Introduction: How to Make a ROUTER TABLE W/ Bit Storage & Dust Collection
Learn how to build an awesome router table, complete with a custom cabinet with bit storage, cast iron top, dust collection, and a POWER FEEDER! This is an easy DIY project and will be one of the most used tools in your shop!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
📦 Materials Used On The Router Table Build (affiliate):
- 🔹 3/4'' Baltic Birch Plywood : https://www.rockler.com/3-4-baltic-birch-plywood
- 🔹 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Top, Pro Lift and 32'' ProFence : https://www.rockler.com/rockler-promax-cast-iron-...
- 🔹 Router Bit Storage Inserts : https://www.rockler.com/rockler-router-bit-storage-inserts-10-pack
- 🔹 Dust Right Router Table Dust Bucket : https://www.rockler.com/dust-right-router-table-dust-bucket-with-dual-port
- 🔹 Safety Power Tool Switch : https://www.rockler.com/safety-power-tool-switch
- 🔹 Offset Router Collet Wrenches : https://www.rockler.com/rockler-offset-router-collet-wrenches
- 🔹 Total Lock Casters : https://www.rockler.com/4-heavy-duty-polyurethane-casters-optional-sizes
- 🛥 TotalBoat Halycon Clear : https://amzn.to/2ziBSnN
🛠 Tools Used On The Router Table Build (affiliate):
- ♦️ Arrow PT18G Brad Nailer : http://bit.ly/arrowcrafted
- ♦️ Arrow PT23G Pin Nailer : http://bit.ly/arrowcrafted
- ♦️ Arrow GT300 Hot Glue Gun : http://bit.ly/arrowcrafted
- ✴️ Pony Jorgensen Parallel Clamp : https://amzn.to/32xiQGB
- 🔹 Rockler Corner Radius Routing Templates : https://www.rockler.com/rockler-corner-radius-routing-templates
- 🟨 Powermatic Power Feeder : https://amzn.to/2ZFwZQd
- Router : https://amzn.to/3jlgEYI
- Table Saw : https://amzn.to/2WrrNMm
- Kreg Foreman Pocket Hole Machine : https://amzn.to/3ji7ts4
- Push Stick : https://amzn.to/2XIvgFq
- Speed Square : https://amzn.to/2n9q29j
- Magnetic Screw Holder (for my impact driver) : https://amzn.to/2xGYPwD
- Cordless Drill : https://amzn.to/2wOFM2S
- Sander : https://amzn.to/2oHOmg7
- Sanding Block : https://amzn.to/2HkX9OG
- Sjobergs Workbench : https://amzn.to/2s4mffP%E2%80%8B
Step 2: Determine What You’ll Include in Your Router Table Build
I use my router table on most furniture projects I work on here in my shop. I use it for everything from cutting joinery to adding edge profiles, I could even make my own molding with it if I wanted. My previous router table never had enough storage and it had a fairly underpowered router installed in it that was starting to act up, so I felt like it was time to get a fresh start with a new, super beefy router table with some really cool features built into it. I chose to build my own cabinet for the base, figuring this would make fitting drawers and doors simpler and I could also get more useable storage space out of the same footprint.
Step 3: Break Down Plywood for Cabinet Below Router Table
To start, I'm breaking down some pieces of ¾” Baltic Birch plywood. This is what I used for the cabinet, and next I was drilling a bunch of pocket holes, which I used for the joinery on this cabinet.
Step 4: Establish Joinery (Pocket Holes)
I used my large pocket hole machine here, since it’s set up for ¾” plywood, but a standard pocket hole jig would have worked just as well, but would have taken me slightly longer.
Step 5: Assemble Router Table Cabinet
After drilling the pocket holes, I could assemble the cabinet. I started by attaching the side panels to the bottom. I used the center divider to space the side panels and clamped everything together before driving in the screws.
