My Ideal Tabletop

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.

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