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Build a Portable Router Table
Portable Router Table is Big on Features
A half sheet of plywood, some solid-wood lumber scraps, a handful of hardware, and one of the newly designed routers that boast above-the-table adjustments—that's all you really need to build a compact, full-featured router table for your home workshop. Woodworking author Roland Johnson's stow-and-go router table features built-in dust collection, a large tabletop, and the ability to be easily broken down and stored out of site. In this short video, and the article below, Johnson details how the table is assembled and put to use.
Easy Breakdown and Low Cost
This full-featured router table is designed to be broken down for easy, flat storage in even the smallest of workshops. I've used a router table like this in my shop for many years because they are quick to make and don't require much in the way of materials. All of the parts are cut from a half-sheet of plywood. I do recommend purchasing a mounting plate and insert template from JessEm, Woodpecker, or any other router accessory source. Blank plates are the most economical choice, but plates with interchangeable opening rings provide more versatility. I paid about $60 for a Woodpecker plate with three rings and $12 for the insert template. Plus, it came with a template to cut the opening in the tabletop.
|Easy Breakdown. Johnson's full-featured router table is designed to be broken down for easy storate||
Rout the opening.
Johnson purchased a commerical mounting plate that sets into the table opening
Cut the Parts from a Sheet of Plywood
1-in. thick hardwood is used for the under-the-table support system.
Start construction with the 24-in. deep by 48-in. wide piece of plywood for the tabletop. Draw centerlines front to back and side to side. The cutout for the mounting plate is centered front-to-back line, but shifted about 4 in. to the right of the side-to-side center line; this provides a long outfeed surface, which I find useful for many router-table tasks.
The Woodpecker mounting plate I purchased came with a template to use when cutting the rabbetted opening for the mounting plate. Use your router for this task: a top-bearing, flush-cut, 3/4-in. router bit to to produce the rabbet that supports the router mounting plate. Take light cuts and progressively work the bit back to the pattern.
With the tabletop complete, cut the solid-wood parts for the bracing on the underside of the table and install with glue and screws. These braces provide support and keep the top flat, so be sure that the edges that mate to the table are square and straight, and use 7/8 in. thick hardwood.
Assemble the Fence and Drill the Pivot Hole
Simple fence features built-in dust collection and sacrificial faces.
Next, cut the plywood parts for the fence, dust-collection box, and leg sections. Size and shape the parts with a jigsaw or bandsaw, and Forstner bits or hole saws.
Attach the fence base to the main fence with glue and screws. Be sure the fence face and base make a perfect 90-degree angle. Build the dust-collection box and screw it onto the fence assembly. Complete that assembly by screwing through the main fence to secure the sacrificial fence.
Align the front edge of the fence, including the sacrificial face, with the table center line on the tabletop. Clamp the fence in place and locate a point at the center of the left end of the fence base 1in. from the end. Drill a 5/16-in. hole through the fence base and the table top. A 5/16-in. hex bolt and knob will provide clamping power for the pivoting fence.
Legs Only Support Part of the Table
The legs on this router table are only part of the support system. The back edge of the tabletop also needs to be clamped to a heavy, stable surface such as a table saw extension or workbench. Once clamped to a worksurface, the legs are individually adjusted for added support. The benefit to this design is that it will work well on uneven floors, and provides a very sturdy footprint.
To begin using the table, attach your router to the insert (it replaces the router's basic round base), set the fence, make sure the clamps and knobs are tight, and start cutting.