Dedicated Router for Router Table? #1: Choosing the right set-up?

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Blog entry by Kindling_Maker posted 08-03-2017 09:04 PM 1805 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Dedicated Router for Router Table? series no next part

I am building a new router table cabinet. I am debating between two approaches…

1. Buy a new mid-size router (2 1/2HP) with a Jessem Rout-R-Lift


2. A Triton MOF001 Router and a Kreg router table insert plate (Model PRS4034).

The issue I am having is the reviews and comments I have seen about the Triton routers. Some are saying it is a great router, but many are writing that they have nothing but problems. The overall cost of going with the Triton and Kreg plate will be about $275.00.

If going with the Jessem Rout-R-Lift (~ $200.00 for the 02310 model and the template), and the purchase of a new router that will be dedicated to the cabinet (~$200-300.00). The overall cost here will be close to twice the cost.

What attracted me tot eh Triton MOF001 is that it has a built in lift for for table mounting. I found this while looking for a good router for a table mounting with a Jessem lift that I had my heart set on.

I would like to read your thoughts and experiences, or suggestions I have not thought of. The cabinet, table top, fence, safety power switch, and dust collection will be built. Only inserting a router, and a plate.

14 comments so far

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2726 posts in 3307 days

#1 posted 08-04-2017 01:26 AM

I have the large triton in a homemade table. Lots of wood put in it over the past maybe 5 years. Still going strong. It’s a beast. doesn’t slow down. Not a precision lift but it works good and I like to set and try on scrap to see how it looks as a method of setting my bits anyway.

That’s my experience.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Andybb's profile


636 posts in 473 days

#2 posted 08-04-2017 01:55 AM

As mentioned above it seems the main difference between the 2 options is that the Triton lift mechanism isn’t a precision lift. It is cool to be able to make adjustments of 1/32” in 32 increments. Plus, from what I’ve seen the Triton won’t fit in a lift. I use a Jessem and a Bosch. To me, since the router stays in the lift/table the brand really is not important. (as long as it is a good quality like PC or Bosch etc). The luxury and joy comes from being able to precisely control the height. I think the Triton also locks the collet for changing bits when you raise it. Nice, but still not a trade off for the precision. I suggest spending the same $ buy buying the Jessem and a good quality router on Craigslist. I haven’t seen or taken mine out of the lift for 5 years.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


1529 posts in 690 days

#3 posted 08-04-2017 02:06 AM

I probably should not have answered as for 100 replies you’ll get 100 different opinions and combinations and if people have 2 setups like me, you’ll be further confused by the other 100 (funny how people with dual setups seldom have the two the same).

Personally you should never let price (within reason) dictate your purchase. Choose what suits you the best. I’ll mention the two setups I have and some pros and cons with both.

1. Triton TRA001 (bought over 10 years ago and still running like new) with a Woodpecker Unilift (which I believe is now unavailable). I cannot comment too much on the modern Triton as I’m guessing that over those years a number of changes may have been made (if only for cheaper parts to minimise cost). While the Triton’s lift and lock looks good on paper, I found that if I lifted and locked to remove the bit, I forgot to lower, putting it inconveniently out of sync with the lifter till I lowered it with the twist (though this would not be an issue with a simple mounting plate like the PRS4034). I have always hated spanner colettes (1 spanner poo-poo, 2 spanner verboten) so I invested in one of those hex keyed extensions and never looked back (let alone ever use the lift and lock feature again).

2. Porta-Cable 7518 with a Woodpecker PRL-V2. With me living in Australia and the Porta -Cable being 110V it was impractical to run an extension lead to a power plug in the USA so I had to buy a 240V-110V Converter (threw that in for any Aussie readers). Again I replaced the Colette with a hex key adjuster. This is my go-to router setup. The above (Triton) I tend to use for “free hand” routing (templates/bearing routing). The PRL-V2 has a unique (I think) quick lift mechanism rather than labouring through winders. Downside of the PRL-V2 is that it will only accept a “motor only” type router (would not take the Triton with its built in base). Also the PRLP-V2 has a great above table micro adjustment wheel.

One work of caution when deciding on the mounting plate/lifter-mechanism. Consider your expected use in the future (now if that was at all possible). Just to give you an example. I have an Incra iBox that you position next to the router bit to adjust heights. On the PRL-V2 setup the iBox’s base of the box covers all access to the router lifting mechanisms above the table. You can work around that my using your favourite measurer to set the router height (to me this was in pain in the rrrs extra step). Fortunately I have very simple access to the router lifter, to below the table, through the front access door of my router table.

