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Router Table; What would you do differently

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Forum topic by UncleJoe posted 01-08-2012 at 11:42 AM 2576 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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UncleJoe

7 posts in 968 days


01-08-2012 at 11:42 AM

I am preparing to build a new router table for my incra system. I have read some great posts on here regarding some of the table/cabinet builds. Here is my question to all who purchased or built a table/cabinet combo and have used it for a while. What would you change? What would make the system you have better? Finally, what feature do you like best.

I am a big believer in learning from the experience of others so I am asking those who have experience to share what worked and what did not work. I think a lot of wood workers could benefit from this discussion.

Think of all the things that go into such a design, dust collection, table size, fence system and placement, number and size of drawers or even to have drawers, router lift, table top adjustment,etc. A lot of things to consider.

Thanks for your input.


15 replies so far

View Greedo's profile

Greedo

467 posts in 1598 days


#1 posted 01-08-2012 at 12:24 PM

i wouldn’t center the router on the table anymore, but put it closer to the front. That way when working for long periods on the router table my back wouldn’t hurt so much anymore from leaning forward, and there would be more space at the rear to slide the fence back, so you can make dado’s further from the edge of the board.

And improve the DC when making dado cuts, by adding a hole in the table left of the router center so the dust from the dados gets sucked in there.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1214 days


#2 posted 01-08-2012 at 01:42 PM

For me, a bigger table.

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

View Uncle_Salty's profile

Uncle_Salty

182 posts in 1710 days


#3 posted 01-08-2012 at 02:47 PM

Longer table, too! That or wings with locking arms for longer boards when I need them… and can conveniently fold down when I don’t need them or when I am done routing.

Router lift would be a GREAT addition.

Portabilitiy is a must; being able to move the router station as needed makes a big different in productivity.

On board bit storage… check.

Great dust collection… check.

View Viking's profile

Viking

857 posts in 1832 days


#4 posted 01-08-2012 at 05:44 PM

When I designed and built my present router table I had four main goals;

1. Ergonomics – Raised table to a comfortable height to work. Mine is 42” (most are closer to 32” high) and gives me great view of what’s going on without having to stoop over.

2. Better dust collection – I installed to Rockler metal box under my table around the router. My DC now pulls from the box below the table and from behind the fence above the table.

3. On board storage for bits, etc. This one has two 3 1/2” deep drawers and one 10” deep lower drawer with one of the 3 1/2” drawers strictly for bit storage.

4. Portability – Installed 3” locking casters so I can move it to whatever location in the shop the job dictates then lock the casters while working.

I took lots of pictures during the build and will do a “project’ on this RT someday soon.

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

View RetiredCoastie's profile

RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 1820 days


#5 posted 01-08-2012 at 06:13 PM

Joe I had the same dilemma. Here is a link to my build with storage features: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/55034

I’ve used mine for several projects including the construction of the cabinet. I started with the INCRA fence table combo with stand. I have to say I haven’t come across anything I would change yet. The table gives me good support. I really like the router plate from INCRA because of the adjusting/ leveling system and it’s thickness. Don’t go cheap on the plate you’ll regret it. Also use 4 double lock casters as they really make it easy to move around the shop. I hope this helps.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View Hanman's profile

Hanman

58 posts in 969 days


#6 posted 01-08-2012 at 06:15 PM

I have an Incra router table that I installed on my table saw and modified it so my table saw fence is also my router table fence. On the right side of the fence I mounted a hollow fence to accomodate a shop vac hose attachment. Many plans available that you have probably seen before. It saves space this way since it just sits between the rails for my aftermarket table saw fence and also increases the surface area of my table saw. The only thing I don’t care for is that I have to bend over quite a bit and if I’m doing a lot of routing my back doesn’t appreciate it. I’m fairly tall though and there’s really no way around it. So basically to make a long story short, I would suggest making it slightly lower than chest level. This way you don’t have to bend over as much, can really see your work, and accessing the router is much easier. I would also suggest splurging and buying a nice router lift plate to adjust height from above. Definitely on my wish list. Vikings cabinet looks very nice. No such thing as too much storage.

