BUILDING A ROUTER TABLE

ASSEMBLING THE FRAME AND ADDING THE TOP

1

Gluing the plastic laminate to the top

Start the project by building the leg-and-rail assembly, referring to the anatomy illustrations on pages 38 and 39 for suggested dimensions and joinery. Then, cut the top to size and set it on the assembly. Cut two sheets of ‘/6-inch plastic laminate a few inches larger than the top. Working outdoors, or in a well-ventilated area indoors, apply contact cement to one side of the top and one of the plastic sheets. Let the adhesive dry following the manufacturer’s directions. Since it will be impossible to reposition the plastic once it contacts the top, use the method shown above to bond the laminate in place. Place several %-inch dowels at equal intervals across the top, then set the plas­tic on the dowels, centering it on the top—without contacting it. Pull out the middle dowel and press the plastic down with your free hand. Continue in this fashion, removing the dowels and pressing the laminate down, until the entire sheet contacts the sur­face. Flatten the plastic with a hand roller, then trim the excess flush with the top (photo, left). Repeat the process on the top’s other side. Glue solid-wood edging to the ends and front edge of the top.

2

Attaching the hinge to the top and leg assembly

Fasten the back edge of the top to the table’s leg assembly using a piano hinge. Start by position­ing one hinge leaf on the top edge of the assembly’s back rail so the hinge cylinder just hangs over the rail and mark the locations of the screw holes. Then drill pilot holes at the marks, reposition the hinge and drive the screws. To fasten the other leaf to the top, you will need to hold the top at the correct dis­tance from the back rail with its underside level with the top edge of the rail. Clamp the top to the leg assembly, separating the two pieces with a shim the same thickness as the hinge cylinder diame­ter—typically %2 inch. Cut two boards the same length as the legs and use them to support the far edge of the top. Then with the free hinge leaf flat on the top, mark the locations for the screws, bore pilot holes, and drive in the screws (left).

3

Installing the support brackets

Use two locking drop-leaf supports to hold up the top when you need to access the router. Brace the top open at a 45° angle, extend one of the supports, and position it with one end on the underside of the top and the other end on
the inside face of the side rail near the corner. Mark the screw holes and drill pilot holes at the marks, then reposi­tion the support and drive the screws. Repeat to install the other support (above).

4 Installing the catch

Use a spring-loaded catch to secure the front edge of the top to the front rail of the leg assembly when the router table is in use. For the banjo catch shown in the illustration at left, set the table upside down on a work surface and position the catch on the underside of the top so the bolt is about % inch from the rail when it is retracted. Mark the screw holes, then engage the strike plate with the bolt. Extend the bolt, hold the strike plate flush against the rail, and mark its screw holes and bolt opening on the rail. Use a chisel to cut the bolt opening recess in the rail and an electric drill to bore pilot holes at the screw hole marks. Then fas ten the strike plate to the rail and the catch to the top. To lift the top, simply retract the bolt; when you low er the top onto the rails, the bolt will automatically engage the strike plate.

ROUTER TABLES ‘

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PREPARING THE TOP FOR THE ROUTER

2 Cutting out the opening for the insert

Drill a hole through the top at each corner of the outline for the opening, using a bit that is larger than the saber saw blade you will use to cut the opening. To ensure that each cut is perfectly straight, align the blade with a cutting line, butt an edge guide blade against the saw’s base plate and clamp the guide to the top. Insert the blade in one of the holes and set the base plate against the edge guide, then turn on the saw and cut to the hole at the other end of the guide; keep the saw flush against the edge guide throughout (right). Repeat the process to saw the other sides of the opening. Smooth the edges and corners of the opening with a rasp.

1

Outlining the table insert on the top

The table insert can be positioned anywhere on the top, but it is customary to center it between the edges and offset about 4 inches closer to one end than the other. Holding the insert in place, use a pencil to outline the opening for it on the top. Since the insert will sit on Ув-inch – wide rabbets around the opening, measure 3/e inch in from the outline, and use a pen­cil and straightedge to mark a second set of lines parallel to the first (left)- Be sure to round the corners of the cutting out­line to match the contours of the insert.

