Mobile Router Center

This rolling router center has onboard storage for all your router components, folds into a tidy package, serves as an extra work surface and rolls out of the way when you’re done!

Use It!

Move It!

Store It!

Unfold It!

Organize It!

A router table is one of the most versatile tools you can add to any shop. Whether you’re making doors or moldings, router tables are do-it-all tools. This shop-made unit is a fully featured router table with portability, versatility and compactness. It’s perfect for any shop in which floor space is precious. The top has as much real estate as a full-size router table but, like a benchtop unit, the router center can easily be stowed when you’re done.The key to a flat, rigid table is the torsion-box design. A torsion box is nothing more than a crisscross frame captured in a top and bottom. It’s easy to build, dead flat and solid as a rock.

Build the top

Crosscut both sheets of plywood required for this project into 32″ long slabs (see the plywood cutting diagram, below).

1. Cut to size the ribs (A and B, Fig. A, below), ends (C) and top and bottom skins (D). Cut the hardboard top (E) 1″ larger than the top skin.

2. Glue and screw the torsion-box ribs together (Photo 1). Pin the top and bottom skins to the torsion box (Photo 2). Assemble the torsion box on your tablesaw (Photo 3).

3. After the glue is dry, rough out the cavity in the bottom of the torsion box and trim it flush with a router (Photo 4). Use a 1/4″ round-over bit to ease the sharp corners. Flip the torsion box and flush-trim the hardboard top to match the box’s top skin (D).

 

Build the case

The assembly of the case is very similar to that of the torsionbox top, with internal ribs that create the compartments in the case.

4. Assemble the case ribs (H, J).

5. Glue and screw the case skins (K) to the ribs (Photo 5).

6. Rough-out and flush-trim the router cavity on the inside of the case. Use a 1/4″ round-over bit to ease the corners.

7. Screw and glue the top (L) and bottom (M) to the case. Attach one layer first. Then add the second piece of plywood by screwing from below so no screws show on the top side of the double panels.

8. Cut the door panels (N) to size.

 

Add edge banding

Make all the edge banding 1/32″ oversize in width. After you glue it on, sand it flush to the plywood.

9. Make the banding for the case and door (Q), the double-thickness top and bottom (P) and the torsion-box top (F, G).

10. Cut, fit and glue the narrow banding to the remaining edges of the case and the doors and the wide banding to the top and bottom of the case.

11. Cut, fit and glue the extra-wide banding to the torsion box’s sides and long back edge. You don’t band the long front edge until after you install the T-track (see Step 13).

 

Finish the top

12. Use your router to cut the dado for the T-track (Y) in the top. Cut the T-track to length, file the sawn edges to remove burrs and screw it in place.

13. Cut, fit and glue the final edge banding to the front of the top.

14. Round all the edge-banded corners by handsanding or using an 1/8″ round-over bit.

15. Center the router plate on the top and rout the recess for it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Make the legs

16. Prepare the leg material from solid wood. Cut the parts to final length with a 10° angle on the top ends of the box parts (R, S) and the bottom end of the adjustable foot (T).

17. Cut the leg tapers (Photo 6).

18. Cut the slot in the adjustable foot.

19. Install the T-nut in the leg. Glue and clamp the leg boxes together.

20. Bolt the adjustable foot to the leg box.

 

Put it all together

21. First, screw the hinges to the legs. Then, with the legs in place, screw the hinges to the bottom of the top (Photo 7).

22. Flip the case upside down onto a pair of spacers and install the casters and continuous hinge (Photo 8). The casters we’ve specified are double locking, so they don’t roll or swivel when locked.

23. Fold the top and case together, get some help and flip the case and top assembly upright.

24. Open the top and level it using the adjustable feet.

25. Drill and countersink the table insert and screw it to the opening in the top (Photo 9).

26. Screw the hinges to the door, and fasten the door to the case (Photo 10).

27. Attach the router table switch and chest handle to the folding top.

28. Using the same screws that hold the switch, fasten a bungee cord to the top. This acts as a retainer for one leg when you’re folding and unfolding the table. The other leg swings free so it drops into place when you unfold the table.

