I wanted a router table, but I didn’t want to dedicate the floor space to a full table on casters. My router is an older Makita 3606 which doesn’t match up to any of the current pre-drilled router table plates. So I needed something flexible and easy to store, and I wanted the plate to be stiff and inexpensive.
First the plate: I thought about purchasing a piece of 1/4″ thick aluminum plate and cutting my own. I wasn’t sure I had the tools I needed to work the aluminum and I knew a commercial product would most likely be superior to anything I made. A few searches on Amazon later and I found the Kreg Blank Insert Plate. I felt the price was reasonable, it had a good router centering “bulls-eye”, and it was thick so it wouldn’t flex. The bulls-eye on the bottom of the plate makes drilling for the screws super simple. Just take off your existing router plate/surface and use the rings to center it on the bottom. A few minutes later with a 1/4″ drill bit and counter sink bit and I was in business.
I already owned the Black and Decker Workmate. The two boards with dogs that tighten with the vice screws makes dropping in a board with the router attached a simple process. All I needed to do was build the router table top which I can easily store out of the way when I’m using the Workmate or router for other jobs.
For the table top, I started out with a piece of 3/4″ baltic birch plywood cut to 22 1/2″ x 15 1/2″ to fit my Workmate. To this I added a top of whiteboard material, glued and screwed. This will allow my work pieces to easily glide across the surface, plus I already had the material on hand. After tracing the outline of the plate to the board, I got out the jigsaw and started cutting. A little frustration and sanding later and the plate fit in the hole.
The plate comes with 4 screws. I wanted to be able to fine tune the height of the plate without having to cut a rabbit. I attached two strips of plywood and hammered in 8 threaded inserts. 4 of the inserts matched the holes on the Kreg plate. The other 4 were set inside those holes to provide support with 4 more screws. This allows me to either push each corner up and down and tighten it down with little effort.
Finally, I added some more plywood in each corner to make it easier for the dogs to hold the table top. All together is makes a sturdy table top that I can easily clamp a fence to for all of my table routing needs.
I’ve made one project with my “break-down” router table so far. It worked great. As far as upgrades, I can easily purchase some t-track and route out two slots in the table top to add a more permanent fence solution, maybe with feelers as well. I’ll worry about that when I feel like I need those features.
The Kreg Blank Router Insert Plate cost $53 from Amazon.com. The wood and hardware probably would come out to about $20-$25 from the big box stores. So for less than $80, you can make a custom router table that you can easily store out of the way and is more useful than a cheap plastic one that costs more. Thanks Kreg for making it possible!