Why Build a Router Table?
If you’re looking at router table plans, you might already own a hand router and have used it on a few projects. So why would you want a router table if you already have a router?
Using a hand-held router takes a bit of time and effort to get everything set up and ready for routing. It usually starts with clearing out a spot on your workbench, finding some clamps, and then setting up whatever cutting guides and jigs you have to get the job started. Maybe not such a big deal if you only have one cut to make. But you’ve probably noticed that this is not usually the case. More likely you’ll have several cuts to make for a project. The problem is that going from one cut to the next usually means tearing down the clamps and jigs and then setting them all up again for the next cut. This is not only a huge time killer, but it also creates unnecessary room for error. As you can imagine, having a router mounted in a permanent worktable – with whatever guides and jigs you need already there in place – makes it extremely easy to cut multiple parts in quick succession – and with flawless accuracy.
Parts of a Router Table – Router Table Top
Probably the most important part of a router table is the top. This is where all the cutting takes place, so it makes sense to put most of your focus here. The quality of the router table top can make a big difference in the quality of your work, so if you’re considering making your own, be sure to consider the following points – read more about a router table top.
Router Table Plates & Inserts
Another important component of the router table – that you don’t have with a hand-held router – is the base plate or “insert plate.” The primary purpose of a base plate is provide a means to easily remove the router from the router table – without having to disconnect a lot of mounting hardware. Just pull both the router and base plate out of the table to change bits or make adjustments – read more about router table plates and inserts.
Router Table Fence
The fence on a router table serves the same purpose as a fence on a table saw – to cut a straight line on your work piece. However, what’s different about a router table fence is that it doesn’t need to be parallel to anything. Since your cutting tool is a single point (the router bit) the fence can be positioned across the router table top at any angle you choose. A router table fence can be something as simple as a scrap piece of wood with a notch in it, or a high-quality manufactured tool costing several hundred dollars – read more about router table fence.
Router Table Miter Tracks and T-Tracks
Other important components of a router table top are the miter tracks and T-tracks. These are used to mount guides (like featherboards) that will keep your workpiece snug against the fence while making the cut. Some router tables include a similar type of track mounted on the fence- where you can also attach accessories like a featherboard. Read more about router table miter track and t-track.
Router Table Stand
Of all the components that make up a router table, the base is certainly one part that you should consider making yourself. Most router table plans will include some type of design for building the base. The designs can be anything from incredibly simple to incredibly complex. The more complex plans usually include a base that resembles more a cabinet than a table – with storage compartments, dust collectors, and noise reduction features -read more about router table stand.