MCLS Heavyweight Router Table & Fence Anyone?

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Forum topic by David Kirtley posted 05-08-2010 04:12 AM 4195 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3027 days

05-08-2010 04:12 AM

Short version:

I have been shopping around for a router table. So far the one that has gotten my interest for a commercially made router table has been the one from MCLS. Has anyone had any experience with it?

Long drawn out version:

I know most commercial router tables are a waste of money. They are usually beat out by something craftsman made with a drop in insert and a decent fence. It is not rocket science. The router already has a depth adjustment and all you need is a flat surface. Also lots of super-fences like the Incra, Kreg, etc. are pretty easy to find.

That said, I keep looking and thinking I would like something a bit sexier. I predominantly go the hand tool route but not a purist. I am not giving up my bandsaw. The router table is basically going to be a table saw replacement. I don’t want a table saw. Not because they are evil or anything. Just don’t have that much space or do that much that calls for one. I would rather rip on the bandsaw and crosscut by hand or maybe on my RAS. I am planning on a big honkin’ 2.5 or 3 HP plunge router with soft start. Mainly for solid wood joinery.

Anyway, I was looking at all the ones available and I really like the cast iron top on this one. I also think the router attachment setup is pretty nice. I think the gas lifts are a bit over the top but not a deal breaker. Long term, I think I would really like the stability of the cast iron for vibration dampening and dimensional stability would be a big plus. The fence looks a little cheesy compared to high end fences but way beyond what is on most small router tables. I am not a big fan of laminated MDF table tops on most of the commercial ones mainly because of the miter slots.

I have messed with a table top one before and won’t ever go that way again. Not enough mass to sit still with long stock. Too tall for a benchtop and too short to stand alone. If I have to build a special stand for it, I might as well build one from scratch.

So, anyone seen one of these in person or used one? Found something better that I haven’t found yet?

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

8 replies so far

View Rileysdad's profile


110 posts in 3307 days

#1 posted 05-08-2010 04:50 PM

I’ve got the Sommerfeld table and fence and I like it a lot. The table is extruded heavy aluminum, as is the fence. The thing I like most is that the fence has a pivot pin. When using a bearing bit, I can just flush up the bearing to the fence using the pivot point and clamp down the opposite end. Really quick. I’ve got the 3 1/4 hp Triton screwed into the bottom of the table. It’s a real good setup.

-- Measure twice, cut once, buy extra stock.

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3027 days

#2 posted 05-08-2010 05:17 PM

Thanks Rileysdad, I had not seen theirs before. I like their stock fence better than the MCLS and the size of the tabletop. I will put it on the my list for consideration but I don’t know if I like it $330 better than the MCLS. (when you add in the table legs.) That would buy a lot of router bits.

Sure would look pretty with an Incra fence on it :)

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3103 days

#3 posted 05-08-2010 05:31 PM

When MLCS offers there new motorized lift system in conjunction with a steel table top I am going to get real interested.

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

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3332 days

#4 posted 05-08-2010 05:58 PM

Yeah, that cast iron top would be nice.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View swayze's profile


97 posts in 3117 days

#5 posted 05-08-2010 06:54 PM

I have this table but with the sliding table. It does somethings well – like building cabinet doors. But like you said the fence is cheesy. Mine is older and i don’t have the gas struts but think that if they work they would be good as the top is frigin’ heavy. What I don’t like is the access to the router for bit changes. It’s a real cumbersome B#$%#. Maybe the offset wrench might help there. I am actually planning on buying the incra tablesaw fence/router table combo in the next few months. We’ll see if this works better then this table. But having the router table combined with the tablesaw might be a pain too if you need to use both. Time will tell.

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3027 days

#6 posted 05-28-2010 04:10 AM

Just to follow up, I decided against the table. I went ahead and picked up a little Ryobi table/router combo to start working with to make a decent one. Ordered an original Incra positioner and figure I will build myself a decent one instead of buying.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#7 posted 05-28-2010 06:46 AM

You can always make your own router table

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3027 days

#8 posted 05-28-2010 07:37 AM

Hi Jim.

Actually, I will probably make two (or one table with two router positions – one horizontal). I was thinking of the MCLS only because the nice cast iron top was interesting but when I thought about it more, it doesn’t add that much benefit over the home made and in some ways was more limiting by the lack of compatibility to better fences. Also, the cheap Ryobi was a lot nicer than I had expected. I was most surprised by the through table adjustment that it has. Since the router alone is $60, I figured that the $40 extra for a starter table to work on to build a better table with was well worth the price. The lack of storage on the MCLS one was a factor as well. I have enough tool storage problems to deal with to take that too lightly.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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