|Forum topic by groland||posted 03-21-2017 01:58 AM||299 views||0 times favorited||11 replies|
03-21-2017 01:58 AM
I am interested in buying or building a router table. I have a Rigid router with fixed and plunge bases from Home Depot.
I bought a table plate and installation template from Rockler and mounted the router plate in a piece of 3/4” MDF, so now, I have a router mounted upside down in a “table”. I used it a few times just C-clamping the table to sawhorses, just to get a feel for using a basic router table. It worked fine—a bit clumsy to change bits and establish the correct height for the bit, but once dialed in, I got good results.
I made a “fence” by C-clamping a straight-edged board to the table, and that worked fine too. A bit fiddly, but good results.
Okay, so today I went to a big hardware and tool dealer to look at routers with a self-lifting mechanism—Triton in particular, some router lifts (they had a Woodpecker lift for over $400.00. Yikes!) and router tables sporting fancy fences with dust collection, tracks for miter gauges and other stuff. This turned out to be very worthwhile, because seeing tiny pictures in catalogues or on web sites really gives no sense of the reality of fit-n-finish and so on.
One thing I noticed was that all the router table fences wobbled all over the place. None of them stayed “square” to the edges of the table top, the miter gauge track or anything else. Then I began to wonder if that was okay?
Since router bits are all essentially circular in operation, the only geometry that matters with a fence is its distance from the router bit. As long as the fence puts the stock to be routed the correct distance from the bit, the angle of the fence relative to the table makes no difference? Is that correct? Are there instances where the fence must be square to the edges of the router table?
After seeing all these tables at $500-1,000, I was not impressed. Most of them had some kind of “frame” for a base and looked as though they would walk all over the floor with firm sideways pressure. One had legs that wobbled when tugged gently sideways. None had any provision for under-table dust collection.
I am coming to believe that I could just build a base out of 3/4 inch plywood or MDF at a very low cost that would have enough weight and rigidity to best these manufactured items. The one item I think would be a really good addition would be some kind of lift that would allow bit changes and easy bit height settings from the top. Most of these are in the $350-500 price range, and I may be happier just setting bit height from the router itself. Whew, a lot to consider and much $$$ to be spent or saved.
Your thoughts appreciated. Now back to You Tube to look at some homemade router tables!