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  • Router table suggestions

    I know Ridgid does not (yet?) make one, but I respect the expertise represented here and am looking for opinions.

    I have made some room for a full size router table (have been using Wolfcraft benchtop) and really like the design of Norm's. Storage for bits and router accessories is great. I am not so sure I want to make my own top though.

    What are your suggestions for brands of tops, fences and cabinets? Right now I am leaning toward the Rockler top and Norm's base.

  • #2
    If you're buying just the top, they are all going to be pretty comparable and so I would base the decision on features you want in the top and on price. It's not really hard to make a top, though, and if you can make the base you should be able to do the top without any problems. That said, the Rockler one would probably work well for you if it's the right dimensions (I don't recall the dimensions of Norm's design).

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    • #3
      I have come up with a different approach to making a router top. At least it seems different. I haven't seen one like it. I can send pictures if you like. The different thing is that it goes together in a slightly unorthodox sequence. Imagine a table without the top. Now put on a beefed up plywood (oak veneer) top with a hole in it. Now drop in the router housing FROM THE TOP. Oak 1 x 2's keep it from falling through. Other oak bracing traps the Porter Cable 7518 housing so that it can neither go up or down or wobble. Now put on a 1/4" thick piece of clear acrylic (aka Plexiglas) with a small hole drilled in it so as to provide for zero bit clearance. (Gotta have several acrylic sheets in order to accommodate different bit sizes) Fasten the acrylic to the router housing with the four huge machine screws that come with the router. Note- the acrylic top is attached to the router- not the other way around. Note even more importantly that the top is seamless: no bumps- ever. Now screw the router into the housing (from underneath). Works for me. If you're not into working with acrylic you can probably find someone near you who is.

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      • #4
        I just finished making Norm's router table. I love it and it was a 'hoot' to build. For the top, I was able to find a piece of 1" thick melamine 48"x24" from a lumber store for $8 Cdn. What a steal!! I got the plans from a magazine and kept on playing the show I recorded from PBS. For a hack like me, I am quite proud of the results. However, I am having problems with my Porter Cable 7529 installed in the table. The height control does not work very well when the router is upside down. I am also having significant problems when I speak with the company regarding my concerns. Still a good looking table!! :>

        However you go, good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by billbyrd:
          I have come up with a different approach to making a router top. At least it seems different. I haven't seen one like it. I can send pictures if you like. The different thing is that it goes together in a slightly unorthodox sequence. Imagine a table without the top. Now put on a beefed up plywood (oak veneer) top with a hole in it. Now drop in the router housing FROM THE TOP. Oak 1 x 2's keep it from falling through. Other oak bracing traps the Porter Cable 7518 housing so that it can neither go up or down or wobble. Now put on a 1/4" thick piece of clear acrylic (aka Plexiglas) with a small hole drilled in it so as to provide for zero bit clearance. (Gotta have several acrylic sheets in order to accommodate different bit sizes) Fasten the acrylic to the router housing with the four huge machine screws that come with the router. Note- the acrylic top is attached to the router- not the other way around. Note even more importantly that the top is seamless: no bumps- ever. Now screw the router into the housing (from underneath). Works for me. If you're not into working with acrylic you can probably find someone near you who is.

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          • #6
            billybyrd:
            i would really like to see a picture of router
            top. sounds pretty cool.

            Comment


            • #7
              T-45
              As you are probably aware, the PC 7529 is basically a POS. PC has had all kinds of problems with the electrical switch on this model. I also bought one and have had nothing but problems. One of the other forums said it would be good to use as a boat anchor and I agree.
              To get back on topic though, I have the Rockler table and it does what I need. I am looking for a replacement router for the table now but think I will upgrade to a 3+ HP model. Dave

