Router table advice - Do I build it or buy it? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Router table advice - Do I build it or buy it?

I still haven't done anything in regards to getting a router up and working again since my HF return, hence my dilemma....

So, my big project for next month is going to be one of 2 things:

Purchase a Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table

or

Build a table using Steve Ramsey's build as a guide with a Kreg PRS3038 TL-Blank Insert Plate plus the spacers for it.

My dilemma stems from the price:

The cost of the Bosch is $170 (approx. tax included from Amazon) - however I would still need to build a base for it (I'd do another rolling cart for it with drawers). I'm thinking tops add in another $50 in plywood for the cart build. The Bosch also comes with the dust port, fence, T slots, and feather boards.


If I build the Ramsey table from scratch the price is around $160 - $200 (approx no tax depending which wood I go with) just for wood, the Kreg plate and spacers. However, I would still have to build a fence, dust port, T slots and buy or make feather boards - this would add an additional $100 - $150 to the cost of the build - this is putting this project at a 2 month budget instead of one month.

I'm kinda torn between the 2 - I don't mind making the Ramsey table which would take 2-3 days and an additional day for the routing top - although my budget would be shot until July for any additional purchases except for maybe a sheet or 2 of plywood.

The cart with drawers I can do them in 1 day now and I'm ready to go as soon as the Bosch router table shows up.

Any thoughts one way or the other?

Thanks as always in advance
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 09:49 PM
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I'd build one. Check out my recent build thread.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/m...-thread-59227/
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The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ryan50hrl View Post
I'd build one. Check out my recent build thread.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/m...-thread-59227/
That's a great looking table Ryan - Thanks for sharing it.

I'm afraid something like that is beyond my abilities at this point - Ramsey's appears to be quite a bit easier. Another reason I'm torn about buying or building - don't want to screw the whole thing up.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-15-2016, 10:04 PM
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It's easy enough to build your own, from simple to complex.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-16-2016, 09:29 AM
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Great advice from previous posts, and your dilemma seems to be a matter of time vs. $. Building your own router table, whether simple or complex is not that difficult, and you can customize it to fit your needs. IMO the most difficult part is to make the hole for the router plate to fit flat, and without movement. As you stated "as soon as the router table arrives you are ready to go". Whatever you decide in your "dilemma", enjoy, and be safe.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-16-2016, 11:28 PM
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My advice is rather simple. If you need it right now, meaning if you bring it home it will be used right away as part of some project that without it you can't go forward, go buy one. But, if it is part of the "tooling up" process for your future woodworking projects, shop tooling, build it.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-17-2016, 08:12 AM
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I have both. A 27" x 36" as the right hand extension table on my table saw that I built. I have a Rockler 27" x 16" cast iron router table as the left hand extension on the saw. Both use the Rockler/Bench Dog router plates.
I have never used the cast iron table with a router.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-17-2016, 09:49 AM
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I recently bought the Bosch router and also the table - alum. top with plastic side "legs" - repurposed some old 2x12 for a dedicated "bench" -

some things about the router table:
- it is ground flat, with something like a 40 grit wheel. you'll want to spend some time smoothing it out
- it has grooves, the tops were ground flat after (I presume) powder coating. the edges of all the grooves are razor sharp. you'll want to sand them down before getting too close - or stock up on bandaids.
- for all the exquisite machining/milling to make the top, the miter gauge slot is not machined, it is rough, and it is seriously oversized for any standard 3/4 slider.
- the fence is all aluminum extrusion - nice. it comes with 'split' boards - you'll read issues about the work piece not sliding smoothly past the two split fence boards. this is a truth. I dumped the split boards for a single piece (laminated shelving, cut down...) which - depending on bit - is sacrificial.

the router plate has a hole so you can adjust the height from topside - latching/unlatching the locking ring must be done from beneath - a pain, but beats my old router where it was knees&flashlight to adjust the tool height.... I knocked the plug out of the paddle switch a couple times working on the latching thing.

the dust collector works nice when using the std fence.

the aluminum top has slots on all four sides where one could "bolt on" extensions.

the router proper has variable speed - if you need that - but the part I most like about the Bosch is the soft start. no more of that jump out of your hands thing....
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-17-2016, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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the router proper has variable speed - if you need that - but the part I most like about the Bosch is the soft start. no more of that jump out of your hands thing....
Thanks Tom...
That's a great review of what to do to get it ready - much appreciated
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-23-2016, 11:12 AM
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I also own the Bosch unit that TomCT2 does and second all of his thoughts. I bought mine before I knew I was was going to really be jumping into woodworking. Had I known then that I would eventually be building a properly equipped shop, I wouldn't have bought it. It works fine enough for some things like using a pattern bit to make copies of pieces I'm working on, but for doing things like putting a profile on 80 feet of baseboard molding, this is not the right machine. I know that at some point in the next year or two, I will be building my own table.
Like others have said, if you need it now for some immediate simple uses, go for it, but long term you would be better served by a higher end setup.
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