Make a Flush Mount Router Station!

A wood router, is a necessary shop tool, but
they can be awkward to work with when you have to freehand your projects. There’s a
better way, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. In this project, we’re turning any ordinary
table, into a multipurpose work bench, with a built-in, flush mount router station. For this project, we’re gonna need a wood
router. I found this one, on my local classifieds. And we’re gonna need a square foot of plexiglass
or acrylic like this. This piece is 1/4″ thick, it’s crystal clear, and only cost $5.00 from
a local plastics company. Let’s get started by choosing a good spot on the table, then
tracing the edges of the square with a pencil, or a pen. You can see I’ve put a 1/2″ straight
bit into the chuck of this router, and now if we measure from the edge of the blade,
to the side of the sub-base, the distance is 2-5/8″. I used that measurement to cut
a piece of wood that matches perfectly flush with the side. Ok, now we can go ahead and
use our piece of wood as a measuring tool, to draw a border around the outside of the
square. Next, we’ll need to draw an inner square, about 1-1/4″ smaller than the first
one. I decided to angle the corners, for aesthetics, and support, and now all the markings and
measurements look like this. Alright, it’s time to cut ourselves a hole. Let’s start by using a large drill bit to
make holes on the inner sides of the angled lines. This way, we can insert the jigsaw
blade and begin cutting right away. The goal here is to cut each line as straight as possible,
and when we make it back to the starting point, the center piece should fall right out. Now
we still need this plastic plate, to sink down flush with the top of the table. And
we’ll be able to do that with the help of 8 concrete paving stones. The concrete squares
need to line up perfectly with the outside edges of the outer square, and when they’re
all aligned, it’s time for the action. Let’s use the plastic plate, to gauge the cutting
depth. And we can do that by adjusting the height of the sub-base, until the tip of the
bit, is flush with the top of the plate. Now when we turn on the router, and rest the base
flat on the table, it should be cutting down to the exact depth of the plastic mounting
plate. You can see that as we move along in a clockwise direction, the concrete blocks
prevent the side of the router from going out of bounds. This helps keep the cuts clean
and straight, and in-line with the markings we made around the plate. Now that we’ve cut
the outer boundary, we can freehand the router back and forth, until the inner bits are profiled
down as well, then finish up, by sanding the new surface smooth. Now if you look at the
corners, you might notice they’re a bit rounded, so let’s just grind a little bit of plastic
off the corners of the plate, to match the curves. And now you can see that now the plate
will drop straight in, and sit flush with the top of the table. Ok, it’s time to mount the plate, to the router
base. There are 3 screws holding the base plate
on, and when those are removed, it comes off very easily. If we center it on our square,
we can use it as a template, to mark the position of the screw holes, then drill them out with
a 7/32″ drill bit. Now I tried taking a little off the top with a 3/8″ bit, and ended up
with a countersink effect. You can see that when the screws are set back in, they sit
flush with the top, but don’t catch on anything sliding over them. The next step is to drill
a hole in the center with a 1-1/2″ Forstner bit, then make two more holes, in line with
the center using a 7/8″ bit. These two holes will give us handles to remove, and replace
the router at will. Let’s go ahead and remove the protective paper now, then line the plate
up on the router where the sub-base used to sit. The original screws can be returned,
to secure the new plate in place, and you can see the plastic is more than strong enough
to support the weight of the router. I added a couple of beams underneath to re-enforce
the table top, and prevent it from sagging over time. For a nice finishing touch, let’s
try cutting a piece of black construction paper, to make a decorative lining for our
new router station. At this point, our router table is completely finished, and ready for
operation. For our first project, why don’t we try routing the edges of our new table
with this 3/4″ beading bit. You’ll notice that even with the custom mounting plate,
the router is still completely portable, for any projects you need to router by hand. The
extra surface area of the plate, actually keeps the unit more stable, and helps ensure
the cut lines are as straight as they can be. Now just for fun, I gave my table a paint
job so when the router sets in place, the whole thing has got a clean professional look
to it. I also rigged up a switch box for electrical power, that will give us the option of turning
on a backlight, and starting up the router from a safer distance. Now, one of the things
I like best about this design, is that the bit can be fully retracted when we don’t need
it. This means we still have full access to the entire work table. And that can be very
helpful for projects like the rocket rifle that we made in a previous project. And because
the system is so easy to remove and replace, changing out router bits is simple as well.
Well now you know, how to add a professional looking, flush mount router station, to any
work table. So go ahead and make a picture frame, put finishing touches on experimental
projects, or makes some puzzles for entertaining friends, because now you can. That’s it for
now. If you liked this project, perhaps you’ll like some of my others. Check them out at

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