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The Story

I found an older Craftsman wood router at a garage sale recently that was too good a deal to pass up. Only problem I had with it was the base didn't have any holes to attach an edge guide to it. I looked around at some router tables, but couldn't find anything for less than $50 and those didn't look to be of the best quality. I've been considering building my own for a while and one day on the way home from work I happened to see this sweet desk on the side of the road with a "Free" sign on it. A little light bulb must have turned on over my head and I immediately turned around to pick this bad boy up. Once I got it in my garage I set out to turn it into a nice, sturdy router desk.


The first thing I did was measure the surface of the desk and figure out what I had to work with. I took those measurements and started designing my router table in Google Sketchup. It can take a little time to get used to and you definitely cannot work with a touchpad, but with a regular mouse and a little practice Sketchup can be a nice, Free design application. Using Sketchup I layed out my table top with a hole in the center for the cutting bits, mounting screw holes to attach the router base, and two slots for attaching a fence. One thing to note about attaching a fence is to make sure you account for any structures below the table top, like legs or droors.

Router Desk Top

Next I designed my fence. This is basically just two pieces of wood attached at a right angle with wide slots in the middle to wrap around the router bits and some support pieces. I added four holes to the fence, two for screws to tighten and keep the fence in place and two for bolts to ride in the tracks and keep the fence relatively square. You'll definitely want to measure twice and cut once when building this to ensure you get a nice accurate fence.

Router Fence Piece with Dimensions
Router Fence

All together we'll end up with something like this.

Router Desk


The first step I took for construction in was to measure out the center point of the table. With the center point marked I then used a 3 inch hole saw to cut a hole for the router cutting bits.

Router Hole

With the center hole cut I took the plastic plate from the bottom of the router base and lined it up with the hole. I used this plate as a template for the router mounting holes.

Plate Mount Template

Now that the wood router could be mounted to the table it was time to add the slots for the fence to ride in. I measured out slots just wide enough for shoulder bolts to ride smoothly, but slightly snug inside the slots. I drew the rectangular slots on the desk top, drilled wholes on the corners big enough to get a jig-saw in, and carefully cut out the slots.

Fence Slots

With the mounting holes and side slots cut I was ready to build my fence. I followed the design shown above cutting the face, bottom, and reinforcement triangles from a board that was sitting around.

Completed Fence

As you can see from the picture here I drilled my holes for the shoulder bolts in the wrong place the first time and had to drill 4 more holes, but I don't think this will hurt the performance of the fence in any way. In order to tighten the fence down I put together a simple system of hand knobs, threaded rod, and wing nuts. The "wings" on the wing nut that slides under the table stay up inside the slots. That way when you turn the knobs on top of the fence the assembly tightens the fence to the table and holds it in place.

Slide Assembly and Hand Knobs

The final piece of this project was to add 2 metal bars to the underside of the table next to the slots. These do 2 things: 1-Protect the wood table from being crushed and deformed when I tighten the wing nut assembly to keep the fence in place 2-Help keep the fence straight by eliminating some of the slop on the hand cut slots that the fence rides along (as long as you mount them square to the table top).

Metal Slide Protection Bars

That completes my Wood-Router Desk. The fence assembly turned out pretty nice. I still plan on using a carpenters square to make sure the fence is square with the table, but it beats paying $100 for a dinky plastic table.

Completed Wood-Router Desk