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  • MLCS vs. Rockler

    I am trying to decide which router table to buy and I have narrowed it down to two models, both melamine. One is the basic kit from MLCS and the other is the basic kit from Rockler. Both links are below:

    http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shops.../tabletop.html
    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21291

    The main differences that I have already noted are:
    1. MLCS has a thicker table
    2. MLCS has a larger fence
    3. MLCS has an aluminum insert t-track on the fence, Rockler's is just mdf.
    4. Rockler had an aluminum t-track on top of the fence, MLCS does not.
    5. MLCS has aluminum insert t-tracks for the fence to move along, Rockler's is just mdf.
    6. Both offer aluminum plates, but since I want to run a 3 1/2" raised panel bit, I am forced to use Rocklers blank large opening plate and use the MLCS blank phenolic plate. (the MLCS aluminum plate doesn't have a large enough opening). Therefore, I will have to pre-drill either plate.
    7. They are both the exact same price with the above mentioned plates.
    8. The MLCS has a dust collection port, and if I'm not mistaken, it is an add on for the Rockler table.
    9. MLCS has measuring tapes attached to the top of the fence, Rockler does not. (i don't know how much I will use this or not???)

    I really can't decide which one will be the better choice. Rockler seems to be a more well known brand name, at least to me, but the MLCS seems to have a few more upgrades. (minus the phenolic plate)

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Oh, lastly, I can get free shipping on both items, so that is not a factor either.
    Last edited by c.demille; 10-19-2009, 10:45 AM.

  • #2
    Re: MLCS vs. Rockler

    Since it looks like you'll have to do some machining no matter which one you go with, I would opt for the longer/taller fence, thicker table, dust collection, and aluminum t-track on the fence that the MLCS table offers for the same price. Having a t-track on the top of the fence isn't a plus as far as I'm concerned. If you have the means to machine aluminum I would choose that over the phenolic plate.

    Good Luck, millman

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    • #3
      Re: MLCS vs. Rockler

      My router table is very similar to the MLCS one but I bought mine at Router Table Depot. I have been very satisfied with mine and would recommend it or the MLCS version over the Rockler. The extra thickness of the table would be the tie breaker for me especially if you intend to hang a 3HP router from it.
      Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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      • #4
        Re: MLCS vs. Rockler

        Have you looked at the Woodpecker tables?
        Poplar Branch Wood Crafts

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        • #5
          Re: MLCS vs. Rockler

          Thanks for the link to the router table depot. That table looks exactly the same. I wonder if there are any differences? MLCS doesn't have very many pics, so its hard to analyze very much. There is a sale right now on the router table depot website, so it looks like I could get the same table with a stand for about $25 more that the one on MLCS without a stand. I will have to consider. The woodpecker tables look nice, but a little more expensive once you add all the components.
          Thanks for the help. Oh, also, have you had any issues with your 3/8" phenolic plate? Does it sag at all?

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          • #6
            Re: MLCS vs. Rockler

            Originally posted by c.demille View Post
            Thanks for the link to the router table depot. That table looks exactly the same. I wonder if there are any differences? MLCS doesn't have very many pics, so its hard to analyze very much. There is a sale right now on the router table depot website, so it looks like I could get the same table with a stand for about $25 more that the one on MLCS without a stand. I will have to consider. The woodpecker tables look nice, but a little more expensive once you add all the components.
            Thanks for the help. Oh, also, have you had any issues with your 3/8" phenolic plate? Does it sag at all?
            Personally, I think that they are the same table. When I was doing research for my purchase I compared the specs for both the RTD and the MLCS and could find no differences between the two. The optional stand the MLCS sells also appears to be identical to the included stand with the RTD model. I haven't gotten around to making it yet but I did order the plan that MLCS sells for around $10 for a cabinet that fits inside the stand. The measurement for the cabinet are perfect for it to fit inside the RTD stand.

            I had no issues with the phenolic insert that comes standard with the RTD unit other than the fact that I dropped it and broke off a corner. In the time that I had it I never noticed any bowing of the insert but I have seen threads that stated that the phenolic inserts can bow if a big HP router is hung from them. I run a 2ΒΌ HP router in my table so that could be why I never had any issues with my insert. I have since replaced that phenolic insert with an aluminum insert and am very happy with that.

            FWIW, the order turn around time with RTD was great. IIRC the unit was at my doorstep in WI in under a weeks time. Considering it came from FL I thought that was pretty good.
            Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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