Homemade Router Table with Shop-Made Router Base Plates


Shop-Made Router Base PlatesEveryone knows that the router is an incredibly versatile tool. A huge variety of router bits, aftermarket jigs, fences and guides for sale at home renovation and specialty woodworking stores make the possibilities for the router seem endless. The easiest way to broaden the scope of your router, however, won’t require a trip to the store. I want to show you how to make three base plates; a large-hole base plate, a router table base plate, and a circle jig base plate. Each one takes about a half hour to make and your router will become three times as versatile as before.

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Shop-Made Router Base Plates Homemade Router Plate. I bought a new rabbet bit for my router and was excited to try it out. Has this ever happened to you? When you tried to mount the bit in your router, you found the hole in the factory base plate was too small for the router bit to fit through. While some router bits are really too big to run in a hand held router, this bit is safe, but the hole is just too small.

Shop-Made Router Base Plates Rather than track down a different sized rabbet bit, just make a new base plate for your router that can accommodate your new bit. The first step is to remove the existing base plate. These are usually 1/4″ thick and made out of a plastic material. Use a screwdriver to unscrew the mounting screws that hold the base plate to the router.

Shop-Made Router Base Plates Next, trace the location of the center hole and the mounting holes onto your future base place. I like to use 1/2″ thick MDF because I usually have scrap around my shop, and it is thick enough to countersink the mounting screws. Mark the center of the middle hole for boring out the waste.

Shop-Made Router Base Plates Once you have the location of the holes marked, bore the center hole out with a Forstner bit mounted in your drill press. Bore a hole at least 1/4″ bigger than the cutter head on your router bit. This gives enough clearance for the bit to spin freely. Clamp the base plate to the drill press table to make sure it doesn’t go flying across the room.

Shop-Made Router Base PlatesNext, drill and countersink the pilot holes in the base plate for the mounting screws. I use a small piece of 2″ pink insulating foam to drill into so I don’t mar my bench top. I use a combination drill bit/countersink. The pilot hole is usually a little small on these combo bits, so you may have to ream it out with a slightly larger drill bit. Because the new base is thicker than the old one, you’ll need to make sure that the screw holes are deep enough, and the screws long enough, to get plenty of bite into the router base.

Shop-Made Router Base Plates Now the rabbet bit fits! Lightly sand the surfaces and edges with sandpaper wrapped around a block to knock off any sharp or protruding spots on the new base. Once you have the pilot holes and countersink drilled, screw the new base plate onto the router. Here, I am adjusting the bit for height in the new base plate.

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Faster, Easier, Safer! Make a Simple Homemade Router Table. I’m always amazed at how impatient I have been. Although I’m embarrassed to admit it, in the past I have flipped a router over, rested it on the motor and done small chamfers and round-overs… but not any more now that I have this “router table” hanging on my wall!

Shop-Made Router Base PlatesAnother way to use a home-made router base is to make the simplest router table imaginable! Follow the same steps as before, but with a larger piece of MDF, and clamp it upside down to your workbench. This one is 18″ x 22″ and is perfect for rounding over small parts. It is safer than setting your router upside down on your bench, and the larger table size makes it much more stable.

Shop-Made Router Base PlatesIf you need a fence, there is an easy answer for that too. Just joint 2 edges of a scrap 2 x 4 and cut out a small void where you want your bit to go. If you just need a straight edge, don’t bother with the hole. Clamp it where you want it and you’re re ready for lightweight shaping! It’s not beautiful, but it gets the job done.

Circle Template Too! Making a circle template using the same technique is just as easy as the other home-made jigs. Make a base plate approximately 8″ x 30″ long. Mark and bore the holes on one end of the jig.

Shop-Made Router Base Plates Once you’ve mounted the router in the jig, measure one half the distance from the edge of the router blade (turned parallel to the long side of the jig) and mark that point with a pencil. I needed a 30″ round table top, so I measured 15″ from the router bit to my center.

Shop-Made Router Base Plates Drill at your mark for the center of your circle in the bottom of the jig.

Shop-Made Router Base PlatesDrill a screw through the center hole you drilled through the jig into your work-piece. If you are making a template, you can drill through the entire piece, or if you are making a finished piece, be sure to secure the jig in the center hole on the BOTTOM of your piece. While this operation may also use a plunge router, I’m doing it with a fixed base. Turn the router on and gently lower the router bit into the work piece.

