Medium Density Fibercore, or MDF as it is commonly known, works well for building wood working fixtures and tables. Its density makes it heavy, providing stability. Its smooth texture allows parts to glide across it without marring even the softest finishes. Building your own router table makes an already versatile tool even more so. One of the challenges in free hand cutting with a router is stability, which becomes a non-issue with the router firmly attached to the router table.
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Things you need
- 3/4 MDF
- Tape measure
- Table saw
- Pin nail gun
- 1/2-inch MDF
- C Clamps
Cut pieces for your table from 3/4-inch MDF. Cut eight leg pieces 4-by-36 inches. Cut two table skirt pieces 3-by-48-inches and another two 3-by-22 1/2-inches. Cut a lower shelf 21-by-45-inches. Cut two pieces for the leg and shelf support frame 3-inches by 45-inches and two 3-inches by 19 1/2-inches. Cut two top panels from 1/2-inch MDF, 24-by-48-inches.
Glue and nail two of the leg pieces together along one long edge. Align the outside face of the first piece with the edge of the second. Nail through the second piece into the edge of the first to attach them at right angles to form a long "L" shape. Nail every 6 inches, using 1 1/2-inch pin nails in a pin nail gun. Repeat to make three more legs.
Glue and nail the four pieces for the table skirt together. Position the shorter pieces between the longer, on edge, with the outside faces of the smaller pieces flush with the ends of the longer pieces. Nail through the longer side pieces into the ends of the smaller pieces to form a 24-by-48-inch rectangle. Use two nails in each corner. Use the same process to make a 21-by-45-inch rectangle from the shelf support pieces.
Fit the table skirt frame over the top ends of the four legs, with one in each corner. Flush the tops of the legs with the top edges of the table skirt frame. Nail them in place, using four nails in each leg. Measure up from the bottom and mark each leg at 12 inches. Position the rectangle shelf support frame between the legs, with its top edges on the 12-inch marks. Nail it in place using four nails in each leg.
Set the shelf on top of the support frame, between the legs. Nail it to the top edge of the frame, one nail every 6 inches.
Mark the centre of one top panel. Use a screwdriver to remove the bottom plate from your router. Trace the outline of your router base, centred on this panel. Cut it out with a jigsaw. Glue and nail the panel to the top of the table skirt.
Mark the inside circle from this base centred on the face of the second panel. Use a hole saw, the same size as the hole, to bore a hole for the bit and spindle of the router. Glue and nail this panel on top of the first. Turn the table upside down. Fit the router base into the larger circle and mark its screw holes onto the top panel of the table. Fit the router into the larger hole and screw the router to the table, driving the mounting screws down through the table top into the threaded holes in the router with a screwdriver.
Cut two pieces of 3/4-inch thick MDF 48-by-6-inches. Glue and nail them together with all edges flush. Mark the centre and cut a 3-inch wide, by 3-inch high round notch from one long edge of the piece, using the jigsaw. This is your router fence. Fit the notch centred over the router bit hole.
Cut two pieces of 3/4-inch MDF 1 1/2-inches by 10 inches and glue and nail them to the ends of the fence with one narrow end flush with the top, and the front and back faces flush with the faces of the fence. Use C-clamps to fasten these fence ends to the table, by clamping them to the table top skirt for stability. Wax the top of the table and both faces of the fence with three coats of paste wax for a smooth finish.
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