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Bench Dog / Rockler Quality- **BIG THUMBS DOWN**

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Forum topic by noone posted 435 days ago 1849 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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noone

410 posts in 871 days


435 days ago

Ok. So I am about fed up with Rockler/Bench Dog quality.

I originally ordered a Rockler HPL router table and fence package. Out of the box, the HPL table was cupped in the middle and anything but flat. Then I tested the blue router plate that came with it with an 18” straight edge, and that wasn’t flat either. It was off by about a 1/64”.

So I returned all that junk to Rockler.

Then I figured I would order the Bench Dog Pro Max Cast Iron router table package. Today it came in. The first thing I did was to test the router plate for flat with the straight edge. Guess what? It ain’t flat. Not even close. Off by a fat 64th cupped up in the middle. I mean, it’s a router plate for crying out loud. The only requirement is that it be FLAT. I haven’t even been able to test the table yet for flat because I can’t lift it by myself, but geez, I hope that’s at least flat. I just dropped over $600 bucks and spent way too much time dealing with crap like this. This is just ridiculous. Now I have to return this junk to Home Depot and figure out where to buy a decent FLAT plate that fits this irregularly sized hole of 8.25×11.75. Any ideas

Fed up…..


31 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2247 days


#1 posted 435 days ago

links to the product you have? if we know which one it is, we might be able to suggest alternatives/modifications/fixes/etc so that you’ll be less fed-up and more fed well ;)

EDIT:

by the way, router table plates can often lose their flatness depending on how you attach your router to them – for the same reason, a router plate which is not flat on it’s own , could be bent into flat once you do attach your router to it as the bolts will pull the plate to the router base and could potentially flatten it. worth a try.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 885 days


#2 posted 435 days ago

Damn, noone.. that sucks! As you know I have the same setup, and I just went out to the shop to check mine with a Veritas straightedge and feeler gauges. Both the table and the plate are dead flat on mine. I did check my plate with the router installed, but I doubt that will make a difference with 1/4” thick aluminum plate. Hope you can get it sorted out. And yeah, that cast iron top is heavy—be careful hoisting that thing around.

-- John, BC, Canada

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3270 posts in 1412 days


#3 posted 435 days ago

Surprising you received bad products from Bench Dog. I use their router table and fence / inserts, and they work great. I didn’t hold a straightedge to them, but in actual use they work great. Very helpful for building furniture.
Their aluminum fence is built like a tank.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View noone's profile

noone

410 posts in 871 days


#4 posted 435 days ago

Ok, i’m calm now.

:)

I don’t see how anything could be designed to pull itself flat. :) Especially since different routers will weigh different amounts. This thing is a 1/4” thick piece of metal. It should be flat right out of the box.

Alternatives are greatly welcomed.

link-
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21293

View JayT's profile

JayT

2089 posts in 810 days


#5 posted 435 days ago

PurpLev is on it. I’ve talked to Kreg reps and that company designs the router plates with a slight crown in the middle for two related reasons—I’m assuming the other manufacturers do the same.

First is the weight of the router will pull it down. If it starts dead flat, you end up with a cup down after hanging a heavy router. They design based on the heaviest 3+HP units so a lighter one won’t affect it as much.

The second reason is so the cut will be uniform depth throughout. By having a slight rise at the point of the cut, you are guaranteed the board riding the highest spot and your depth setting will be precise. If there is any dip at all, the depth of cut will change as the board rides into and out of that dip.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View noone's profile

noone

410 posts in 871 days


#6 posted 435 days ago

Hmm. Ok, well I guess my router is not heavy duty enough because it still ain’t flat even with my router under it.

It’s a new Ridgid router.

I just ordered another Bench Dog Plate so hopefully it won’t be the same, but at this point, I don’t have high hopes. Any alternatives out there in this funky size?

View Pimzedd's profile

Pimzedd

436 posts in 2403 days


#7 posted 435 days ago

When I worked in manufacturing most tolerances for such items were +/- .015. 1/64 = .0156. Looks to be in tolerance to me unless one were to consider it out by .0006.

Keep in mind .015 is equal to about the thickness of three pieces of copy paper.

More than close enough for me but that’s just me.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View noone's profile

noone

410 posts in 871 days


#8 posted 435 days ago

I hear you Bill. But it’s off by 1/64+ going from the right edge of the ring hole to the right edge and 1/64+ going from the left side of the ring to the left edge. Therefore, if i’m pushing a piece of wood through my overly priced cast iron flat table and stopping the cut at the left side of the plate, pushing down on the left side is going to pop up the piece and make a slightly curved cut. This isn’t right nor normal. It’s supposed to be FLAT. Period.

View YanktonSD's profile

YanktonSD

189 posts in 1131 days


#9 posted 435 days ago

My understanding from my own router table is the plates are made with a slight rise in the middle to accomadate the router over time. I have a Rousseau and it was the same way when I first got it but after a week it was perfect.

View noone's profile

noone

410 posts in 871 days


#10 posted 435 days ago

I just put the insert ring into it and that doesn’t even sit flush.

Crap.

I give up….

View noone's profile

noone

410 posts in 871 days


#11 posted 434 days ago

Question-

Is the cast iron table top supposed to be flat?

Incredibly, the table I just received is not flat. I put a straight edge across it left to right and there is a dip in the middle that tapers to the router plate hole slightly less than 1/16”. Again, this is cast iron we are talking about here.

Is this normal or do I have the worst luck in the history of the world?

In summary-
Cast iron router table – not flat
1/4” aluminum insert – not flat
ring that goes into 1/4” aluminum insert – doesn’t sit flush with the surface of the plate.

So when I push a piece of wood across the surface, it bumps.

I never thought it would be this hard to buy a decent router table. I’m starting to think I should make my own and buy a Woodpecker’s plate for it.

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 885 days


#12 posted 434 days ago

Per their website:

Ultra flat surface is machine-ground to within .008”

http://www.benchdog.com/ProMax-RT.cfm

-- John, BC, Canada

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2247 days


#13 posted 434 days ago

got pictures to show what you are seeing. it starts to look like you are either super unlucky which I find odd (but obviously possible), or something else is at play here.

hopefully the replacement plate will be better.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 885 days


#14 posted 434 days ago

Can you also verify that the straightedge you’re using is good? Sorry if it seems like a silly suggestion, but I have seen reference tools that weren’t suitable for their purpose before. Just a thought.

-- John, BC, Canada

View noone's profile

noone

410 posts in 871 days


#15 posted 434 days ago

I will snap pictures when I get home.

nwbusa- i’m pretty sure the cast iron table is more than .008” out of flat. It appears to be a fat 1/32” out (.03125”) to me. .008 would be pretty hard to see with the naked eye.

The straight edges i’m using are solid. I referenced the 18” straight edge against a flat bosch 3/8” router plate from a Bosch RA1181 router table package which is what I am trying to replace here. It registers flat. I referenced the 36” straight edge against my table saw’s cast iron top which shows flat.

Thanks for the responses gentleman.

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