router table

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Blog entry by trucker12349 posted 12-02-2008 09:25 PM 1307 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always used a hand held router and have decided to get a router table. I would like to build one but, have decided to buy a cheap one to start. Because of the depression bouts I have I don’t want to get half way done and then just ignore the table when I lose interest. I have looked at the ryobi router/router table combo for under $200.00. This router is a 8.5 amp router with a 1/4” shank. I will also buy a ryobi 18 piece router bit set with the bearings. My old router bits did not have bearings, as I did not use them very often. Being on a very limited fixed income I can not afford to lay out a lot, so I will start cheap and work my way up, hopefully. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I know that if I buy the “cheap” table, then I will have to upgrade as I get into more projects, but right now the cash flow is a trickle,lol.

14 comments so far

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3669 days

#1 posted 12-02-2008 10:26 PM

I think you’ll find they are very handy and useful. You’ll be able to do more quality work faster. If I was you I would’nt waste my money. For a couple hundred more you can get a good plunge router with a little more umph and a little bit better router table. Just buy a good bench model and mount it on a homemade stand. Just my opinion, like a-holes everyone’s got one.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View trucker12349's profile


92 posts in 2908 days

#2 posted 12-02-2008 10:34 PM

Thanks Mike, Your opinion is important to me. Everyone has their own opinion, but like minds are always willing to listen to someone elses point of view

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3414 days

#3 posted 12-02-2008 10:38 PM

If this is the combo don’t bother with the table because it’s pretty much useless. A piece of mdf with a hole in it and a jointed 2×4 would serve you better (I speak from experience)

I have a Ryobi plunge router, in fact it was one of my very first tools and I’ve had no issues with it but I think having a 1/4” shank will prove very limiting (mine is 1/2”)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View trucker12349's profile


92 posts in 2908 days

#4 posted 12-02-2008 11:22 PM

Thanks Damian, didn’t see you behind me while I was on hd’s website, lol. What do you mean a jointed 2×4?

View Brent Livingwell's profile

Brent Livingwell

75 posts in 3180 days

#5 posted 12-02-2008 11:26 PM


I just finished my “router table” and found that it works well. I got the idea from Doug Stow, professional boxmaker and furniture maker. it is simply a piece of high quality 3/4 inch ply with a fence mounted on one side. Just slide the unmounted side to adjust the fence and you have a straight line. It has worked for Doug for many years and for me for the past couple of weeks. Depending on what kind of operations you want to do, it should work well for you too.
I say spend more on the router (say the porter cable 690 combination for about $270) and worry about the fancy table until later. I too am on a fixed income, and feel that quality tools are better that saving a buck and buying another one later. Let me know what you think. Here is a picture…(you could add a T track if you wanted)

-- Things of the greatest worth are from the Earth. If you tell yourself that something is "close enough" it is it again.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3414 days

#6 posted 12-02-2008 11:30 PM

The 2×4 would act as your fence; Brent’s table is a great example of the kind of thing I was referring to.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View trucker12349's profile


92 posts in 2908 days

#7 posted 12-02-2008 11:43 PM

Thanks guys, I’ll look into getting a fence and will give Brent’s idea a try. brent, does that table come with a guard Nice dog, had to put my black lab down a few years back and never had the heart to get another one because I only want to go thru that experience once.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3245 days

#8 posted 12-03-2008 12:18 AM

If you want one more opinion on this I would advise you to go with at least a 2hp router and stick with 1/2 inch collet. The 1/4” has a lot more vibration and simply do not do as good a job as a 1/2” bit. If you plan on getting into raised panels then you may even want to consider a 3hp model. Panels can be run with a 2hp model but the 3 makes the job so much easier. Another thing you would want is a variable speed model. If you run bits over 1” or work with certain wood like cherry, which are prone to burning then you will need to reduce the router’s speed.

I will echo Damian’s comment about building your own table. Put your money into a quality router instead of buying a table along with the router. I am fond of quoting “it is best to cry once when you buy a tool rather than the 1000 times you use it”.

