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Benchtop Router Table: Buy (which one) or build?

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Forum topic by paxorion posted 07-18-2014 03:28 PM 1156 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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paxorion

724 posts in 732 days


07-18-2014 03:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question router table

I’ve been going through a similar router table buy or build dilemma as Nates02gt. Rather than (try to) hijack his thread, I thought I’d start a new one. For a router table, I know that I have to make it portable, and easy to carry through the house to use outdoors. I initially thought I would build one, but after factoring in the cost of the router plate (I’m thinking the Kreg one), hardware (bolts, knobs, and miter channel), and material (I don’t have much in the way of scraps, and I am basing my estimates on perceived price), I don’t see much of a cost savings for a bench top model (different story if I had space for a router table)

My search has lead to two possible options:
  1. Bosch RA1181 – I like that this unit is all inclusive, even if the router plate isn’t a standard size. I also plan on using my router table for edge jointing so the included shims are a nice perk. This one is also cheaper at $162 on Amazon.
  2. Kreg PRS2100 – I like that if desired, I can salvage the router plate and levelers for use on a full-size router table or table saw extension one day. Lowest cost I’ve found is ~$210.

I’m curious as to any thoughts and recommendations on which one to buy or if I should reconsider build. When I priced for a build option, I came to somewhere between $90 (lowest point) for router plate + hardware and $180 (with hardware for future proofing). I’m not a big fan of going all bare bones to save on cash, as I do not believe my “skill” level (i.e. patience and attention to detail) is high enough to execute a good router table build (yet). Currently I am leaning on the buy option, to get the Bosch RA1181 given the price factor, and that it will give me something usable sooner rather than later.

-- paxorion


28 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

380 posts in 675 days


#1 posted 07-18-2014 03:42 PM

If it were me, I would build one but I do not know what kind of shop and tools you have. I built the following one for my son a few years ago and he has a DeWalt 625 router in it. He has been using it for some time and really likes it.
It has a formica top and hardwood edges. The fence has two sliding sides which can be opened or closed depending on the router bit and to help with the dust collection.

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1311 posts in 1496 days


#2 posted 07-18-2014 03:42 PM

I know a fellow that bought one of those.

He is ot a happy camper

I have seen it and can say that Bosch should be ashamed of themselves!

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

724 posts in 732 days


#3 posted 07-18-2014 03:46 PM


I know a fellow that bought one of those.

He is ot a happy camper

I have seen it and can say that Bosch should be ashamed of themselves!

- cabmaker

So to clarify…someone bought a Bosch RA1181 and does not like it? Does it have to do with a bow or dip in the aluminum table?

-- paxorion

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cabmaker

1311 posts in 1496 days


#4 posted 07-18-2014 03:53 PM

It has to do with being a inferior piece of equipment ie:

Lots of slop in locking mechanisms that also contort when tightened

Ultralight construction

Push bar did not come with his

Didn’t appear to have enough integrity to support a healthy router

Table top flexed under load.

(This one was designed to sell, not use)

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paxorion

724 posts in 732 days


#5 posted 07-18-2014 04:17 PM

Gotcha, that makes sense.

-- paxorion

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3445 posts in 1500 days


#6 posted 07-18-2014 08:19 PM

The Kreg is much nicer than the Bosch benchtop.
Otherwise, I can highly recommend the Bench Dog fence and top. You could build you own cabinet.

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

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1264 days


#7 posted 07-19-2014 03:23 AM

I still say to build:
(this could easily be a benchtop table; the top is 20” x 25”)

A plate, t-track and miter track are all luxuries rather than necessities.
I make money with some of my woodworking, and my router table is one of my most used tools. I don’t find it lacking in any way at all, other than adding some drawers on the base to add storage and weight.

Also, in regards to your router dilemma, I have an extra dewalt 618 base without the handles or baseplate. It’s yours if you want. That way you could keep one base in the router table and the other for freehand routing. PM if interested. :-)

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

View jtm's profile

jtm

148 posts in 323 days


#8 posted 07-20-2014 06:47 AM

This is what I have right now:

http://www.sears.com/die-cast-aluminum-router-table/p-00937596000P?s_tnt=57497:3:0

It’s actually a great table, especially for the money. I’m just about finished my full-size Yankee Workshop build, so I have no idea what I’m going to do with my portable Craftsman. I may sell it, but shipping will probably offset any saving over a new one from Sears.