It is very important to clamp your parts well when using pocket screws, otherwise they’ll have the tendency to push the parts out of alignment when driving the screws. Next, I flipped the cabinet over and repeated the same process to add the center divider, using the two vertical dividers to set the position of that center divider. Using the center divider made for super quick cabinet assembly. Doing this also ensured that my cabinet would come together perfectly even if some of my parts were a little over or undersized.
I continued the assembly by adding the vertical dividers which will allow me to house the dust collection. Next, I could finish the cabinet assembly with the two smaller top pieces.
Step 6: Confirm Fit With Router Table Top
Step 7: Construct and Assemble Drawers for Router Bits and Storage
Next, I cut the pieces for the the drawers out on the table saw, which I made from ½” Baltic Birch plywood. To assemble the drawers, I first added a bead of glue around the perimeter of the drawer bottom, and then I tacked the sides together with my Arrow PT18G brad nailer. Finally, I flipped the drawer over and added more brad nails to hold the bottom panel in place while the glue dried. The last step in the drawer box construction was to reinforce the corners with a few screws.
With that, the drawer box was finished. Next, I could work on the vertical slide-outs that will go in the areas to the left and the right of the Dust Bucket. I first taped the two layers of the slide-out together, and then marked out locations for holes for these router bit storage inserts. These inserts allow you to store either ¼” or ½” shank router bits, and they just friction fit into a ⅝” hole.
I drilled holes over at the drill press, and then I could get the first slide-out assembled. Finally, I added one screw at each joint, just for a little more reinforcement. The other slide out was assembled in pretty much the same way.
To keep these accessories from falling off the trays, I cut a few strips of ¼” plywood and then tacked them in place using my Arrow PT23G pin nailer. Pin nails were really perfect for this kind of application, as they provided plenty of holding power, keeping the sides in place while the few dabs of CA glue I added dried.
Next, I installed the drawer slides to the cabinet. I then installed the drawers, I slid out the drawer partially, added a few screws, and then finally removed the drawer entirely to add the last screw at the back of the drawer.
With that, the bottom drawer was in and I just repeated the same process to install the upper drawer. The vertical slide outs were a little different, since the slides attach to the top and bottom of the slide out, but the process of installing the slides themselves was really the same.
Step 8: Sanding Router Table Cabinet Parts and Breaking Edges
Before applying the drawer fronts, I sanded down all of the drawers, breaking all of the sharp edges.
I repeated the same process on the cabinet, sanding all of the edges and breaking any sharp corners. I also went ahead and added a chamfer to all of the drawer fronts and door, and I also added a heavy chamfer to the bottom edge of the drawer boxes, this gives them a nicer finished look.
Step 9: Install Drawer Fronts
With all the chamfering done, I could go ahead and install the drawer fronts. I used the playing card trick to get even spacing around the edges of the drawer fronts and, once they were spaced evenly, I used my Arrow hot glue gun to temporarily hold the drawer fronts in place.
Finally, I drilled countersunk holes and added screws from the inside of the drawers to permanently hold the drawer fronts in place. I repeated the process for the rest of the drawers, and then I could get the door, which closes up the area with the Dust Bucket, installed. I used Euro hinges, and used a jig to drill the holes.
Step 10: Install Drawer Push to Open Hardware
Rather than drawer pulls I decided to use these Blum Tip-On units, which are little push-to-open hardware pieces. First, out of a bit of plywood, I whipped up a little drilling jig based on the Blum instructions, and then used a self-centering drill bit with the jig, to drill the mounting holes on the inside of the cabinet. To mount the Tip-On units, I first mounted the plastic mounting plate to the inside of the cabinet and then clipped the push-to-open mechanism onto the plate.
Once it’s positioned correctly, you just push on the door and the Tip-On unit pushes the door open about an inch and a half, giving you plenty of room to open the door. This worked great on the door, but it was a lot more fiddly on the drawers and slide-outs. Eventually, after a lot of trial and error, I got them all working but, again, I’d just go with push-to-open slides in the future.
