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My homemade router table

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weirdbeardmt

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I'm not entirely sure in what order to present this, or indeed what the point of this thread is, other than a bit of show and tell.

Today, I started building a router table. This was on the back of a random but enduring conversation with MikeK which started with me asking about the Triton style workcentre, and then we meanderingly arrived at what I should do. I have spent more time over the last few months trying to improve what I do in my workshop (2/3rds a single garage... see later) and was in a position where I had decided that I again wanted a router table and a table saw. But space being an absolute premium meant the decision wasn't simple.

Huge respect and gratitude to MikeK for having the patience to keep engaged with my witterings and sharing his experience.

This is on the back of a decision a few years prior, where I had bought every imaginable tool with entirely no idea how to use them. I had thought I need a proper big cabinet saw, and all manner of other machinery. So I had been through a process of evicting all these things I'd bought on a promise that I would only bring them back in when I was ready to spend the time to learn how to use them properly and so on. (I have the usual busy life, mortgage, kids, dog scenario... this is a hobby / lifestyle thing for me.) So having built some things over lockdown and whatnot that I was actually pleased with, I felt comfortable to go tool shopping. (Hardly a chore...)

But then hit the issue that a lot of places are out of stock on stuff. After a bit of back and forth, including one cancelled order, I arrived at a position of the Bosch table saw and to build my own router table, with UKJ hardware, a Bosch palm router and an offcut of kitchen worktop I've had kicking about for a few years. The thinking being that this will be more than sufficient for the timebeing, and the hardware could be reused in the future if and when the router table tops / cabinets etc. are back in stock. (In preference to the original idea of one of those inexpensive all-in-one-router-table jobs which look convenient and ideal for my sort of space but fear they must be lacking... somewhere.)

So today I started.... it took a while to figure out how the UKJ fence hangs together, but in the end arrived at something that looks like it should work.

IMG_1916.JPG


At the moment it is just a stand and the fence hardware attached.

IMG_1919.JPG


As you can see it is built to match what else I've done, and can be used as outfeed for the mitre saw:

IMG_1920.JPG


I haven't worked out where the table saw is going... it was originally going to share the router table, but... anyway. That's a problem for another day. As you can see, my workshop / garage / dumping ground serves many purposes.

IMG_1921.JPG


So the idea was the use the plunge base on the Palm router thinking this would serve as a height adjust. I really don't like the normal base you get with this router.

IMG_1918.JPG


Next thing is to attach the router, and this is where I need some thoughts and advice. The idea is to use one of the bases and attach it beneath, and not at the moment put in a proper plate and lift. My fear is I'm not sure how well I'll be able to attach it to the top in terms of being strong enough... any thoughts on this?

Thanks :) And please go easy.
 

Terrytpot

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In the absence of funds when I last threw up an improvised RT I found (for the lack of accuracy I needed) it was a fairly simple process to fabricate a larger in diameter base in ,what would have ideally been a nice substantial chunk of aluminium plate but owing to the scarcity of the originally mentioned funds ended up being some 9mm mdf, using the original base as a template and then attaching that to the base of the router and then inverting all of that into the slightly smaller 9mm deep hole I routed into the chunk of kitchen worktop I'd rescued from a skip :)
 

mAtKINItice

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I'm going through the same router table dilemma myself, with very similar hardware.

1) I've actually purchased the Bosch in the past two weeks. It's brilliant, but as a palm router as the name suggests. It's handled everything I've thrown at it but handheld, for edge work and the like. I'm not sure if mounting it in the plunge base is even safe - I don't have that with my kit so I can't comment but my other router states you disable the plunge functionality if table mounting for example.

2) Your table is really thick, so it's nice and stable but it introduces a problem with the depth of your router bit. You can get collet extensions for this exact reason but from my research this is the reason why table inserts exist. Instead of a simple hole you cut out the whole insert, with a small rebate. The beauty here is you loose very little depth and have a safe, stable mounting point. I'd avoid the cheapo inserts as they sag from what I know - the UJK one is the one I'm going for. They offer a universal base which will fit any router. The pain here is the cost, but for the safety and the fact I can use guide bush adapters means I'm more than happy enough to take the hit here.

3) Router lifts are horribly expensive, though very cool. I went the other way a year back and purchased a router knowing it had the ability to be table mounted without a lift. I went for the mid size Triton. It includes above table adjustment so no need for a lift. For the cost of 1 lift you can buy two Tritons for example. The router itself is great, there's a reason it's seen in many Youtubers' videos it's that good. Decently priced, powerful and no lift needed.