Also, if you use the SAVE15 coupon code, it’ll cost you less than $100.

Not sure what kind of router you have, so I don’t know if the hole pattern is compatible.

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

1191 posts in 1133 days


#9 posted 07-20-2014 08:27 AM

I have A Porter-Cable 698 Benchtop Router Table,it has been a workhorse for me ,it is well built ,aluminum top ,easy to move around/use ,the only drawback is the split fence which some owners complain about it not being easy to set up but I have had zero problem with it.price is around $200 to $250.I think Norm Abram used to have one in his shop.
Here’s review:

http://benchtop-router-table-reviews.info/porter-cable-698-benchtop-router-table-review/

-- Ken from Ontario

View jonah's profile

jonah

453 posts in 1985 days


#10 posted 07-20-2014 11:03 PM

The Bosch bench top router table is on sale at the moment at Amazon for something like $125 with free shipping.

Not the best table in the world, but it’s certainly a sight better than the various Craftsman/PC ones mentioned above.

View English's profile

English

241 posts in 164 days


#11 posted 07-20-2014 11:34 PM

I have two different router tables, one made from Norm Abrams plan with a torsion box top and a table saw extension table. Both have lifts, Norms table has a Woodpecker Uni lift and the extension table has a homemade lift made from the Hitachi plunge mechanism. Both we home made at less than 1/4” the cost of factory made. Both work well, having two tables is good when you need to make two different cuts on a lot of boards.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

724 posts in 732 days


#12 posted 07-21-2014 12:05 AM


The Bosch bench top router table is on sale at the moment at Amazon for something like $125 with free shipping. Not the best table in the world, but it s certainly a sight better than the various Craftsman/PC ones mentioned above.

- jonah

I just checked, and it’s listed for $162. At that price its $50 less than the Kreg table, which is still decent savings.


I have two different router tables, one made from Norm Abrams plan with a torsion box top and a table saw extension table…
- English

That is my long-term goal, and part of the reason why I am leaning towards the Kreg table (so that I can scavange parts for the table saw extension wing setup) but for the time being, in-feasible given my lack of dedicated shop space.

-- paxorion

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11233 posts in 1377 days


#13 posted 07-21-2014 01:07 AM

I would echo Nite Walkers sentiments. I built my own a long time ago when I didn’t have a lot of skills or fancy tools. It has absolutely NO sag and has all the features I wanted (and for a grand total of $25!

I wanted a lot bigger table than the commercially available ones and I am very tight!

I did a blog on it some time ago. The only thing I would change is the dry erase top (Formica would be more durable as the finish is wearing off in spots on mine) but I couldn’t find white Formica except in full sheets ($50).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View lumbermeister's profile

lumbermeister

100 posts in 666 days


#14 posted 07-21-2014 02:57 AM

I have the Bosch RA1181. Its problem, as far as I am concerned, is that the aluminum table is not truly flat; i.e., it tips downward in all directions relative to the aluminum insert plate. That said, since both table and insert are aluminum, and both quite rigid, I do not see how it can contort when locking, or be said to be of ultralight construction (I an referring to comments made earlier within this forum).

I am able to work around the downward tilt, though it is surely something I should not have to do. If you want a truly quality unit, build your own or spend the $$ for a floor standing unit. Else, the Bosch may work for you but know the potential pitfalls before purchasing.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1264 days


#15 posted 07-21-2014 03:13 AM



I would echo Nite Walkers sentiments. I built my own a long time ago when I didn t have a lot of skills or fancy The only thing I would change is the dry erase top (Formica would be more durable as the finish is wearing off in spots on mine) but I couldn t find white Formica except in full sheets ($50).

- gfadvm


The full sheet of formica is worth it. :-)
You can make a nice drill press table, outfeed table, torsion box assembly table, sharpening station table, etc.
Very useful in the shop. :-)

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

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