Happily, this unique table isn’t difficult to build, doesn’t require much in the way of materials and is compact, so you can easily stow it away when it’s not in use. The table has a cubical base with an oversized bottom that makes it easy to clamp the device atop a bench or work table. A pivoting router plate mounted to a crossmember on the base provides a mount for just about any standard router. Pivoting the plate adjusts the bit’s cutting depth up and down (because of the horizontal orientation of the table, the router’s regular bit depth adjustment changes the width of the cut). The table’s top is attached to the base via a pair of plywood compasses, each with a pair of radiused slots that allow the top to tilt from flat to 45 degrees. A slot in the top accepts a standard miter gauge, which is useful for end-routing.
Kicking Off the Construction Process
To start construction, make the table’s base from 3/4″ MDF or particleboard. Cut out an 18″ x 12″ bottom, three 12″ squares for the front and sides and a 12″ x 3″ wide strip for the bottom rear (pieces 1 through 4). On the band saw (or with a jigsaw), cut a 3″ high, 3/4″ deep notch at the top back corner of each of the two sides for the crossmember that supports the router plate (cut the notch slightly shallower, if your crossmember stock isn’t fully 3/4″ thick). Make sure the notches’ edges are nice and square. Now drill a pair of 3/8″-diameter holes through each side piece. These are for studded hand screws that will attach the tilt-top to the base. Install a 1/4″ threaded insert in each of these holes, using a short 1/4″ bolt, two nuts and a ratchet wrench to drive them in place.
Glue and nail (or screw) the sides of the base together, with the bottom strip at the lower edge of the cube. Center the sides on the base’s bottom piece and glue and nail them in place, making sure the assembly is square and that all the edges are flush.
Cut the router table’s 3″ x 18″ crossmember (piece 5) from a piece of good quality 3/4″ plywood. Band saw or jigsaw a semi-circular hole at the center of the crossmember’s top edge to provide clearance for the router bit. Next, drill a pair of 7/32″-diameter holes, positioned 161⁄2″ apart. These holes are for the two 1/4″ x 1-1⁄2″-long hanger bolts that attach the router pivoting plate to the base. Hanger bolts have a wood screw thread on one half and a machine thread on the other. To install them, lock a pair of 1/4″ nuts together (with a washer between them) on the bolt’s machine threaded end, and drive the screw-thread end into the holes.
Now glue and screw the crossmember into the notches on the base, centering it side-to-side.
The router plate consists of two 18″-long, 9″-wide pieces sandwiched together: a 1/4″-thick plywood, melamine or tempered hardboard face piece and a 1/2″-thick MDF or plywood backing piece (pieces 6 and 7). In the center of the face piece, drill a 2″-diameter hole for the router bit.
Now remove the sub-base of the router you’ll use with the horizontal table, center it on the hole in the face piece, and clamp it down (make sure to orient the sub-base so that the router’s final mounted position on the router plate will locate the On/Off switch facing upwards, for easy operation). Go ahead and chuck a self-centering bit (these have a spring-loaded guide sleeve that centers the bit in a hole) in an electric drill and, using the subbase’s mounting holes as a template, bore the router mounting holes through the face piece. Countersink the holes for the mounting screws so their heads will be flush with the surface of the plate. After sawing a hole in the center of the backing piece large enough to clear your router’s base, carefully align and glue the backing and face pieces together.
Next, drill a hole in the router plate for the hanger bolt that allows the plate to pivot. Fit a router with a circle jig and 5/16″ straight bit set to cut all the way through the plate. Set the circle jig so that the distance between the pivot pin and the centerline of the bit is exactly 16-1⁄2″.
With the router plate clamped atop a wood scrap, rout the curved slot. Attach the plate to the crossmember with a pair of threaded hand screws.