Simple Bench Top Router Upgrade
Article Written By:
Jerry Brown, Owner
Polly Wants a Crafter Workshop
I 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.
I 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, front and split face. I also made 4 braces at 4”x4” square to be used for keeping the fence at 90 degrees.
After 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.
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.
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.