Shop-Made Router Base Plates Gently push the router through your wood, and the router will follow the radius you determined. Make multiple passes, lowering 1/8″ at a time. This is the safest method that yields the cleanest cut.

Photos By Author

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32 Responses to “Homemade Router Table with Shop-Made Router Base Plates”

    • Customer Service

      Hello Steve,

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  1. Jerry Dempsey

    I had a router table base plate but over the years the weight of the router has caused it to bend. I was looking for material to make a new one but never thought of MDF. I’ll give it a try.

    • John Sprinkle

      I just found this post today and I am going to build one. I am thinking of using MDO (crezone) for the strength of the plywood and smoothness of the overlay.

  2. Hacy

    Awesome, just picked up a used router for $20.00, it did not have a base plate, going use your plans, thank you, Hacy”

    • Bull27

      I love this post I’ve been thinking for about four months on making a rotor table you just answer my question cheap easy and efficient thank you very much great post

  3. Dean

    Why can’t I see shop made router base plates and other videos. I am a Gold member. I have tried to see router templates from jigs and plans and can’t see the videos.

    • Customer Service

      Hi Dean. You will need to be logged in to your membership with your username and password to view. If you are still having issues viewing please contact our customer service team at 1-855-253-0822.
      Jean-WWGOA Video Membership

  4. William

    Great table for beginners who cant afford a good system. Circle jig is just like factory made one and won’t cost very much.

  5. Nedly

    Great idea. I plan on making an additional base but my use a clear thick plastic so I can see what I am routing.

    • ROBERT

      Thanks for the great idea. I have trouble seeing my lines while trying to do different shapes and intricate patterns.

  6. Richard Beck

    I was just reading about making a router table to use in your workshop. Its one that you can leave in your shop some where out of the way but I was wondering what if you need the piece of wood that you made your router table out of. Wouldn’t it be much more simpler to just make yourself a router table that you can leave standing in your shop so you don’t loose or use the one that you made for your shop. I made myself a router table for my shop and it’s anchored to one end of my work bench. The bench is moveable so if I am working on a large piece of wood I can move the bench out to where I have a little extra room to work on the piece of wood even if it only needs just one side done. My router table is about six inches bigger around than the router itself just so the router doesn’t overheat and burn up. My router is a good craftsman and I don’t know what I would do if anything were to happen to the router. I am not someone who can go to the store and buy another one just because I need it. It would take me a while to replace it if it suddenly quit working.

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Richard. There are many ways that you can make a router table, ranging from very economical to an extremely elaborate freestanding unit. The approach that you describe of anchoring it to your bench is an interesting one, and could be quite effective. Another popular approach is to build it into a table saw extension wing where you can utilize the same fence as your table saw.

  7. Luis CACERES Ficca

    Agradeceré indicar si es posible recibir su importante aporte en español para Chile.

  8. Adam

    This is cool.
    I have also seen a simple solution making a base plate much like you have done here and likewise making it square… ONLY THIS TIME: make the measurement to each edge of your new base plate UNIQUE and SPECIFIC, giving you 4 different distances from a fence! The fence can be temporary or fixed. I thought it was brilliant when I saw it.
    Have you seen a good tutorial on making a plunge attachment for a router? Video would help. Thanks :-)

    • WWGOA Team

      Hi and thank you for your question and comments. Unfortunately we do not have plans for a plunge attachment, but we will keep this in mind for a future topic to cover.

  9. law1938ii

    I did this several years ago whilst making saw blade storage drawers/trays. Using your measuring process, I made one jig to accomodate the 4 different blades and grinder discs that are common to my shop. Made from scrap 1/4″ masonite, its still in use today for various projects. Glad you posted this. I would probably never have thought to share it so others can benefit.

  10. Indranil Banerjie

    Ingenious stuff! Absolutely amazing. I live in a small town in India and have no access to fancy woodworking equipment. Your insights are so good. Its unbelievable. Now I think I can get a router table at last! Thanks, mate.

  11. Indranil Banerjie

    Ingenious stuff! Absolutely amazing. I live in a small town in India and have no access to fancy woodworking equipment. Your insights are so good. Its unbelievable. Now I think I can get a router table at last! Thanks, mate.