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Discussion Starter #1
With the help of many of you guys on here, I decided to purchase a Milwaukee 5625 3.5hp router for the shop I am building that will be permanently inserted into a table. I'm still learning, but from what I understand I will likely want a lift for table insertion. I'm looking for any recommendations people may have for a lift and router table.

While money and value is always a consideration, I don't mind spending more if I am getting something for it so don't hesitate to throw out the high dollar items if you feel they are superior to the more economical.

This router and table will be used for a very wide variety of wood working projects so the more versatile the better. I do not intend to take the router out and use it by hand often, if ever. I will likely buy another less powerful router for handheld routing and this one will permanently live in the table.

Thanks in advance for your assistance!
 

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where's my table saw?
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27,857 Posts
I like cast iron

I have the Bench Dog Pro table extension on my table saw, right side.
It can also be mounted on a stand if desired. Cast iron has the advantages of durability and will accept the various magnetic hold downs and featherboards. There are other brands, Grizzly and Peachtree, but for a free standing table and fence, I'd go with this one:
(3 boxes) Bench Dog 40-302 ProMax Trio Complete Router Table - Amazon.com

A slightly larger table with a cabinet base:
Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax RT Complete - Amazon.com

Bench Dog makes their own lifts, but I have several Jessem Mart R Lift II and think they are great. The height now can be locked and not vibrate up or down which the earlier models did. This lift has cams that will allow many sizes of router motor to fit:
http://jessem.com/MAST-R-LIFT.html

The also have a side crank model which frees up the table top.
http://jessem.com/MAST-R-LIFT_EXCEL_II.html
 

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A lift isn't a necessity. The 5625 has above table height adjustments you can do manually instead of with a lift....maybe I don't know what I'm missing but I've never had a router lift, and never felt as though I needed one.
 

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John
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+1 on knotscots comments, 5625 has built in table adjustments which really preclude the need for a lift.
Not really sure you are taking the best approach here though. A router table gets kinda personal as far as your own work habits go. I went through at least 3 different configurations of table before I got it to where I was comfortable with it. With each iteration I took note of the aspects I liked and didn't like. Then the subsequent iterations incorporated the aspects I liked and the ones I didn't were modified or scrapped. My recommendation for a first table is a plain Jane budget table like grizzly has for around $130 and after that, you are better equipped to build or buy a table that is more closely tailored to what you need. JMHO:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys! I appreciate the answers. John-You hit the nail on the head. This is a bit of a chicken and egg question--I don't know what I need in a table until I have some experience using one and seeing the pros and cons but at the same time I can't get that experience without having a table...hence my question.

I understand your rationale for the economical Grizzly table. I guess I hate buying something that I KNOW will ultimately not be what I love using. I would probably rather spend a little more money and do a little more research on the front end and have a good chance of getting a table that will continue to be useful in some capacity for the long term. I know there is always the chance that you will hate the table and have wasted more money, but I hate buying things I'm doing to outgrow! I like to buy things once, although I understand in situations like this that may not always be possible.

Any further comments are greatly appreciated!
 

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(clever wood pun here)
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If money is no issue and you are looking to have easy height adjustment and have a router dedicated to your table, then definitely go for a lift. I use a Bosch 1617 without a lift. Although it has a dedicated above-table adjustment, it requires you to unlock the router from under the table first :blink:. Yeah, not too smart of them. I am not certain if other makes do the same, but I suspect they do. Others should be able to give some better guidance about which lift is a good choice.

One thing that I can recommend without reservation is the INCRA LS positioner. I have the LS 17" Super System ( http://www.incra.com/product_rtf_lssuper.htm ) and it is hands down the most precision tool I own. The joinery templates make complex joinery simple and the incremental positioning system allows you to make repeatable precision cuts (surgical precision even :laughing:) every time. The INCRA positioners require substantially more real estate on your router table, so I'd recommend either building your own table or just buying one of theirs. I know they offer lifts as well, but I can't speak to their quality from experience.

There are really no other fences on the market that I am aware of that will allow you to make the same kind of precision cuts repeatably. There are others that have micro-adjusters as well, but only over a short distance. The INCRA LS positioners give you dead on accuracy every time over a span of 17" or 25" (depending which you buy).

They make a number of other precision products (American made) that I drool over regularly. Those INCRA products that I own, I use regularly and love.
 
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