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post #1 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Question Best starter router/router table

I'm relatively new to woodworking and know that a router and router table can be invaluable. Since I'm just getting started I wanted to get something that could do the small box-making projects that I'm interested in. Primarily I'd be using the router and table to do dadoes, joints (box, mainly), and edging. I'm also unsure what features I think I might need but really don't and vice versa.

Can anyone recommend a good table for $200 or less? I've read lots of reviews for lots of tables and I can't seem to find one that screams "I'm the right one!". If you have advice for a specific router to go with the table please don't be shy.

Also, I'm thinking about purchasing the Rockler router table box joint jig. Is this a solid purchase or are there better premade box joint jigs out there?

Many thanks in advance!

Ben
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post #2 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 09:02 AM
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Router tables need not be fancy or have a lot of bells and whistles.
Suggest you take a look at "The Router Workshop" videos to see a minimalist approach. They do some great stuff with a piece of laminate covered MDF and a strip of UHMW for a fence.
Use your cash for a good router, good bits, and (possibly) a good lift.
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post #3 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schtoom View Post
I'm relatively new to woodworking and know that a router and router table can be invaluable. Since I'm just getting started I wanted to get something that could do the small box-making projects that I'm interested in. Primarily I'd be using the router and table to do dadoes, joints (box, mainly), and edging. I'm also unsure what features I think I might need but really don't and vice versa.

Can anyone recommend a good table for $200 or less? I've read lots of reviews for lots of tables and I can't seem to find one that screams "I'm the right one!". If you have advice for a specific router to go with the table please don't be shy.

Also, I'm thinking about purchasing the Rockler router table box joint jig. Is this a solid purchase or are there better premade box joint jigs out there?

Many thanks in advance!

Ben
this is the one i have . With the vac. system which work's.This table will do all that you will ever do. Get the fence's that will work also their are 3 of them. I have them also .they work very well. Look at the video's . Lot of them also Look over their site. They have everthing that you will ever need. Something's may be a bit pricey but the quality is their. good luck. http://us.oak-park.com/catalogue.html?list=RT01--
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post #4 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 10:18 AM
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I started out with mostly used and hand-me-down equipment, now I'm starting to upgrade. As far as time spent in front of the machine, the router wins by a landslide. My table saw probably gets used more, but only for few second cuts.

Anyway, I have a used router with the table listed below. You really don't need anything fancy as far as a table goes. In my opinion your money would be better spent on a good set of bits. I'm now looking to upgrade my router. My old one has terrible depth adjustments, only takes a 1/4 inch shank, and cannot take guide bushings.

A couple other things that may help in the future. I have a height gage for measuring deep depth adjustments. I use a parallel and the step edge on a caliper for small depth adjustments. The hole around the bit can make a ruler a pain to use. I can mill pretty accurately using the tools I have.


http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...4&blockType=G4
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post #5 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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So is there any reason to not go with something like this Craftsman Table w/ Router combo:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...3&blockType=G3

or this Ryobi Table w/ Router:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

I only ask because I'm so naive. I figured that what seems like the most important/frequently used tool should be solid. Sadly, I'm limited by money (like everyone, right?). Is there any reason these wouldn't do the job and not give me major headaches at the same time?

Thanks again!

Ben
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post #6 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 02:55 PM
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Hey Ben, check out these router videos:

http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...le+tricks&aq=9
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post #7 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 03:25 PM
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Here are some more videos of building your own router tables:

http://www.google.com/search?q=route...aq=7&oq=router

Personally, I can't see guys spending hundreds of dollars on something so simple.
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post #8 of 20 Old 10-11-2010, 04:21 PM
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wow timely question.... I'm going thru the same process.

First, there is a sale at Rockler.com on router bits this week. But then, I am a newbie and don't have a clue if the sale items are good deals.... anybody?

Second, I'd like to ask the experienced folk out there if anyone has built the jig in the following link, and if that would be a smart move for a newbie working in a cramped space... the idea is to mount the router on a jig that would use the table saws miter slots instead of a separate router table taking up its own sepearate real estate on the shop floor:
http://books.google.com/books?id=kfY...nce%22&f=false
Anybody?

