Fine Woodworking, New Router Table
Comments 4

New Router Table: Building the Fence

Update 2/13/14: Get the free woodworking plan for this router table fence. Scroll down for the link.

It is not unusual for me to put in more than two hours of drive time on certain work days. This allows me considerable time to contemplate upcoming steps while building a project. Since creating the fence for my new router table has been rapidly approaching, I have been thinking of combining two router table fence designs seen in separate issues of Fine Woodworking magazine.

If you have been following my progress, you most likely have already seen this photo of John White’s space-saving router table from FWW #216. I also found a router table fence design in issue #211 created by woodworker David Diaman. I am taking the best of both designs and creating my own.

Even though I enjoy using SketchUp to design woodworking projects, I began forming parts of the fence without any drawings at all. These early parts served only as test pieces; eventually trashed, but helpful in working out the design.

As I organized my thoughts, I realized two components would determine the overall size of what I call the fence frame: the back would naturally set the frame’s height and length – the length matching the width of the table top. The dust port would reveal the depth. I wanted the dust port cavity to be an efficient size; not too small, but also not too large.

The best of two fence designs.

The best of two fence designs.

A close-up view showing the dust port and dust cavity.

A close-up from the opposite side showing the dust port and dust cavity.

That is a 2 1/2 inch circle you see above. I made sure I had enough space on each side for some structural boards. All of the plywood is 1/2 inch thick except the 3/4 inch thick dust port. I chose 1/2 inch thickness to keep the fence from being too heavy.

The two images above do not show the t-track I’ll add, and they do not show the method for clamping the router table fence to my table saw.

The basic fence components - I have already attached the dust port.

The basic fence components.

When designing with SketchUp, it is easy to generate a cut list, something I never did when I used to design with pencil and paper. With the cut list and a couple of illustrations, I headed to the shop and began fabricating the parts you see above. Then assembly begins…

I use my brad nailer and glue to assemble the fence frame. The black plastic dust port is attached with adhesive and two small screws, then the fence face, made up of three pieces of melamine coated particle board is attached with screws. I like this material because it is slippery; in my opinion, perfect for a routing operation.

The t-track in the table top was positioned with screws and silicone, but for the fence, I simply used screws which seems to have gained enough of a bite in the particle board. Concerning the fence face – I did follow John White’s design, especially the height; for me, a better option than what is shown in the Diaman design.

You can see that I am using Grip-Tite Fence Clamps to hold the router table fence to my table saw fence. This style of clamp is seen in the Diaman design and I like this better than the four larger clamps John White uses.

One aspect of this build not nailed down
I am still undecided on what to do for an on/off switch. My local Woodcraft has a Kreg on/off switch in stock. This switch is not ideal for my router table due to the way I would have to mount it. Amazon shows a variety of switches, most are not ideal for my needs. Some of these are very affordable, but I am still looking for the right switch.

So, I need to get the on/off switch nailed down, add some plastic to the front of the router area, and get the router mounted to the plate which has been a little problematic. More on that in my next post.

Move to the next post in this series by clicking here.

Previous posts in this series
New Router Table: Getting Started
New Router Table: Making Progress and Making Mistakes
New Router Table: Drawer Construction
New Router Table: Adding the Base
New Router Table: To Lift or Not to Lift – That is the Question
New Router Table: Creating the Top

FREE WOODWORKING PLAN: Get the detailed woodworking plan for this router table fence. The plan is seven pages in length, features a cut list and multiple photos and exploded drawings to help you build this fence. Click the link: Free Woodworking Plan: The Table Saw Router Fence

MY CURRENT PROJECT: I am building a window seat bookcase; see the latest update here.


  1. benjamenjohnson says

    I like the removable center insert, that’ll really come in handy for making custom zero clearance inserts when you need back up the router bit for certain operations.

    Also have you tested the fence dust collection? While I like the compact design, does the right angle turn decrease the dust collection efficiency? I wonder if putting a 45 degree block to cut off the corner would increase the amount of dust you could pull.

  2. Cal Deobald says

    I’ve considered creating special fences which would attach my table saw fence, but one thing has always given me pause: since the back end of the fence floats to a certain degree, using feather boards could pry up on the fence, reduce the effectiveness of the feather boards and risk placing strain on the fence itself.

    I’m curious, do you clamp down the back of a fence when using vertical feather boards, or has this not been a issue?

    • Cal, I have only used a vertical feather board just one time and I did not notice any movement. I suppose if enough pressure is applied, this likely would happen so a clamp at the opposite end is a good idea. Thanks for the comment.

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