Do I need a router table??

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I am unsure of whether I need a router table.
I mainly do small projects, boxes etc. and I don't know if it really justifies a place in my 14 square foot garage space..
Please try to persuade me either way,
Cheers,
Sam
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Sam Berlyn wrote:

for small parts a router table is a necessity. If you don't have much space make a small benchtop model. I made a simple box for a router table and store it on a shelf when not in use. Its just big enough to put the router's storage box inside as well so it doesn't take up much more space.
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A router is a very valuable tool for a small shop. It is able to do many types of jobs and a good investment for a small shop like yours. I would recommend in my opinion to build a small router table that would accommodate your needs. Since you do mainly small projects, a large work surface is not needed. A router table definitely makes some procedures easier than trying to use your router by hand on a small, awkward cut. Jigs and fixtures are available to help you hold small pieces when machining them. Have fun and watch your fingers!

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Do you already have a router? If so, it is extremely easy to mount it under a piece of plywood or MDF and then clamp the board to some sawhorses or something and then clamp a straight edge or board to that as a fence. A pretty easy make-shift router table. It really depends on how robust and how often you'll use it. I find the router table, with the proper jigs and safety precautions, to be a very good tool for making small moldings and other routing operations. To use a handheld router on small parts requires some effort (more than the router table, IMO) in order to make it safe and accurate. The router table was one of my first projects for the shop and it is one of the most used stations - coming into play on just about every project.
Mike

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How do I mount it? If I screw it on, how do I change the bit / collet?
Sam

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try this link to give you an idea:
http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip040700wb.html
Basically, you countersink some screws through the top of the board and screw into the router baseplate. This allows you to release the router motor from below and then change the bits with the motor out of the housing. You then adjust the height in various ways after replacing the router in the router base (different routers do this differently). At any rate, that article I linked to has a pretty good description of a simple router table that should get you thinking.
Mike

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Can you always take the motor off of the housing?
Sam

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What router do you have? If you're looking at purchasing one, and it will be your only one, I'd get the DeWalt 618PK with the fixed and plunge bases (and possibly the kit with the d-handle, too, which I find useful). For this router and the Porter-Cable 690 (which I also have) (and every other router that I've seen, for that matter) you can take the mouter out of the base. I can't envision any reason why a router would not be able to do this, and can't really see how it would function properly in terms of accessing the collet and changing bits if you couldn't.
Mike

really
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 17:25:25 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"
No - very rarely.
Remember that on the interweb everyone is an American. Routers in the USA are still largely "fixed base" designs, which are pretty much unheard of in the UK. They don't plunge and (rather bizarrely for a "fixed base") they come apart easily into two halves.
If you want a router table with a plunge router, you really need one with a good depth adjust. Sadly these are still rare, especially in the mid range. The better ones have them (I use a Freud 2000) and oddly so do the cheapies.
Another factor in choosing a router for a table is to have one with a switch you can leave turned on, and a separate switch that you can work from above (ideally this is a "no volt release" switch). Some recent cheap routers have "trigger" switches that need to be tied down with an elastic band to be used in a table - hardly convenient.
--
Smert' spamionam

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wrote:

I just took a look at the Freud FT2000E and it definitely doesn't come apart as the routers I'm used to. To be honest, I think this is a very big negative, not a positive.
the only thing the word "fixed" refers to is that the routers don't plunge. being able to take the motor out of the base greatly improves the ease of putting a bit in the collet and then tightening it down. Of course, there are times when the bit will be too big for the base opening, and you'll have to insert it with the motor in the base. Since I have a table with a big 3.25 HP router and a router lift, it is easy for me to forget about those difficulties as I never have to deal with them anymore.
At any rate, having multiple bases with one motor that can be exchanged between them makes an infinite amount of sense. There are a LOT of operations where I prefer a fixed base router instead of a plunge. I actually keep a tear-drop baseplate on the fixed base all the time, and have a big clear circular base on the plunge base. You can never have enough routers or router accessories.
Mike
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 17:25:25 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"
No, but if you get a plunge router, you can change bits when it is still in the table by unlocking the plunge lock. Just make sure you're careful with the router- with the space you've described, it's an awful tight squeeze to keep control of the board.

Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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Two choices Sam - either install a router insert which you can remove to change bits with the router laid up on the tabletop, and then place the whole thing back into the table... or just reach under the table top with your wrench and loosen the collet to change bits. You can get a wrench in under the table top to loosen collets. Worst case - take the three screws out that hold the router to the underside of the table and haul the router up to the table top. That's kind of an extreme method, but you don't change bits that often that it's a real killer. Just remember to unplug your router before changing anything. That part added to appease the catastrophe freaks.
--

-Mike-
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 17:08:48 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"

if you turn your router upside down you'll see that the surface that touches the wood is removeable. this is called the sub-base. what you're gonna do is unscrew the sub-base and replace it with another one a little thicker and a good 6 or 8 inches longer and wider. (make it a couple of inches larger than the overall footprint of the tool)
this plate in turn will be let into the surface of the router table so that the "top" of it (what was the bottom before you turned it upside down) is flush with the top of the router table.
now to change bits, make fiddly adjustments, etc you lift the router and plate right out of the table.
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Yes, you need one. I'd be lost without mine. You don't need a big one and it can be stored under the bench (or the bottom of your bedroom closet) if you get a small setup. Take a look at the small Benchdog (www.routerbits.com) and see if it fits your space and either buy or build a similar size.
Simple chores like a groove or roundover are just so fast and easy with a table.
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 16:30:04 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"
If you have a router, you will increase its capacity immensely by having one. However commercial ones are very expensive and most of the UK ones aren't much good.
You can make one cheaply. I'll try hard to post photos of my own in the next few days, something I've been meaning to write up for months.
So yes, they're useful. They're easy and cheap to make. Don't spend money on buying a commercial one.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 16:30:04 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"

consider it a project, something to practise your skills on.
router tables are very useful things.
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 16:30:04 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"

Yes. *Much* easier, much safer for small projects. Take the tool to the material for large projects. amke oyur own from scrap material : 4 legs with small ply squares fastened to the bottoms to fasten to the benchtop. 3/4" particle board or whatever for the top. hole cut to accommodate the router bits and then some. Two more or less parallel slots. One piece of hardwood for the guide, with two hole in it to run bolts through for fastening to the tabletop through the two slots, and one cutout to allow chips to fly.
If happy, then invest in a better metal one ASAP.
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Yes... in your space, this would be a valuable addition:
http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip040700wb.html
It takes a screaming maniac of a tool and puts it in a much more controlled situation that will allow you to do MUCH more with the router. A hand held router is a disaster waiting to happen on most days.
Sam Berlyn wrote:

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On Thu, 02 Dec 2004 20:06:51 GMT, Pat Barber

listen to Pat, Sam....
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 16:30:04 -0000, "Sam Berlyn"
I actually prefer a table for small parts. Small parts are much easier to rout when the router is steady and the part is held with a hand screw or push block.
On large items, like table edges, I'll use a handheld router.
Barry
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