Thursday, March 1, 2012

Router Table Base

This project describes the construction of a router table base cabinet. The construction of the Router table top. is shown on a separate post in this blog.

Router table base, sketch from notebook.

Almost completed router table base cabinet.

This sketch of the router table base is from a 8" by 5" Top Flight notebook which I use to track my project. As you can see, this design is like many that can be found on the Web, but you will find here a complete BOM and a step by step assembly in words and pictures.

The router table base is built with Kreg pocket screws, as many of the other projects in this blog. One lesson I have learned using the pocket screws is not to assume that two pieces of square cut wood assembled at right angles will be at right angle when the glue set. After the pieces are assembled, I use squaring blocks, as shown in the pictures below, to hold the pieces square until the glue sets, about an hour.

Step by Step Construction
    1. Make long cuts for sides, center and bottom panels 1/4" oversize, then trim to size
    2. Use a table saw sled to cut ends to length. A sled is a handy tool.
    3. Drill pocket holes in bottom and center panels on bottom.
    4. Screw and glue pieces together. Use squaring blocks while glue is setting.
    5. Drill pocket holes in drawer area verticals on inside of drawer area.
    6. Glue in place and use squaring blocks.
    7. Cut top cleats to size and drill pocket holes
    8. Screw and glue cleats in place to end panels and drawer verticals. Make sure drawer area width is equal top to bottom.
    9. Cut back support cleat to size and install under center panel. Glue.
    10. Cut 1/2" poplar to 3/4" width
    11. Glue and nail poplar to front edge of cabinet. Use 3/4" brads. 
    12. Sand cabinet, including front edge
    13. Round over all cabinet edges using a router and 1/8" round over bit
    14. Sand all edges lightly
    15. Seal all surfaces with Bulls Eye SealCoat
    16. Add back later.

    Bottom screwed to side with squaring blocks.

    Main components of base assembled.
    Back cleat to re-enforce center shelf.
    Drawer section verticals. Pocket holes on inside.
    Cabinet with 1/2" poplar front edging.

    BOM - Cabinet
    1. Side                   29 3/4" x 21 1/2"    qty 2
    2. Center/bottom    28 1/2" x 21 1/2"    qty 2
    3. Inside verticals   11 1/4" x 21 1/2"    qty 2
    4. Top cleats          3"        x 28 1/2"     qty 2
    5. Back cleat          3"        x 28 1/2"     qty 1
    6. Corner cleats                                    qty 2
    7. Caster strips       3"        x 30"           qty 2

    Making Drawers:

    Before the cabinet design was completed, the drawer area vertical height was determined. Three drawer sizes were chosen, 3", 3" and 4" and spacing of 1/4" top and bottom with 3/8" between drawers. This gives the following vertical drawer height:  1/4+3+3/8+3+3/8+4+1/4 = 11 1/4".

    The next need is to determine the position of the 20" Euro slides in the cabinet.  Because of the way the drawers are made the side mount Euro slide are easier to mount. For simplicity the slides are mounting on the center of the drawer side plus 1/8" ( Note 1). Next we must determine the position of slides in the cabinet assuming 3,3, and 4 drawer size from the top.
    1. 3" drawer: 1/4 + 1 1/2 = 1 3/4"
    2. 3" drawer: 1 3/4 + 1 1/2 + 3/8 + 1 1/2 = 5 1/8"
    3. 4" drawer: 5 1/8 + 1 1/2 + 3/8 + 2 = 9"
     To facilitate the following steps, place the cabinet on its left side on the bench. So measuring from the top of the vertical space, the first slide is at 1 3/4", the second at 5 1/8" and the last at 9". Since the drawer front will be indented, i.e., flush with the cabinet sides, the slides will be set back from the front by 9/16". The slide position lines need to be drawn perpendicular to the front cabinet edge and then a line drawn indented by 9/16" parallel to the front edge. See picture below. If you are not sure of these calculations, then lay them out on a piece of paper or scrap wood, including the top and bottom of each drawer.

    To mount the slides, position a left side cabinet slide with the front on the 9/16" line and along the position line with the line centered in the screw holes. Using a nail or a 1/16" center punch make a starter hole centered in the first small screw hole. Press a flat head screw into the hole and screw in place. Do the same at the far end using a small hole. Two screws per slide should be sufficient. Repeat the above with the right side drawer slides.

