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Thread: Router table recommendations

  1. #16
    My recommendation is you make yourself a router table. I believe you can, fairly easily, make something better than you can buy. My current one also has a home made lift but on your first one you might want a commercially supplied lift. The rest of a router table is just a cabinet, easily made from plywood. I used a sink cut out for the top of mine and edged it with some scrap maple. The top of mine lifts for bit changes. The Portable Cable 15A motor is supported by a carriage that rides on machined steel bars attached to the back of the cabinet. Tilting the top up is VERY handy for bit changes. Mine is shaped like Norm Abram's from New Yankee Workshop fame.

    My fence is clamped in place by really short bar clamps that grip the top. NEVER slips. The bar clamps are attached to the fence.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Camas, Wa
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    3,746
    I have a shaper and haven't touched a router table since then. That being said, the fences on the lower end shapers are very crude a router table fence would be miles ahead.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Tennessee
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    1
    I have an older Rockler phenolic top with a JessEm original Mast-r-fence along with a Rockler integrated lift (possibly made by JessEm).
    For a router table, I think those are the key components (top, lift and fence). I was lucky and got those items unused from a friend that decided he wasn't going to use them.
    I also recently added the JessEm micro-adjustor and would recommend that as well (the JessEm design has some play - 0.012" to be exact - but really isn't an issue and I still highly recommend it). My lift won't accept my larger PC router. I have a Bosch router in it and it has done very well.
    If I were to buy a new one I'd stick with the phenolic top. I've seen several lifts that appear good but I haven't seen anything special and basically expect it to be repeatable and able to move it from above. However, I would get a lift that would accept the larger diameter router.
    The JessEm fence is good and I've added the Rockler dust collector box. I get virtually no dust/shavings from it with it connected to my dust collector. I think the JessEm setup is very good and I don't know that I can get any better results from a router using it.

    I put mine in the extension table for my table saw. I agree with others that I wouldn't buy the stand. Either make one or mount it in an existing tool like I did.

    I will add that ChrisA's setup from Woodpeckers looks sweet! I'm not sure I'd get improved results but dang that thing looks awesome!

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    449
    The Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R (the -R fits a Rockler-sized hole in the router table) uses steel throat inserts that are held in place magnetically. The Jessem version uses plastic inserts which twist to lock with an included pin spanner wrench.

    I am very happy with the above Incra lift in a Bench Dog cast iron extension wing on my Unisaw. I got both at Rockler. The Bench Dog came with a decent fence that stays put very well. Rockler has cast iron top router tables too.

    -- Andy - Arlington TX

  5. My immediate thought is “Why is the fence slipping?” & If you could correct the problem, would you want a new router table system?

    Since you did not ask for help in correcting the issue(s) with your current system, I asssume you are wanting an upgrade not just a fix. A budget up to $1700 opens a lot of options.

    I personally recommend the Incra LS Fence system. Their design has more built-in accuracy and repeatability than any other I have seen. You can buy their table or build your own or incorporate it into a workbench. I personally prefer a stand-alone router table over an add-on to the table saw design because you don’t have to lose the set-up on one machine to use the other (Unless you have 2 fence systems that work together). I have an Incra lift which I bought over 15 years ago. I purchased the larger LS and table top with the intent of building full size kitchen cabinet doors. But I have never done so and the smaller one would have sufficed at least up to this point. The full set-up with their table and largest top is less than $800 (less than half of your upper limit). If you are looking for a new router to go with it, I have had PC, Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee and Festool. Festool is the smoothest running with the least runout. But selecting it will blow your upper budget out of the water. However the Milwaukee 5625-20 is a close second and is what I believe the best value for the investment when mounting in the router table. It is Very smooth running with plenty of power. It is currently mounted in my lift. It sells for $370. You still have over $500 in your top price for a lift. I have the Incra Master Lift. I think Jessem may have been the manufacturer of it. I’ll leave the recommendation of the lift to others who have actual experience with the current models on the market. $1700 budget doesn’t limit you much, but it does exclude the Festool router.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    6,665
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Rutman View Post
    I double checked and I don't think a shaper would be that useful to me. Not that it wouldn't be useful, but shop space limits that option.
    The shortcoming of small shapers is using small bits. Most small shapers have a max RPM around 8000 which seems pretty slow for small bits. You mentioned space being an issue. Do you have a table saw? Would a cast iron table saw wing with router opening be a consideration? Maybe use a mag fence?

    https://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shop...er_table4.html

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by H. Gregory Porter View Post
    My immediate thought is “Why is the fence slipping?” & If you could correct the problem, would you want a new router table system?

    Since you did not ask for help in correcting the issue(s) with your current system, I asssume you are wanting an upgrade not just a fix. A budget up to $1700 opens a lot of options.

    I personally recommend the Incra LS Fence system. Their design has more built-in accuracy and repeatability than any other I have seen. You can buy their table or build your own or incorporate it into a workbench. I personally prefer a stand-alone router table over an add-on to the table saw design because you don’t have to lose the set-up on one machine to use the other (Unless you have 2 fence systems that work together). I have an Incra lift which I bought over 15 years ago. I purchased the larger LS and table top with the intent of building full size kitchen cabinet doors. But I have never done so and the smaller one would have sufficed at least up to this point. The full set-up with their table and largest top is less than $800 (less than half of your upper limit). If you are looking for a new router to go with it, I have had PC, Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee and Festool. Festool is the smoothest running with the least runout. But selecting it will blow your upper budget out of the water. However the Milwaukee 5625-20 is a close second and is what I believe the best value for the investment when mounting in the router table. It is Very smooth running with plenty of power. It is currently mounted in my lift. It sells for $370. You still have over $500 in your top price for a lift. I have the Incra Master Lift. I think Jessem may have been the manufacturer of it. I’ll leave the recommendation of the lift to others who have actual experience with the current models on the market. $1700 budget doesn’t limit you much, but it does exclude the Festool router.
    Thanks, this helps.

    I decided on just going with the Incra LS-17 super bundle with lift and stand/wheels, then saw there is a 6 month back order. Sigh. I'm pretty sold on the LS-17 and the rest of the problem isn't changed without the new fence.

    I have the dewalt for now but do have my eye on the Festool. I'm sure there is a 6 month backorder on that because everything else is backordered 6 months.

    More details on the Rockler fence slipping. It's a carriage bolt with a handle on the top and a plastic spacer. The head of the bolt under the table has no friction as it's resting against the slick surface on the bottom of the table. I can't get enough torque because the cheap handles don't screw down far enough. I can likely get it working with spacers and will probably sandpaper the bottom of the table to give it some friction. At a minimum I'll put a fender washer on the head so it at least has more surface area.

    My sentiment is that if a tool needs fixing then I should have bought a high quality tool to begin with. With a 6 month backlog I guess I have to fix this one as I don't want to go 6 months without a router table.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Upland CA
    Posts
    4,941
    Once again.....5/16" T bolts. Carriage bolts are wrong. Rockler has them.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

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