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Router extension vs. Table

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Forum topic by firstbase posted 08-16-2013 08:03 AM 2833 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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firstbase

35 posts in 1399 days


08-16-2013 08:03 AM

Hi to all and my thanks for any comments!

I am deciding on which table saw to buy. Down to the last stages and looking at one that has a router table extension and one without. I know it will be an additional cost to add the stand alone router table but that ok if it is a better set up over all. My question is what is lost by using the table saw fence instead of one dedicated on a router table. How important is an offset fence? Is it possible to add one to my table saw fence for use on the router extension? I have 0 experience with a router table (hard to tell, huh?)


16 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#1 posted 08-16-2013 10:24 AM

What’s lost is the flexibility of leaving both fences setup for a specific task if the fence is shared. A TS router table extension is a great space saver for those severely short on space, but a stand along definitely has the most advantages. You can still add a separate router fence to a router table mounted on the end of your TS. The offset fence is handy for specific tasks and edge jointing.

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

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3080 days


#2 posted 08-16-2013 01:08 PM

I agree with knotscott – I think a separate router table has the most advantages.

My shop isn’t all that big, either (are they ever big enough?) but I have arranged the table saw and router table back-to-back. The router table does double-duty as an outfeed table. I would have had to add a separate outfeed table to handle longer pieces anyway so this costs me just about zero floor space. This does cut down a bit on flexibility since I have to remove the fence to use the entire router table for outfeed. There are no perfect solutions – see what might work best for you.

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

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4037 posts in 1818 days


#3 posted 08-16-2013 01:16 PM

I agree as well, another advantage of a stand alone router table is the storage you can build into it. Router accessories are numerous and a nice router table with a storage cabinet underneath is almost a necessity for all of the router bits, guides, templates, guide bushings, extra routers, wrenches, etc.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

3341 posts in 2552 days


#4 posted 08-16-2013 02:00 PM

If you use a table saw extension for a router, it was much more difficult for me to arrange for dust extraction
than with a separate router table, but that might just be me.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1415 days


#5 posted 08-16-2013 03:51 PM

I tend to use my jointer, RT, and TS in that order. say I am making a run of 1/4” bead moulding say 15 pieces 5’ long. I would leave all 3 machines run. Then joint, rout, rip, and repeat until done. If my TS and RT shared a fence it would make the process a lot harder. A router table is a simple and personal project. You can make it to your likings. There are even a lot of home brew lifts out there that are simple and well made. as for the split fence I have not found a need for it. you could always make it later if the need develops. most router tables are made from whatever scraps are laying around. Don’t sweat it just have fun and make some dust.

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firstbase

35 posts in 1399 days


#6 posted 08-16-2013 03:52 PM

Thanks! I am going to be working in 1/2 of a two car garage space wise. That’s a little unfair as the car will come out so I can move things around on mobile bases when I work. Need to store them in that space though. I’m trying to decide which table saw to get and go back and forth on one with a router table and one without. Just trying to decide. My experience is that things designed to do two tasks are usually not great at either. I’m a home hobby guy getting back into action after 7 years in the big city. Starting to rebuild my tool collection that I got rid of when I moved to the big city! Nice to be back though! How important is the split/offset fence to everyone? I can’t see it being a big deal to me as the only thing it seems to allow you to do is use the router as a joiner. I do have some questions on which saw to buy but will save them for another post. EVERYONE loves those “Whcih saw do I get” threads huh? Another one coming!!

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#7 posted 08-16-2013 04:45 PM

I’m in the same situation…1/2 of a 2 car garage, but the other is filled with kid’s stuff. Grizzly has a great layout tool online that puts things to scale. Here’s my layout if it helps give you any ideas:

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

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

8262 posts in 2895 days


#8 posted 08-16-2013 04:50 PM

JMO, but the split/offset fence is almost mandatory. Especially the “split”. I don’t do a whole lot of jointing on the RT, but when it’s necessary, the ability to offset the fence is handy. Of course, a piece of laminate on the outfeed fence would serve as well.
My fence splits to accept a sacrificial insert that I rout through for each profile bit. Sorta like a ZCI for the router.
As Shawn says though, a length of scrap will accomplish the same thing.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

5811 posts in 1759 days


#9 posted 08-16-2013 04:58 PM

Agree with all the above. My set up uses the extension on my TS and I’ve modified my fence with jigs/adjustments/add-ons so as not to have many of the problems mentioned above. However, I have no flexibility. I am either using the TS or RT, but not both. This set up takes more time to move from one step to the next. However, the biggest draw back to my arrangement is the lack of a miter gauge slot for the RT—just doesn’t exist on the TS extension; and, although possible to go back and add, it would require a complete dis-assembly of the RT/TS extension, additions of slot, grinding out a relief on the B-rail and then re-alignment of the rail/fence for the TS. Ergo, if possible I’d elect to go with a separate RT and would add the Wixey Remote Router Readout (c.f., http://www.wixey.com/remote/index.html ). JMHO ;-)

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7160 posts in 2381 days


#10 posted 08-16-2013 05:10 PM

I like my cast iron TS router extension. I find it only a minor inconvenience when I need to use my TS Sled and router fence at the same time. Other than that, my normal TS fence can be used while leaving the router fence in place. I normally orient the router fence so that I am standing in front of the TS, but can mount it as pictured below, for maximum TS space.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Router-Extension-Table-for-Table-Saw/T10222

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View AlanBienlein's profile

AlanBienlein

159 posts in 2141 days


#11 posted 08-16-2013 05:21 PM

I don’t agree with every one. I have mine to the right of the saw and love it!

I can leave it set up and still use the table saw no problem as my wife bought me an additional fence one year for Christmas. Dust collection is also much easier to set up for it as you only have one drop.

As for storage I have the same amount if not more storage than a stand alone router station.

View firstbase's profile

firstbase

35 posts in 1399 days


#12 posted 08-16-2013 08:05 PM

Thanks to all…. HorizontalMike, what brand of router extension do you have? I don’t remember seeing one wih tracks that allow you to flip the fence like that. knotscott, I feel your small space pain. I think that I should most likely get the saw I want, the onethat fits me the best and then go from there. Buying one simply because it comes with an extension seems to be wrong thinking…..

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7160 posts in 2381 days


#13 posted 08-17-2013 07:59 PM

”...Thanks to all…. HorizontalMike, what brand of router extension do you have?...”

It is a Grizzly TS extension. Model T10222
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Router-Extension-Table-for-Table-Saw/T10222

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View ScrubPlane's profile

ScrubPlane

190 posts in 1663 days


#14 posted 08-17-2013 11:09 PM

In the spirit of ‘there are no wrong answers’ but perhaps what is the ‘best answer’.

I think all of the above are great comments and show wonderful ingenuity relative to each user, that said, I don’t believe I’ve seen the following concept.

I too use a separate ‘roll around’ router table from Woodpecker with Incra attachments. It is very versatile and the mobility allows me flexibility in my rather small shop.

One thing that would be nice, however, is the stability of having my router operation affixed to my heavy cabinet saw.

Just a thought…

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7160 posts in 2381 days


#15 posted 08-18-2013 01:04 AM

”...One thing that would be nice, however, is the stability of having my router operation affixed to my heavy cabinet saw…>”

Very true, AND it saves space in a small shop. While not a cheap alternative, IMO it just may be one of the best alternatives.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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