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Thread: Router table woes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Upstate S.C. near Anderson

    Router table woes

    This might be my first post on this forum. I like the atmosphere! Thanks for keeping it family friendly! I put a 3/4" birch plywood top for a router table. When I run a raised panel bit, it starts making it thin, gets thick in the middle of the cut, and then it narrows toward the last part of the cut. Checking the flatness of the table, I found that it sags, so I took a hydraulic jack and leveled it for a temporary fix. My question is: What material am I going to use to replace the table top. Am I going to have to put stiffeners on the underside to prevent sagging? I am thinking that MDF might be a good choice. I will appreciate your help.

    Old Woodie
    Jim Evatt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    On my first one, I used plywood, and it sagged. On my second one, I used doubled 3/4" MDF. That'll fix its wagon, I said. The joke was on me!

    On the third one, which has held up, I used doubled 3/4" MDF, with 3/4" by 2" lateral hardwood supports underneath.

    So, it only took me three tries to get it right!


    (if I could afford one of those cool thick aluminum numbers, I would, but even though it's pretty cold outside, I don't think heck has frozen over quite yet...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    Um, what size is the table? I am going to makew my next top out of corain. on top of a 3/4" slice of mdf, unless I get my shaper before then. Bbraces should be put every foot or so This will help with any sagging.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lake City, Florida
    I made mine from a solid core wood door. I got a used door from a local salvage yard cheep ($20 if I remember?). Cut to size, edged with maple and laminate top. It's good and heavy and sets on top of a Norm style router table. Had enough left for a shelf, a new top for a friends workmate and a drill press table.

    Tony, BCE '75

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    My old one was 3/4" mdf with a thin laminate. After it sagged (using only the manufacturer's supplied supports) I built a rib support instead of just supporting it around the edges. In this thread I am replacing the top (for other reasons), but you can see the support frame:
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Quote Originally Posted by Al killian View Post
    Um, what size is the table? I am going to makew my next top out of corain. on top of a 3/4" slice of mdf, unless I get my shaper before then. Bbraces should be put every foot or so This will help with any sagging.
    I used Corian®, epoxied to 1" plywood. Cut a hole in the plywood just big enough for my router base, and drilled thru the Corian® to mount the router (Hitachi M12V) directly - no insert. It's been nearly four years now, and no sag so far...
    Jim D.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Hi Jim

    Welcome to the forum.

    I used baltic birch plywood the one that has multi thin layers and then built a torsion box type frame under the table in the middle leaving enough space for the router and my router plate. Router plate came from Lee Valley.

    I have no sagging but this is not the perfect table top, some of the suggestions above me are much better. Just wanted you to know you can fix what you have.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Butte Montana which is 1/2 way between Purgatory and Heaven

    Router Table Woes

    I have built 3 router table tops and have never any sag.

    All tables were 24 x 32 inches

    Number 1 was constructed with 3/4 inch Baltic Birch, sandwiched between 3/4 inch MDF, both top and bottom surfaces covered with Formica. 3/4 x 2 1/4 Oak strips on four edges .

    Number 2 is the same as above, with the exception that I used 3/4 Particle Board rather than the Baltic Birch

    Number 3 was constructed with 2 pieces of 1/2 inch plywood sandwiched between 3/4 inch MDF, both top and bottom covered with Formica. 3/4 x 2 1/4 Walnut strips on four edges If you use this top check your plywood. If there is a bow or cupping be sure you place them so the cup is in the center.

    There are several sites on the web giving good instruction. This site has several sources for free plans.

    Jiggs Elphison

  9. #9
    I made several router table tops over the years... wasn't happy with any of them. Now I have two JoinTech phenolic tops on JoinTech stands. Sure wish I hadn't wasted so much time trying to make one myself.

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