I attach the table top.
Step 6: Make Your Own T-Slots
When thinking of how i wanted to attach the fence, my thought was to have it be easy without using any t track. So i broke out the straight and t-slot bits to make my own slots to accept the hardware for holding the fence in place.
Make sure you actually clamp down the guide when routing out these channels… if you don’t, you’ll blow out the nice straight line like i did.
Once the table is assembled, it's time to focus on the fence.
Step 7: Starting on the Fence
I went with 3/4” MDF for the fence because it has to be straight, square and easy to build. I cut out all the pieces on the table saw. Then marked out the locations for the holes then headed over to the drill press again.
Step 8: Dust Collection Openings
Drill holds in the fence pieces that will be surrounding the router bit. You will also drill a hole in the top fence piece that will accept the dust collection hose. Adjust the hole to fit your dust collection hose.
Step 9: Finishing the Cuts
After making the holes with the Forstner bit, i brought the two main fence pieces over to the bandsaw to finish making the slots for the router bit to fit through.
Step 10: Mounting the Fence
Next I marked the bottom fence piece for the holes to accept the mounting hardware. Then I drilled holes that were just a little oversized to allow for some adjustment.
Step 11: Assembling the Fence
It's now time to assembly all the MDF pieces to make the fence. I used a little glue and some 1 1/4" brads to secure everything together.
I quickly check for square before attaching the side braces.
One of my favorite parts was the little box I made for the dust collection hose to attach to.
Step 12: Checking the Fit
Once the fence was assembled I quickly tested the fit to make sure all my measurements were good to go.
Step 13: Mounting the Router
I used the clear router base as a reference for marking the mounting holes for the router and then drilled and countersunk them to keep the screw heads from sticking up.
I was rushing this part and ended up blowing through one of the holes which meant I had to redo all three holes, this time with a little more patience.
With the new holes drilled, I was finally able to attach the router to the router table top.
Step 14: Testing It Out
I had to test this thing out, so i grabbed a Grizzly round over bit and aligned the fence to the bearing. I snugged down the hardware, attached the dust collection hose and flipped the switch on the router.
I am very happy with the results and the dust collection on this thing is outstanding.
Step 15: Final Thoughts
I hope you enjoyed this shop project. This portable router table and fence is a great addition to my small shop workflow. Even though this was a temporary solution for a larger more permanent project, I couldn’t be more happy with how this router table turned out. I was able to process a lot of sapele trim for a picture frame without any issues. These shop projects are all about making things easier in my small shop.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, I would love to hear from you!