Make a Router Table with ONLY 3 Power Tools // Professional Results with Beginner’s Cash!

Make a Router Table with ONLY 3 Power Tools // Professional Results with Beginner’s Cash!

When I go about making things in my shop I use all the tools I’ve collected for 15 years It’s easy. Sometimes to throw something together when big machines do so much of the work I realized that there are people that have few tools that want to get into woodworking but have a hard time knowing how to get started. Today we’re going to use three power tools and some simple non expensive basic hand tools to build a bench top router table for less than $30. Today I’m going to be working with two half-inch sheets of Baltic birch, which can be found at craft stores pretty cheaply. I got the two sheets for less than $8 both sheets are 20 inches by 20 inches. With the first sheet of ply I cut it directly down the middle. This of course left me with two halves that were nearly 10 inches wide and 20 inches long. The plan was to use these as walls with the second ply as the table top. I cut out two aprons that fit between both walls. I added a little glue before using a little bit of tape to keep things lined up this method of using tape worked, but I wouldn’t depend on it if I had to use a lot of pressure to line things up. I used my 11/64th inch drill bit to drill out all my pilot holes… …and used 1/2 inch drywall screws attach the aprons…a total of 8 in all. You will notice here that I’m using an impact drill to put the screws in but only because I hate switching between drills. A normal drill will work just fine. Now we’ll use a mark to center the walls beneath with the above tabletop while I didn’t measure here it really was irrelevant to the walls below. Just be sure to mark the center and then connect them on top. Afterwards for my drill holes. I measured two inches from both sides and space them evenly throughout. Because I still wanted to glue the top to the aprons in the walls I screwed in one screw enough that I could pivot the table around. I rotated it in the opposite way adding the glue before I put five one inch screws in each side. Time to find the center of the table! By marking out the diagonals, will later be able to line up our square plexiglass two lines to find the center of the table. For my router to fit inside this table and be able to be pulled out easily I needed about a six-inch radius. I went with eight and a half inches squared which is a printer paper sheet folded in half. I attached my pattern of my plexiglass. I’ve got a link to a piece of 12 inch by 12 inch by 3/16 inch Plexiglass I used down in the description. I can’t tell you how much it costs but it with the rest of the material still cost less than $30 in all for this project. To cut the plexiglass I will be using a metal jigsaw blade. I’m gonna throw caution here. I made a huge mistake when I cut the first side down by leaving the speed of my jigsaw too high. I’ve checked even the cheapest jig saws and found that they all pretty much have variable speeds. With me cutting with the blade as fast as it was I ended up causing the plastic to fuse behind the jigsaw. When I corrected my mistake and slowed it down, it worked better without any problems. After it was cut I simply lined up the points of the square with the diagonal lines to find the exact center of the table. Now where the lines Intersected, I put a dot that I’ll use to center the plate to the router. I traced around the square before measuring a half inch in on all sides and placing in a secondary line. This half inch lip will be what our plexiglass will rest on. To cut out the center we’ll drill holes on the outside of each half inch lip corner… …and switch out the metal blade in our jigsaw back to a wood blade. With the plexiglass, I eyeball the center and marked the holes for my bolts. This is an important step. Drilling out plexiglass can be tricky. When you come to the end of your drilling it can very easily chip out. To avoid this, use brad bits and drill halfway through the plexiglass allowing the small tip to exit the other side. Then, flip the plexiglass and line the hole up with your brad bit and drill the other way. After that, either be careful and use a large drill bit to widen the holes for your bolts or get an inexpensive countersink bit. Now, we’ll use either a forester bit or a spade bit to cut halfway through again. This should be at least an inch wide and again, we’ll flip it over and finish it off. Another bad move on my part was thinking I was done…when I wasn’t. I really should have left that plastic on. We still need to add holes that will allow us to remove this from her table. When I had finished those I added the bolts and tightened the router snug to the plexiglass. You might think that the project outside of routing the top is finished, but we still have one more obstacle to overcome. We’ll need to be able to secure this to the bench as well as adding a bit more height for the router. The problem, of course, with a 2×4 is that most jigsaw blades aren’t quite long enough. Since we started with 1 by 3’s for our aprons, I decided to stick with them and double them up creating essentially a 2 by 3. After gluing, I clamped either side of the base and then added glue to where the walls met up with the base. I then used a couple strips of wood I cut from the leftover one by three, and glued them to the inside walls and to the base giving it added strength. I waited about two hours before flipping and doing the same process on the opposite side, allowing a good 10 hours or so for it to cure enough for use. To get the exact depth for the 3/16 inch plexiglass, I used a piece of scrap from the plexiglass I cut to dial in my straight cut router bit to the exact size of the plate it’s attached to. I attached the handles and from here it was as simple as keeping my router within the lines. Of course, because routers can’t make square cuts I used a chisel to knock off the corners. If you don’t have a chisel you could, of course, use a piece of sandpaper to round the edges of your plexiglass so that it fits in. As a quick example I made quick work with a round over bit and a 45 degree angle bit. This just gives a really nice finish to projects. It’s important to make a note here that without fence, the only bits you should be using here are bits with bearings on them. But let’s make a real quick fence with the remainder we have left from the one by three. We’ll cut two boards the length of the table and then glue them together perpendicularly. I used the same method as before with masking tape. You can also use a square block of wood on either end and clamp it together Now that I’ve given it a few hours we’ll give it a test. To set up the half round cut, we’ll very carefully slider fence to what we want our depth to be. And then carefully slide it back out. We’ll shut off our router, insert the fence back in and clamp everything down. Of course, we could add all sorts of other features to this as well as a dust port, but if you’re just getting started, this will get you very far with very little. And yes, there are definitely plans for a fence upgrade in the future. And by the way, if you haven’t seen my router rails video it fits perfectly with this concept, allowing you to pull your router directly out of your table and setting it into a sled system to flatten wood. That video will be at the end of this video and in the description, I highly recommend checking it out. Thanks for watching! Hit the like button and subscribe to see more videos like this in the future. Let me know what you think of this project or how it could be better. I really love input! Follow me on Instagram @makethingswithRob and remember…to keep making things! You

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  1. That’s great! I like the idea of using just a few tools that most people would have. You could have added sanding the edges of the plexiglass to even out the cut edges but that’s just cosmetic.