 

Make the fence

29. Cut all the fence pieces (U, V, W, X, AA, BB) to size. Tip: Make a handful of subfences so you have extras.

30. Rout the slots in the fence base and face and cut out the bit clearance notches (Photo 11). Long slots in the base allow the fence to skew on the table as you’re making adjustments. Slots in the face allow you to slide the subfences for the adjustable opening in the fence.

31. Glue and screw the face to the base and attach the support blocks and dust port (AA, Photo 12).

32. Cut the T-track and spacer (BB) to length and screw it into the face.

 

Finish it

33. There’s plenty of plywood and hardboard left to make drawers, trays, hooks and racks. Outfit your table to hold all your goodies.

34. Most routers can remain fastened to the top when the table is folded, and they’ll swing right into the cavity in the case. If your router bumps the back of the cavity, just cut that side out, as in Step 6, to provide clearance.

35. Apply a coat of finish to all the wooden parts. It’s not a must to seal the hardboard top, but a coat of paste wax will help your material slide across it better.

Project requirements at a glance

A router table is one of the most versatile tools you can add to any shop. Whether you’re making doors or moldings, router tables are do-it-all tools. This shop-made unit is a fully featured router table with portability, versatility and compactness. It’s perfect for any shop in which floor space is precious. The top has as much real estate as a full-size router table but, like a benchtop unit, the router center can easily be stowed when you’re done.The key to a flat, rigid table is the torsion-box design. A torsion box is nothing more than a crisscross frame captured in a top and bottom. It’s easy to build, dead flat and solid as a rock.

Build the top

Crosscut both sheets of plywood required for this project into 32″ long slabs (see the plywood cutting diagram, below).

1. Cut to size the ribs (A and B, Fig. A, below), ends (C) and top and bottom skins (D). Cut the hardboard top (E) 1″ larger than the top skin.

2. Glue and screw the torsion-box ribs together (Photo 1). Pin the top and bottom skins to the torsion box (Photo 2). Assemble the torsion box on your tablesaw (Photo 3).

3. After the glue is dry, rough out the cavity in the bottom of the torsion box and trim it flush with a router (Photo 4). Use a 1/4″ round-over bit to ease the sharp corners. Flip the torsion box and flush-trim the hardboard top to match the box’s top skin (D).

 

Build the case

The assembly of the case is very similar to that of the torsionbox top, with internal ribs that create the compartments in the case.

4. Assemble the case ribs (H, J).

5. Glue and screw the case skins (K) to the ribs (Photo 5).

6. Rough-out and flush-trim the router cavity on the inside of the case. Use a 1/4″ round-over bit to ease the corners.

7. Screw and glue the top (L) and bottom (M) to the case. Attach one layer first. Then add the second piece of plywood by screwing from below so no screws show on the top side of the double panels.

8. Cut the door panels (N) to size.

 

Add edge banding

Make all the edge banding 1/32″ oversize in width. After you glue it on, sand it flush to the plywood.

9. Make the banding for the case and door (Q), the double-thickness top and bottom (P) and the torsion-box top (F, G).

10. Cut, fit and glue the narrow banding to the remaining edges of the case and the doors and the wide banding to the top and bottom of the case.

11. Cut, fit and glue the extra-wide banding to the torsion box’s sides and long back edge. You don’t band the long front edge until after you install the T-track (see Step 13).

 

Finish the top

12. Use your router to cut the dado for the T-track (Y) in the top. Cut the T-track to length, file the sawn edges to remove burrs and screw it in place.

13. Cut, fit and glue the final edge banding to the front of the top.

14. Round all the edge-banded corners by handsanding or using an 1/8″ round-over bit.

15. Center the router plate on the top and rout the recess for it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Make the legs

16. Prepare the leg material from solid wood. Cut the parts to final length with a 10° angle on the top ends of the box parts (R, S) and the bottom end of the adjustable foot (T).

