Cabinet Router Table

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This router table will handle most anyjob.

It was designed and built by Fred Matlack at the behest of American Woodworker magazine. The goal was to incorporate features that make routing easier and safer, while keeping the design as simple as possible. (The niftiest feature isn't worth much if it's too complicated or cumbersome to use.) So the complete project has features like an adjustable fence, dust collection, an casy-to-rcach switch, and convenient storage for bits, accessories, and even a router or two. The router table looks pretty good. too.

The heart of this router table is a big router. Fred chose Porter-Cable's Speedmatic, a 3'A-horsepower fixed-base production router. Although plunge routers arc a popular choice for router tables, he decided against using one. Compared to a fixed-base production router, a plunge router has more mechanical play in its structure. Most of the time this wouldn't be a concern. But when powering a big 2- or 3-inch-diameter panel-raising bit. for example, the extra rigidity of a fixed-base router will help eliminate any flexing of the machine and chattering of the bit from the huge forces involved. And the Spcedmatic's built-in variable-speed control allows users to slow down those huge bits.

A key design clement is the router's position near the front edge of the top. Fred positioned it there for a number of reasons.

• It's easier to reach the router for adjustments or to push it out of the top.

• It's easier to control the work when pushing it past the bit.

• The offset position leaves a lot of room in back of the fence to place an indexing jig (like the Incra Jig).

• The wide rear portion of the top is easily used if you need to work on a wide piece of wood; simply turn the fence around and stand "behind" the router table.

The tablctop is constructed like a sturdy counter; the oak-edged, two-layer plywood core is covered on both sides with durable, smooth, plastic laminate. Fred made the top wide enough to support fairly large

Router Jigs And Tips

Here's a router table with frills—a split fence with integral clamps, lots of storage, a conveniently placed switch to control both the router and dust collector. Without question, this is one of our shop's workhorses.

More bits than you can afford will fit in the seven bit drawers. And they couldn't he more close-at-hand, either. Beneath the router compartment is a commodious storage area for jigs and fixtures, and for a spare router, too.

Here's a router table with frills—a split fence with integral clamps, lots of storage, a conveniently placed switch to control both the router and dust collector. Without question, this is one of our shop's workhorses.

More bits than you can afford will fit in the seven bit drawers. And they couldn't he more close-at-hand, either. Beneath the router compartment is a commodious storage area for jigs and fixtures, and for a spare router, too.

Fred demonstrate* just how comfortable it is to use the cabinet router table. He doesn't have to stretch in the least to feed the work into the bit.

Fred demonstrate* just how comfortable it is to use the cabinet router table. He doesn't have to stretch in the least to feed the work into the bit.

pieces of wood. To facilitate clamping, it overhangs the cabinet by 3 inches on the sides and by 1'/; inches in the front and back. To eliminate accidental goring, Fred rounded off the comcrs of the top.

The big router hangs from a rectangular baseplate of Kit-inch clear acrylic that fits in a rabbeted cutout in the top. With the router mounted this way. it's easy to pop it out to change bits. Although he was prepared to make a mounting plate. Fred instead used a commercial one made and sold by Woodhavcn. (Sec "Sources" on page 337.)

Fred built the cabinet of the router table big enough to provide a solid base for the top and roomy enough for lots of storage. The compartment housing the router is open to the front. A door on it would limit access to the router for those adjustments that always have to be made. And it would restrict the air circulation that's so important to router cooling. The cabinct has a stack of drawers on each side of the router compartment to hold bits and accessories Double doors with self-closing hinges close in the large bottom storage s?acc.

After considerable use. Fred added a 4-inch dust collection port to the router compartment, since it proved to be the principal collcction spot for chips. Behind the opening in the compartment back is a standard sheet-metal T-fitting. The inlet end was formed into an oval shape and butted against the port. A hose from a dust collector was coupled to the outlet end. The T was fitted with a reduction cap so the shop-vac hose coming off the surface pickup could be plugged into the system. The router companment port has a movable gate made of clear acrylic. The dust collector itself is plugged into the switched outlet,so it comes on when the router does.

Birch plywood, joined with dado, rabbet, and but: joints, was used for the cabinet construction. An oak face frame, a recessed plinth on the bottom, and an inlaid 'A-inch plywood back complete the cabinet. Fred finished the router table with a coat of primer and a top coat of semi-gloss acrylic enamel paint.

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