Learn the Router -- Build a Box

Submitted by Jake on Mon, 01/13/2014 - 11:47

About six months ago I got my first router. I tore up a few boards with it experimenting but mainly used it for basic round-overs. I wanted to learn more so at Christmas Santa brought me the router table. My first real project was to build a project that would be a learning experience as well as produce something useful so I chose the Drill Bit Cabinet. You can see the plans at

http://ct-web2.unh.edu/lee/drill-bit-cabinet.pdf

This project requires cutting rabbet and dado joints. Basic joints but also requiring accurate cutting. There are no nails or screws holding the box together. I countersunk screws into the shelves for stability. The final result is what you see in the pictures. I learned a lot. A great starter project for novice router users. I took two days to complete the project but a knowledgeable worker could do it in a day.

I also deviated from the plans somewhat out of a desire to make the build easier and less expensive:

1. The plans called for cutting boards from a 1x8 but I chose to stay with the full size 1x8s I had in the garage. So the final dimensions became: Height 19-1/2 inches, Width 10-1/8 inch (closed or 20-1/2 inches open), and Depth 3-1/2 inches (open or 7-inches closed).

2. I could only find 30 inch and 12 inch piano hinges so I went with the 12 inch. Works fine. I must say I really need practice installing hinges. Took me two tries to get this one right.

3. The instructions call for cutting the box in half with a table saw but I don't own a table saw. So I cut the box in two pieces using a straight bit on the router table advancing about 1/8 inch at a time until I was within about a 1/16 inch from breaking through. I used a regular saw to finish the job and the sander to remove the little bit that was left. Worked fine.

4. The plans call for screws to act as the pivot for the two tiltable bit carriers. Instead I just inserted 1/4" dowel. Works fine.

Estimated Cost
Fairly inexpensive. The hinge cost about $8. Magnets about $1. Birch plywood about $6. The remainder I had sitting in the garage and I would put the cost at about $10. So the total cost was about $25
Estimated Time Investment
Weekend Project (10-20 Hours)
Type of Wood
SPF (probably pine) and 1/2-inch birch plywood
Finish Used
Sanding to 120 grit and then one coat of Cabot Natural Wood Stain.
Recommended Skill Level
Intermediate

Comments

bhoppy

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 17:12

I love this. My father just gave me his router and all his bits at Christmas and I have yet to use it... Thanks for sharing the plan! What kind of router table did you get?

In reply to by bhoppy

Jake

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 17:38

Santa brought me a Bosch router table. It was on sale for $148 and free shipping. It has most of the extras and appeared to get good reviews. It also fits my router without drilling new holes. Finding a router table that fits your router without serious adjustments is important so ask before buying. Also use all of the safety equipment and follow all of the safety advice. Have fun.

bhoppy

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 12:23

I will keep all that in mind when looking for one. The router is about a 1980's model craftsman brand. I have a friend that found a manual for it online and he also suggested that a table would make it easier to use. Have you seen the plans on this site for 'Patrick's router table" It is so nice!

In reply to by bhoppy

Jake

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 12:45

You are right it is awesome. I considered building a table from scratch but with a limited background with the router and the great deals around Christmas I felt that the safest route was to go commercial.

givehugsprn

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 00:36

Santa brought me a new router and router table too! This may be a great plan to learn how to use it. Thanks for sharing.

givehugsprn

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 00:36

Santa brought me a new router and router table too! This may be a great plan to learn how to use it. Thanks for sharing.

Jake

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 04:17

Please follow all of the safety rules. That little bit is spinning at 20,000 rpm and when something bad happens it happens at the speed of light. Use eye and hearing protection as well as all of the guards provided. Feed in the correct direction otherwise you will produce a bullet that can penetrate a door. By the way the router produces an enormous amount of sawdust so plug in the vac.