Routing the ledge

Install a 3/e-inch piloted rabbeting bit in your router and set the cutting height to the thickness of the table insert (above, left). If the insert is thicker than V* inch, adjust the bit height to one-half the insert thickness and rout the ledge in two passes. To make the cut, hold the router base plate flat on the top with the bit inside the opening but clear of the stock. Turn on the tool

and ease the bit into an edge of the opening until the pilot bear­ing contacts the stock. Then guide the router around the opening (above, right), stopping the cut when you return to your starting point. Sand the ledge smooth, then test-fit the table insert in the opening. It should be perfectly flush with the top; if it protrudes, increase the router’s cutting depth slightly and repeat the cut.

4

Securing the table insert to the top

Because the top is hinged, it is a good idea to anchor the table insert in place to prevent it from toppling onto the shop floor —along with your router—when the top is lifted. Position the table insert in its open­ing—with the router base plate attached —then cut two Vi-inch plywood cleats 3 inches wide and a few inches longer than the width of the table opening. Position the cleats so they overlap the ends of the opening by about 1 inch and fasten them to the underside of the top (left). Then drill two countersunk holes through the insert —one into each cleat—and drive a screw into each hole. Make sure the screw heads lie level with or slightly below the top sur face of the table insert

MAKING A FENCE

Preparing the pieces

Cut the fence base and upright from Зі-inch plywood, making the pieces as long as the top. Then cut four triangular supports from 1-inch-thick solid stock. Each support should have one 90° angle to fit in the corner between the base and upright; trim the other two angles so they will not extend beyond the edges of the base and upright when the fence is assembled. To prepare the base, position it on the table and outline a 2I/?-inch-diameter arc

on one edge, centered on the bit clearance hole in the table insert. Cut the arc on your band saw, making a series of release cuts through the waste from the edge to the cutting line. Then saw along the cutting line (above), feeding the base across the saw table with both hands. Prepare the upright the same way, but cut a square opening on the bottom edge just wide and high enough to accommodate the largest bit you plan to use on the table.

Upright [1]

ROUTING A MITER SLOT

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1 Outlining the slot and setting up the cut

Position your miter gauge on the router table with its bar parallel to the table’s edges and a gap of at least V2 inch between the bar and table insert. Mark the edges of the bar on the top, then extend the marks along the table’s length, using a carpenter’s square and a straight­edge to ensure that the lines remain parallel to the table’s edges. Next, install a straight bit in your router the same diameter as the width of the miter bar. Measure the distance between the bit and the edge of the router base plate, then use the measurement to position the straightedge that will guide your router as it plows the miter slot (above). Make sure the edge guide is parallel to the slot outline.

Routing a tenon

A miter gauge is typically used to feed stock into the bit for cuts across the grain. To rout a tenon, as shown above, start by installing a straight bit in the router and mounting the tool in the table; the diameter of the bit should equal the desired width of the tenon cheeks. Screw an extension board to the miter gauge; this will minimize tearout and increase the bearing surface of the gauge. Align the workpiece with the bit, then butt a stop block against the end of the board and clamp the block to the extension; the stop block will help ensure that all the tenons you cut will be the same length. To rout the tenon, set the workpiece flat on the table with an edge flush against the miter gauge and the end butted against the stop block. Then, holding the stock in place, feed it along with the miter gauge into the bit. Turn the workpiece over and repeat the cut (above).

ROUTER TABLE FEEDING JIG

Made entirely of %-inch plywood and two solid-wood scraps, the jig shown at right will enable you to make guid­ed cross-grain cuts on your router table without a miter slot. Rather than running in a slot, the jig rides along the table’s edges.

Cut the two pieces of the feeding guide from plywood, making them about 4 inches wide and as long as the width of the table plus the two arms. Glue and screw the guide pieces together in an L shape, using a try square to ensure that they are per­pendicular. Then cut the arms from %-inch-thick solid stock, making them about 5 inches wide and 12 inches long. Attach one of the arms to the guide, driving the screws from under­neath; make sure the arm is perpen­dicular to the guide and its outside edge is flush with the end of the guide.

Set the jig on the router table, plac­ing a slip of paper as a shim between the arm and the table’s edge. Butt the other arm against the opposite edge and clamp it to the guide. Remove the paper shim and slide the jig back and forth along the table. If there is too much play, loosen the clamp and reposition the arm; apply paste wax to the inside edges of the arms to help it slide more easily. Then screw the remain­ing arm to the guide. Also attach a small metal clip to one of the arms near the front end; this will prevent the jig from tipping forward.

Use the jig as you would a miter gauge (page 47), holding the work – piece flush against the guide as you feed it into the bit (left).