Simplest Router Table Ever

Sometimes, simple is better. Last week, I needed to rout a couple of 1/4″-wide slots for a mortising block which I am making. I think that a router table is definitely the tool for the job. The trouble is, when I replaced my old table saw, I also lost my big router table which was in the extension wing. Luckily, I have another, smaller table. It is as simple as they come.I started with a piece of 1/4″-thick phenolic which is the only fancy part about this table. You could substitute plywood for the phenolic, but because it isn’t as stiff, you would want to use thicker plywood and maybe reinforce it a frame of some sort. If you use plywood, you may also require longer screws to mount the router.

The first thing I did was remove the three machine screws holding the router’s baseplate to the router and use double-stick tape to secure the baseplate to the phenolic router table. I drilled clearance holes for the three machine screws and countersunk them because the supplied screws were flat-headed. Some models of routers use pan-head screws and in that case, I would have counterbored the holes with a forstner bit. I drilled a fourth hole in case I wanted to use the above-the-table-adjustment feature that this router offers. Then I removed the baseplate from the phenolic and bolted the router to the underside of the phenolic.

I’ve found that the bandsaw table is a good working height for smaller routing tasks, so I simply clamped the router table to the edge of the bandsaw’s table with a pair of QuickGrip clamps.

To mill the slots, I needed a fence to guide my stock in a straight line. I grabbed a scrap of pine and checked that the edge was straight and cut it to the approximate length of the table. I clamped it to the table at the correct distance from the bit which I had already installed. Because I was milling stopped slots, I needed to set stops. To position the stops, I first used a square piece of stock registered against the fence and bit to mark where the bit is located directly on the fence. I wanted the slots to stop 1/2″ from each end, so I made a mark 1/2″ to either side of the bit’s location on the fence.

Then, using the stock I would be milling, I marked where I wanted to start and stop the cuts. To keep things simple, I used a short screw for each of my stops. I am now ready to mill.

Here is the completed cut. I used a 1/4″ spiral bit to mill the slot through 1/2″ plywood in a single, steady pass.

To reuse the fence, I just need to take one pass over the edge with a handplane to remove the layout marks.

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