I probably haven’t helped much and only provided greater confusion… so I’ll sum up by wishing you luck… I know you don’t want to hear this but when one is faced with alternative decisions, you are guaranteed to make the wrong one, no matter which one you choose.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Rich's profile


2069 posts in 459 days

#4 posted 08-04-2017 02:32 AM

Like LittleBlackDuck says, everyone has their own setup that works for them. I wound up going with the BenchDog cast iron extension for my Delta table saw and put a JessEm Mast-R-Lift II in it. For my router motor I chose the Bosch 1617EVS. I was worried about the 2-1/4 HP being enough, but after the expense of the table and lift, I balked at the cost of the Porter Cable 75182 motor. I can’t say enough good things about the Bosch though. I build interior and entry doors, and that motor can handle stick cuts on 1-3/4 inch stiles in one pass without a hitch. The electronic speed control manages the load nicely. Yeah, if it burns out some day, I’ll replace it with the Porter Cable, but for now I’m perfectly happy.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


1529 posts in 690 days

#5 posted 08-04-2017 03:27 AM

As I mentioned above, I have fitted all the routers I could with a hex keyed colette (both “original colette extension” and “direct screw on” types). If you have a choice between routers, may I suggest checking out this site to see if the colette will fit your intended purchase.

If you eventually decide to fit one of the colettes to your router, it is a decision I doubt you’ll regret. However, if you do a word of warning I discovered from general discussions… don’t over tighten… you shouldn’t if you read the instructions first… as it seems some people have not.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Andybb's profile


636 posts in 473 days

#6 posted 08-04-2017 03:45 AM

I suggest checking out this site to see if the colette will fit your intended purchase.

- LittleBlackDuck

I keep meaning to order this but never remember until I reach for the wrenches.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


1529 posts in 690 days

#7 posted 08-04-2017 04:49 AM

I keep meaning to order this but never remember until I reach for the wrenches.

- Andybb

Procrastination is a sign of people that like to procrastinate (my way of saying – run around in circles). Believe me, they are chalk and cheese. I would never survive without my cheesey T-handled hex key(s).

I have three of them (hex powered colettes)... 1 on my Porta-Cable and one each on my Makita 8612’s. I shudder when I have to use a spanner, even on my Festool OF1400 (which on snob value I would never convert, even if I could).

PS. Yes, I have heaps of routers ranging from cheap to expensive. I got this tip from a master craftsman, who has over 20 routers. Whenever there was an Aldi (an Aussie bargain basement super market that occasionally dabbles in hardware) sale on, he would buy their entire stock (he taught woodworking and distributed to his students… at cost). He has a bit permanently mounted in a router for all his often repeated routings… the only time he “spanners” the bit is when it needs sharpening (the bit… not the spanner). I’m nowhere near that extravagant though I may have a couple more than the average woodworker and some of those are dedicated single purpose (cheapo) routers.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Bumpy's profile


34 posts in 351 days

#8 posted 08-04-2017 11:27 AM

I just completed a new router table also, check out the Woodpecker lift. It is one of the best items purchased in a long time.

View Redoak49's profile


3002 posts in 1858 days

#9 posted 08-04-2017 01:24 PM

I have the Unilift with a PC 7518 in it. I had this for years and love it.

View gpaw999's profile


7 posts in 2079 days

#10 posted 08-04-2017 04:21 PM

I have the triton setup and it works great even with large cutters. that said I have also bought a powermatic shaper with a adapter for1/2” shank bits for $500 and it does everything well. I would look around for a used shaper first.

-- gpaw999

View Kindling_Maker's profile


2 posts in 166 days

#11 posted 08-04-2017 06:28 PM

Thanks to all for the input. This could go on forever as LittleBlackDuck posted.

With that said, I have decided to go with a DW618M router. I have the DW618 combo set already, having a second motor would work out for me if I ever need a second router for a specific “hand job”. (No pun intended). That with the Jessem 02310 and the Chuck Eliminator that LittleBalckDuck suggested should do me right.

This was my first post and I am impressed with the fast international feedback. I have been reading posts here over a period of time that Google has directed me to and only now have had the need to ask a question from other’s trials and errors. Thanks again.

Time to produce more scrap.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


1529 posts in 690 days

#12 posted 08-04-2017 09:33 PM

... if I ever need a second router for a specific…

- KindlingMaker

KM, I’ll leave the “pleasure request” out for the sake of the underage readers.

No idea what your cordless configuration is (assuming you have one), however, I’ve found a cordless trimmer is one worthwhile weapon in my arsenal of 2nd. routers.

As backup and portability, I have opted for the Ryobi range (if for no other reason that they often have sales/specials on them in Bunnings – our “Home Depot”) so I have a central source of battery power… and I like the green colour.

Anyway, most of the cordless trimmers are very basic and virtually no features… however, they usually have enough grunt to manoeuvre a dedicated 3/32” (to 1/4”) roundover bit around most projects I undertake, on demand and no stuffing around.

Good luck and enjoy your forthcoming routing (pun intended).

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Bob272's profile


10 posts in 166 days

#13 posted 08-04-2017 09:55 PM

I use a Bosch 1617 router/Incra Master Lift-II. Router is dedicated. Very much like the precision, ease of adjustment, and lockability.

-- The trouble in repairing with Band Aids is they eventually fall off.

View abie's profile


869 posts in 3641 days

#14 posted 08-05-2017 02:04 PM

the Triton lift was quirky and was always in for repairs as the lock feature was not adaptable to multiple users in a shared shop
wound up with a strong De

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

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