Lateral thinking lands a horizontal router
Home-remodeling projects were my “gateway drug” into furnituremaking. But when I asked a trim-carpenter friend how to create traditional dovetail joints to connect the apron to the sides of the 7'-long dresser I designed, he said, “You’re an engineer; you’ll figure it out.” So that’s what I did.
Because the apron was far too long and unwieldy to rout the joints on the ends with the typical router table. I needed a long, flat surface for stock support. So I combined my router table and tablesaw into a big horizontal router table. Here’s how I did it.
I started by cutting a 2×2" hardwood mounting board to fit the end of my tablesaw table wing, and made a notch in one face wide enough to fit my router table’s insert plate, as shown at top. After removing the router and insert plate from my router table, I drilled a pair of 1⁄4 " holes in the plate, 2" from the bit opening on either side.
I used these holes to locate T-slots on the mounting board, and then routed the slots 11⁄4 " deep using a T-slot cutting bit. Next, I marked and drilled 7⁄16 " holes to mount the board to the wing, steering clear of the webbing under the wing. I then clamped the mounting board flush to the wing, and used those holes to guide the bit while drilling two 7⁄16 " holes through the edge of the wing. Finally, I bolted the board to the wing.
I reattached the router to the insert plate, installed the dovetail bit, and mounted the plate to the board using T-bolts, as shown. With the T-bolts snug, but loose enough to allow movement of the plate, I turned on the router and lowered the dovetail bit into the mounting board.
I made test cuts in scrap and adjusted the height of the insert to perfect the fit of the dovetail. Then, I used my miter gauge with a long extension and pushed the aprons across the table to rout the dovetails.
—Roger Franzel, Brookfield, Wis.