I needed to plane some rough-sawn lumber for the table top, and didn’t really want to pay someone to do it. There are a lot of videos and articles out there on how to do this, many of which require a planer ($$$$) and a jointer ($$$). I have neither of those, and I’m already over-budget on this project. If you happen to have some long, straight lumber, plywood and a slight excess of time, you can build a traditional router sled, as shown in this video by the Wood Whisperer:
174 – Flattening Workbenches and Wide Boards with a Router
(By the way, most of Marc’s videos are awesome. Sometimes I just leave his YouTube channel playing in the background when I’m working in the shop.)
It’s a great solution, but I didn’t really have the time or patience to build that.
Fortunately, I have a bunch of parts for a CNC machine that I never finished building many years ago. So, I made this out of the X/Y axis setup:
(The router lines scraped right off. I suspect they’re a side effect of a slightly uneven table.)
The rails keep the router flat enough for wood, though I’d like some more support if I were machining aluminum or any precision parts. It does generate a LOT of debris, which reminded me that I really need to put together some sort of dust collection system.
I was able to route a bowed, twisted 7′ x 11″ x 2.5″ board down to a perfectly – and I mean perfectly – flat usable piece in about 15 minutes. A larger router bit would’ve sped up the process significantly.
This experience, of course, makes me want to finish the CNC build, so I found the motors, controller board, amplifiers and other misc. bits in the garage where they’ve been for the past six years. I hope to get the Z axis done in the next week or two – not a lot of time with a new baby in the house – source some lead screws, fabricate mounts and get everything up and running soon. Should be fun!
Here’s the assembled, ultra-heavy table top before sanding:
Note that it’s not glued yet. The house is 172 feet from the shop, and this thing is heavy. I’ll glue it up when it’s in its final resting place.