This afternoon I make a totally rocking router table fence. I use these plans from the Stots website, although I don’t own the dust sucker accessory. I’ll figure something out on my own for hooking up the shop vac.

I start with a piece of 3/4″ MDF that’s been hanging around the shop for a while. Not sure what I made with it originally, but it started out life as a two-foot by four-foot handy panel from Home Depot, and it’s an L-shaped piece now, two feet on each long side. I’m able to cut out the fence and the base pieces at 24″ long, not quite the 31 1/2″ that the plans call for having, but close enough for me. And I have to slim them just a tad, maybe half an inch short of the width in the plans. And for the fence faces I use a leftover piece of laminate-covered 1/2″ MDF. (Leftover from what, I don’t remember, until Dawn reminds me that it’s from Ikea, that we used the rest of it on the kitchen cabinets.) It’s only about a foot long, short of the 17 3/8″ in the plans, but still now proportional since the base and fence itself are shorter.

So my fence is altogether a bit smaller than it could be, but it’s still a real good size. And the laminated faces are totally sweet. The other major change I make is to reverse the fasteners holding the faces to the fence. The plans say to use screws coming through from the back into t-nuts in the faces. I use instead bolts counterbored through the faces then going through the fence and held on with wingnuts.

Mostly the project calls for drilling. A lot of drilling. Pilot holes for the screws holding the fence and base and braces together. Then big 2″ holes in the fence (in lieu of machining slots for the faces to slide side to side). Then the holes that the bolts go through on either side, counterboring them on the front of the faces. At a certain point it dawns on me how much easier all this drilling is with the drill press, how much of a nightmare it could have been.

I finish and set up the whole router table assembly, with the table and the insert and now the new fence. Oh so nice. But I don’t have anything to actually rout today. Next weekend I’ll use it to joint the balusters, to remove the saw marks before sanding. I can joint now because of the independently sliding fence faces, where I can shim the outfeed side to act as a kind of jointer. I had meant to order some proper shims from Rockler, but I have some old playing cards that’ll probably work just as well. Maybe even better since those shims are sized for Rockler’s own fence.

Now I am thinking of souping it up with proper knobs rather than the wingnuts, but, hey, let’s not get too crazy, huh?