              Comment


              • #8
                I've been plauged with looking for the "perfect", "ultimate" router table design for a year. I drew up several plans of my own, taking ideas from everything I've looked at.
                Then I really decided. There is NO perfect/ultimate router system. Everyone does different things, and does things a little differently. Plus, it has to fit into you shop!
                Along my journey, I looked at alot of tops and fences and plates.
                When I sat down and decided what I wanted a router for, what I was going to do with it, I decided building one wasn't the answer for me.
                I do alot of routing, and this is what I purchased.
                I got the JessEm Rout-R-Lift plate because I wanted top bit changes and easy heighth adjustments for all the different kinds of cuts I'd be making. I chose the JessEm Table top to fit the plate because of it size, the material it was made of and it had a T style miter track. Most table tops designed to fit that plate don't have miter tracks, rockler's included. And of coarse, I got the JessEm Mast-R-Fence to go along with it. And when it arrived, I was even more impressed with the fence than seeing all the pics of it I had seen on the net. And it was so easy to assemble it all. I was going to build a moble base for the thing, but when I read some reviews on the JessEm leg stand, and seen how it was designed, I went with it. It's a darn solid piece of equipment. And the bottom braces have a lip on it. I built a small cabinet that slides up between the legs and sits on the lip of the bottom braces without being attached machanically in any way. It's 12" tall, 9" thats above the bottom braces. Leaves more than enough room for the router to be dropped all the way down. It has 2 drawers, basically 20" deep by 22" wide and 4" high, and it holds everything. I bought the Ridgid Gutter Vac attachment to use the vac system on the fence. Works as good as anything on the planet. I wired in a recepticle and a switch and mounted to a plate and mounted that on the right side of the front leg just under the table top. I also plug in one of the 4 Ridgid Vacs I have so when I flip the router on with the swich, the vac comes on and off with the router.
                Now granted there is nothing like showing off your home made router table, but this piece of equipment is high quality, and less expensive than some I looked at. Plus, it does show off the home made 2 draw cabinet I built to hold all the bits, insert discs, wrenchs, and god knows what I stick in the drawers. I took a piece of 3/4" plywood and drilled 1/4 and 1/2 inch holes to seat loose bits in, still leaving plenty of room for the boxed sets.
                You can look at all this at www.woodcraft.com just do a search for JessEm.
                Another thing, JessEm has released, but haven't found a place to purchase it yet, a miter system that mounts directly to the Mast-R-Fence which elimates the need to perfectly align the fence with the miter track! Looking forward to adding that to the router table.
                Good luck in your journey for the router system that fits you and your needs.
                John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks all for your opinions. A few follow-up questions:

                  UO_Woody - I looked at the JessEm table (along with the Bench Dog) and was a little surprised at how little table surface there was in front of the cutter. Seemed like it would not offer much support when cutting rails for raised panel doors. Also thought it might be a problem for the panels themselves. Have you used it for these?

                  T-45 - I just ordered the plans for Norm's table and then saw a new version was on the schedule for 2003. I cancelled the order right away (new plans will be available in January). Anything you would suggest doing differently? I like the plan so far as it provides plenty of storage and I can put wheels on it and move it around my modest shop.

                  StuartH - I am not averse to building the top, I simply am trying to shorten the project, I would rather use my shop time to build furniture than the router table and want to make sure I get a solid performing table and square fence.

                  DaveM - I am looking at the variable speed PC 3HP router for the table. Any thoughts or issues?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    jerry just lurking through your post. if you dont have a router yet here are 2 to consider for router tables the triton 3.5 hp has some wonderfull features for a table unit I first leared about it on the ryobi site a guy from australia tested the proto type, fantstic unit and the guy is a wizzard with wood. woodcraft is selling them now saw one in madison wi yesterday, also the new milwaukee is a great unit they are building it now w/ soft start and i think its abuot a 2.5 hp and has the above the table adjustment built in like the 1.5 unit that first came out best of luck bill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Jerry
                      If you are looking at the 7518 that should be fine. I was looking at the Freud 3HP. Seems to be a lot of favorable comments on the other woodowrking forums about it. Plus it's a lot cheaper. You can get the Freud for under $200 cmpared to $300 for the 7518. Hope this helps a bit. Dave

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To Jerry Jenson;

                        The table is surpisingly large compared to the picture. The whole for the Large Rout-R-Lift plate sets you off on this one.
                        I just came in from the shop for the night and I used it hard and heavy all day.
                        I can assure you, it has plenty of table top space in front of; both sides of; and behind the cutter for just about anything you want to do except run a dado down the middle of a 48" cabinet base panel.
                        I looked at the bence dog, even had a chance to try it out, along with a few others.
                        Each Woodworker does things in his/her own way, in the maner they feel safe and comfortable with. I'm will never say any one tool of anykind is good for everyone. But after spending thousands of dollars on different router motors and table tops, all was lost to the JessEm System.
                        I spend more money replacing broken router bits than I do sharpening and replacing saw blades.
                        Just give me the word, and I'll email you a few pics to verify my positive attitude for the way I do things in my shop on the JessEm system.
                        John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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