  2. Great beginner's project!
    I only wish plywood was as cheap where I live – 4 times your price for the lowest possible quality 1/4" plywood – Baltic birch probably only available at industry level and can't imagine the price. I have to build my projects with particle board, MDF and pine.

  3. Great project Rob! Must have broke your brain a bit to try and use a jigsaw to cut a straight line when you had a nice table saw and miter saw sitting around. I think you have given me enough inspiration to finally replace one of the wings of my table saw with a router table. I like the way you made the plexiglas fit both the router table and the flattening jig.

  4. The how- to step-by-step was very easy to follow and the fact you only used basic tools makes it even better. It's surprising how much use a table like this gets and it's really great to have one that's portable. Outstanding build!

  5. Noobs, he didn’t show it but you can guide your jigsaw against a speedsquare to get a nice square cut. Also invest in a countersink bit for your screws and use construction screws not drywall. Drywall screws are brittle and will sheer at the wrong time. Otherwise nice project.

  6. Great project, but I think it's time to sharpen that chisel! I've got a ton of reclaimed lumber sitting around waiting for a simple project like this. Thank you.

  7. Although I have most every power tool I can ever need, I think it was wonderful to show how you can make useful shop tools using only the bare minimum power tools. Great job.

  8. I think that if I was at the beginner stage of Woodworking I’d love this to be my reference guide to making this router table, reason I say that is because I’ve seen other similar videos but they over complicate things so well done mate.
    Check out John the Schreiners video recently on a similar idea that’s already got some hardware in it but he’s improvising is good as well 👍👍👍👍

  9. Nice. I think it could be better if you added leveling screws. If I were to make mine again I'd definitely use a circle base since a square can be off centre by a little bit making hand held work always a little wrong when using fences and has less friction.

  10. Nice. I think it could be better if you added leveling screws. If I were to make mine again I'd definitely use a circle base since a square can be off centre by a little bit making hand held work always a little wrong when using fences and has less friction.

  11. Regarding using tape for a makeshift clamp, but it not having enough clamping force, an inexpensive alternative to store-bought clamps is to make wedge clamps from scraps. For example, take an old junk 2×4 stud that's at least 8" longer than the project you need to clamp. Cut 2 square blocks from it. Screw the first block down at the end. This is one jaw of the clamp. Put the clamp against the project to be glued with the jaw touching it where it will need to be clamped. Draw a mark on the stud where the side of the project opposite the jaw falls. Cut a wedge from the other block, with the grain running the length of the wedge, at an angle so that the fat end is about 1/4 the length. Cut off the thin edge so that the end is blunted, about 1/8" thick. Hold the wedge against the rest of the block it was cut from, about 1/3 pulled out from it. Place the wedge/block up to the mark, with the wedge on the mark. Hold the block at this location, set the wedge aside and screw down the remainder of the block here. This block is the second jaw of the clamp. Put the project back in the clamp, and tap the wedge in place lightly to exert clamping pressure for a dry fit. Use a flat screwdriver to tap the thin edge and back the wedge out. Make more of these wedge clamps, enough to adequately clamp the joint in the project. Apply the glue to the joint, put the clamps in place, and tap the wedges in until an even glue squeeze out confirms the clamping pressure.

    This principle of a tapped-in wedge providing clamping force can also be used in other configurations, such as screwing the blocks to a backer board on which the project sits, instead of a 2×4 'bar clamp', or really any clamp shape needed. A tapped-in wedge can exert more clamping force than the best Bessey hand-twist clamp out there, for pennies.

  12. Great limited tools project,there are very few creators that take into account that not everyone has lots of tools to create there own builds so more projects like this would be useful

  13. Rob, that's a pretty easy build. Just an idea for a future video, if you have time, is to also design a diy router lift mechanism.. I am sure you can design something that we can all use 👍😁

  14. I love using high end tools and lots of fancy setups and high quality materials to do things when I have the time and lots of money, but most of the time I do things like this; it's simple, practical, and works for anything that I need to do….I'm not a professional, just a hobby wood worker. My motto: simplicity + functionality = elegance. I would classify this this project as "elegant."

  15. Hullo young man I was looking to make one for a small woodworking shop and this would be just perfect for them. Thank you for the idea.

  16. Overall a great video, however I have one suggestion if you do this again. When making the inside rebate with the router, remember you have the plexiglass plate on the router and it has flat square edges. If you wanted your rebate more precise, you could clamp some straight wood on the outside edge to use as a fence for the plexiglass to ride along giving you a nice straight and accurate rebate. I do love your videos! thanks for all you do. One other trick would be to run a knife wall along the outside edge of your rebate to get a crisp line with minimal tear out. The Paul Sellers method.

  17. Sweet project Rob. Hey congrats on the 28k subs holy hell that went quick. you getting like 2k a month now .. damn son!

  18. Add T-tracks down each side with measuring tape to ensure easy fence use. Also you only need the top with a board along the back for quick vice mounting and a smaller footprint for storage.

  19. Instructable for this router table is up. No registration needed and it’s free!

  20. Going to give this a try at the weekend as i've recently picked up a second hand router. I already have some 3/4" ply and off cuts so just need to source some plexiglass for the mounting plate 🙂 Thanks!

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