Finally, since you're shopping, and I just bit the bullet before lunch myself, I'll share how I decided. After doing a lot of reading, and deciding to buy new (and my wife urging me to do it, yay!!), we ordered a Porter Cable combo kit (plunge + knob bases) http://www.amazon.com/Porter-Cable-693LRPK-Fixed-Router-Plunge/dp/B00006411C, If I stick with it, and if my life allows the time (big if), I'll also order the D handle base for the router, for freehand work, and I'll permanently mount the knob handle base on the jig. Reason I went with that router kit is that internet suggests that more accessories work with porter cable than other brands, the starting-level porter cable unit is widely used as a starting router, and many articles said some version of "bigger is usually not better, especially for beginners". Beats me if that's accurate. I'm just repeating what I think I read about the lower HP Porter Cable unit.... if I got the reading wrong, hopefully the experts in here will share their blistered experience..... ((thanks in advance)). On a safety note, I chose to start with a lower horse power unit, so it will be less likely to get away from me and in any case, I'm not doing monster profiles in super hard wood.

If you don't need the plunge base there is a much lower $ package with the same motor and just the knob handle base on amazon

Have fun,
Steve El
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post #9 of 20 Old 10-12-2010, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schtoom View Post
I'm relatively new to woodworking and know that a router and router table can be invaluable. Since I'm just getting started I wanted to get something that could do the small box-making projects that I'm interested in. Primarily I'd be using the router and table to do dadoes, joints (box, mainly), and edging. I'm also unsure what features I think I might need but really don't and vice versa.

Can anyone recommend a good table for $200 or less? I've read lots of reviews for lots of tables and I can't seem to find one that screams "I'm the right one!". If you have advice for a specific router to go with the table please don't be shy.

Also, I'm thinking about purchasing the Rockler router table box joint jig. Is this a solid purchase or are there better premade box joint jigs out there?

Many thanks in advance!

Ben
Ben: I would highly recommend building your own router table. There are many plans on the net and in book. Not only would this improve your woodworking skill level but would give you a platform to improve your table as your skill level and needs change.

I would also recommend building your own box jig. Also many plans out there and you would have a better understanding of the how and why of box joints.

Spend your money on the best router you can afford. There are so many on the market that a little research should yield a good one. I personally like the ones with dual bases. I keep the fixed base in my router table and the plunge base for hand work.

Roger from the Great Horicon Swamp
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post #10 of 20 Old 10-12-2010, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schtoom View Post
So is there any reason to not go with something like this Craftsman Table w/ Router combo:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...3&blockType=G3
Ben -- this was my starter kit. It is okay, but I quickly found I needed a plunge router too (not just the fixed base) and the table is not really adequate (slightly wobbly legs, the hole doesn't allow for large diameter bits, and the table thickness subtracts a lot of cutting depth from the length of the bit.)

Instead -- take look at THIS 2HP CRAFTSMAN FIXED & PLUNGE ROUTER on sale for $79 currently. I'm thinking of getting it myself to add the ability to lower the speed (for larger diameter bits, e.g. panel raising bits for making cabinet doors.)

I've started building a table myself -- basically a sheet of phenolic treated plywood from Rockler (on sale for $10) and a table insert from Harbor Freight ($16).

I'm planning to add a length of Incra miter track so I can use my table saw miter gauge with it, and I snagged an extruded aluminum fence (also on sale at Rockler). A "starter fence" could simply be a couple of pieces of plywood or MDF fastened together at 90* and clamped to the table top.

HTH

(edit: just remembered -- I got the ideas for the table I'm constructing from www.RouterForums.com, in the "table mounted routing" section there's a sticky thread telling how to make one variation)

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe

Last edited by duncsuss; 10-12-2010 at 10:34 AM.
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post #11 of 20 Old 10-12-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncsuss View Post
Ben -- this was my starter kit. It is okay, but I quickly found I needed a plunge router too (not just the fixed base) and the table is not really adequate (slightly wobbly legs, the hole doesn't allow for large diameter bits, and the table thickness subtracts a lot of cutting depth from the length of the bit.)

Instead -- take look at THIS 2HP CRAFTSMAN FIXED & PLUNGE ROUTER on sale for $79 currently. I'm thinking of getting it myself to add the ability to lower the speed (for larger diameter bits, e.g. panel raising bits for making cabinet doors.)

I've started building a table myself -- basically a sheet of phenolic treated plywood from Rockler (on sale for $10) and a table insert from Harbor Freight ($16).

