My ideal tabletop has a 1- to I' ¿-inch-thick plywood core with plastic laminate on both sides. The dimensions of it, other than the thickness, are pretty much irrelevant. It can be small enough (say. 16 X 20 inches) to be for a bcnchtop router table, or large enough (say, 30 X 4« inches) to serve also as a table saw outfeed (or as a multirouter workstation). For any configuration, the materials used and the method of construction remain the same.
I like the plywood core because it has structural strength and it has rigidity. A 1 '/¿-inch-thick plywood tabletop doesn't need a framework to stiffen it. It won't sag. My router tables tend to be auxiliary workbenches, so these considerations have significance.
The tabletop edges can l^e finished several ways. You can carefully square the edges before applying the laminate, then apply laminate to the edges as well as the faces.This is known as the "self-edge." In some ways, this is the easiest tabletop to build. At the opposite extreme, you can use exposed edge-banding. Square the core, and apply laminate to the top and bottom.Then glue on '/*■ to 1-inch-thick edge-banding cut from maple, oak. or other durable hardwood. To complete this tabletop, you must flush-trim the edge-banding and apply a finish to it. The third option is to edge-band the core before applying the laminate, to produce
i tabletop with scmiconccalcd edge-banding. When you apply the laminate, run it out beyond the edge-banding. Rush-trim the laminate, then rout a bevel around the edges. And. of course, apply a finish to the exposed wood.
The last option is my favorite. Here's how to go about building such a tabletop. The Cutting List shows what you'd use to build the tableiop for the FloorStanding Router Table on page 212. Change the dimensions to suit your custom application, by all means.
Was this article helpful?
Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.