Apr 26 2011

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Putting The Router Table Top Together

When I left off last time, I had finished cutting the holes for the router plate. In this installment I’ll round the corners of the table, mount the T-track, and screw the two halves of the router table top together.

Rounding the Corners
I chose to round the corners of the individual sheets rather than the assembled top. My thinking was that I would rough cut the corners with a jigsaw then do the final shaping when the top was assembled. Knowing the tendency of my jigsaw to cut at an angle when following curves, I thought I would remove more material this way.

Looking around my shop, I found a 3″ diameter cutout leftover from a failed experimental router mount to use as a template for the rounded corners. I lined up the circle with the edges of the sheet and traced the arc.

This is one of the corners that was damaged in the drop. You can see the material is still separated a bit on the bottom of the curve. This shouldn’t matter because screwing the two sheets together will easily close this separation. Also note how there’s more material left on the bottom of the curve than the top.

Installing the T-Track

To make sure there was some material between the T-track and the router plate, I located the T-track about 2″ south of the plate and marked lines along both sides.

I usually would have used my router to create the groove, but the edge guide wouldn’t reach where I needed to remove the material, so I used my table saw with a 1/2″ dado stack. I set the fence so the dado would cut at the lower line and ran the first pass. Then moving the fence a little shy of 1/2″ each time, I ran three more passes ending up on the upper line.

If you zoom in on the picture you can see that the bottom of the grove wasn’t exactly level. This is probably because I wasn’t able to apply even pressure over the dado stack and push the top sheet at the same time. No matter, after a little touch up with a chisel the T-track sat flush in the groove.

The groove wasn’t quite as snug as I would have hoped, but the T-track didn’t have much slop. Also I must have slipped when I was pushing the top through the dado blade as you can see the lower edge of the groove is a little wavy.

Notice that I didn’t screw down the T-track at this point because without the bottom sheet there isn’t enough material.

Screwing the Table Together
I drew reference lines 1″ away from the edges of the bottom of the lower sheet and 1″ away from the plate opening. I spaced markings for the screws evenly along these lines.

I used these marks to locate the though-holes which I drilled a few sizes larger than the threads so there would be some wiggle room. On a known flat surface, I lined up the the bottom sheet over the top sheet and drilled pilot holes about one size smaller than the shank of the 1-1/4″ pan head cabinet screw, then I screwed the two halves together.

Finally I drilled pilot holes for mounting the T-track and screwed it into place.

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