The table saw is the workhorse in any woodworking shop. With the proper accessories and adjustments it will cut straight every time. Typical table saws have a short table top and no support for the out-feed material. The table saw design seems to require that users have an assistant when working with large sheet goods. Most woodworkers are alone in the shop so they need to rig up some way to support large sheet goods. Adding accessory tables can make the task of cutting large sheet goods by yourself far easier and safer. Futher, a router mounted in a table is almost a necessity if you use any of the large profile router bits that are available. If you currently do not use a router table, you will eventually need one. You can build your own extension / router table or buy an expensive one. A homemade, DIY router tabletop will save you money, further, and you can customise it for your specific needs.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Safety glasses
- Tape measure
- Sheet of 3/4-inch MDF (medium density fiberboard)
- Wood glue
- Straight edge
- Straight router bit
- Sheet of 1/4-inch Masonite
- Router plate template
- Straight bit
Put on safety glasses.
Measure the width of your tablesaw. This will be the dimension of the extension table. Measure the height of your saw on all four corners to check that it is level, and shim as required.
Build a torsion box 2 inches thick by at least 16 inches deep while the width of the extension table will be determined by the width of the tablesaws table. Use two layers of the tabletop material for stability and to keep the top from sagging over time due to the weight of the router and its base.
Build four legs to support the extension table and attach. You can do this by cutting 4 inch strips of 3/4-inch plywood; it will require 8 pieces the length of your saw's height minus 1/4 inch. Glue two pieces together along the length to make an L-shape.
Attach the legs to the torsion table with glue and screws.
Place the extension table next to the saw where it will be located. Using a straight edge, mark the locations of the mitre slots onto the extension table.
Clamp a straight edge to the table as a guide for your router. Now use the router to mill out the mitre slots in the extension table to match the ones on the tablesaw.
Cut and attach the 1/4-inch Masonite to the new table; the Masonite acts as a slick surface to work on and is easily replaced if damaged.
Using the router plate template, attach to router top with double sided tape where you want to locate it on the extension table top. Make sure it does not interfere with the mitre slots on the extension table.
Using a router with a collar and straight bit route out material from inside of template according to router plates specific directions.
Wax MDF table top with a non silicon paste wax.
Install router plate into new router top according to specific directions that came with your router plate.
Router Table Insert
Tips and warnings
- Attach Masonite so you easily can replace it.
- If you use wheels for mobility and adjustment, make sure two of them lock in place.
- You could add shelves or drawers below the torsion table for storage.
- If you plan on using the router table to make mostly mouldings and edge work, then the plate should be placed toward the front of the table. However, if you plan on milling large panels that need support, then you should place the router and router plate toward the rear of the table. With that in mind you could place it in the middle to do both and add a mitre track in the tabletop.
- Always handle power equipment with care for safety.
- Always wear safety glasses while operating equipment.
- Wear a dust mask when cutting MDF.
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