4) Dust collection - UJK offer a box you can house your router in under the table. This is something I plan on building - it's rather expensive for what it is. An afternoon in the workshop and you can build this. This is where a custom build pays off.

5) 'Rona has messed up the supply lines so a few of the items I'm suggesting may be low/out of stock so setup alerts or keep a look out. For example, Axminster are low in stock or out completely but even Amazon has limited range on inserts. Just gotta deal with this.

In summary I'm table mounting the Triton, with the universal UJK insert. I'll have to drill a hole here for the adjustment wand but this is easy enough to do - most inserts require some form of drilling unless you buy a pre-drilled insert, e.g. Kreg offer a Triton one. I'm going add the UJK fence you have, with some T-Track for featherboards and similar.

I'm a software engineer by trade and one of the things we do is the concept of a MVP or minimal viable product. I'm taking a similar approach to yourself in the sense that my first table will be a simple hole in a table top. Later I'll add the insert. Followed by track, fence and so on. This way I can actually spread the cost and do some woodworking in between - to keep the wife happy, rather than yet another workshop project. Overall this will come in far cheaper than the full UJK or similar setup, plus it will be a custom table like yours - so the height, depth and storage will be perfect.

I'd avoid any pre-built tables, the benchtop ones seem cheap and you're bound to outgrow it based on your pics. If I was you, I'd go with an insert with universal base. You can switch the router out then for something with more power and the ability to use 1/2 inch bits which is where I'm heading.

The final piece of advice I'd share is don't be too swayed by Youtube or others. The videos tend to be two ends of the spectrum, either stupidly simple or all singing and dancing tables. The beauty of a custom table is you can build what suits your needs and has some room for growth. At the same time it's worth standing on the shoulders of giants - there's a reason why inserts, lifts and so on exist. Trying to rebuild them isn't worth it in my opinion, not when dealing with such a dangerous tool.

Hope that helps - out of interest how is the fence? Does it feel stable after fitting? It certainly looks nice with your actual table.
 
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billw

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Navigating the world of router tables is a rabbit hole indeed. Good advice above though! I have to admit I keep looking at router lifts and then just look at the price, and think that the Triton routers might be a better solution.
 

sometimewoodworker

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The one purchase item for a router table is a mounting plate. Yes you can do a hole in a top but the stiffness of the plate makes life much easier.

The fence and top can be cheap. A splittable fence is nice but not essential.

If money is not difficult you can shorten the time and buy a table, though I’ve not found any reason to upgrade my home made one.

One point is make all your bases mobile even if the wheels aren’t a permanent fixture. I started that when I had a very small space now that I have 90 square metres I still find it fantastically useful
 

weirdbeardmt

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Many thanks for the replies and tips. In reverse order...

The one purchase item for a router table is a mounting plate. Yes you can do a hole in a top but the stiffness of the plate makes life much easier.

The fence and top can be cheap. A splittable fence is nice but not essential.

If money is not difficult you can shorten the time and buy a table, though I’ve not found any reason to upgrade my home made one.
Thanks, have spent yet more time pontificating and despite there being some really cheap plates available on Amazon I have ordered the UKJ alloy plate with universal base. Seemed to make sense to go this route given that if my kitchen worktop doesn't work out / warps etc., then I would most likely replace with a UKJ worktop (if they ever come back in to stock.) They do have the laminate type available... but at the moment £160 is a bit OTT until I've at least given this plan a proper go.

One point is make all your bases mobile even if the wheels aren’t a permanent fixture. I started that when I had a very small space now that I have 90 square metres I still find it fantastically useful
Thanks, and yeah, have given this some thought. That laminate wood flooring in my garage is actually super slidey so dragging things around isn't too bad. I have some castors on the shelf if needed to help. I also looked at those foot-operated lift-y things and they look good... might incorporate for whatever I end up doing with the table saw.

Navigating the world of router tables is a rabbit hole indeed. Good advice above though! I have to admit I keep looking at router lifts and then just look at the price, and think that the Triton routers might be a better solution.
I have wasted SO much time thinking about this and getting hung up on lifts and this, that and the other! It's a minefield... I want something that's good (enough) but isn't completely OTT - yeah, the lifts are nuts. I've been looking at the kits on WWW and some of them are amazing; but I just can't justify the cost.

I'm going through the same router table dilemma myself, with very similar hardware.

