How to Make a Router Table

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I made this router table to provide a lot of storage and excellent dust collection, but not sacrifice on performance. Most of the construction is 1/2" plywood but with 3/4" plywood in critical places like the sides and top for rigidity.

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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

If you want to make this, I have plans available on my website at for pre-order. As long as they're on pre-order they will be 25% off. Once they are released the pre-order discount will end.

I made this using

The tools I used were:

Step 2: Break Down Material

Like all my plywood projects. This one started with breaking sheets down with my circular saw, then a lot of table saw cuts, and some crosscuts at the miter station.

Step 3: Cut Out the Router Lift Holes

Normally for a router lift it takes routing two different patterns at different depths. But instead, I’m going to cut two shape out of each sheet and then glue them together.

The top piece is 1/2" plywood, which is close to the thickness of the plate of the router lift, I cut it out first.

I screw the two pieces together before transferring the hole from the top piece to the thicker 3/4" bottom piece.

Step 4: Laminate and Trim the Top

I apply a liberal amount of glue to laminate the two pieces together.

This is where those screw holes from the last step come in handy. I put screws back through them first to make sure everything lines up the same way it did when I started.

After the glue dries the table saw makes quick work of cleaning up the edges, then I apply mitered walnut edge banding with wood glue and brad nails.

Some wood putty conceals any gaps between the trip and top.

Step 5: Cut the Track Grooves

First I cut the wide groove that’ll hold the combination miter and t-track for jigs and feather boards. Next I cut some smaller grooves for t-tracks perpendicular to the first track for the fence.

Those grooves will stop at the first groove. So I marked the edge of the first groove and where the blade stops cutting. That way I could stop cutting when those lines meet and not accidentally cut too far.

Step 6: Assemble the Cabinet Body

I drill pocket holes in all the pieces, then cut a big slot out of the back piece to accommodate the dust collection hook ups. Screwing the cabinet together went really quick.

The back and sides are two solid pieces (except for the dust collection slot) but the front just has two stretchers to leave room for the drawers.

Step 7: Assemble the Drawers

For shop projects, I like to keep the drawers simple. These are entirely made from 1/2” plywood, wood glue, and brad nails. I just glue and brad the sides together before gluing the bottom on and using it to square up the sides.

I made two deep drawers that could store routers, router bases, and jigs. Then two rather shallow drawers to keep Allen keys, wrenches, bits, flat jigs, and stuff like that.

Step 8: Mount the Drawers

I normally use ball bearing slides, but I decided to try wood runners on this project. I cut down some 3/4” plywood and used spacers to glue them in place in the cabinet. Then added the runners to the drawers, again using spacers to get them a the proper height on the drawers.

Step 9: Attach the Top to the Cabinet

With the bottom drawers done, I took everything out and secured the top, again with lots of pocket screws.

Step 10: Attach Feet and Casters

While the entire thing is upside down, I go ahead and attach the feet and casters. I don't plan on having it upside again, so this is the most convenient time to do it.

Step 11: Install Tracks and Lift to the Top

Then I began adding the tracks to the top, and installing the router lift. I used the router lift itself as a guide to perfectly align holes to tap in some t-nuts that’ll let me bolt the lift to the top. I also added leveling screws to each corner of the lift. I can use these to perfectly flush up the router lift to the top.

The miter/t-track combo came the same width of the table so I didn't have to cut.

But, the t-track for the fence had to be cut in half. I used an exact knife to score the paint and cut it at my miter station before screwing it in.

Step 12: Install Dust Bucket and Dividers

Now to finish up the top half of the cabinet. First, I installed the dust bucket. My dust collector will hook up to this and create a down draft around the bit to capture most of the dust created.

Then I pocket holed the dividers in besides the dust bucket for some smaller drawers.

Step 13: Make and Install the Small Drawers

For the small spaces beside the dust bucket, I make some small bit drawers. They're just L shaped with a bit holder from Rockler. I kept these super simple and because they're so light, they just ride on top of the rail in the cabinet which were just attached with CA glue and activator.

Step 14: Install Drawer Fronts

The drawer fronts were cut from a single piece of plywood to have similar color and grain. They were held on temporarily with CA glue and activator before screws were put in from inside the drawer.

I wanted the cover for the dust bucket to be easily removable, so I drilled pockets for some small magnets and then epoxied them in place. Next was adding the magnetic switch. I just screwed it to the cover and drilled a hole for the cables and fed them around to the back.

Step 15: Apply Finish and Pulls

I used several coats of polyurethane over the entire thing, and some paste wax on the top to keep it slick.

To make the drawers usable, I put on some walnut pulls that I made on the router table! They were super simple to make, I just put in a 15' dovetail bit and cut an angle on both sides of the pull.

Just like the drawer fronts, I held them in place with CA glue and activator, then screwed them from the inside.

Step 16: Enjoy!

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    5 Discussions

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    gm280

    2 months ago

    Nice router table. It will certainly be used and enjoyed because of its weight and size. I built one similar. It was a modified version of Norm Abram's router table he designed and built years ago. But of course I had to change some things to work better for me. I too used casters. Mine were dual locking type so once I position it and lock the casters, it stays put. A micro adjust Router Razer was also incorporated as well as a 3 HP Variable speed DeWalt router. Here is a picture. It really shines when making raised panel cabinet doors.

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    YouCanMakeThisToogm280

    Reply 2 months ago

    That's an awesome table! I can see how it'd be great for making raised panels doors. I'm start to wish I'd gone with locking casters instead of the dual casters and levels, but.. they're what I already had on hand. Thanks for sharing!

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    gm280YouCanMakeThisToo

    Reply 2 months ago

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with your router table. And if you decide, you can always install dual locking casters later on. I will say, once you lock them, that table isn't going anywhere. I also built my table from MDF. Why? Because it is very heavy and you need a solid table to do raised panel cuts. And my router is a slow start variable speed 3 HP DeWalt router. You have to slow the speed down when using 3" or bigger diameter raised panel cutter/shaper bits. And that is the reason I can access the router from the front to preset the speeds. I used White Formica on the top so it is easy to slide material along. And of course the typical miter insert slots for miter jigs and such. I used Oak and Hickory along the edges as the bandings. I color matched the color from my Jet Jointer so everything kind of matches. I've built a lot of raised panel doors already and I love the table. I am betting you will love yours as well. Thumbs Up!

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    Kink Jarfold

    2 months ago on Step 15

    I now have shop envy. Excellent job. Loved the walnut edging. Also what was nice is sharing some of the glitches you had to correct along the way. A job well done!

    KJ

    Well Done.png
    1 reply
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    YouCanMakeThisTooKink Jarfold

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks! I'm quite proud of my shop, it's taken me several years to get here. And I'm glad you like the walnut edging! I've had a fair amount of garbage thrown at me for that, haha. And glad you like the glitches.. I think that's the most valuable to thing to share. Learning how everything "should go" is pretty easy to find.. the problem is we all make mistakes, and if you don't have the tool box to fix them - that's when things get really frustrating fast.