Aluminum VS Phenolic for router table plate

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Forum topic by wooddan posted 12-24-2009 11:54 PM 7658 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2500 days

12-24-2009 11:54 PM

I was thinking about building a new router table. Any thought on which way to go? I will be using my Freud 2 1/4 horse.

-- Dan

16 replies so far

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 2554 days

#1 posted 12-25-2009 03:32 AM

I went with aluminum, it’ll hold up alot better in every way than phenolic…

-- Rick

View drfixit's profile


318 posts in 2562 days

#2 posted 12-25-2009 04:10 AM

Mine also is aluminum, went a step further and used 1/4” aluminum over 2 layers of 3/4” mdf for the top that the plate sits in.

-- I GIVE UP!!!! I've cut this @!&*!% board 3 times.... its still too short!

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Rick Dennington

5100 posts in 2613 days

#3 posted 12-25-2009 04:32 AM

Greetings wooddan: I think you will find most of the guys on here prefer the aluminum plates pretty much over the others. I use the alumnium plate from Rockler—I have 2, in fact. I’ve used phenolic,and have used other types in the past, like Rousseou, and they are a good plate, but phenolic. I think you will be much happier going with the 1/4” alumnium plate. I did the same thing that drfixit did. Makes a good strong top.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View araldite's profile


188 posts in 2822 days

#4 posted 12-25-2009 04:44 AM

I had phenolic in my table for a number of years with a router hanging from it the whole time. Recently I was checking the flatness of my table and discovered the table was still flat but the plate had warped slightly. I just got in a new aluminum plate the other day and will be making the switch.

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

View Sacadelic's profile


43 posts in 2714 days

#5 posted 12-25-2009 06:23 AM

I would highly recommend the aluminum. I had the phenolic and it warped pretty badly real quick. The router that I am using is a 3 1/4 HP Freud. I just ordered an aluminum plate form MLCS to replace my existing one. Good luck.

-- Sac

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3171 days

#6 posted 12-25-2009 06:59 AM

I only use the phenolic bases as portable anymore they will warp, go with the aluminum.

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

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John Gray

2370 posts in 3304 days

#7 posted 12-25-2009 08:05 AM


-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View mikedddd's profile


146 posts in 2648 days

#8 posted 12-25-2009 08:34 AM


I have had the same issues with the Phenolic plate as others here don’t waste your time and money go with the Aluminum plate the first time.


-- Mike

View woodworm's profile


14164 posts in 3009 days

#9 posted 12-25-2009 12:41 PM

Table mounted : aluminum
Handheld : clear acrylic(plastic) for visuality

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2549 days

#10 posted 12-25-2009 04:09 PM

Good quality phenolic plates work fine. I’ve been using two Woodhaven 3/8” phenolic plates for over 10 years, and they are still perfectly flat. One of them has a 7518 hanging from it, and those things are heavy.

-- Gerry,

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 2554 days

#11 posted 12-25-2009 06:50 PM

I don’t see anything for inserts,...
Aluminum plates come with all sizes for what ever floats your boat…
Rocklers can also be used on there[]
universal plate…

-- Rick

View Chris 's profile


1877 posts in 3409 days

#12 posted 12-25-2009 07:02 PM

Aluminum here as well… 1/4” thick from rockler…..

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3407 days

#13 posted 12-25-2009 07:19 PM

I bet you’re going to go with aluminum now, huh?

It stays nice and flat. I haven’t seen a plastic or phenolic that stayed perfectly flat like aluminum.

The weight of a router hanging on it 24 hours a day as an effect.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2493 days

#14 posted 12-25-2009 07:33 PM

The best advise I can give you is to don’t buy a insert plate at all. Buy a lifting mechanism. Woodpecker offers several variations. I have the Quick-Lif and it works great. It allows ultra fine height adjustments and you can “pop” the router to the top for easy bit changes in a few seconds.

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

View wooddan's profile


4 posts in 2500 days

#15 posted 12-25-2009 11:22 PM

Thanks for all your input everyone! I was planning on aluminum to start with, but saw all the different phenolics and thought I would ask.
Thanks for the input Rich. I would love to go with a lift, but it’s not in the budget(especially after Christmas!!). Maybe next year.

-- Dan

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