1) I've actually purchased the Bosch in the past two weeks. It's brilliant, but as a palm router as the name suggests. It's handled everything I've thrown at it but handheld, for edge work and the like.
We can endure this together then; I have wasted a lot of time going back and forth over what is the best option. I'm pretty happy with the current plan... although I have been thinking more about whether the palm router is a good choice for the table. (I've also bought the smaller 12v shaper...) but I do have the FSN rail kit, and adaptor, so there is definitely an argument for keeping the GKF600 out of the table... and

I'm not sure if mounting it in the plunge base is even safe - I don't have that with my kit so I can't comment but my other router states you disable the plunge functionality if table mounting for example.
The funny thing is; when I bought it originally, it came as a great big kit. The plunge base has sat on the shelf ever since and I have struggled with the palm router and the standard base, which quite frankly I hate. But the plunge base is really nice to use. So I'm going back a couple of steps now!

2) Your table is really thick, so it's nice and stable but it introduces a problem with the depth of your router bit. You can get collet extensions for this exact reason but from my research this is the reason why table inserts exist. Instead of a simple hole you cut out the whole insert, with a small rebate. The beauty here is you loose very little depth and have a safe, stable mounting point. I'd avoid the cheapo inserts as they sag from what I know - the UJK one is the one I'm going for. They offer a universal base which will fit any router. The pain here is the cost, but for the safety and the fact I can use guide bush adapters means I'm more than happy enough to take the hit here.
I am so happy to read this... I have literally just ordered the UKJ one with the universal base. £100 or so, but if I ever replace the top then it will likely be with a UKJ phenolic or similar so made sense! I think this will get around the thickness of my worktop... I did buy some long-shank router bits too a while back.

3) Router lifts are horribly expensive, though very cool.
Agreed! Rutlands have an electronic one which is absolutely nuts. No idea if it's any good, but from a gadget point of view... but anyway, I was looking at the UKJ lift and for £300 I just couldn't bring myself to do it!

I went the other way a year back and purchased a router knowing it had the ability to be table mounted without a lift. I went for the mid size Triton. It includes above table adjustment so no need for a lift. For the cost of 1 lift you can buy two Tritons for example. The router itself is great, there's a reason it's seen in many Youtubers' videos it's that good. Decently priced, powerful and no lift needed.
This advice is pure gold! Is it the TRA001 you're referring to? I have probably wasted the most time over how to adjust the height (given how much I hate the adjustment on the Bosch); so this could definitely be the route (pun partially intended) for me.

4) Dust collection - UJK offer a box you can house your router in under the table. This is something I plan on building - it's rather expensive for what it is. An afternoon in the workshop and you can build this. This is where a custom build pays off.
Thanks; dust collection in general is something I need to revisit. I built the classic shop vac / cyclone thing which works great but now with the mitre saw, router table and table saw, will have three ish fixed things that could do with a better setup.

5) 'Rona has messed up the supply lines so a few of the items I'm suggesting may be low/out of stock so setup alerts or keep a look out. For example, Axminster are low in stock or out completely but even Amazon has limited range on inserts. Just gotta deal with this.
Yeah, I've definitely been guided by this but also been fortunate so far. If I can get the table top working OK then I'm hoping that will suffice until the stock levels improve. My location makes it bloody awkward to get big / heavy stuff delivered which is why Axminster (and Amazon) are great. There's not much of a secondhand market and most stuff you could get on eBay the sellers won't ship because it's a hassle and expensive.

In summary I'm table mounting the Triton, with the universal UJK insert. I'll have to drill a hole here for the adjustment wand but this is easy enough to do - most inserts require some form of drilling unless you buy a pre-drilled insert, e.g. Kreg offer a Triton one. I'm going add the UJK fence you have, with some T-Track for featherboards and similar.
Cool. Will be good to compare!

I'm a software engineer by trade
Freaky... snap.

and one of the things we do is the concept of a MVP or minimal viable product. I'm taking a similar approach to yourself in the sense that my first table will be a simple hole in a table top. Later I'll add the insert. Followed by track, fence and so on. This way I can actually spread the cost and do some woodworking in between - to keep the wife happy, rather than yet another workshop project. Overall this will come in far cheaper than the full UJK or similar setup, plus it will be a custom table like yours - so the height, depth and storage will be perfect.
Um, same... ish. I guess I need to work on the M bit!

I'd avoid any pre-built tables, the benchtop ones seem cheap and you're bound to outgrow it based on your pics. If I was you, I'd go with an insert with universal base. You can switch the router out then for something with more power and the ability to use 1/2 inch bits which is where I'm heading.

