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Router Table

Plans are now available. They're not marked, just 1/8 scaled drawings.

This is a picture of the router table during the initial construction. The carcass is made of 3/4" oak plywood, with screws and biscuits holding it together. The top is two layers of plywood glued and screwed, with a sheet of Formica laminate glued to the top with contact cement. I paid extra attention to making the top of the carcass flat and even. The top is bolted to the carcass with eight 1/4" lag bolts. Before attaching the laminate, I flattened the top with a straightedge and sander. I should have used a roller for the contact cement; variations in the cement itself account for most of the deviations in the top, although it's limited to a few thou.
Here you can see an overview of the table in progress. The oak trim has been added to the top, with a 45 degree bevel on the corners and around the top edge. The Incra 16" Ultra is clamped to the side, but later I'll drill for a pair of machine bolts and matching blind nuts underneath for a more permanent (and repeatable, if I need to remove it) installation. And I want the clamps back ;-) The fence is lined up with the router shaft to 0.003" off.
This is a closeup of the Woodpecker's Precision Router Lift (no longer in production, replaced by the V2). I chose this because it had not one but two lift screws, so there's no chance of racking. I got a Porter Cable PC7518 3.25 HP router to go with it. I don't yet have a hard-wired switch for it, so I just reach under and use the switch on the router itself. The fence is an Incra Ultra 16". I would have gotten the Twin Linear if could have justified the cost. Between the PRL, Incra, and dial indicator, I can set up all the aspects of each cut to within 0.001".
Here you can see how much table I've got to work with :-) When I installed the PRL I used a dial indicator to note the depth of the surface relative to the top of the template they sent. To cut the formica, start with the pattern bit at zero for the first pass, and lower it 1/128 at a time - this prevents chipping. When I got to approximately 3/8" I inserted the PRL and checked the top with the dial indicator, and adjusted the bit depth so that the final depth left me with a perfect surface. The PRL is within 0.001 of the formica!
The drawers are each made with a different kind of joinery (I was playing with the Incra templates ;). They're all made with 1/2" pine from my "craft pack" of 3/4" pine. The bottoms are 1/4" oak plywood. The drawer runners are 18" full extension, and the drawers reach to about 1/4" from the back wall of the table when they're all the way in. I haven't installed the drawer faces yet; I'm thinking of mahogany-trimmed oak plywood since I've got plenty of that. They'll be a door in the middle to make the router cavity air and sound tight.
Here's the other drawers. The top drawer is intended to hold the Incra Master Template Library - that's why the sides are shorter. It's 1/4" bigger than the book, which will eventually be stored sideways. I still have to do two more 9" deep drawers under the four I've already got, and there will be a second 5" high strip of oak ply along the bottom like the one just above the drawers.
These are the two trays that will hold the templates. Each has 25 slots, 3/32" deep and 17/32 wide. I had to write a computer program to calculate all the Incra settings - there were 100 cuts to be made (the two panels are symmetrical in this case, you could just make one long panel with one set of 50 cuts, cut it in half, and turn one half around). They're 1/2" thick each, made of a pine glue-up of three boards each. I won't use the entire length, but I made them long in case I messed up and needed spares.
Here you can see the proportions of the slots. Each slot will be lightly sanded and waxed, and the slots in the two trays will be offset from each other, like they're pictured here. The two trays will be stacked on one another in the top right drawer. The book will lay on top of a 1/4" sheet above the top tray. If you're making these, you'll need this pdf which tells you where to make all the cuts. It assumes a 3/8 straight bit and a 17 1/8 wide insert for the drawer (inside width of drawer).
Here you can see my test pieces as I figure out exactly how each segment of the trays will be cut. I have a CAD file that tells me the exact dimensions, but it's nice to see it work before committing cuts to the trays. The short bits near the front of the drawer (left of the picture) form a rough curve. The trays will be just long enough so that when the templates are fully inserted they'll stick up at a 45 degree angle past the ends of the trays, so I can read the tags and grab them with my fingers.
The MTL tray is done! You can see now how the "curve" in the trays results in the ends of the templates sticking up in the air, where they're easy to grab. You can also see what I was saying about how the book sits on top of them.
The closeup shows they key to the usefulness of this tray - all the template names, numbers, and bit sizes are visible at once! Just pick the one you want and pull it out.
A passel of pulls. These were turned from a 3"x3"x6" chunk of mahogany taken from a leftover palette used to deliver building materials to our house when we were building it :)
Here's a shot of the drawer fronts and pulls installed. They'r oak plywood with a 1/4" mahogany band around each. The trim on the drawers is just glued on, but the trim on the center door is tongue and groove for extra strength, as the hinges attach directly to it.
Here we are preparing to cut the dado for the miter slot bar. I used a framing square to position one of the boards and clamped it. Then, I put the bar in place with a few pieces of paper as spacers, and clamped the other board on the other side of it. The paper makes sure that I can get the bar out, and leaves room for glue squeeze out.
So, how do you clamp it in while the glue dries? A caul! Since a miter slot is 3/4 inch wide, I just jointed some scrap 4/4 pine and clamped it into the miter slot. The glue is clear liquid nails, and was allowed to set for 24 hours before I removed the clamps. The slot was right next to the router lift. The placement was chosen so that my miter gauge just missed the edge of the largest opening in the lift.
There was a bit of squeeze out. This glue doesn't dry rock hard, so I just trimmed it off with a chisel. I made the slot slightly deeper than the thickness of the bar, assuming that the glue thickness might hold it above the tabele surface (that would be bad). In the end, it was slightly below the surface, which was ideal.
For those of you who are wondering why I put so much into this table, well, I'm using it as practice before I build some dining room cabinets, and look what I had to put up with for the last ten years!

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