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What router do people use when building a router table

by WhoMe
posted 02-25-2012 05:10 AM

39 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3077 days

#1 posted 02-25-2012 05:51 AM

I built mine usuing an old Craftsman Commercial and when it crapped out, I replaced it with a Ryobi 1 1/2 hp 1/4”. It works fine for me. The Bosch evs 1617 is a great router. Frankly, I wouldn’t look any farther, but they’re all good. Go to for the best deal. Get a factory recon tool with new warranty for a good bit less. I have this one with both bases for handheld work and it is smooth and powerful.

If you haven’t made up your mind about a table design, go to Finewoodworking and look up the article “A Versitile Router Table” by Kevin McLaughlin in the Mar/Apr 2004 issue. The name says it all. I built that 6 years ago and have found nothing it won’t do.

For your very own low buck router lift, go to an look at his two lifts—one of which can be tilted under the table.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 2359 days

#2 posted 02-25-2012 06:06 AM

Check out Matthias Wandels router lift.
I have plans to make one using the Harbor Freight router. In his lift he uses a Mastercraft(Canadian tire brand) router.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2312 days

#3 posted 02-25-2012 06:19 AM

I bought the Dewalt 618 three base kit, and threw the fixed base into my table. That leaves the plunge base and d-handle for hand routing. The only downside of course is that I have to swap the motor out when I switch from the table to the plunge base, for example. Otherwise, the Dewalt is a good performer. Oh, and the Bench Dog aluminum insert (group 1) was a perfect fit.

-- John, BC, Canada

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3036 days

#4 posted 02-25-2012 07:01 AM

The 2.25hp Triton is worth considering for table use. I despise using the thing handheld, and it doesn’t feel to be as robustly built as I like, but for the money it’s a pretty good router to leave under the table. It has above the table bit changes and height changes. I’ve planned to upgrade to a 7518 + lift when budget allows, but so far I haven’t felt the need. It also has a dust collection port built into its base which can be handy for table or handheld use.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2603 days

#5 posted 02-25-2012 07:23 AM

My first choice today in the 2HP range would be the bosch 1617evs or the porter cable 890. Both have above the table adjustments.

I use a 690 in my router table; no need for a lift IMHO, though I do want to put it in a nice router plate.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Redcloud's profile


32 posts in 2365 days

#6 posted 02-25-2012 07:38 AM

Bosch 1617evs, here. Installed and it looks great but I’m still waiting to use it!

View jdmaher's profile


430 posts in 2606 days

#7 posted 02-25-2012 11:10 AM

I use the 2 1/4 hp Triton (for about a year now). Height adjustments and bit changes above the table, no separate lift mechanism. For me, this is a permanent installation – I wouldn’t take it out and try to use it handheld (I have a Bosch for handheld use).

I’ve never needed more power, but I understand there’s 3 1/4 hp for about $50 more.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Woodknack's profile


11794 posts in 2406 days

#8 posted 02-25-2012 11:14 AM

PC 690. I’ll probably buy a small 1/4 router so I won’t need to take it out of the table so often.

-- Rick M,

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3263 days

#9 posted 02-25-2012 11:35 AM

I just looked up the article in Fine Woodworking and found it in issue #169 on page 58. One of the projects on my to-do-list is to build a horizontal router table and this design includes plans for adding one as well as several other useful router accessories. I have two router tables now, but this design would be much more useful than the ones I have now.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#10 posted 02-25-2012 03:11 PM

I use a refubed ryobi. I think it was $60 at amazon. I also built my own lift.

It might not look cool and fancy, but it works like a charm and total cost $0.

