OK, I forgot to tell you something

After I said I would tell you how to make or purchase the top for my router table, I didn’t! Sorry about that. I will tell you how now (brown cow).

To make a router tabletop to go with my router table, use two pieces of 5/8″ x 24 x 32 MDF. (This will make a 1-1/4″-thick top, which is a good size.) Glue them together in a sandwich. You can do this working on a flat surface. First, find some heavy stuff – a toolbox full of tools, an old electric motor, bricks, a five-gallon bucket full of water, an old engine block or what-have-you.

Now, place one sheet on the worksurface and apply a film of wood glue. Then place the other sheet on top and put the heavy stuff on top of this sandwich. I once used the jack from my truck. I put it on top of a laminated sandwich, put a board on top of the jack long enough to reach my floor joists (I had a basement shop) and raised the jack until there was enough pressure to hold the parts in place until the glue dried.

After the glue in the sandwich (I’ll now call it the top) has dried (usually overnight), scrape any glue squeezeout off and trim the edges so they are flush using your table saw. You can also use a router or circular saw with a straightedge guide.

Next, if you like, cut a groove to fit your table saw miter gauge. This is usually about 3/8″ deep and Ã?¾” wide, but measure your miter gauge’s guide bar to be sure. Use your table saw with a dado-head cutter or your router and a straightedge guide. You can purchase an aluminum U-shaped track (available at Rockler) and install it in a groove if you like. Just be sure the track will accommodate your miter gauge guide bar.

Purchase the plate and inserts first. You can find them at Rockler, Kreg and a number of other sellers. Type “router table insert” into your internet search engine and boom!, you’ll find lots of sources. If you want to make your inserts, go for it. I made one because I needed a larger opening for my largest panel-raising cutter.

To cut the hole to fit your insert, view Bob Lang’s video at: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/router_base_plate_video.

Some folks like to apply high-pressure laminate to their router tabletops. Feel free to do this. Remember to laminate both the top and bottom. You can also install T-molding around the edges to finish it off. Or, you can break the sharp edges of the top and apply two coats of polyurethane, which I’ve done on other tops. The polyurethane is just as good as high-pressure laminate. Be sure to sand between coats. You want this surface as smooth as possible.

Install the top on your router table and your ready to start making some sawdust. Or should I say routerdust.

If you prefer to purchase a router tabletop, type in “router tabletop” in your search engine and you’ll find several sellers. Rocker, Harville Tool and ttrackuse.com each have very nice tops for sale.

Jim Stack, jim.stack@fwmedia.com