6

I am a woodworking newbie.

Recently I decided to obtain a router table and am curious why some woodworkers choose to make their own rather than purchase a manufactured one.

What are some reasons to build your own vs. buying one?

I will appreciate it if you share what features are included in your self-built router tables vs. those from equipment companies.

8
  • 3
    I don't think this is answerable. Many folks never bought a commercial table in the first place. Others will have specific reasons for switching to, from, or between table designs but those will vary depending on that individual's needs. Plans are easily available on the internet; if you don't like any of those some more sophisticated designs have been published in woodworking magazines... Sort through, decide what makes sense for your needs, combine ideas as appropriate, and have fun. Note that a functional router table can be absolutely trivial; plywood and scrap lumber.
    – keshlam
    Jan 15, 2017 at 2:26
  • 1
    I am a newbie, just like to know more scopes before I purchase one. And I guess I can learn more from master's points if they ever gave up one, isn't it? I am not going to seek a plan, I like to know why more.
    – bard
    Jan 15, 2017 at 2:33
  • You will learn more by researching this yourself.
    – keshlam
    Jan 15, 2017 at 2:38
  • 3
    Also note that you can build a minimal table, work with it for a while, decide for yourself what else you need, and then build or buy another which addresses those requirements. Repeat until satisfied, but in my experience no woodworker is ever completely satisfied by any tool; they just run out of space or budget.
    – keshlam
    Jan 15, 2017 at 3:18
  • 1
    Because mine is attached to my table saw (just like this; not actually mine) in order to save space in my shop. The bench dog router table extensions are way too expensive for me. Jan 15, 2017 at 14:05

1 Answer 1

9

Why choose a DIY router table over a manufactured version?

  • Typically cheaper. Obviously a lot depends on what you make it from (phenolic-laminated HD-MDF versus bare MDF from the local big-box) and what you add to it (commercial mitre gauges, fences etc.).
  • More feature-rich (if desired). Some people are happy with very basic router tables because they provide all they need1.
  • Only the features you want and no others.
  • Infinitely adaptable with basic woodworking tools and skills.
  • Can be more stable. Particularly (but not exclusively) lower-cost router tables are neither as robustly built nor as stable as you'd like. Obviously dependent on materials choices and build quality a homemade router table can be small but heavy and completely resistant to racking if put together properly.
  • Satisfaction of having made it yourself.

I will be appreciated if you share what are included in your self-built router table plans that are advantages over those from equipment companies.

One of the chief advantages a homemade router table can provide I think is a split fence. Split fences are available on commercial router tables, but generally not at the budget end, and even when they are provided they can be a little wobbly.


1 Strongly recommend you go this way initially, then figure if you need more features after actually using the table for a while. Many of the "Oh that's a good idea!" features are just that, a good idea and of little day-to-day use to the average owner (just as many of the router bits in a typical set will see little or no use with most buyers).

The most basic of all router tables is a sheet of some board material (doesn't matter so much what it is) with a hole roughly in the centre for the bit to poke through, clamped to the edge of an existing table. The fence is provided by a straight piece of 1x2 clamped to it. Yes this really is enough, and for many it means it can be built entirely from scraps, giving a total materials cost of $0/£0/€0.

5
  • 1
    Amen to footnote 1. If you really want to go all-out and boost the budget by about $1, you can put a nut/bolt through one end of the fence, pivot around that and clamp the other end. Jan 15, 2017 at 17:26
  • Definitely more stable. If integrated into a work bench, can also handle larger stock.
    – bpedit
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:53
  • 6
    @AloysiusDefenestrate A dollar? Geez, we're not all made of money!
    – Graphus
    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:55
  • 1
    I might add space-saving. I integrated mine into my tablesaw and lost no footprint in my shop.
    – dfife
    Jan 19, 2017 at 15:54
  • $0/£0/€0 it seems Graphus couldn't find the current exchange rate for the yen... :)
    – FreeMan
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.