Simple Router Table Guide

Simple Router Table

While many woodworkers spend weekends making stationary router tables, mine have always been very simple, driven by expediency, and the desire to get other things done. My first was just a router base screwed to the underside of a piece of plywood. I simply clamped the plywood to a workbench, installed the router and bit, clamped on a board as a fence, and let her rip.

Things haven’t changed much in my shop. I still like the convenience of a router table that I can quickly disassemble and store, so I don’t lose the floor space that a stationary router table would require. One thing that has changed, however, is that the router table I use today is more sophisticated. It has an aluminum router plate and a pivoting fence with dust collection. This table takes only an hour or two to build, and it can last for years. To make your own, you’ll need a router plate and a plunge router equipped with a template guide.

Manufactured router plates work great. They include zero clearance inserts for safer routing and they make it even easier to put the router table away when I’m done with it. The method I use to install the router plate is nearly foolproof, and it’ll work for any square or rectangular router plate (the one shown here came from Rockler, see Source). This method is very accurate, too, so it’s suitable to use on even the most deluxe router table.

Make the table and install the plate

The first step is to choose a suitable piece for the table (A, Fig. A), which must be absolutely flat and very rigid. I usually use 3/4″ plywood. The table’s dimensions can vary, but I prefer a large surface, with at least 12″ of support on both the infeed and outfeed side of the bit.

Clamp the table with one end overhanging your bench, so you can rout the hole for the router plate. Locate the plate on the table so it’s centered between the sides and offset toward the front edge. This orientation makes the table more versatile: The short side works for most routing operations; the long side provides additional support for large pieces such as door panels.

Simple Router Table Cut List





Th x W x L





3/4″ x 28″ x 28″


Fence Face


Hard maple

3/4″ x 3-1/2″ x 41″


Fence Base


Hard maple

3/4″ x 2-3/8″ x 41″


Dust Box Top


Hard maple

3/4″ x 2-3/8″ x 7″


Dust Box Side


Hard maple

3/4″ x 2-3/8″ x 2-3/4″


Dust Box Back


Hard maple

3/4″ x 2″ x 5-1/2″


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