Simple Bench Top Router Upgrade

Article Written By:
Jerry Brown, Owner
Polly Wants a Crafter Workshop

Final InstallI recently picked up a small Skil brand bench top router table at the Good Will Thrift Store for $15.00. Normally, we all say "why even waste the money I can build it!" Well yes we can, but the switch alone on this thing was worth it to me. I decided to use it as my flush trim router for small tasks. I set the router base plate on the top and drilled new holes. Easy access and for small jobs will do fine. However, it had one majorly bad feature; the fence.

The photo here is a picture of the completed new fence with what they had as the original fence. The original fence was a couple of plastic things that only served to make me mad whenever I tried to use this thing. I decided to go with a split fence using the existing holes in the table to mount it. I also included dust collection. I left the top section as a future upgrade, I want to add some T – Track and use feather boards someday.

Ripping the partsI had a piece of ½” MDF laying around the shop. I cut it into 3 equal sections 5” wide by 18” long for the base, frontmake the support blocks and split face. I also made 4 braces at 4”x4” square to be used for keeping the fence at 90 degrees.

using a sledAfter cutting them at an angle using my Steve Ramsey (Woodworking For Mere Mortals) inspired sled. I then notched out the base and front for router bit clearance. Using a dado set would have been nicer, but the single blade worked fine even with the v notches left by the blade.

Once the cuts were made, I then clamped the bottom (base) and front (face) pieces together so I could pre drill and counter sink the screw holes. Once drilled, then I just needed to add glue and screw them together.

Next, I clamped the braces in place and checked to make sure the fence was square. Again, after pre drilling and countersinking the screw holes. I glued and screwed the braces in place.

A quick tip to find where to drill for the middle braces I draw a line around them where they need to be, (pictured far left), move the brace and drill from the back to the front. Then I countersink the holes, add glue and screw the remaining braces.

I used a piece of 1/4 inch MDF to cover the back for dust extraction. I align the Shop Vac's nozzle, trace the outline and cut the dust port hole out.

Moving on, I add a strip to the top of the fence. Clamping, predrilling and countersinking the screw holes I attach the strip. I left it unglued due to possible future T-track at a later date.

Then I drilled through each side of the split face. I made my first hole, measured a couple of inches and drilled a second hole. Using a straight bit on the router to make the groove. I did the same to the base of the fence for mounting it to the router table making sure the fence holes align with the existing holes in the router table where the old fence mounted.

This is a mini version of the full sized ones so many people make. I feel it makes the bench top table and flush trim Router as good as a real unit. For smaller jobs.