Router Table Top – Buy or Build

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Forum topic by bubinga posted 04-21-2011 08:13 AM 3763 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2690 days

04-21-2011 08:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question router router table shaping

I was going to build a router table top, as the one I have now have is warped.
I have a real nice router table cabinet that I built.
I don’t need a fence I have two fence systems I can use.
I got to looking at which plate I would use, and decided the INCRA plate is the one I want to use.
I could but, I don’t want to use the old phenolic plate.
The INCRA plate is $100, for another $90, I can get the whole top with the plate.
So I am thinking, spend the extra $90, and build projects rather than taking the time to build top.
Anyone have the INCRA table and plate? How do you like it?
What do you all think?

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

15 replies so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3916 days

#1 posted 04-21-2011 08:50 AM

i have never owned a router table

and presently thinking f making my own albeit I am thinking of cheating and borrowing certain parts from others who seem have hit the nail squarely on the head.

Incra, would make part of my life much easier and having used the table and fence

sweet stuff if used wirh the right router

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2690 days

#2 posted 04-21-2011 08:54 AM

I currently have a Porter cable 7518 in my router table.
But I have a new Triton 3 1/4 hp ready to mount on the new top

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3032 days

#3 posted 04-21-2011 09:29 AM

I have the Incra plate and in retrospect, probably should have just bought the table from them. I figured I could make it cheaper, and maybe I could have, but when all was said and done, I spent the same if not more doing it myself. I could have saved more $ if I put more work into sourcing materials or had them already. My rough cost breakdown:

3/4” MDF – $20
white formica – $40 for 4×8 sheet
plate template – $10 (not 100% necessary but useful)
miter channel – $20
special template router bit – $10

So you can see if you don’t already have suitable materials on hand or can’t source scraps from somewhere, it can cost just as much.

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

View EEngineer's profile


1103 posts in 3636 days

#4 posted 04-21-2011 12:53 PM

Factor in your time. Whatever rate you pay yourself, you are likely to spend more than $90 in time to build the table. And that’s on top of the material costs.

I take you are talking about the Incra magna-lock plates. I have reservations about those (tho I have never used them) because I am just not sure I trust magnets to hold the router inserts in place. My Quicklift uses machined aluminum locking inserts and I know damned well they ain’t coming loose while working. But rumor has it that Woodpecker is shipping phenolic inserts now and I suspect they wouldn’t hold up as well.

If you are going to hang a 3 1/4 HP router from it I definitely would not use a phenolic plate. It seems to me that a good stout 3/8” aluminum plate is a must to prevent sagging.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View ken_c's profile


323 posts in 3184 days

#5 posted 04-21-2011 01:41 PM

get a jessem – or equivalent and make your own top out of to pieces of particle board, put hi-pressure laminate on both sides and your off to the races. By putting the laminate on both sides the top sits in compression – no more warping…

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#6 posted 04-21-2011 02:38 PM

I’ve built a few router tables and typically suggest building your own, but your logic has merit since you’re going to go with the $100 Incra plate….$90 more for a table with zero labor hours invested seems pretty reasonable. As EE points out, what’s your time worth at this point in your life?

FWIW, I’ve had a Milwaukee 5625 in a phenolic plate for 3 or 4 years with no sagging. No doubt aluminum would be stronger but its a non-issue from what I’ve seen. So from that perspective, if you were to use your current phenolic plate, you could probably build the table from scraps in an afternoon for next to nothing. Does my waffling back and forth help any?! ;-)

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3181 days

#7 posted 04-21-2011 03:01 PM

I typically would buy something like that, particularly if there is value in a bundle.

Two thoughts…

You won’t want a router lift with the Triton, but there’s no guarantee that you won’t get an actual lift at some point and use your PC instead. IMHO, a dedicated router lift will likely be a little more precise than the Triton alone (from what I’ve heard). It doesn’t change much in your purchasing decision (you can match the lift with the same plate size), but others reading this should think about such things.

Regardless, I’d stay away from the phenolic. Even the inserts will sag…mine do. I’ve played with the Incra magnalock inserts before…they ain’t goin’ nowhere. I will be upgrading my Rockler FX lift to an Incra lift very soon…it’s hard not to like anything that Incra does.

Oh, and if you have the LS positioner, then that’s a large router table top…the extra $99 seems like a really good value to me.