    Drawers: 3", 3" and 4"

    Slide positioning lines.

    Left side Euro slides mounted.
    To mount a slide to a 3" drawer, measure 1 5/8" from the top of the drawer and draw a line the length of the drawer. Lay a slide, make sure you have the correct one, along the line with the front of the slide even with the drawer front. Screw it in place. Try the drawer in the top position. It should clear the top by 1/4". Repeat this process with the other drawers, except for the 4" drawer, draw the line at 2 1/8".. There should be a 3/8" clearance between drawers.

    Measure 1 5/8" from top of the 3" drawer both ends.

    Mark line on side of drawer.

    Making the Drawer Fronts:

    The following method works for both full extension and Euro slides.

    Step 1: From 1/2 (12 mm) plywood cut the front 1/4" smaller than the horizontal opening and 1/4" larger than the nominal drawer height. 

    Step 2: With a 1/8"R  round over bit dress the front edge of the drawer front. After filling any voids in the edge sand and seal the drawer front both sides. Then coat with polyurethane.

    Drawer front marked for handle.
    Step 3: Find vertical and horizontal of the drawer front and mark with pencil. Using center punch, mark position of handle holes. Then drill holes using a 3/16" brad pointed or dowel bit to prevent tearing around hole. 

    Front drilled for handle.
    Step 4: Clamp the drawer front to front part of the drawer. Use 1/8" spacers at bottom edge and center the front. Use a mini clamp to hold front in place will handle holes are drilled through. Insert handle screws from inside draw and fastened handle. If it was a wide drawer, 3/16" holes would be drilled through the front of the drawer at each end, then 3/4" #8 screws would be used to hold the drawer front in place. After that, drill and mount the handle. 

    Squeeze clamp holding drawer front in place with 1/8" spacer at bottom edge.
    Front positioned and ready to be drilled.
    Finished drawer front.
    Step 4: The method used above will not work for the top draw, so I use two small pieces of carpet tape on the front of the drawer. A spacer is used to space the drawer fronts. Set the drawer front at an angle on the spacer then tip the front forward until the tape is contacted. Clamp and drill handle holes.

    Using carpet tape. Note 1/8" spacers.
    BOM Drawers

        3" Drawer:
      1. Sides:          qty 2, 2 13/16" x 16" x 1/2"
      2. Front/Back: qty 2, 2 13/16" x 5 9/16" x 1/2"
      3. Bottom:       qty 1, 5 9/16" x 16" x 3/16"
        4" Drawer:
      1. Sides:     qty 2, 3 13/16" x 16" x 1/2"
      2. Front
      3. Bottom:
      1. 20" Side mount Euro Slides,  Liberty  D66320C-W-TS, HD
      2. Kreg 1" pocket screws
      3. Glue

       Material: 12mm (15/32") Blonde Plywood from Lowes or equivalent.

      For a small shop it is very handy to be able to move tool cabinets around. Casters have been added to most of the projects on this blog, but they all have a common failing, they move a little even if locked. The router cabinet with the router installed has a low center of gravity, so on this cabinet two rigid caster and two short legs have been used. Another choice would be to use two levelers in place of the legs. To move the cabinet simply lift the end with the legs off the floor and roll on the caster. I would worry about using this method on cabinets with a high center of gravity like with a bench drill press because lifting one end might tip the hole thing. The method may work with the miter cabinet.

      Legs and 2" rigid casters

      Legs cut from 1 1/2" poplar and mounted with a 5/16" x 3 1/2" lag bolt.


      The electric consists of a front mounted switch and an internal duplex outlet. The switch turns both the router and a vacuum on together. Initially, a wall type switch will be used, but will be replaced by the Grizzily switch shown below which is designed to mount on a standard electric box.

      Electric boxes to be mounted. Note bracket.

      Bracket for switch box.

      Switch mounted.

      Power cord dressed at back of drawer area.

      Duplex outlet and power cord.

      Switch that will mount in standard electric box as shown in above picture.

        1 comment:

        1. the drawers looks neat for me, rate 8/10. Also, visit my website if you can