I have this router table http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/ma...-0546841p.html which is exactly 2' wide I am building a router table top from a piece of high density MDF from Home Depot. The size is 2'x4'

I need help with positioning the fence, the router plate and the tracks, and selecting the right type of track

  1. The router plate: should I put it in the middle (A) in the picture or in one of the other (B,C,D) positions. Please explain your recommedation
  2. Should I run the fence along the length of the table (as depicted) or should it be the other way?

    3 For the traversal track in the figure (always parallel with the fence, what type of track should I use ? U slot or T track?

Update: the longitudinal rails could also support a fine tuning/high precision fence push mechanism based on something like in the 2nd picture below. I will update the diagram to show that

enter image description here enter image description here

Here is what inspired me

enter image description here

Update 2: The size of the table is somehow dictated by the supporting frame which I grabbed from PrincessAuto here in Canada for $50. It can take up to 100lb. The table is foldable so the space does not become an issue and the table is designed (not shown here) to be able to remove the existing top and replace it with a different one with different functionality. I have no idea how big will the pieces of wood be for my probects but as I mentioned above I will mostly need this for cutting slots and making joits needed for all sort of custom storage units that I will need in different places in my house. The size will vary from full size shelves (floor to ceiling) to small box joints and picture frames. Slots for T tracks for various jigs that I might want to make will be another application.

Update3: OK here is a better concept and use of the table area

enter image description here

Update4: I have rotated the picture and positioned the saw as recommended in the second answer

Update5: here is the fence idea that I am inclined to implement. The pictures are not very clear enter image description here

  • If you want to use your miter slots in the table saw, you will need to enable your runners to slides through the front and back of the table. If they stop at the track for your saw fence, they won't give you enough travel to cut anything. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:02

3 Answers 3


If it were me, I would run the fence along the longer dimension, as that will give your workpiece the most support both on infeed and outfeed when using the fence. I would also probably in that case shift the router insert forward towards the 'front' of the table, closer to your body so you don't have to lean so far, as well as to allow the most amount of travel for the fence.

Is there a reason that you have the left portion of the table sectioned off?

What do you plan to use the router table for? Running longer linear stock against the fence lends itself to the longer orientation I mention above, but if you plan to do a lot of flush trimming and roundover work without the fence, you will want to be able to have work space on all sides of the bit.

  • I am just learning wood working. I am not sure if I will ever have to trim long pieces of wood, to make sense to put the fence along the long side. I have plans to build shelves, some custom cabinets and things of this size. I had no reasons for leaving the left side sectioned off, it is just the piece of MDF that is that long and the supporting frame as well that is also long. I am open to any suggestions on how I could use that side of the table. Maybe for installing a jig saw in a reversed position (blade pointing upward) ?
    – MiniMe
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 17:48
  • Also using the long side for the fence will give me two problems: I will have to make my own fence (more work) and I won't be able to install a high precision DIY fence mechanism (literarly some sort of long threaded bar that will push the fence toward the router
    – MiniMe
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 17:55
  • 2
    If you're just starting out I would give serious consideration to making this smaller. Like a lot. Many pros have tables which aren't 4' in one dimension and virtually all router table builds feature tops that are smaller than this, which taken together amounts to a fairly strong consensus that more modest dimensions than you've proposed is big enough for practical use. Unless you have floor space to burn in your workspace..... but might still be reducing it just to retain manoeuvring room.
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 18:03
  • In that case, you might consider putting the router closer to 'A' at the end, and flip the fence 180° to the middle of the table, and you can work from the end of the table. Then you can use the other side of the table for something else entirely. I have worked in several shops that would use this type of setup to have two routers on each end of the table to setup matching cope and stick profiles simultaneously. Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 18:13
  • The only reason that your inspiration is so long is because of the fence. If you develop a system you could feasibly do it without such a large table (as mentioned above).
    – Dano0430
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 20:07

This opinion is based on the pic in update 3.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but a diy fence on a tablesaw (not to mention that you're on an atypical side of the blade, though that could be fixed by flipping the saw around, though that creates capacity problems...) is a terrible idea. It's critical that the fence be parallel to the blade. if it pinches to the outward side, you'll get kickback. (Pinching the other way is less disastrous but inaccurate.)

If you wanted to implement that pic, I'd suggest a good commercial fence that rides on a rail at the front of the saw. Place the center of the router close enough to the edge that you aren't leaning way over to use it. (Personally, I'd be uncomfortable with 2'. My router table is about 8" from edge to bit.)

And what others say about having width to support infeed and outfeed is valid for typical uses of a router table. If you could describe more of what you plan to do, then we could either try to convince you that we're right or let it drop.

  • I have rotated the saw as you indicated. As far as the router goes it will be operated from the west side of the picture while the router will be operated from the south side of the picture. That will make the router table small as many of the router tables are and the router will be properly positioned as you asked, away from the edge I am leaning over to operate the router. As I think I already mentioned in Update2 what I want to do
    – MiniMe
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 4:59
  • Update 5 looks like it has the potential to be consistently parallel to the sawblade, which is a really good thing. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:48

You mentioned you are just getting started in woodworking, so keep it simple. If you need something more elaborate later, you can redesign to fit your new needs.

Here are a few other points worth considering:

  • Consider whether you have ever needed a larger tabletop and what you will do in the near future which will require a larger router table. Usually if you are working with something that large, you would use an edge guide or other jig and take the router to the workpiece, rather than hefting the workpiece onto a large router table.
  • Your router table fence doesn't need to extend the full width of the table.
  • You may be able to build a better router table fence than the one that came with the off-the-shelf router table
  • A router table built into your table saw extension seems like a great space-saving feature, but it isn't as convenient as a separate router table. You may sometimes find the router needs to be lowered because it interferes with a table saw cut, or you may encounter a situation in which you need to use the router but don't want to move the fence because it's dialed in for the next several table saw cuts.
  • In update 3, it looks like you are only using the router table fence as an anchor point for the micro-adjuster for your table saw fence. Make sure your actual fence retains its setting parallel to the blade. If you need to calibrate the former router table fence parallel to the blade for every cut or every switch between router mode and table saw mode, then square up the table saw fence relative to that, you will not ever want to use your table saw.

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