In this Instructables, I'll show you how I made this router table and fence. I used melamine to get a nice flat smooth surface to work with and added in some T-tracks so I could easily use featherboards.
I'm using the Rockler Pro Lift router lift which has some cool features like an ejectable throat plate and the lift itself which allows you to completely raise the router up for easy bit changing. That being said, you could use any router lift or router insert plate to make this router table.
Be sure to watch the video below, and if you like it please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Here are the tools and materials I used to make this router table:
- (3) 36” aluminum T-track
- Dust collection port
- Router lift (Rockler Pro Lift)
- (2) Toilet bolts & washers
- (2) Star knobs
- Leveling feet (furniture glides)
- Weldbond glue
- Brad nails
- 1” screws
Step 2: Melamine Top Prep
I cut down one piece of ⅝ melamine that I’ll use for the top and one piece of ¾ plywood that I’ll use to reinforce the top. My goal is to laminate the top to make the table dead flat and true. I cut both pieces to 36” by 24”.
I started by measuring the Pro Lift insert plate, then roughly marking it out in order for it to sit dead center of the top. With the lift positioned upside down on my markings, I traced out the contour.
The insert plate needs to be countersunk so it will sit on a lip, so I traced out a smaller box inside the first one. I made sure to leave some room in the corners where the inset plate will screw down to the table.
Step 3: Countersink the Router Lift / Insert Plate
I cut out the inner box using my jigsaw. I fist made relief holes with a drill to make the corners easier to cut.
I made some makeshift fences that I stuck down with double sided tape right up against the contour lines.
To countersink the router lift I used a flush trim bit with a top bearing that will ride along a fence. I set the bit to the right depth, then went around in a clockwise direction.
Step 4: Level the Insert Plate
After doing a test fit, I saw that the router insert sits a little below the table top, so I’m using these furniture glides as leveling screws so I can get it perfectly flush. It’s pretty simple, just make holes in the corners, tap in the plastic insert and screw in the feet from underneath.
Step 5: Insert Front T-track
I want to insert a T-track on the front side of the table for featherboards.
I again used my flush trim bit with a couple makeshift fences. I clamped the first fence up to the line, then used the T-track as a spacer, and clamped another fence one the opposite side, making sure not to oversqueeze it, so that the track could still slide freely.
With my makeshift fences in place, I set my flush trim bit to the right depth and cut the dado.
Step 6: Insert Rear T-tracks (x2)
I added 2 shorter T-tracks on the back of the table, which will hold down the fence and enable it to slide back & forth.
I marked out the track 6-1/2 inches in from each side, and cut two pieces of aluminum T-track at 10 inches long using my miter saw.
I repeated the same process as before to cut the dadoes, but used a piece of tape to mark a stop so I wouldn’t go too far.
Step 7: Glue Down T-tracks
I used some Weldbond glue to glue down all the tracks. This is a glue that’s supposed to stick to both particle board and metal. I used some dowel to help clamp down the tracks and let it dry for 24 hours.
Step 8: Laminate the Top
My idea was to laminate the melamine top with plywood to make it more solid and dead flat. I piled up both pieces and transferred the outline of the hole onto the plywood, then used my jigsaw to cut out the hole.
I then screwed the plywood to the melamine from underneath using some 1 inch screws.
Step 9: Add Hardwood Trim
To finish off, I decided to add some hardwood trim around the sides of the table to protect the fragile edges and simply to to give the table a more polished look. I marked off where the tracks hit the edges of the table and cut a dado into the trim to make sure I could still slide in my T-bolts once the trim was in place. I didn’t want any visible nails, so I used only glue and mostly painter’s tape to hold the trim in place.
Step 10: Build the Fence
For the fence I cut 3 pieces
- Melamine @ 5" x 36"
- Plywood @ 5" x 36"
- Plywood @ 3" x 36"
I started by insert a T-track into the melamine face of the fence, using the same process as I used for the table.
I then used a hole saw to make a hole in the center of all 3 fence pieces and finished the cuts using a saw.
I assembled the two plywood fence pieces using some glue and brad nails. I added 4 little triangle for added support and to keep the fence square throughout. I also secured the dust port using Weldbond glue, which is supposed to adhere to both plastic and wood
The last step was to screw the melamine face onto the plywood fence, using some 1" screws from the backside.
Step 11: Mount the Fence
The last step is to mount the fence onto the table. With the fence in position, I made a mark in line with the tracks so I could drill the holes. I made the holes slightly larger than the bolts I’m using so it could have a little wiggle room.
I slipped some T-bolts (I actually used toilet bolts) into the rear T-tracks and slipped the fence onto the bolts, then added a washer and a star knob that will effectively hold down the fence in position.
Step 12: Stay Tuned for Part 2...
That completes part 1 of this build. Be sure to watch out for part 2 in which I’ll build the base cabinet, address dust collection, and we’ll get to see this router table in action. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get notified when I post PART 2 of this build.