I bought the router expecting to upgrade it in a year or two. That was about 5 years ago. Its done everything I’ve asked. As for the lift, the only thing I can see different than a commercial model, I need to bend over to adjust.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2519 days

#11 posted 02-25-2012 04:27 PM

Don’t overlook the Milwaukee 5616, it also has the built in table adjustment (with the fixed base).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10540 posts in 3455 days

#12 posted 02-25-2012 06:11 PM

I use a PC 7518 and a Jessem master lift. When I was considering my options I had several dozen raised panels to make. Since then it has made several hundred. I’ve never been dissatisfied with the set up.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2719 days

#13 posted 02-25-2012 06:20 PM

Triton dude here but if you’ve got the cash in a flash, Porter cable and a lift. My 2.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3101 days

#14 posted 02-25-2012 06:24 PM

Please make certain that you buy a router now that will work with a lift later. Lifts are only made for a limited number of routers.

I use a PC 890 in my router table. For the first couple of years, I used it without a lift. This router can be adjusted from above the table even if you do not have a lift. It works okay in that mode.

Later I added a lift (Woodpecker) and it works GREAT with the lift. I really appreciate how precisely I can adjust the height and the ability to “pop” the router to the top for bit changes and set it back down just as quickly.

The PC 890 and 7518 are well established standard routers and with either one you can be quite certain that a lift will be available when you want one.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2883 days

#15 posted 02-25-2012 06:33 PM

Like you, I did the research and decided on a 3hp Triton. No lift needed, quick bit changes, above the table adjustment, soft start, speed control. Something to consider is if you want to spin larger bits for raised panels, the extra power comes in handy. I never plan to remove it for hand use, have a couple of cheaper Ryobi’s for that.

With a router table, my hand held routers mostly sit in the cabinet.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3162 days

#16 posted 02-25-2012 08:33 PM


Which one did you get, did you need to buy the pads for 890???

I was looking at the PRL-V2-350 for my 890…

It doesn’t specify if it come with or do you need to buy the pads…

-- Rick

View KenBee's profile


109 posts in 2662 days

#17 posted 02-25-2012 09:01 PM

I use a Porter Cable 892 in my router table for the simple fact it can be locked and unlocked as well as height adjusted from the table top. OH yes the bits are changeable from the table top. IMHO the PC 892 is the next best thing to a high dollar lift and the lift can’t do any more than the PC 892 router in a table.

I have 2 PC 892 routers. One I bought as the PC 895 kit at a flea market that was like new in appearance, the plunge base has never been on the router motor, for $70.00 because the speed control went south and the router wouldn’t run. I rewired it bypassing the speed control and soft start, attached it to my table with a Harbor Freight speed controller and it works beautifully. That set-up is a plus because I don’t have to reach under the table to change speeds. That makes my non-lift router table kinda unique because all settings and adjustments can be done above the table. Even if I didn’t have those functions I wouldn’t spring for a lift. They are, in my opinion too expensive for what they do and are a lazy mans toy. Before the PC 892 I had a Milwaukee 5616-20 router in my table that was height adjustable above the table but had to go under the table to change speeds and lock/unlock the router to adjust the height. I am older than dirt with a bad back, but a lift never was on my list of wants because it took little to no effort to go under the table when necessary.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1367 posts in 2690 days

#18 posted 02-25-2012 09:06 PM

PC7518, with woodpeckers lift, for me. The 690 is a great router, I have one that is 20 years old.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2425 days

#19 posted 02-25-2012 10:36 PM

I have been running a 3 1/4 HP Porter Cable 7518 with a Woodpecker lift for approximately 8 years with nothing but great performance. It is very hard to beat a PC for router table applications. With this larger router motor I avoided buying a shaper. If you are considering doing some raised panel work make sure you get a variable speed motor as the larger router bits need to be run at slower speeds. Also, some suppliers now offer this router and some others with just a motor. I never used the base on the one I bought.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3162 days

#20 posted 02-26-2012 12:17 AM

Paying more or just as much for a lift than what your router cost I can’t justify…

To say your above the table adjustments are just as good as a lift, I can’t justify that either….