17. Cut the leg tapers (Photo 6).

18. Cut the slot in the adjustable foot.

19. Install the T-nut in the leg. Glue and clamp the leg boxes together.

20. Bolt the adjustable foot to the leg box.

 

Put it all together

21. First, screw the hinges to the legs. Then, with the legs in place, screw the hinges to the bottom of the top (Photo 7).

22. Flip the case upside down onto a pair of spacers and install the casters and continuous hinge (Photo 8). The casters we’ve specified are double locking, so they don’t roll or swivel when locked.

23. Fold the top and case together, get some help and flip the case and top assembly upright.

24. Open the top and level it using the adjustable feet.

25. Drill and countersink the table insert and screw it to the opening in the top (Photo 9).

26. Screw the hinges to the door, and fasten the door to the case (Photo 10).

27. Attach the router table switch and chest handle to the folding top.

28. Using the same screws that hold the switch, fasten a bungee cord to the top. This acts as a retainer for one leg when you’re folding and unfolding the table. The other leg swings free so it drops into place when you unfold the table.

 

Make the fence

29. Cut all the fence pieces (U, V, W, X, AA, BB) to size. Tip: Make a handful of subfences so you have extras.

30. Rout the slots in the fence base and face and cut out the bit clearance notches (Photo 11). Long slots in the base allow the fence to skew on the table as you’re making adjustments. Slots in the face allow you to slide the subfences for the adjustable opening in the fence.

31. Glue and screw the face to the base and attach the support blocks and dust port (AA, Photo 12).

32. Cut the T-track and spacer (BB) to length and screw it into the face.

 

Finish it

33. There’s plenty of plywood and hardboard left to make drawers, trays, hooks and racks. Outfit your table to hold all your goodies.

34. Most routers can remain fastened to the top when the table is folded, and they’ll swing right into the cavity in the case. If your router bumps the back of the cavity, just cut that side out, as in Step 6, to provide clearance.

35. Apply a coat of finish to all the wooden parts. It’s not a must to seal the hardboard top, but a coat of paste wax will help your material slide across it better.

Project requirements at a glance

Cutting List

Fig. A: Exploded View

Plywood cutting diagram

Sources

(Note: Product availability and costs are subject to change since original publication date.)

Woodworker’s Supply, woodworker.com, 800-645-9292, Taper jig, #825-014.

Peachtree Woodworking Supply, ptreeusa.com, 888-512-9069, Small Router Bit Guard, #1049; 24″ T-track with one knob and bolt, #1018; 48″ T-Track with two knobs and bolts, #1019.

Highland Hardware, highlandwoodworking.com, 800-241-6748, Four casters, #084050; Router table switch, #104903.

Home Center, two sheets 3/4″ x 48″ x 96″ oak ply wood; one sheet of 1/4″ x 48″ x 96″ tempered hardboard; two pair 1/2″ overlay self-closing hinges; one 48″ continuous hinge; one 3-1/2″ chest handle; two 6″ strap hinges; miscellaneous hardware.

Amazon, amazon.com, JessEm 03100 Rout-R-Plate.

1. The router table topis a torsion box, which guarantees a stiff, flat surface. Assemble it with glue and screws, holding the edges flush. Brad-nail the parts first to hold them in place while you drill and drive the screws.

 

2. Pin the top and bottom skins to the torsion box so they don’t shift during clamping. Avoid the T-track locations so you don’t rout into a brad later. It only takes a few brads to hold the parts in place.

3. Glue the torsion-box on your tablesaw. The surface of the saw virtually guarantees a flat top. Place the hardboard face down on the saw, spread a uniform film of glue on the hardboard and lay the torsion box on it. Weight the sandwich with sandbags.

4. Flush-trim the cavity in the bottom of the torsion-box assembly. Use a jigsaw to remove most of the waste first.

5. Assemble the case using glue and screws. Use layout lines to correctly locate the skins on the ribs.

6. Taper the sides of the legs using a taper jig on the tablesaw. The leg sides must be cut to final length before you taper them.

7. Screw the leg hinges to the bottom of the router table top. The legs should bypass each other when they’re folded.

8. Attach the top assembly to the case using a continuous hinge. Use a pair of 2-1/4″ spacers under the case to make it level with the top.