The final piece of advice I'd share is don't be too swayed by Youtube or others. The videos tend to be two ends of the spectrum, either stupidly simple or all singing and dancing tables. The beauty of a custom table is you can build what suits your needs and has some room for growth. At the same time it's worth standing on the shoulders of giants - there's a reason why inserts, lifts and so on exist. Trying to rebuild them isn't worth it in my opinion, not when dealing with such a dangerous tool.
The one I got rid of from before was called an XACT from Rutlands. It was fine and the motor was strong but were a bunch of annoyings about it that meant it wasn't quite right for me. 75% of the motivation for doing this is to actually have a usable router table as I have some moulding things I want to do; but the remaining 25% is wanting to actually take time and build it myself and have some of the satisfaction in it. I don't mind paying for decent stuff, and I think the ancillaries (fence/track/plate/etc.) count - but £250-odd for some laminate top and mild steel base - I know I can do better.

Hope that helps - out of interest how is the fence? Does it feel stable after fitting? It certainly looks nice with your actual table.
Honestly, thanks; you've really helped. If I can find the right Triton then you could have just saved me any more procrastination misery!

In terms of the UKJ stuff; it all feels really nice. The split fence is super smooth. The extrusion for the fence structure is big and solid. Took me a while to figure out how to attach the rails (had to cut a few times to get the correct width, but fortunately went cautious so it was always trimming down...)

The build of it will appeal to your software mind; each piece's role is encapsulated nicely which buys you some wiggle room - i.e., you attach the "sub-"rails to the base of the worktop; then the side rails are attached to that and can adjust up and down, and then finally you attach the fence to it. A really nice touch is that the measures on the side are (a) metal and (b) sliding; so you should be able to really dial it in when you've got everything laid out.

I didn't finish adjusting the fence properly yet, the top isn't attached because I knew I'd have to do more to it, but I think when it's all adjusted it should be really nice!
 
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Beanwood

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I dithered over a router lift for ages.
I didn't want to invest in another router (Well, I did want to, but coudn't justify it).
Couldn't find a Router Raizer for less than a lot of money.
I ended up spending £9.00 on this: 4 × 4" -Lift Lifting Platforms Stand Rack Scissor Stainless Max Load 5 KG 715538097070 | eBay
I'd probably spend extra money if doing it again, and go for the 6" version - but this is just incredible "bang for your buck." It has transformed my table to be adjustable at such little cost it's ridiculous. Yes, it may not be the most pecise, and there are still the problems of changing the cutter, but I could overcome that with a muscle chuck or similar when I get some spare cash. (Note to self - Christmas is coming - drop hints to wife...)

My advice - Try something - then improve on it if you need to.
 

mAtKINItice

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@weirdbeardmt it was the Triton MOF001. Seems expensive on Amazon, but Screwfix have it at a resonable price. I didn't think I need the extra power that the TRA001 has, but they are the same otherwise. Both include the above table adjustment - can't comment on the smaller one.
 

billw

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@weirdbeardmt it was the Triton MOF001. Seems expensive on Amazon, but Screwfix have it at a resonable price. I didn't think I need the extra power that the TRA001 has, but they are the same otherwise. Both include the above table adjustment - can't comment on the smaller one.
I too suspect the additional power of the TRA001 would just go to waste, and whilst the larger one seems to have more depth control options, I'm not sure how valuable these are if it's perpetually bolted under a table as surely the MOF001 and TRA001 share the same mechanism for changing depth from above the table anyway?
 

mAtKINItice

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That's my understanding, the power is the difference. The adjuster is the same. You may have to purchase a 1/2 inch collet in addition depending on where you get it from.

The MOF is a beast enough when I've used it as a plunge router - so I'm happy enough.
 

weirdbeardmt

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Holy moly, £100 for the GKF600 at Screwfix is easily the cheapest I've seen it anywhere. Shame they don't deliver here.
 

mAtKINItice

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That's the one I got a few weeks back. Bare in mind though it's not your full kit - so I don't have the dust extraction and something else? There's a big gap in the case. I forget what it is. I was tempted to buy the dust extraction but then realized it is over £50 so have shelved that for now.

I've got the fence, the bearing attachment and that's it other than the router and standard base. Still it's a great palm router - though the case is driving me mad. I've been spoilt by sustainers.
 

weirdbeardmt

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I picked mine up locally... the independent hardware shop here gets the Bosch rep over from time to time and they do pretty good deals.... I got all sorts of extras as part of a package deal.
 

