During some recent home improvements I found that the plumber who fitted the central heating for the previous owner of our house had come within about 1mm of nailing into his own pipe while replacing the floor boards.
Unfortunately I found that out the hard way when tapping down nail heads in preparation for a new carpet! 😦
He’d already butchered the tongue and groove quite badly, but in my haste to lift it and get at the leak I certainly didn’t do it any favours and I decided I needed to fabricate some replacement floorboards.
Due to the time constraint of the carpet fitters appointment I ended up sourcing a Draper Fold-Down Workbench the same height as my existing Axminster/Perform one and routing the tongue and groove on the replacement boards freehand with my Draper Expert Combination Router, supported by the jaws of the two Workmate clone benches.
It wasn’t a particularly fun experience and the result was a bit rough in places (there are a couple of sections of paper thin tongue where the router slipped, mercifully hidden by the corresponding groove) and I resolved to own a router table one day.
After a lot of research on the internet, reading books and thinking I decided that the best plan would be to make it myself and I stashed away a few useful links on the subject:
- woodgears.ca/router_lift/version1.html – Matthias Wandel’s original router lift
- woodgears.ca/router_lift/ – Matthias Wandel’s tilting router lift
- woodgears.ca/reader/hector/routerlift.html – Hector’s router lift
- woodgears.ca/reader/router_table.html – John Heisz’s router table
- www.instructables.com/id/Support-Bench-Tools-on-a-Workmate/ – This idea struck a chord with me
- www.instructables.com/id/Bench-mounted-Router-Table/ – Very nice router table
- www.instructables.com/id/The-Interchangeable-Woodwork-Bench-with-Electric-P/ – Bench with interchangeable section for various tools (like a grown up version of my folding power tool table)
- www.fortunecity.com/westwood/makeover/166/id29.htm – Chad’s jack based router lift and table
- www.getwoodworking.com/forums/postings.asp?th=32394 – Forum post which stuck in my head
- www.routerforums.com/table-mounted-routing/15782-my-new-toy.html – A forum post I found recently using a similar folding workbench to mine
Several ideas from the above stuck in my head and I came up with something I think will work and made a quick mock up to illustrate my thoughts:
The idea is to use the frame of one of my two folding workbenches (specifically the Draper one, as the jaws open slightly wider) as a support for a car jack based router lift.
Current thinking is to create a pair of semicircular wooden jaws to hold the router, together with some sort of box frame which can be attached to the top of the jack.
I got some offcuts of 18mm MDF yesterday at Wenban Smith that I think could form the basis of the table surface and face the fence.
To hold the surface onto the workbench I experimented with some plastic hold downs, but I’d like to keep the top of the surface as clear as possible, so I don’t think that’s the answer.
My current thinking is that I will fix some short lengths of dowel under the table surface which can locate into the dog holes in the workbench (possibly opening/closing the jaws slightly to hold it in place).
The mock up fence above is an offcut I found in the loft (presumably left over from the kitchen the previous owner fitted) and is for illustration only.
Having read Jigs & Fixtures for the Table Saw & Router: Get the Most from Your Tools with Shop Projects from Woodworking’s Top Experts I like the idea of using my router as a planer and maybe even a thicknesser, so I’m considering a fence in two sections so I can adjust the depth of cut with it.
I’ll update when I’ve made more progress.