-- Rick

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3270 days

#21 posted 02-26-2012 02:14 AM

Wow, what a GREAT bunch of information to think about. Thank you ALL for your input.
I never thought about the above the table bit changes. That to me would be a major item I will look for.
Variable speed was already on my list as I do plan on small and large bits.
As for raised panels, yes they will be in my future but I cannot justify the cost of a 3+ hp router at this time. Besides, I can do the same panel in several passes instead 1 or 2 with the larger router. No biggie on my end.
The electronic speed control that helps keep the router at a constant rpm based on load was one thing that I was also looking for and I know some of the more recent routers in my hp range have them.

The other suggestion to ensure I get a router that will fit in a lift in the future is also a very good suggestion. I haven’t looked at lifts too much so I didn’t know there was much of a limitation in that respect. Definitely something to keep in mind.

So, now comes the task of finding the routers I am looking at so I can get some hands on looks to help determine which one to buy.
At any rate, first round will be a router and a compatible table plate. Then I can see how that works before putting a lift on my want list.

Thanks again for the help and insight.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2313 days

#22 posted 02-26-2012 03:14 AM

I’m using the PC 892, I plan to build a router table and I’ll likely buy another 892 for that one too. I hear the switch gets saw dust in it, but with a good collection system on the table and a thorough cleaning with the shop vac, I haven’t had any problems.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#23 posted 02-26-2012 03:52 AM

I used a PC 690 for years worked fine I now Have a PC 7518 in one router table and a 2’1/4 HP Triton in my out feed on my table saw and a old 3 1/2 Hp Ryobi in my small portable router table. I had the Ryobi for a long time and would not recommend it for use in a router table or other wise.

Here’s a shop made router lift.
One of my students made this same lift and it works great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2666 days

#24 posted 02-26-2012 04:15 AM

Triton under the table. Powerful, lift included and quick top side bit changes.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3166 days

#25 posted 02-26-2012 06:54 AM

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2666 days

#26 posted 02-26-2012 08:28 AM

Yes, like Sarit I have the 2 1/4 HP in my large 1/2” collet table with an aluminum base plate. I like it so much I recently added the 9 amp for my small 1/4” collet table. Even that one has the same top crank and top bit changes. Plenty of oomph.

Over a year ago, I was SO CLOSE to ordering a powered lift. I am SO glad I didn’t.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3779 days

#27 posted 02-26-2012 08:33 AM

Pc 890 in the vertical table, PC 690 in the horizontal table. I only have PC routers in the shop, as all everything is the same between them and they seem to be the standard in the router world. (I only have 7-8 now but am sure that I will be adding more).

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View zzzzdoc's profile


550 posts in 3029 days

#28 posted 02-27-2012 12:23 AM

PC7518 in my Woodpecker PRL-V2.

Plenty of power for anything I have thrown at it.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3221 days

#29 posted 02-27-2012 01:43 AM

My shop built router table has PC 690 router with a Woodpecker QL-350 lift. Bought the variable speed PC-690 reconditioned from CPO for under $100. The 690 has, so far, had all the power I need but, haven’t used it with any large diameter panel buts, etc. so watching for a deal on a PC-890 motor as it will fit in the WP lift. Would like a PC-7518 motor but, it’s larger motor diameter would require a new lift.

My humble recommendation would be to pick out a router lift that will meet your needs and see which routers wil fit it.

Good luck with your selection.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View KenBee's profile


109 posts in 2662 days

#30 posted 02-27-2012 02:24 PM

Paying more or just as much for a lift than what your router cost I can’t justify…

To say your above the table adjustments are just as good as a lift, I can’t justify that either….


How is above the table adjustments with a router different than a lift? Both are above the table adjustable with a tool of some kind or in some cases such as the “Sidewinder” lift a crank on the side of the table. MLCS sells the only powered lift I am aware of which is operated with a switch or a foot control.