-- It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. - Harry S. Truman

View Viking's profile

Viking

857 posts in 1832 days


#7 posted 01-08-2012 at 06:21 PM

I used a Woodpecker’s router lift which makes above the table bit changes easy and bit height adjustment a snap.

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

View JL7's profile

JL7

7137 posts in 1602 days


#8 posted 01-08-2012 at 11:32 PM

Hey Joe – have to agree with all the suggestions above. I especially miss having extra long fence stops like Uncle_Salty mentioned. The standard Incra fence has one, but not the Super Fence, at least not that I am aware of. I have plans on making some extensions for the Super Fence….

Here are a few things I like with mine:

1. Woodpeckers table and lift – dead flat and perfect alignment of the plate to the table:

2. Flip down storage for doing bit change – everything you need is right at hand – also the Woodpeckers lift allows above table bit change….....bit change is a breeze here:

3. Incra template storage – not used a ton – but when you need to find a template – it’s quick:

Original project post is here.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Jeff

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View Viking's profile

Viking

857 posts in 1832 days


#9 posted 01-10-2012 at 04:04 AM

Jeff;

Nice table. Really like all your storage.

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

View Hanman's profile

Hanman

58 posts in 969 days


#10 posted 01-11-2012 at 03:36 AM

Holy cow there are some sweet router table set-ups here.

-- It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. - Harry S. Truman

View W00DY's profile

W00DY

13 posts in 966 days


#11 posted 01-11-2012 at 04:03 AM

I would just add that when you go to drill holes in your router plate that you do it with a bushing installed. My router is a 1/32 off from dead center of the plate and now I cant use it for dovetailing cause the bits wont go through the bushings. :-(

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W00DY

13 posts in 966 days


#12 posted 01-11-2012 at 04:04 AM

Oh yea, and stay away from Melamine, it gets busted up removing the router plates if your like me and have only one router.

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559dustdesigns

632 posts in 1805 days


#13 posted 01-11-2012 at 02:57 PM

UncleJoe I built a router table for my Incra fence and woodpeckers inc. router lift.
I really like my old router lift, but I wish mine had to quick lift feature like the new one from Incra.
My table is a little high about 42” high cause I’m 6’2” tall.
I would say to consider dust collection and storage for your Incra Master Template Library.

router table

router table

router table

Original blog post HERE.

Good luck, hope this is helpful to you. Aaron

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View JL7's profile

JL7

7137 posts in 1602 days


#14 posted 01-13-2012 at 04:52 AM

Hey Aaron – that is a great table you have – very ingenious, and lot’s of planning.

Viking – thanks for the comments – I appreciate….I see both you and Aaron went with the 42” height, mine is 35” or so and I think 40” would have been better (I’m 6’)...Anyways – you got me thinking I may adjust the height a bit…...

Cool stuff….but what happened to Uncle Joe?

Jeff

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View UncleJoe's profile

UncleJoe

7 posts in 968 days


#15 posted 01-13-2012 at 02:47 PM

Jeff I am still here. I really appreciate all the posts and the advice. Trying to sum it all up it looks like these are the main points
  • Height can be a critical design factor. I had considered making it the dame hieght as my other tables/machines but now I am considerign around 40 inches +or-
  • Dust Collection
  • Bigger table, Maybe wings
  • Storage not just for bits but routers have so many accessories. Build in ways to store all these in one place.
  • Router lifts are nice, I did not even know about the quick lift feature now I have seen the video on it and I agree that is a nice feature.
  • The flip down storage of everything needed for bit changes is too cool.
  • Incra Template storage is something I had not seen before, very nice.
  • Make sure router is dead center on plate. Don’t assume
  • Stay away from Melamie, Thanks I was going to use it but I have a piece and I see that it may get abused from plate removal.
  • The folks here at Lumberjocks are real fine people thanks for the help.

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