Now that we have built our router table top and fence it is time to set them on a stand. As we have discussed throughout this series, you have many choices. The two basic options are an open frame like a table, or a closed box like a kitchen cabinet. Both have a place and which you select will depend on your specific needs.
The cabinet style stand shown on the left features a flip top with an enclosed area for the router and storage below for jigs, sleds and such. The open frame on the right is lighter, more portable, and typically easier to make. The top does not need to flip up for servicing the router since it is using a router lift.
I already had the cabinet style router table, and wanted a portable table for working on the jobsite, so that is what I designed for this project. The frame is all cut from 2 x 6 stock, and designed to fold for compact storage.
Being typically lighter in weight, open frame stands may need some additional weight when performing heavier milling operations. A shelf can be added to store bought stands for storage, and this is an excellent place to set a sandbag. I included a stretcher between the feet of my stand for strength and insured that it was flat so I could add weight if needed. Though my stand uses two uprights, building a basic four-legged stand is also easy and straight forward.
Cabinet stands generally look neater, keep the mess enclosed, and can be fitted with drawers and doors for storage. My bit collection is way too large to store in a cabinet this size, so I keep inserts, wrenches, push-blocks and the like stored on board. Building one is straight forward, being an open topped box with fixed shelves or dividers where needed. The web is chock full of plans.
Dust collection at the fence is always important for the best possible cut quality, but collecting the dust that falls through the throat opening can be a challenge in an open frame stand. In the shop this is not such as issue, but working in a house it can be. Rockler's Dust Bucket is an excellent option for containing the mess in open frame cabinets. Both of these stands use a “Y” pipe, or “Dual Port” connector to evacuate both the fence opening and router box using a 4” dust collector hose. PVC “Y” pipes can be adapted to perform this task as well.
Your shop size and layout as well as the type of tasks you want to perform should help you decide what sort of router table stand is best for you. You can then choose to build or buy the stand you need. With your new top and fence securely mounted to your stand, you are ready to start using your new router table. In the next blog post, we will discuss the accessories that you can build or buy to get the most from you new shop addition.