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deciding what Router to buy for table

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Forum topic by interpim posted 08-23-2014 04:22 PM 714 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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interpim

1133 posts in 2183 days


08-23-2014 04:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello everyone,
It’s been quite some time since I’ve been active here, and the only reason is how busy I have been over the past couple of years. I’ve deployed a couple of times, and I bought a house last year… between work and the new house, I’ve had very little time to get into the workshop. Actually the workshop is finally starting to take shape after a year in our house.

OK… so there are several things I want to do over the next several months to further improve the layout and efficiency in my shop, and one of the things I want to do is build a smaller router table. Currently I have a slapped together plywood box with a plastic cutting board router plate in it. I want to get something a bit smaller, and I am going to build a semi-portable wall mount table with a shop-made lift in it. I think I have decided on the router lift shown here http://www.ibuildit.ca/Workshop%20Projects/router-lift-1.html

My current router is a 10 year old 3.5HP Plunge router from Craftsman which is a beast! I want to get something a little more manageable for the lift, and I’m trying to balance cost and effectiveness.

My foray into the big box stores around me has me looking at the Ridgid Fixed based router that sells for around $180. I need you guys to help me out with some advice on what I should be looking for based on my needs, and whether or not the router I have picked is going to work for me or offer suggestions on alternatives.

This router will be exclusively used in a table
It needs to have a 1/2” collett
I would like to spend as little as necessary. I don’t want cheap, I want something that will work for me but isn’t going to put me in the poor house.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

-- San Diego, CA


28 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

5505 posts in 581 days


#1 posted 08-23-2014 04:26 PM

The hitachi km12vc was great for me for years, then I wanted something bigger. It has both size collets, it’s quiet, powerful and is about the same price as you mentioned.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5202 posts in 1301 days


#2 posted 08-23-2014 04:34 PM

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/tls/4620524714.html

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/tls/4631852780.html

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/tls/4622308600.html

Some folks don’t like buying off of Craigslist but the accessories on the
first listing is money well spent IMHO.

Seems like there’s a lot to be had, assuming you’re in San Diego.

Thank you for your service!

View interpim's profile

interpim

1133 posts in 2183 days


#3 posted 08-23-2014 04:41 PM

I am in San Diego, and I did take a look at Craigslist. I think I want at least a 2HP router, and I need to have a 1/2” collet. It appears most of what ends up on CL is a lower powered 1/4” collet lower end routers. I am leaning more toward one that I can pull the motor out and mount in the router lift I linked in my first post. I feel that will be the easiest way to get a solid mount in the lift.

-- San Diego, CA

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interpim

1133 posts in 2183 days


#4 posted 08-23-2014 05:39 PM

I was looking at the Grizzly website and saw that they have Dewalt DW618M motors for a less than the Ridgid kit at HD. If I am mounting this in a table will this work? or is there something that i would be missing if I just bought the motor?

-- San Diego, CA

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1031 posts in 149 days


#5 posted 08-23-2014 05:56 PM

I would stick the more powerful Craftsman in the new table and try it out. If you need a second router, buy one then but I have a feeling if you go to your local woodworking store and spend some time with a quality aluminium lift, you may want to own one.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View interpim's profile

interpim

1133 posts in 2183 days


#6 posted 08-23-2014 06:28 PM

Oh, I definitely have tried out the smooth operating lifts at the woodworking stores, and I do want one… problem is, I can’t convince my wife to let me spend the money LOL.

The Craftsman router really is difficult to mount in a table considering how bulky it is.
Here is what I have

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/toolguide/product-finder/craftsman-3-1/2-hp-router.aspx

-- San Diego, CA

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1031 posts in 149 days


#7 posted 08-23-2014 07:09 PM

I take for granted that all the routers I have ever owned have been table friendly.

Leave it to Craftsman to put the power cable, speed dial, and switch in the handle.

The bearings in the new Porter Cable routers suck and their QC has disappeared.

I would have to recommend a Bosch or a Milwaukee. The 5625-20 has been a great router for me and I have run thousands of board feet over its collet over the last 5 years in my table.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2698 posts in 1076 days


#8 posted 08-23-2014 08:13 PM

Pretty hard to beat this.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View interpim's profile

interpim

1133 posts in 2183 days


#9 posted 08-23-2014 08:28 PM

I was looking at that one Bondo… but the one you linked is a better price than what I found.

-- San Diego, CA

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15714 posts in 2943 days


#10 posted 08-23-2014 08:42 PM

I’d skip the lift and get one of these.

I’ve had mine table mounted for years, and I don’t even bother using the through-the-table crank because it is so easy to operate from under the table. I currently have it mounted on a cast iron extension wing on my table saw, and it works fantastic.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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interpim

1133 posts in 2183 days


#11 posted 08-23-2014 08:54 PM

Thanks for the link Charlie M.

I’ve read great things about the Triton routers, and it might work for what I am doing.

I notice that the Triton is over 16 pounds. I think I’ve decided on the Hitachi that Bill M. mentioned above… It’s only a little over 7 pounds, and my intentions are to wall mount my table/lift/router using a french cleat, then when i am not using it, pull the router setup off the wall and stick it into a storage racking system.

My idea is that I can build similarly sized work stations for my different bench tools etc… and use the same area with french cleat for all the tools.

-- San Diego, CA

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

5505 posts in 581 days


#12 posted 08-23-2014 09:27 PM

The triton does work great in the table. I went from my hitachi to the 3 1/4 triton which is great with lots of power. The problem I’ve come to find out is that it is hard to get service and parts. I haven’t needed either, but I know other people are having trouble because of the fact that triton has changed hands several times. Hopefully I won’t have any problems. The thing must be 20 pounds or more. I never take it out. I use my hitachi for handheld work.
Are you gonna get the hitachi kit with plunge and fixed base? I guess if you’re gonna put it in a lift you won’t need the bases. That wall hung system will be nice.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

777 posts in 770 days


#13 posted 08-23-2014 09:30 PM

The Dewalt is a great handheld router and they own a patent on dust collection through their plunge base column. I love mine and am glad I have a DW618. However the DW616/DW618 doesn’t easily support above table height adjustment.

I was looking to the Triton as it seems to have a very compelling built-in lift capability. Note that there has been a recent change of US supplier (no longer Kreg Tools, now Toolstream Inc) and have been a bit leery as I don’t know much about Toolstream Inc.

-- paxorion

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

53 posts in 219 days


#14 posted 08-23-2014 09:36 PM

Personally I think it all depends on what diameter bits you want to swing on the router table?

I have a Bosch 1617 in my TS router extension table and it works great. The fixed base allows top side adjustments with an supplied T-handle allen wrench without needing a lift. It handles most anything I want to work using a bit less than ~2” in diameter with full depth cuts (if the wood doesn’t chip and require smaller bites). It will swing a full 3” diameter panel raising bit without issue, but need to make 3-4 passes or it bogs down.
When I want to route a large number of panels with big bits, I borrow a friends Milwaukee 3.5hp 5625-20 (he uses the same plate I do!). The 3625 handles the large panel bits with only 2 passes (1 heavy, 1 clean up) and if I didn’t already own two Bosch 1617+dewalt 611; I buy one of them for a permanent heavy duty router table solution.

YMMV.
Best of luck on the tool decision.

-- I'm not a woodworker, but sometimes I do occasionally find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View interpim's profile

interpim

1133 posts in 2183 days


#15 posted 08-23-2014 10:00 PM

I plan to build something very similar to this…
I owe the inspiration to this guy too.
http://jayscustomcreations.com/2014/04/french-cleat-router-table/

-- San Diego, CA

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