Having a router table in the workshop is definitely useful. It allows you to make cuts you couldn’t do using a router alone. Cutting on a router table is easier, is faster and the resulting cuts are precise. You can easily cut joinery – slots, dados, rabbets, and others.
However, a full-size router table can get costly. Really costly… And is the extra money spent really worth it?
If you are a woodworking beginner or a DIYer, you can turn your hand router into a simple benchtop router table and take advantage of the same benefits, that a full-size router table offers.
Plus, the money you spend on materials is a fraction of what a full-size router table would cost.
There are two types of DIY router tables you can make. A router table with a stand (with legs) or a router table just as a tabletop (benchtop router table).
In this blog post, I will be making a benchtop router table with a table fence and a dust collector. A benchtop router table is smaller, does not take much space, it is easily portable and you can attach it to the side of the workbench with clamps.
You can also use additional specific add-ons with the router table, such as a finger joint jig (box joint jig), a tenoning jig, or a spline jig. These jigs are easily attached to the router table and can be used whenever needed.
This is a nice project for woodworking beginners. To build it, you will need a circular saw and a hand drill.
RELATED: Check out these other useful trim router jigs you can build for the workshop.
DIY Benchtop Router Table Video
Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade DIY router table.
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Table of Contents
- The Material you will need
- General Questions
- How difficult is it to make a benchtop router table?
- How to Make a Benchtop Router Table (with Fence and Dust Collector)
- Step 1: Build the Router Tabletop
- Step 2: Attach the Router to the Tabletop
- Step 3: Make T-tracks in the Router Table
- Step 4: Build the Router Table Fence
- Step 5: Build the Router Table Dust Collection
- How to Set Up and Use a Benchtop Router Table
- Jigs Used for this Project
*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while working with power tools. Safety comes first!
Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.
What you'll need to make a Benchtop Router Table
Router Table – Plywood
40cm x 30cm x 1,2cm
40cm x 30cm x 0,9cm
DIY T-tracks – HDF
2x – 40cm x1,35cm x 0,4cm
4x – 18cm x1,35cm x 0,4cm
DIY T-track bolts
Router Table Fence
Plywood – 30cm x 6cm x 1,2cm
HDF – 30cm x 7cm x 0,8cm
Router Table Dust Collector – Plywood
4,7cm x 3,9cm x 1,8cm
6cm x 6cm x 0,6cm
M4 Bolts with countersunk head
M6 Bolts, M6 Wing nut, Washers
Wood Screws, Wood Glue
35mm Forstner Bit
6mm Router Bit
Hand Drill / Cord Drill
Trim Router (Dewalt D26203)
Mini Table Saw (Optional)
How difficult is it to make a benchtop router table?
Making a benchtop router table is not too difficult. It is a project that a woodworking beginner with some experience can handle.
The material needed for the project is affordable and easily available in any local store. Most cuts require a circular saw (or a table saw) and a hand drill. You can also make your own t-tracks and slots. There is no need to buy them and the money saved can be invested elsewhere.
It is also convenient to use different woodworking jigs. They make work easier and come in handy for some specific tasks. Plus, you can make them yourself.
Let's start building!
The DIY router table consists of 3 main parts – the router table, the table fence, and the dust collector.
All the parts are made of Baltic birch plywood. Birch plywood is high-quality, strong, durable, and has a nice grain texture. T-tracks are made of HDF.
The overall dimensions of the router table are 40cm x 30cm. The table contains two parallel t-tracks for a table fence and one perpendicular t-track for a miter gauge or other table attachments.
NOTE: This build is designed for a cord / cordless Dewalt router (Dewalt D26203). However, it can be easily adapted for other types of routers – a full-size router or a 1/4-trim router.
How to Make a Benchtop Router Table (with Fence and Dust Collector)
Step 1: Build the Router Tabletop
Measure and cut the plywood sheets (40cm x 30cm). To make the cuts I am using a circular saw in combination with a circular saw guide.
Glue the pieces together and add install a few screws in the corners (approximately 2 cm from the edges) to additionally secure the desk.
Step 2: Attach the Router to the Tabletop
Mark the center of the table. Center the router base plate with the table and mark the mounting holes for the screws.
Countersink the screws and use a Fortner bit to drill out the center hole.
NOTE: You might need to replace your current router screws with new ones. There is a chance the current screws might be too short to go all the way through the table.
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Step 3: Make T-tracks in the Router Table
Draw the tracks on the router table. My preferred way of cutting dados is using a router dado jig.
Clean the corners with a chisel and glue MDF strips in the slots to create t-tracks (optionally you can screw the strips in, but it is not necessary). Make sure the glue excess does not get in the slot.
You can use t-slot bolts in the tracks or you can make your own DIY t-track bolts.
NOTE: There are a few ways how to cut a t-track in wood. This article describes the individual options – 3 Ways How to Make DIY T-tracks & T-Slots.
Step 4: Build the Router Table Fence
Cut the front and the back piece of the fence to size. Cut out the section for the router bit (4cm in length) and the slots on the back piece. Then, glue both pieces together. Optionally, you can add 2 small wood pieces for support. I also cut the corners of the fence for aesthetics.
To make all the cuts I used an adjustable router dado jig – the cuts are precise but a jigsaw would work just fine.
Step 5: Build the Router Table Dust Collection
To make the dust collection box glue 3 pieces of plywood (0,6mm) together and drill a hole in for the vacuum attachment. Then glue 3 plywood pieces to it to create a box.
Glue the dust collection box to the back of the fence.
Now the router table is finished. Optionally, you can use finishing wax on the tabletop and the fence.
Below is a picture of the finished benchtop router table. A router table will unlock new work possibilities and make it easier for you to work on your projects. I have used it on multiple occasions and it is for sure one of the most practical and useful builds for a router.
How to Set Up and Use a Benchtop Router Table
Before setting up and using the router table make sure the router is turned off and unplugged. Use safety devices, especially push pads and safety glasses, when working on a router table.
The steps below describe how to set up and use a benchtop router table.
- Attach the router table to the worktable with clamps
- Attach the trim router to the router table with bolts
- Install the table fence and the dust collector
- Set the desired router bit height
- Place the workpiece against the table fence and make a cut
Possible Improvements to the Benchtop Router Table
- Add a stand/legs to the router tabletop. It will make the benchtop router table higher and can be used both on the table and on its own.
- Add a bit holder. It is convenient to have the most used router bits together in one place.
- Add a chamfer to the router table fence to prevent sawdust from getting stuck between the fence and the tabletop
If you don’t have a full-size router table in your workshop this is definitely a useful alternative. Even a simple DIY router table will give you additional options on how to process wood and will expand the possibilities of processing workpieces.
A benchtop router table is easy to set up and quick to use. You can take it on a worksite and use it anytime needed. I love the portability of the tool.
The installed t-track slots not only allow you to quickly attach a fence or a sawdust collector but also allow the use of additional devices such as a miter gauge or a tenoning jig.