Sandyn

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I too suspect the additional power of the TRA001 would just go to waste, and whilst the larger one seems to have more depth control options, I'm not sure how valuable these are if it's perpetually bolted under a table as surely the MOF001 and TRA001 share the same mechanism for changing depth from above the table anyway?
The MOF001 is a 1/4" and the TRA001 is a 1/2". I wanted the 1/2" because I was creating some big mouldings also I got a set of 1/2" bits for next to nothing and only had an ancient ELU router.
I made my own router table out of old chipboard and some really thick MDF from an old repurposed TV cabinet, The table works very well. I threw it together as a prototype, but it works so well, I haven't bother to modify it. I also made my own feather boards and push blocks. I had to do a bit of tuning to get the table flat. The fence is mounted on T slot rails, but that's the only rails I fitted, so far that's all I have needed. I just clamp the feather boards with G clamps. The one mistake I made was to make the gap in the fence slightly wider than it needs to be, so it gives more chance of the wood catching as it passes.

The Triton rise/fall is brilliant. That was the feature that made the decision for me. Thes rise and fall mechanisms are silly money. The rise/fall is so easy to use, but don't expect precision from the adjustment, there is quite a bit of backlash. I use a digital depth gauge. I use an old Aquavac for dust collection. The hose fitted the Triton, but I didn't realise at first it was a left hand screw, so that kept me confused for a while. The combination of the vac and triton is horrendously noisy, but I don't mind. It reminds me it's still running. The soft start on the Triton is more a delayed start. There is still a big kick when it starts up. The router is permanently fitted in the table. I did try it freehand, before I mounted it the table. but it's just too big for me. I prefer the control of pushing the wood past the router. I buy my router bits from Yonico, which is Precision Bits in the US (great company to deal with). I get them through Amazon. They are very cheap and very good quality. They are not the same quality as some of the 'better' brands, but they are a fraction of the cost and so far, have worked very well. I'm not a heavy router user. One improvement I did make to the table was to varnish all the surfaces, rub them down then give them a good wax polish. That makes a huge difference to how the wood moves on the table.
 

spb

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The MOF001 is a 1/4" and the TRA001 is a 1/2".
Both routers can take both sizes of bits. My MOF001 came with 1/4" and 8mm collets in the box, but the same replacement collets fit the TRA001, MOF001 and JOF001, so you just need £15 or so extra for a 1/2" collet.
 

weirdbeardmt

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Have ordered the TRA001 from Amazon even if overkill. Couldn't find any of them anywhere else for a decent price that would ship to me. Slight fear that it drops in price on Black Friday but hey ho.
 

MikeK

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Have ordered the TRA001 from Amazon even if overkill. Couldn't find any of them anywhere else for a decent price that would ship to me. Slight fear that it drops in price on Black Friday but hey ho.
As long as you keep the bottom of your router table open, and can easily reach under the top to access the router, this will work. There are some nice features of the TRA001 that I like when using it as a hand-held router that make it difficult when using it in a router table. The most annoying feature is having to manually turn off the power switch in order to change a cutter. This is not a problem when it's not in a table, but if access under a table is limited, then fiddling with the power switch can be a pain.

You will have to remove the plunge return spring from the router when using it upside down in a table since gravity will be performing the function of the spring. There are several good instruction guides that explain how to do this. If I can find it, I will post it here. I do remember, it was easy to do.
 

Astrobits

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I have had a TRA001 in my router table for the past 13 years and it is still going strong. It is an older design that doesn't have the through-table height adjustment unfortunately.
I also have the JOF001 for hand work and our Men's Shed had the MOF001 in their table.
As you have now ordered the TRA 001 I will not dwell on the different features of the smaller router ( only a variation of the plunge control). However, all three have the capacity to use the following collets: 6mm, 1/4", 8mm, 12mm and 1/2" ( you can try Triton Power Tools for these and many other Triton bits. -- BTW I have no connection to this company).
You can also forget about making a dust box as the routers have a permanent shroud fitted which will take the normal spiral hose connection--it just screws into the dust shroud.
A word of caution, when fitting it to the table you need to remove the plunge spring. The instructions show how to do this but don't mention ( at least mine did not) that you need to keep a firm hand on the cap when loosening the retaining screw and removing the cap as it can behave as a veritable jack-in-the-box and your cap and spring will go all over the shop if you let it.
I have other Triton products and have found the agents very helpful when needed with repairs and spare parts. Again I have no connection with them other than being a happy customer of theirs.
Nigel
 

Astrobits

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I do not understand why some people have a problem reaching under the worktop to operate the router switch. There have been some comments regarding removing the safety cover when mounting Triton routers in a table so that the switch can be left on while allowing the spindle to lock for changing bits. Removing safety features is a very risky business. You still need to get to the router plunge lock lever or you are relying on the worm/wheel lift mechanism not allowing the router to drop under the vibration thus changing your profile. If your particular router does not have a through table lift you have to do even more functions under the table. The speed control is under there as well.
Surely everyone can grope in the dark? ( I have no problems ) ;)
Nigel
 
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