Router Table - Build or Buy

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Forum topic by AtlasRook posted 09-08-2014 01:58 PM 1741 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 1522 days

09-08-2014 01:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jig router

Fellow woodworking gents,

I think the next best addition to my shop would be a router table. I saw rockler had a router table kit on “sale” for $199. Or I can try to build my own, which I’m not sure what to do about a fence. Any thoughts?

19 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1720 days

#1 posted 09-08-2014 02:16 PM

What size are you looking for? What do you plan on doing primarily with the table, long pieces, raised panels? I built my own into the side table of my cabinet saw and while it does have a few shortcomings, the biggest benefit is that it takes up virtually zero additional room.

View Mark's profile


912 posts in 1974 days

#2 posted 09-08-2014 02:24 PM

I built mine as a table saw extension. I don’t know about you, but space is always at a premium. I find it’s a bit of an ego boost when you can build your own tools. I used arborite for the top, to keep it smooth. Then I built a simple Right angle fence out of 1×4 pine that I clamp in place. Ain’t pretty… but it works very well

One of these days I’ll re build it with a lift mechanism.
Good luck.

-- Mark

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 09-08-2014 02:42 PM

If you don’t need the storage that the “Norm” style router table that many LJs build, you will find it hard to beat the Griz T10432

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2605 days

#4 posted 09-08-2014 02:46 PM

I built mine from scratch (minus the fence, plate, and power button).

That being said, if I were to do so again I would buy rocklers kit for the top and build my own base. The base can be done pretty cheaply with some 2×4s. Once I finished paying for all the pieces for the top my cost was almost as much as rocklers and I don’t think mine is really any better.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18200 posts in 1856 days

#5 posted 09-08-2014 02:52 PM

I think I would buy the rockler kit with the fence and build a base. The base can be as simple as some legs or a fancy cabinet with dust collection and storage. Its what I have and it was handed down to me. I have since worn it out, but I can very cheaply rebuild the top, but reuse the fence and track.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5862 posts in 3194 days

#6 posted 09-08-2014 04:07 PM

I think I would build my own, or buy the plans and DVD and build the “Norm” r.t…...That’s what I did a few years ago…..It has nearly all the bells and whistles, but one thing I did was modify the fence to accept 4” dust collection at the fence and down below in the cabinet…....Hooked it up to my d.c. system, and it works really good…I have pictures of the cabinet and d.c. hookup…..Plenty of storage for all sizes of bits, plus big pull-out drawers below on ball bearing slides…...

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View johnstoneb's profile


2915 posts in 2172 days

#7 posted 09-08-2014 04:18 PM

I built my first router table using plans from an early woodsmith magazine. It served it purpose well for many years. I even put a Jess-em lift in it toward the end of it’s life. I finally outgrew it and had plans to build another had even price out the wood. My local woodcraft had a sale on the Jess-em top. I went in to look at the top as I was considering putting on a Jess-em top. They had a base and fence on closeout when I got there. I bought all three for little more than what I was going to have in a base and cabinet. I was able then to use the time I would have in building the table for other projects.
My advice to you is design what you want in a table, price it out. Look at what is available ready made and go from there. What ever fits you.
The rockler kit is a pretty good price. You would prabably need to build a better base as the base they have with it looks a little on the light side.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3231 days

#8 posted 09-08-2014 04:52 PM

I have built three over the last several years. The last one will be my last one. It has dual routers and it comes with a lift! heh, heh…a table lift, that is. The height is adjustable so I can use it as an outfeed table or router table or an assembly table. It has proven reliable and works great in my small shop.

More details here.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2351 days

#9 posted 09-08-2014 06:56 PM

I can not understand why anybody that considers themselves to be a woodworker would not build their own router table. They are easy to make and there are a gazillion plans out there mostly for free or for nominal cost, like the price of a book, that have some amazing features that you’ll never find on a commercial table. Find a set of plans that suits your needs and start building. I have made several over the years, it is both a rewarding and forgiving experience. You can use cheaper materials and if you make some mistakes no one is going to care because after all it is shop furniture. I think making a router table is a great beginner project, kind of a “rite of passage”.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View todd4390's profile


136 posts in 1467 days

#10 posted 09-08-2014 08:24 PM

The main benefit I see of buying over building is that if you have limited time to work in your shop as I do and you would rather spend that limited time building things other than shop furniture then it affords you that opportunity.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2019 days

#11 posted 09-08-2014 08:27 PM

I think Bondo is usually pretty spot on, but I have to disagree with him on this one. I have very limited shop time and I would rather use that time doing something I enjoy. Bottom line, I do not enjoy building router tables. I built my last one, it seemed more of a chore. Good timing on this thread, I actually came here to looking for router table reviews. I just moved across country and the previous router table did not make the move, so looking to add a new one to the shop.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2075 days

#12 posted 09-08-2014 08:33 PM

Well I got talked into building my own last year by fellow LJs and I’m glad I did.
I was ready to buy one for the same reason as Marcus as well as not finding plans I really like.

I did not make the top however, one of my LJ buddies sent me one that she wasn’t using.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2019 days

#13 posted 09-08-2014 09:12 PM

One other comment…I had previously built one as a table saw extension. I found this to be miserable on my back. I’m 6’1” and bending over to use it was miserable. Something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about doing the same and you’re a tall guy.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2690 days

#14 posted 09-09-2014 01:05 AM

I needed a bigger table and a fence with dust collection and t track for stops, hold downs , etc so I built this in a weekend. The only thing I would change is use Formica for the top.

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

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1424 days

#15 posted 09-09-2014 02:22 AM

My Router Workstation has become one of my favorite tools in the shop.

I say build your own. A good project to learn from and an indispensable tool in the workshop for many of us.

-- Brad, Texas,

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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