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Thread: Best benchtop router table?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    New Jersey
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    Question Best benchtop router table?

    I'd like to get a benchtop router table in the $200-$250 range. Benchdog looks interesting.Can anyone make any suggestions/comments?
    Thanks
    Dennis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Puyallup, WA
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    How about making one yourself? Alternatively, you could buy just the top with a phenolic insert and make the cabinet yourself and still beat your budget.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Dennis for what my opinions worth on this matter, what is driving your need.

    You set a price range is this budget you have in mind and what do you already have in relation to routers.

    What i mean is what size of router and then what do you wish to do with it.

    If you aint had a router table at all then i would look seriously at making my own top and fitting it with a Kreg insert plate and the new Kreg router table fence.

    I say this because the kreg insert allows for a very simple hole cut out and adjustment to a absolutely flush surface and the fence well i think its the best next thing to the cost of having an incra fence.

    Take a look here.

    Of course if you prepared to go up in Dollars then you can add a lift and make life easy. But there are also ways to DIY this and get your feet wet without burning a hole in your pocket.

    Two layers of some good thick MDF with a couple of support braces across the underside would do you well for a top. There is nothing really fancy about the actual tops available. Its the insert plates and the fence that count.

    Let us know more about where you at and what you have and have not tried and what you wanna achieve.
    cheers

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Thompson View Post
    I'd like to get a benchtop router table in the $200-$250 range. Benchdog looks interesting.Can anyone make any suggestions/comments?
    Thanks
    Dennis
    As a second router table I quickly built this from a Rockler top I purchased from a friend for $20 ( it was given to him) I then received a Hitachi M12VC 2-1/4-Horsepower Variable-Speed Router as a promo for purchasing a 12" Hitachi SCMS which I installed in the table. As you see it in the pic it has a PC 690 installed. It took about 1/2 hr to make the base out of plywood scraps & screw the top to it & clamp the whole thing to the workmate. I use a plug strip for both the router table shop vac.

    I have shown you this to prove you can have something that works well & not spend a lot or you can go ahead & break the bank. It's your bank...........
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hitachi 2.25 hp router.jpg   Rockler RT.jpg  
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 02-27-2011 at 04:10 AM.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    75
    Thanks for the advice. I'm a hobbyist, with just basic skills. I mostly make furniture for my house. Based on your suggestions, I looked at a plan for making a router table that will fit into my table saw. I'll kill two birds with one stone, make a router table & not take up any more room in my crowded garage workshop. One concern I have about building the table is making the cut out for the insert & getting it perfectly level with the table. I plan on putting my Bosch router in the table.
    Thanks again
    Dennis

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Inside the Beltway
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    2,666
    Dennis,

    Like a lot of folks, I tried the benchtop route, and quickly became dissatisfied. I then built a free standing router table, and learned a TON about cabinet making, as practice for doing real furniture. Wouldn't have skipped that step for the world, as I knew next to nothing at the time.

    I built the top first, set it up on saw horses, and used that to build the base...

    I actually went through two free standing router tables, and the second one would have worked forever. But it took up a lot of room (my shop is small), and eventually I went with a tablesaw router table combo. Still, I wouldn't have been able to build that if I hadn't gained experience building those free standing router tables.

    When I was making them, I went to a lumber yard and told the guy I needed some "practice wood." He sold me some sycamore for under a dollar a board foot. Best investment I ever made. I didn't have to worry about trashing something expensive by doing something stupid, and trust me, I do many stupid things!

    It really is worth thinking about building shop furniture as practice for house furniture. Of course, some of the house furniture I made eventually turned into shop furniture, but that's another story...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    Dennis,
    "Trust me, I do many stupid things!"
    NO!!

    You do many learning things.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
    Posts
    3,134
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Thompson View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I'm a hobbyist, with just basic skills. I mostly make furniture for my house. Based on your suggestions, I looked at a plan for making a router table that will fit into my table saw. I'll kill two birds with one stone, make a router table & not take up any more room in my crowded garage workshop. One concern I have about building the table is making the cut out for the insert & getting it perfectly level with the table. I plan on putting my Bosch router in the table.
    Thanks again
    Dennis
    Oh you want one of those router tables OK here you go, my main router table.
    Buy a insert preferably a aluminum one. Pick one that has a pattern & instructions for machining & follow the instructions.

    My table has an old Hitachi M12V.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1940 Delta Unisaw  055.jpg   1940 Delta Unisaw 029.jpg  
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  9. #9
    I agree with the post to build your own table. The only really serious issue on a router table is to make it dead flat.

    The true flexiblility of a router table comes from the fence.

    My first router table was just a hole in a wing of my Ryobi BT 3000 table saw and I used the saw fence. Later I moved up to the original INCRA Jig with indexing teeth.

    Then I moved up to INCRA's first generation fence with template guides to make all sorts of stuff.

    Finally I now have the INCRA Twin Linear, I don't think they make it any more, but for my money I would have nothing else. The flexiblity and repeatabliity are just terrific. It has two micromoter adjustments that let you tune it into machinist tolerances. I am talking about 1000's of an inch.

    Here is a link to the manual for the Twin.

    http://www.incra.com/manuals/twinlin.pdf

    I will admit that is is a little over the top for the average wood butcher, but if you want to really make furniture, then it is really something to have. I use mine all the time.

  10. #10
    I built my first router table, which was a cabinet with drawers from plans in one of the woodworking magazines. Still have it but also acquired a table from Woodpeckers at one of the woodworking shows along with the Incra Twin Linear. Concur with Tom that it's a great setup. I just upgraded my table with the Incra MagnaLock Plate and magnetic Ring Set which eliminates having to remove screws. The plate has magnets recessed in the ring circle that hold the rings in place.
    Last edited by Andy Blackwell; 03-04-2011 at 04:59 AM.

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