Step 11: Mount Casters to Router Table Base
The cabinet was getting pretty darn heavy at this point so I decided to go ahead and mount these Rockler Total Lock casters, which lock not only the wheel itself but also the spinning mechanism, making for a super secure base.
Step 12: Mount Cast Iron Router Table to Base
With the cabinet nearly finished, it was time to mount the cast iron router table top. I marked out the hole locations on the top of the cabinet and then drilled a small locating hole to transfer the location to the inside of the cabinet.
First I drilled a large recessed hole, this allowed me to use a large washer to spread the holding power of the mounting bolts, and then I drilled an oversized hole for the mounting bolts themselves. The last thing to do before attaching the top to the base was routing out a clearance area for the Dust Bucket mounting wings, which allow the Dust Bucket to be mounted to the underside of the cast iron top.
I marked out these locations when test fitting the bolts, since these areas didn’t need to be perfect and would never be seen, I just routed them freehand.
Step 13: Mount Dust Bucket to the Underside of Router Table
Using the included bolts, I got the Dust Bucket mounted to the underside of the table top and then I could finally get the cabinet added to the underside of the top. With everything installed on the router table, I decided to go ahead and add the back panel as well. I got the back panel cut out at the bandsaw, added glue to the back edges of the cabinet, and tacked the panel in place with more brad nails. Finally, with the help of my buddy Eddie Aaronson, I got the router table flipped over and we could admire this gorgeous Rockler cast iron top. After cleaning off the packing grease, I added a little Boeshield T9 to prevent the top from rusting, and then I could get the router lift installed.
Step 14: Installing the Router Lift, Router, and Fence
First, I added the leveling set screws from the underside of the top and got them all set to pretty much the same height before dropping in the router lift. I adjusting the set screws until the lift was perfectly flush with the table top and, once they were adjusted, I locked them in place with the lock nut and dropped the lift into the top.
I then removed the lift to get my router installed. I went with a beast of a Porter Cable router. This Rockler Pro Lift also accepts this Porter Cable unit with no additional adapters, so it was super easy to just drop it in and get it secured.
With the router in, I could get the lift reinstalled and try it out, and this thing works great. The plates can be removed and installed easily with no special tool required, and the height adjustment is super smooth with the crank arm.
Next, I added the fence to the table, which attached through the built-in track in the top, and then I could attach a 2 ½” hose between the Dust Bucket and the fence.
Step 15: Finishing With Halcyon Clear
Before moving on, I decided to go ahead and add a clear coat to the router table cabinet. This will help keep it looking nice, and I used TotalBoat’s Halcyon Clear.
Halycon Clear goes on really easily, and I’ve both sprayed it and rolled in on with great results. It also dries super quick and is extremely durable. Once the finish dried, I got the drawers and door reinstalled and then I could start getting the router table ready for its maiden use.
Step 16: Final Details on Router Table and First Test
I switched out router bits and checked out these corner radius templates here. The dust collection wasn’t as good initially, but it’s because I had the fence too far from the bit, but once I corrected that, the dust collection was spot on.
Finally, I threw in a big roundover bit and ran it on the same test piece, and this allowed me to try out the micro height adjustment feature on the router lift, which made dialing in the height of the roundover super easy.
Step 17: Accessories - Power Feeder
With that, this router table was finished, but I had one more accessory that arrived just as I was finishing this build that I had to go ahead and get installed.
Unfortunately, this required the slightly scary task of drilling and tapping four holes into my shiny new router table top, and I could get the new accessory installed. This is a power feeder, for those of you who might not be familiar with this tool, and it does exactly what the name implies, it feeds material with power.
The setup is pretty quick and easy, and I really just need to set the height for whatever material I’m using, it makes things like adding a roundover a breeze. This will be super useful anytime I need to add an edge profile to a lot of boards in the future, especially if those boards are particularly heavy or long, and the power feeder swings out of the way easily when I’m not using it. Pretty cool. With that, besides getting some bits loaded up and the drawer organized, I could call this router table project complete!