So in essence the only difference in a lift and an above the table adjustable router like the PC 890 series as far as the manner in which the router height is adjusted is, there is no difference.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

View skeemer's profile


95 posts in 2390 days

#31 posted 02-27-2012 02:45 PM

This is certainly a newbie question, but what is the purpose of a router lift? Doesn’t the router in a table stay flush with the table and you just raise or lower the bit depth on the router?

View KenBee's profile


109 posts in 2662 days

#32 posted 02-27-2012 05:59 PM

Hi Skeemer…

Actually the bit is locked in the collet and the router motor stays in the router base which is attached to an insert plate in the table after removing the router base plate. Not all routers can be adjusted, locked/unlocked or offer bit changes above the table unless they are installed in a lift, which is no doubt the big draw for buying a lift. Actually a lift is very much like a router base where the router motor fits into the lift after removing the router base. The bit height is then adjusted from above the table top with a tool inserted through the table. If I didn’t have a router that does everything a lift is capable of I would probably buy one myself even though I feel they are over priced. If you search the net you will find several home made lifts. Some of which are accidents waiting to happen and others that are pure genius.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

View Mosquito's profile (online now)


9355 posts in 2318 days

#33 posted 02-27-2012 06:08 PM

I echo what Rich said, I use a PC 895PK in my home made table. I have the plunge base and the fixed base. I leave the fixed base in my table all the time, and just remove the motor to use in the plunge base. The above table height adjustment works ok, not the greatest but it does work fine.

I used a PC 690 prior to the 895K, but replaced it due to the lack of variable speed.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3162 days

#34 posted 02-27-2012 06:28 PM

The above table height adjustment works ok, not the greatest but it does work fine.

That’s the difference between above table & a lift…

Adjustment, up & down is more precise – accurate with a lift…

Making the adjustment up or down, then locking it, it moves when hand held & above table adjustments are made…

Some people that little bit doesn’t matter, it matters alot to me…

-- Rick

View Mosquito's profile (online now)


9355 posts in 2318 days

#35 posted 02-27-2012 06:41 PM

Rick makes a good point about the accuracy of above table vs. lift. I should have mentioned that I use a digital height gauge when it matters, which adds time, since I sometimes have to adjust more than once, but again does “work” if you can live with it.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2312 days

#36 posted 02-27-2012 06:59 PM

I have a Bosch 1617. When I need to pull it out of the table, it goes into the plunge base. When it goes back into the table I have a mount in there that can be adjusted from above with a T-handled allen wrench.
RA1165 like this

Hope I did that link right. If not, go to amazon and search RA1165. :)

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 2619 days

#37 posted 02-27-2012 07:58 PM

I use a Hitachi M12 3 1/4 hp.It’s darn near to having a shaper with its power.I modified it so it has it’s own router lift! I also can use my Rigid 2 hp in my table and it has it’s own lift also.

View KenBee's profile


109 posts in 2662 days

#38 posted 03-05-2012 07:03 PM

Something that really disturbs me is the fact some woodworkers think the measurements have to be dead on the money when clearly wood moves and metal doesn’t. Anything within 1/32 of an inch is more than sufficient for most woodworking projects as a norm.

As I said I have a PC 892 in my router table and I set it up most of the time with brass set-up bars, digital height gauge or digital dial indicator. I sometimes, but not always check it again after I lock the router and 99% of the time it is still where I set it when re-checked. Even when it does move it isn’t enough to re-set it because it is always less than 1/32. For the money I would waste on a lift I could take that same money and buy several router bits, wood, or even another router which any one or all of those items would be a much more sensible expenditure than a lift.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

View moke's profile


1182 posts in 2802 days

#39 posted 03-05-2012 07:14 PM

I bought a PC 7519 on a Jessem lift—-no adapters reqired, tons of power, and multi speeds. I put it on a cabinet with drawers, it is one of the nicest tools I have. I also have a Bosch 1617 on a woodpecker lift…nice set too. You can tell it is 1 hp less..
I tried a 1619 Bosch and it was a nightmare to try and adjust….now I just use it as a hand router.

-- Mike

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