Small Router Table

Our local woodworkers club makes wooden toys every year as Christmas presents for disadvantaged children. Most of these are band sawn shapes from 2 inch stock. They are cut out, drilled, sanded, and then we do a round over on all exposed edges. I made small router tables as dedicated tools for the round over step. This post will outline my construction though I’m using photos of the finished product.

Small Router Tables

Small Router Tables

 

Small trim routers are perfectly adequate for a 1/8″ or 3/16″ round over. I have a Dewalt and a Porter Cable so made two tables.  I selected 3/8″ plywood for the table top as I had scraps on hand salvaged from (should be obvious) cable reels. Quarter inch ply might flex too much and a half inch thick table might require extending the router bit uncomfortably far. For this dedicated application, a 12 -14″ width and an 8″ depth is fine.

The first step is locating screw holes to mount the router. I removed the base plate and used that to mark the location of the four holes. Remember the router will be upside down so the mounting plate here is bottom side up. The Porter Cable router has an asymmetrical hole pattern so this is important.

Lay Out Mounting Holes

Lay Out Mounting Holes

 

Both my routers have round head mounting screws for the base plate so to match, the screw holes need to be counterbored to sink the screw heads below the table surface. Do this first with a forstner bit, then drill through with a smaller bit to fit the screw threads.  Don’t counterbore so deep that the screw attachment is weakened.

Mounting Holes Counterbored

Mounting Holes Counterbored

 

Also at this time mark and drill a pilot hole for the router bit to come through the table. Just make a hole big enough for the bearing to come through, probably 1/2″ or 5/8″. The hole will be opened up to clear the cutting edges later on.

Locate Hole for Bit

Locate Hole for Bit

 

I added a 3/4 inch bit of scrap to the bottom of the table to provide a boss for extra leg stiffness. These are attached with countersunk screws from the table top. The legs are set into holes drilled with a 10-15 degree splay angle. Splay is not absolutely necessary but makes the table more rigid when it’s clamped down. Leg dowels should be at least 1/2 inch thick and long enough that you don’t have to bend over to allow your glasses to focus on the bit. 10-12″ is good.

Support Boss for Legs

Support Boss for Legs

 

I used a piece of 3/4 stock to make the table feet. Notice the legs are offset from center to provide a larger area for clamps. I located the foot holes by assembling the legs into top, then marking where the splayed legs touched the feet.

Table Foot

Table Foot

 

This photo shows the splayed legs assembled and glued. The feet need to be parallel to the table. I ensured this by clamping the feet to the workbench while glue was applied. I then set a heavy weight on the table top while the glue was setting.

Table Legs Splayed

Table Legs Splayed

 

Getting a consistent splay angle for the legs is not difficult. I made this tapered jig for the drill press. The exact angle is not critical as long as all eight holes are drilled the same. 10-12 degrees is good. A clearly marked center line is important.

Tapered Jig to Guide Splay

Tapered Jig to Guide Splay

 

Pick a spot at the center of the table bottom and draw sight lines to where each leg hole will be drilled. The legs will lean out exactly on those lines.

Splay Sight Lines

Splay Sight Lines

 

Photos here are from my completed table so I marked another bit of scrap to better show how the sight lines are laid out on the two bosses.

Lay Out Leg Boss

Lay Out Leg Boss

 

Here you see the tapered jig clamped to the drill press table. Align the sight line on the boss with the center line on the jig and drill.

Taper Splay Jig Aligns Hole

Taper Splay Jig Aligns Hole

 

Then align and drill for the other leg.

Right Side Hole

Right Side Hole

 

The feet are drilled similarly. Here I used the upper boss to mark the sight line angle on the foot after finding where the holes go by inserting the leg dowels into the top boss. Note when you are drilling the splay direction along the sight line is opposite for the feet. On the top the legs lean out. On the bottom they lean in.

Once the feet are drilled, you can clamp and glue the whole thing together.

Duplicating Angle on Feet

Duplicating Angle on Feet

 

When the glue is set up, I assembled the router to the table. The router bearing should clear the hole at the top but not yet the rest of the roundover bit.

Pilot Hole for Router Bit

Pilot Hole for Router Bit

 

With the table clamped down in working position, I start the router and slowly raise the bit. The bit’s cutters open the hole to make a perfect zero clearance opening.

Bit Raised Through Table Top

Bit Raised Through Table Top

 

This photo shows the finished table clamped to my work bench. I sanded and sealed the top with a couple coats of danish oil, then applied paste wax. The toys slide over the bit really smooth. You have to route a bit of scrap a few times to get the bit height set exactly right.

Table Clamped to Bench

Table Clamped to Bench

 

Just slide the blank into the bit until it touches the bearing then run it to the left to do the roundover. Yo need to experiment some as moving too fast will result in a ragged edge, moving too slow will burn the wood. Needless to say, keep your fingers away from the bit, and also be aware that sometimes the bit will grab bad grain or a knot and throw the piece off the table.

Routing Roundovers

Routing Roundovers

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