Intro: Simple Router Table From Reclaimed Desk
In my hometown here in Nebraska every spring we have a city wide clean up. Everyone in town can put almost what ever they want on the curb, or haul it to the dump yourself, and not have to pay the fee. In town they bring in dump trucks and loader tractors and go house by house, like regular garbage pick up, but will take most anything. Many people use this opportunity to throw away tons of perfectly good items that they just don't need any longer. Furniture, electronics, yard tools, (I have a friend who claims to have found a running weed eater and leaf blower). Most decent people will even tape signs onto things that still work.
To the point I am an avid recycler/reuser/salvager. If it has use or even something I can remove to use or just metal I can sell for scrap, I will take it. Most all electronic devices have steel and copper $$$. I am ranting. So a few years ago I find this small desk in decent shape, and my girlfriends young son needs more storage space, so I strap it to the roof of my car (I wish i had a pic for you) and bring it home. It served that purpose until I built them some custom shelves. Now I am left with this small desk in my shop waiting some fate.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
It just so happened I was researching router table plans because I needed one to make a a small part for a project. I wanted something sophisticated and fancy, but time and money were of the essence. Then one day it hit me. Make a simple router table out of what I already had instead of buying lots of lumber. Let the recycling begin.
Tools for this project were simple also. A drill and some bits, the router itself, and a jig saw. The only other materials needed where screws that threaded into the base of the router.
Step 2: Prep the Desk
Under the top of the desk was a long narrow drawer. This drawer was located where the router needed to go. A few screws and a quick slice with the jig saw to remove some glue and the drawer was removed. I also removed the back of the desk. I planned to replace the back when everything was finished but leaving it off makes it easier to adjust the routers height.
Step 3: Remount the Drawer
I remounted the drawer to the bottom of the desk. It seemed better than throwing it away. I didn't know what, but i figured something would go in there.
Step 4: Router Mount
This is the most complex part of the whole project. On most routers there is a plexiglass plate screwed to the bottom of the base. I removed this to use a template for where the screws would need to go on my table. I marked off the holes, drilled them, and a large hole in the center to accommodate the bit.
Next I used the router to carve away some space underneath where the router would be mounted. This is to make the wood thin enough to allow the bits to rise far enough through the table. I know this is the "wrong" way to do this. The right way is to use a piece of plexiglass (acrylic) that fits into a rabbited hole on the top of the table. I didn't have funds to make it that way and on Sunday in my small town acrylic is not available anyways. Some day I will redo the top to have a T-track fence system, feather boards, dust collection, and a proper router inlay. I hope to create a new 'ible just for that. This is KISS method, keep it stupid simple. And it works great.
Step 5: Finished Product
Mounting the router was difficult. I can see why the clear acrylic is so popular. Getting the screws to line up with the holes in the router base was surprisingly much more difficult than I would have ever guessed. I did get it but wow. As you can see I actually drilled a second set of holes to help with alignment.
The drawers that were already in the desk proved to be excellent storage. There was even room for the old trim router that I was given.
Step 6: Results
The project I needed the table for was to put a good round over on some small cupboard doors. As you can see in the photo it worked great. With the bearing topped bit and no fence it took literally one minute to do all four corners of the door. To clamp the door down to a table and do one edge at a time would have took much longer and produced less favorable results.
I have since used this table for many more small projects and have used a clamp on fence to do some other styles of work.
This project took about 2 hours total. Over half that time was getting the bolts holding the router aligned. This truly was a simple project that worked out great.
In the future I may build a better table, or most likely add a new top to this desk that larger and more features (T-track fence for sure and drop in acrylic router mounting plate). For now it gets the job done.