-- jay,

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 2615 days

#8 posted 04-22-2011 11:13 PM

Check out all sorts of tables.Mellamine, cast iron, aluminium inserts, philonic,ETC…......

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2690 days

#9 posted 05-26-2011 07:32 AM

Well ! with summer here, and more things , to take up my time ,I’ll just pull the trigger ,and buy it
$189.99 & free shipping with Amazon

INCRA 24” x 32” Center Mount Router Table Top
INCRA Router Fence Systems can be installed on any router table, but there’s no question that using a top-quality table will improve your results. The extreme positioning accuracy of the LS Router Systems can often spotlight issues that go unnoticed with conventional router table fences – a router plate that can move in the table’s opening, insert rings that aren’t perfectly flush with the router plate, etc. These INCRA router tables are designed and engineered to perform under the most demanding, high-accuracy routing operations.
There is much discussion in the market place about what router tables should be made from (MDF, phenolic, aluminum, cast iron, etc.). Ultimately, though, the table’s router mounting plate and HOW a router table is made will be much more important for performance than the material the material the table itself is made from.

Our router tables feature horizontal-grade, high pressure laminate applied to the top and bottom of the super-flat MDF core using heat and 100,000 pounds of pressure for a balanced, stable construction. Each computer-machined plate opening also has ten large, flat head leveling screws that form a solid steel base to support the plate, and the plates are conveniently leveled from above the table through access holes in the router plates to eliminate the need to sit on the floor with an Allen wrench. An aluminum miter channel is preinstalled to accept any miter gauge with a 3/4” x 3/8” miter bar.

The Router Mounting plate is the single most important part of any high-accuracy router table. All INCRA Router Tables come standard with super-rigid, 3/8”-thick aluminum MagnaLock router mounting plates that are pre-drilled for the most popular routers. The high energy, rare-earth magnets of the MagnaLock System allows you to instantly remove or install the included steel reducing rings, and the magnets hold the ring secure and perfectly flush with the plate every time. It’s simply the most convenient and best-performing ring system available. All of our mounting plates include three laser-cut steel rings with 1”, 2-1/8” and 3-5/8” openings. A simple quarter turn of the corner mounted Cam-Lock securely holds the plate snugly in the router table’s recess.

All INCRA Router Tables and Combos include the outstanding MagnaLOCK Aluminum Router Mounting Plate, but you can also upgrade to an INCRA Router Lift for the ultimate in convenience and accuracy.

Actual table size: 23.580” x 31.580” +/-0.020”

Note: Router plates are pre-drilled to accept a variety of popular routers.

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2956 days

#10 posted 05-26-2011 07:49 AM

Do you have to screw on the inserts?

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2690 days

#11 posted 05-26-2011 07:56 AM


No, high energy, rare-earth magnets, hold the inserts in place, the inserts have holes in them,to level them when they are in place, The screws in the plate ,and table are for leveling

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3181 days

#12 posted 05-26-2011 02:49 PM

Very nice table. Grats!

I love the Magnalocks and really want them for my router lift upgrade…meaning of course I would have to get the Incra version of the PRL-v2 lift instead of the Woodpeckers. But I have a problem…only the Woodpecker version has the option that will fit my smaller format Bench Dog extension…and that lift uses the phenolic twist lock rings. I would get the Bench Dog lift, but it uses the same saggy phenolic inserts as my current Rocker FX lift, which is one of the main reasons I want to upgrade in the first place…that, and to hold my new Milwaukee 5625!

Ugh! If I weren’t so in love with a router lift, I’d definitely go in your direction.

-- jay,

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2956 days

#13 posted 05-26-2011 08:08 PM


Thanks for the info

It looks like a winner.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2715 days

#14 posted 05-26-2011 08:12 PM

I’ve got the benchdog cast iron table and I’ve found it to be of high quality. I think it was around $300. My guess is that anything INCRA makes is going to be wonderful.

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

View gillyd's profile


136 posts in 2668 days

#15 posted 05-27-2011 02:19 PM

If you can wait, I got this last fall for $300 when it went on sale.

The lift is great, the table is good and it comes with steel legs. I plan on taking the table off and building it into cabinets, then using the steel legs on my Delta 22-580 planar.

The INCRA in the picture looks nice too, can’t go wrong with them either.

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