9. Drill and countersink eight holes through the table insert, and fasten it to the top with flat-head sheet-metal screws. This ensures your router won’t tumble out when you fold the table top down.

 

10. Screw the self-closing hinges to the door and fasten the door to the case. It’s easier to drive the screws if you first *** the plywood using a scratch awl.

11. Cut notches in the fence using a jigsaw. After the fence is assembled, the notches provide clearance for router bits.

12. Assemble the fence with glue and screws. Make sure the face and base are dead square to each other.

 




Shop-Built 3-Jaw-Chuck

A cheap, effective turning tool.

3-Jaw-Chuck

Three-jaw lathe chucks are virtually indispensable for a turner, yet the cost of buying one can be prohibitive. Three-jaw chucks are useful when turning small pieces at low speed, and permit multi-axis turning. This shop-made chuck can be made from scraps of maple and a few machine screws. By changing the arrangement of the screw holes, this can also be made into a 4-jaw chuck.

The jaws are positioned in a set of pivot holes depending on the size of the workpiece. For better gripping, add strips of 150-grit sandpaper to the jaw faces, and taper the face of the jaws, as shown. To assist in centering the turning, thin concentric rings are turned into the face of the chuck. With the workpiece in position, tighten the clamping screws equally. It is recommended operating the chuck with the lathe running at less than 700 rpm and only for small workpieces.

3-Jaw-Chuck_Jaws




Box Joint Jig

Box_Joint_Jig




Miter Gauge Fence

Using a miter gauge without an auxiliary fence is like
wearing a pair of trousers without suspenders (or a belt) – you just don’t get the support you need.

And while it’s pretty easy to just screw a piece of wood to the front of your miter gauge, I think it’s worth taking just a couple minutes to make an adjustable auxiliary fence. This way, you can move the fence as close to the blade as you want, even when mitering, see Fig. 2.

JIG CONSTRUCTION. The “adjustable” part of the fence is made up of two sliding pieces, see Fig. 1. A rabbet cut on each piece allows the two pieces to interlock.

The top piece has a couple of threaded inserts so it can be attached to the miter gauge with machine screws, see Fig. 1a.

The bottom piece “floats” under the top one (until the two machine screws are tightened). By sanding the top piece 1/32″ thinner than the bottom, it will “pinch” the bottom piece in place, see Fig. 1a.

A replaceable face is screwed to the front of the bottom sliding piece. This way, when the fence gets chewed up, you can make a new one.

STOP BLOCK. To make the fence even more useful, you can clamp a stop block to the face.




Band Saw Pivot Block


A band saw is a great tool for resawing thick lumber into thinner stock. But because most band saw blades have a tendency to “wander,” controlling a cut can be difficult.

One solution is to use a simple support block, see photo. The nice thing about this block is that it allows you to pivot the workpiece as you push it through the saw to “follow” the direction the blade is wandering.

The guide is nothing more than a block of wood that has been beveled on one end to create a “V” point, see Fig. 1. On the other end, the top of the block is cut away to make it easier to clamp it to the table of the band saw.

To use the block, simply clamp it to the table so it’s just slightly in front of the blade, see Fig. 2.

The distance between the block and the blade should equal the desired thickness of the stock you are cutting. Now just guide the workpiece through the saw, pivoting it against the block as needed.




Crosscut Sled


The miter gauge that comes with most table saws is fine for crosscutting narrow pieces. But if you try to use it to crosscut a wide panel, you’ll quickly discover how inadequate it is.

It rocks back and forth in the slot or bumps into the edge of the table saw top, making crosscutting not only difficult, but potentially dangerous as well.

That’s why I like to use a crosscut sled when cutting large panels. This jig works like a giant miter gauge, allowing you to crosscut wider pieces.

The large, flat base of the sled provides plenty of support for wide panels. A pair of runners guides the sled and the workpiece smoothly through the saw. And a fence on the trailing edge of the sled ensures that every cut will be square.

CONSTRUCTION. To build the jig, start by cutting a piece of 3/4″-thick plywood for the base. (I made mine about 16″ x 30″.)

