Rockler Router Table TopsSize and composition are probably the two most obvious features, with most standard router tables somewhere around 24" x 30-34" long.

The actual top can be made out of MDF, Aluminum, cast steel plywood or MDF faced with some form of plastic laminate or painted.

The thicker the better so it doesn't warp. If its untreated MDF, I'd seal it. If its only painted I'd also seal it as the paint usually wears off in pretty short order and the sealer makes your wood slide easier.... wax after that.

If I was going to make my own I'd use HDF or Baltic Birch Plywood and then seal it.

There should be a T-track or some version of slot parallel to the front edge, to control the travel of a standard miter gauge and/or other jigs/fixtures. Better if it includes the larger 3/4" T-track securely embedded into the surface.

Some Router Tables are made with two T-tracks or slots, perpendicular to the this one (see the picture above of the slots in the Rockler Router Table). They are to position and lock down the miter fence. Other tables, especially aluminum or steel tops use threaded holes and slots in the fence, to hold down the miter fence.

Either design will work it just needs to be robust enough to handle constant tightening and re-tightening of the locking mechanism for the fence. Threaded holes in MDF or plywood won't cut it! so test and evaluate!

Router for a Table Saw: Note that you can buy a "table saw router". This is just a router table that has been designed to fit between the rails on one wing of your table saw. That way you can use the rip fence jointly for both tools and if space is in short supply the table top does double duty as well. The downside is that you can't move back and forth between setups if you are using the fence for both tools.

Make sure the table top overhangs the table skirt so you can use the lip for clamping.

Height Adjustability: Better router tables have incorporated leveling pins into the rim of the hole that holds the table insert. This lets you flush up the insert plate to the surrounding table... but we'll talk more about that on the next page.

Router Table Inserts >>