So, I have to cut 16 mortises, 3/16″ wide by 3/4″ long by 1/2″ deep in the 3/4″ square stiles for the Blacker House style sconce I’m making. I did a few experiments with chopping these by hand and it’s too slow and fussy for my current skills. I need to practice more, but I also want to get this light made. So I decided to set up a simple router table to crank these mortises out.
Step one, I started scrounging on craigslist for a ready-to-go router table. I don’t want (or need) another project. I found a few for sale including a nice Jessem setup, but they were all way more money than I wanted to spend on something like this. Several folks were selling the typical particle board and Formica tops with the plastic insert on 2×4 legs – for hundreds of dollars. Not my cup of tea. I was on the verge of making one from scratch when I found a guy selling a Bosch 1617 router and a steel Bench Dog table top. This is a steel top that it meant to attach to the left side of a standard table saw. It won’t work with my saw, but a router right there would be in the way after all (which is why this one was for sale).
I started with a simple sketch.
I thought about making a cabinet base out of plywood, with drawers for bit storage and so forth. But I also wanted to just get this done and operational so I could get on with my sconce project So I decided on a fabricated steel stand. I had some 2″ square tube on hand, so I cut app the pieces and de-burred it.
Then went at it with the welder. I tack welded all the parts and triple checked to make sure they were square. The heat from welding will easily pull parts out of alignment, and in a few cases I chose where the next weld went to pull parts back into alignment.
I took about an hour and a half to cut the tubing and weld up the stand. I don’t think I could have made this in wood any faster.
I added two tabs to the back to bolt the steel top in place using two of the existing holes for mounting it to a table saw. The top is completely support by the steel tubing, the tabs just provide the attachmant to keep it in place.
In place in the wood shop. I made some practice cuts and the mortises are prefect. Time to do the real parts now. It’s simple and even with the steel base and top I can easily pick this up and move it around the shop. I made it the same height as the table saw, so I can press it into service as an out feed support if necessary, although I plan to make a dedicated support soonish. I need some way to store the extra router bits and wrenches, but I’ll deal with that another day. I’ll need to add dust collection for this eventually.