Next cut a hardwood runner to fit in the miter gauge slot of your table saw. Size the runner so it slides smoothly in the slot. Then glue and screw it to the bottom of the base.

To keep the jig aligned, a second runner is added to the bottom of the base. This one rides against the edge of the table saw extension wing, see photo.

Once both runners are attached, place the jig on your saw and trim off the right edge of the base.

FENCE. For the fence, I used a piece of “2-by” stock with a chamfer routed on the bottom edge for a sawdust relief, see Fig. 1a.

To position the fence so that it’s square to the blade, use a framing square, see Fig. 1. Then just screw the fence to the base.




Push Block


I’ve seen a lot of push blocks or push sticks that are thin and narrow. This allows you to maneuver the push stick between the blade and the rip fence when ripping thin pieces.

But I find that trying to guide a workpiece through a saw with one of these push sticks is a little like trying to push a brick with a straw. This is one case where wider is better.

That’s why I like this push block design. It’s nothing more than an 8″-long block with a shallow notch cut on the bottom, see Fig. 1. The notch fits over the back edge of the workpiece that’s being cut.

The wide profile of the block gives you plenty of control. And instead of fitting between the fence and the blade, this push block is designed to ride right over the blade, see Fig. 2.

After a while, the bottom of the push block will get “chewed up.” When this happens, just throw it out and make a new one.




Frame and Panel Gluing

Gluing up a frame and panel door so it ends up perfectly square can be difficult. The pieces always seem to slip out of square during glue-up.

To prevent this, I built the simple jig shown in the photo below. It provides an accurate reference that makes it easy to square up the door. A glance at the drawing shows that the jig consists of a plywood base that supports the door and two wood cleats that form a square corner. It’s important that the cleats are 90° to each other. So start by attaching one cleat with glue and screws. Then use a framing square to position the second cleat as you glue and screw it in place.

 

 

 


To use the jig, start by placing each clamp directly over (and parallel to) the rails of the frame. Then, adjust the pressure and position of the clamps until the frame sits square in the jig. Note: To prevent glue from sticking to the jig, I brushed on several coats of a polyurethane finish.




Bench Hold-fast


It seems to me that bench hold-fasts are a lot less common these days than they used to be. That’s too bad – they’re really a great way to secure boards to a workbench. But don’t take my word for it. If your bench has holes for bench dogs, you can build one for yourself. All you need is a common bar clamp, a scrap piece of bar stock, and a few minutes.

 

To make a hold-fast, first remove the fixed jaw from the clamp by drilling out the rivet that holds the jaw to the clamp bar, as you can see in Figure 1.

Next, take a small metal strip and fasten it to the bar with a machine screw and nut, as shown in Figure 2. Then to complete the hold-fast, you can “lock” the nut in place by crimping the threads of the screw at the end (Figure 2a).

To use the hold-fast, just swivel the metal strip so it’s parallel to the bar and slip it through a dog hole in the workbench. Then swivel the strip back to hold the clamp, as shown in Figure 3a.

I store my hold-fast under the workbench so I don’t confuse it with a regular bar clamp and so it’s handy when I need it.

 

 

 




Bench Vise Helper


Whenever I clamp a wide panel or long board to my workbench on edge for sanding or planing, I need a way to support the other end. So I built this simple bench vise helper, as shown in the photos to the right. It’s easy to make and allows me to support panels up to three feet wide. To make the vise helper, start by ripping two 36?-long uprights to width from ¾?-thick hardwood. Then I glued two narrow spacers between them to create a consistent 5/16?-wide slot, as you can see in detail ‘b.’.

The next thing to do is cut a pair of feet to shape. Then cut a dado in each foot sized to hold the upright and glue the feet in place. The last thing to make is the adjustable rest for the workpiece. I cut the rest and a mounting plate to size first and glued them together. Next, two shoulder pieces are cut and glued to the rest and the mounting plate to keep it parallel to the floor. I used a carriage bolt and star knob to secure the rest to the upright, as you can see in detail ‘a.’.