Hope this helps.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View oldskoolmodder's profile


799 posts in 3103 days

#9 posted 12-03-2008 02:07 AM

You may find that building your own could in a way be very therapeutic for you. In most cases, it would take less than an hour to make a simple table, allowing you to make that custom piece, that only YOU have one of. It also allows you to spend more on the actual tool(s).

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3428 days

#10 posted 12-03-2008 01:33 PM

I agree with oldskoolmodder. Knock you a simple small one together out of scrap plywood that you can clamp to your workbench when needed. When you discover something about it you could have done better, throw it away and make another.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View trucker12349's profile


92 posts in 2908 days

#11 posted 12-04-2008 04:00 PM

Oldskoolmodder, thanks for your advice. I remembered that a local box & crating company in town usually puts out it’s “scrape” material for anyone to take. Went by there yesterday and found some 1”x18”x53” sheets of plywood along with some 3/4’x24”x53” sheets of plywood. Also some 1”x18”x8” pieces of plywood. I also picked up a couple pieces of 24”x24” masonite along with some 12”x53” pieces of masonite. I guess one man’s “scrape” is another man’s treasure, or in this case, another man’s router table, lo. Will post some pics later of my treasure and table.

View Dwain's profile


371 posts in 3282 days

#12 posted 12-06-2008 01:04 AM


HOLY CRAP! You have the makings of a really good router table there! Provided the 3/4 ply is flat, (that is most important) you can decide upon the size of your table, and cut a couple of pieces of that plywood to size and glue them together. That will make the table really stable and unlikely to move on you. Again, it is vital that these pieces are perfectly or as close as possible to flat. Next, you can apply some contact cement to the masoninte and the ply, and place the masonite on top. There are a lot of sites on the net that walk you throug the process. Once you buy your router, take the plate off an mark the screw holes, and the opening in your table. Then countersink for the new screws and take a spade bit, or forsner bit to the opening. Remember you will need to replace the screws to attach the router place with longer ones, but you can pick those up at Ace, or HD. Bolt your router, and you have a functioning table. The masonite will help things move smoothly across the table. That will really help. For a fence, get a couple good pieces of 2×4, and ask a friend to run them through their jointer to get them flat and straight. glue and screw them together to form a perfect 90 degree angle across their length. You may want to cut some other pieces to reinforce it. boom. You have a fence. Just clamp it to you new table when needed.

As for buying a router, there are a couple of avenues. First, I would strongly suggest looking through Craigslist. I just bought a very nice DeWalt DW621 router for $60. They retail for $250. Remember to look for Bosch, Porter Cable or Dewalt. You can get fixed based routers pretty cheaply, but if possible, I would suggest getting a fixed/plunge kit. Those are most commonly sold at the big box stores, and they will be most available. You most likely won’t go wrong if you find one a few years old, and you may pick up some bits while you are at it. There are other good brands out there, but most of what you will find comes in those three brands. Also, you may want to google “hitachi reconditioned.” I know, I know, should you buy a reconditioned tool. I say yes! They have been looked at more closely than new tools and you will get a great deal. I was there today, and you can get nice plunge/fixed base router kits for about $100.00. That is the deal I would look into.

Anyway, to close things up…Don’t buy the Ryobi package! It isn’t worth your time…You have the materials to build the router top you need. That would be a great learning experience…Remember, have fun. That is what this is all about.

Again, good luck.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3274 days

#13 posted 12-06-2008 11:17 PM

I agree with Damien Trucker. I does not need to be flash to do a good job.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3036 days

#14 posted 12-07-2008 04:41 PM

I agree with Dwain – you have the material to make a very good router table already. And I watch CL regularly – I notice a lot of good, cheap routers for sale in my area, many with a full set of starter bits.

As somebody who has “been there, done that”, I understand your concerns about bouts of depression interrupting the work. Personally, woodworking literally saved my life a few times during the worst of it. Even if it took 3 hours to put in just one screw or make one cut, it helped take my mind out of that horrible endless loop of despair. Sometimes (the best times) I would find that I had put in 4 or 5 hours of solid work without even once thinking about how bad I felt. Absolutely nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment when a project does (eventually) get done. Woodworking is damned good therapy and it doesn’t cost $60 an hour :)

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

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