Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

By Rorschach
Built my first little router table, just something basic to make using my new Katsu router a bit safer and more convenient with dust extraction. Made entirely from scraps I just wanted something small and easy to store that could be setup in a workmate. MFC for the table top and some framing lumber for the fence which I trued up with a jack plane so it is straight and square to the table. Could do with putting some melamine or something on the face so it slides a bit easier, I may re-visit the fence in the future. Happy with the table top though. And happy with the single pivot principle of the fence.
Works a treat, nice and stable and feels very safe. Dust extraction is superb, nothing seemed to escape once the cutter was in the workpiece, the auto socket on my parkside vac makes it super simple to use and I don't have to reach under to switch the router on and off.
IMG_20171103_131147.7 - Copy.jpg
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By Eric The Viking
Neat, elegant and very useful.

My guess is you'll be really pleased with that over time. :-)


Small PS: I'd add a removable block nearer the router, as a "lead-on pin" for bearing-guided shape routing "freehand". But it's a very simple thing and will only take a few secs to do whenever you first need it.
By Rorschach
Ahh yes I have seen those on some other builds when I was doing research. I don't have any bearing guide bits at the moment but it will be something I add in the future. Need to place it carefully so I don't go into the recessed areas underneath.
By sunnybob
The bearing pin isnt necessary. You can just lean one end of the wood against the locked in place fence, and then once youre cutting, just move away from it.

I started with a pin, but never use it now. Warning. DO NOT try to use a bearing cutter without some form of rest. it will take the wood away from you and throw it out the door (assuming youre not standing in the way).
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By ED65
Looks good Rorschach. Great example of just how simple a router table can be, hope it works out well for you.

To improve sliding along the fence in short order a good coat of paste wax will do a lot. The wax can go directly on the wood if need be but is best applied after partially sealing the wood with sanding sealer, a thin coat of shellac or dilute varnish, with the additional benefit that any of these will toughen up the surface slightly.
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By Eric The Viking
Bob is right: you can use anything as a lead-on pin, including the end of the fence. Before I had a posh table I've clamped a block of wood so that the end comes close to the router spindle (2-4" away). But my current one has a mitre track, so I can still do the same thing, but clamping it on the track rather than clamps - probably more secure.

The reason for having it close to the cutter is really so that you get maximum control. There's a good argument for contriving one as/when you need to, so you can get the pivot point in the most comfortable place (as long as it can't slip - not life threatening, but usually a nasty surprise!). I'm not advocating a close-by pin because everyone else says so - but because it really is easier that way. The corner of a bit of scrap will serve, but the two points of contact - the bearing itself and the pivot - do make it much easier to keep good control.

The other thing, of course, is depth of cut: If you're using a moulding cutter with the fence, it's easy to arrange shallower passes so the final one to depth takes a minute amount of wood. The cutter is barely cutting and the result is clean (don't tell anyone, but you might even climb-cut the very last, really thin pass for smoothness).

With "freehand" moulding this is a lot harder to set up consistently, and the natural inclination of the cutter is to snatch the stock in, to full depth. There are various remedies I've seen for this, including 2-point fences (which don't use the bearing much until final depth, but need waste stock at each end of the wanted bit and a constant-radius curve), and even sticking tape round the bearing to increase its diameter (dead dodgy, IMHO). I have a really nice Wealden rebate cutter, with a selection of bearings to give different depths of rebate: a good, safe approach is to use bigger bearings to start off with and work down to the right rebate in steps.

But controlling depth of cut is a weakness of "freehand" routing, especially in natural wood rather than man-made materials. You'll probably agree the first time you suddenly hit a bit of gnarly grain in hardwood... :-)

I've yet to need to make a sled for pattern routing, but it seems to be the most controllable approach, as you can get a good grip with both hands, well away from the sharp spinning bits.

I hope Custard is reading this, as it's the sort of thing he needs to do often (I'd guess), so he probably has a safe and good approach!).
By Rorschach
Some really useful info there.

I think I will probably try some of kind of clamp on type deal when I do need to use a bearing guided bit rather than drill into the table more than necessary. I can also bore out of the fence to provide clearance to do a progressive cut too. Being such a small router I doubt it could handle taking most cutters at full depth anyway.

I should explain the reason I made the fence from simple lumber and cut the slot in the table should anyone think of doing similar, it is so that I can easily replace the fence if needed. It just needs 2x6mm holes drilled the correct distance apart, so I can always make a new zero clearance type fence if needed in just a few minutes. Following the advice above I will give it a couple of coats of thin shellac and then wax it this week.

Something else I forgot to mention, I made sure my edges on the table were nice and straight so I can either cut a mitre slot into the table topor more likely just run my mitre gauge along the edge if I need to do the ends of a long workpiece. I'll test it just using the edge before going to the effort of cutting a mitre slot.
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By Eric The Viking
You're spot on. For ages, I got by with a bit of 2x4 and two clamps as a fence.

The real beauty of a simple router table is that there's such a lot you can do productively with it. Of course a complex one is better, but your design gives huge value for money.

By Rorschach
A fancy router table would be lovely, however I have neither the space to store it nor the need for one, same goes for a mitre saw station. I try whenever possible to mount my tools on bases that can be clamped into a workmate or my bench vice. The only tools that are on a dedicated stand are those that are used very frequently so that's (wood) bandsaw, lathes, drill press, buffers etc.
By sunnybob
If you want to see the simplest and most efficient router fence the world has ever seen....
The whole video is fantastic, but 5 minutes in is the fence. ... vidhenry32
By Rorschach
sunnybob wrote:If you want to see the simplest and most efficient router fence the world has ever seen....
The whole video is fantastic, but 5 minutes in is the fence. ... vidhenry32

I did think about just a clamp on fence, but using clamps on the workmate top was going to be awkward, the extra effort cutting the slot was worth it I think.
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By custard
That's all the router table you ever need for the vast majority of woodwork. Most craftsmen in shared workshops have something even more rudimentary for when the spindle moulder and main router table are occupied, just a simple board that cantilevers off the edge of the bench, that's sufficient for loads and loads of routing jobs.

Fretting about the "ultimate" router table is yet another woodworking rabbit hole that prevents many woodworkers from ever actually making anything!
By Rorschach
2 coats of WB Poly on the fence and then both fence and table had a nice coat of Ren wax and now they are super slick and the fence feels much tougher.
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By diyphil
Hi. I agree with the forum members suggesting wax instead of going to the trouble of using melamine. Glad to see it worked OK. I made a crosscut sled for my table saw and waxed it. It now glides like it's on ice. Very pleased.