I'm planning to add a length of Incra miter track so I can use my table saw miter gauge with it, and I snagged an extruded aluminum fence (also on sale at Rockler). A "starter fence" could simply be a couple of pieces of plywood or MDF fastened together at 90* and clamped to the table top.

HTH

(edit: just remembered -- I got the ideas for the table I'm constructing from www.RouterForums.com, in the "table mounted routing" section there's a sticky thread telling how to make one variation)
I'm looking at this as well, to replace my old one. I just need one that will take guide bushings.
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post #12 of 20 Old 10-12-2010, 11:33 AM
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I'm looking at this as well, to replace my old one. I just need one that will take guide bushings.
The two Craftsman routers I've got both take "standard" guide bushings that I bought in a kit from Rockler.

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
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post #13 of 20 Old 10-12-2010, 06:04 PM
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Here's a Rockler top with a home made base cabinet. The top cost a little over $100 (on sale a couple of years ago), the base was made from shop scraps. Now the router, lifter and bits cost a bit more...


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post #14 of 20 Old 01-07-2011, 12:42 PM
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Mike - that is great and the way I'm going. Best of both worlds - a good top and a homemade base.
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-07-2011, 01:21 PM
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They have some factory reject phenolic tops on Ebay right now for $35. Already have the router insert cut in as well

just search " phenolic router top" on Ebay

Larry
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-07-2011, 03:35 PM
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Hard to beat this


ON EBAY $176.70


MLCS 9770 Woodworking Router Table Top and Fence



Item condition:New
Time left:19d 09h (Jan 26, 201121:48:06 PST)

Quantity:
2 available











The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 01-07-2011 at 03:38 PM.
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-07-2011, 04:39 PM
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Ben: I would highly recommend building your own router table. There are many plans on the net and in book. Not only would this improve your woodworking skill level but would give you a platform to improve your table as your skill level and needs change.

I would also recommend building your own box jig. Also many plans out there and you would have a better understanding of the how and why of box joints.

Spend your money on the best router you can afford. There are so many on the market that a little research should yield a good one. I personally like the ones with dual bases. I keep the fixed base in my router table and the plunge base for hand work.
This is what I would recommend. There's not much to making a top. Doing it that way you can make what you want, with simple hardware.










.
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-10-2011, 04:51 AM
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Here is my 2 sense and you probably will not get you 2 sense worth but here I go . I would say get a good router and the best bits you can get . As for a table you can go a long way for just a little as long as it is true with a good fence and it really do not need a fence for some things . I started with a fixed base for under a table . I will be shoping for a plunge router in the futcher but for now the fixxed base works well . If you can get 2 . I got mine for xmas 2 or 3 years ago from the kids . It is a ryobi and I use it for every thing . My table is something that some one was throwing out . It is an old Contractors table that was for a circle saw to make a table saw and a router table in one but I do have to saw it was safer as a router table . Up intile just a month ago I had to and used one fro a saw table and the other as a router table . I have had a saw table given to me that needed a power switch . The price was right . But that router table does me well .. If I was to up grade I would go with a better router ( Mine is a cheep ryobi 1/4 shank cheep ) and I would would go with better bits . Mine are cheep . Here is mine . I ahve added a side pease just to give me a little more room but that was done after the pic. was taken . Hope this helps .Do not forget A dove tail jig if you are planning on doing any . Mine is a Harbor Freight ( cheep ) I found at a yard sale for $10.00 but it works .



I hope this helps . Next to my table saw this would be the back bone of my Little shop .

Mike
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-10-2011, 02:14 PM
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I have the same question. I'll be building one of the projects listed above, or something similar down the road. For the moment, I only want to route stock up to 3/4", and nothing too fancy. Seems like this would be a good way to jump start some projects until I have time to make something better, and I'm planning on starting with a slab that will become the top for the "real" cabinet later. I'll upgrade features as I can.

Question: Is a 3/4" fence like this safe when routing 3/4" stock?

Thanks
StevEl
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-10-2011, 02:48 PM
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Hi Steve . I use push blocks with my router table . I know some people that do not but it is for safety . My self I like a fence that is a little taller than my work peace so if my push block slides it will stop at the fence not with my hand in the router blade . This is just me and I say you can not be to safe .

Hope this helps .

Mike
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