Router Station in Table Saw Extension


Wanting to move beyond the limitations of my old Craftsman tabletop router table and my trusty PC 690 router, I am looking to move up to a more substantial router and table. I'd like to put a new router in the 33" wide right-side table extension of my contractor table saw. I think that the experience of the helpful wReck-ers in this group might prove valuable.
1. What are folks experience with this strategy vs. a separate router table? Does the dual use of the table extension real estate cause any significant conflicts or PITA restrictions? My shop, like many others is a bit crowded.
2. Does the existing 3/4" particle board need to be reinforced, like with another 3/4" layer of MDF?
3. I am looking at two router strategies: a. Milwaukee 6525-20 router with a Woodpeckers aluminum router table plate b. PC 7518 router with a router lift (Woodpeckers Precision Router Lift, Jessem Mast-R-Lift)
On item 2., I'm leaning toward the Milwaukee+plate vs. the PC+lift. My reasoning is that the Milwaukee seems to be a somewhat better table router and already has top surface adjustment capability. I am hoping to avoid going under the table for bit replacement by using offset wrenches from the top. Will this work? This option is a lot less expensive, too.
Does anyone have experience with any of these options that they'd like to share?
Thanks for the help.
Bob
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I have no experience with either of the router/plate combinations you listed, but, as far as the table extension, I built mine a few months ago and absolutly love it. I have a Delta Contractors saw and added a Vega 50 inch fence, I made my table from the 1/2" laminated particale board that is laminated on both sides. I doubled it up and used biscuts and glue to assemble it. Trimmed with some maple i had laying around and installed a PC690 on a basic aluminium Rockler plate. I made a home made fence cover with adjustable wings and it works great.

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Bob wrote:

Hell, yes. I've got what I think is the most tricked out contractor's saw on the planet. Ridgid would be very surprised to see how much crap I've added to their original TS-2424.
I added a PC 7518 to an extension wing on the left side of my saw. Although the manufacturer of the extension recommended inserting it in the place of the original cast iron wing, I chose to add it on to the outside of the original iron wing instead, effectively adding significant size to the saw. Looking back at it, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. There is no sag that I can see. When I want to cut something wide, I just remove the router's fence and drop the router bit down below the surface. It only takes a moment.
I'm using a Jessem Mast-R-Lift to raise the router up and down from the top. It works perfectly.
I added an overhead guard/ dust collector from Penn State to the other side of the saw, then decided the vertical support was getting in the way when I crosscut panels bigger than 2'. The solution was I constructed another wing out of oak and melamine laminated plywood and bolted it to my right hand wing, then rebolted the vertical support for the overhead guard. Now I have another 20" to work with on the right side as well, making it symetrical. No sag on the right either...
Oh, yeah.... I have an outfeed table bolted on the back of the saw with a hinged joint just outboard of the saw's motor, so it can fold out of the way when I don't need the space, which is essentially never. It's always being used.
I'll post a picture of the monstosity in APBW.
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I've mounted my 3hp Makita 3613BR in the wing of my contractor's tablesaw to cut the rail and stiles when I was making some kitchen cabinets for my mother. The wings on my tablesaw are cast iron so there was no problem supporting the router. I did have to spend a great deal of time and effort with a metal cut off disk mounted in an electric drill to cut through the wing and grind away some of the support structures of the wing to make room for the router.
It worked fine with blocks of maple screwed to my ordinary tablesaw fence as router fences.
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When I bought my Powermatic 64A, I ordered it with the router/lift built into the extension. It was alright but when I added my overhead blade guard, it wiped out any chance of using it so I built my own router table. I like it much better separated from the table saw.
I think no matter what you end up with, you'll always think there is a better way of doing it.

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==============================Without reading the other replies I wanted to add my 2 cents worth....
Yes I have a router installed in my table saws wing....have for years. I also have a stand alone Benchdog table, a stand alone Pin Router table and a stand alone horizontial table... all BTW have routers installed and dedicated to them...
I almost NEVER use the tablesaw mounted router...its just too low to use ... lets say its more a pain in the back then in the a$$ ... Its one advantage is it does save space...but even in my little 24x24 foot shop I prefer stand alone units...
Can't offer any advice on routers...(I use little dewalt 610's )in all the tables ....when I abbsolutely need a monster router I will install My PC in the benchdog... but to be honest the little 1 Hp 610's handle 95 percent of my needs just fine...
I see no real need to empty my wallet on any router lifter ..sorry but adjusting any of my routers is just not difficult or time consumming...
Just my opinion.
Bob G.
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Bob wrote:

I'll start by saying that my needs are simple, and I'm a novice router user. I needed to make rails and stiles for shutters, as well as moulding for the framing of the shutters, which required the use of a smaller panel raising bit. Not only is my available space limited, it's likely that it will be months between projects so I didn't want a stand-alone table.
Based on these considerations, I went with the extension wing approach, deciding to build a very simple "one time use" table with the expectation that I would learn alot in the process of building and using it and would want to later use the new knowledge and skills to build a better on that would be permanent.
I "laminated" two pieces of 3/4" MDF (actually just screwed 'em together) after rabbeting the top piece to overhang the fence rails such that the top was flush with the tablesaw surface. The bottom piece matches the rabbeted dimmension and completely fits between the rails. THis seems quite stiff, but in the final version I'll probably glue some strengthening ribs underneath because I'm getting a tiny bit of sag (barely noticeable now, but time will tell if it gets worse).
For the fence, I used MDF for sacrifial material on the "off" side of the tablesaw fence and cut T-Slots for featherboards etc.
I posted about this in the past. For more detail, DAGS in the rec on "Stoopid" Simple Router Table.
Since then, my needs grew to require a mitre slot which was easily added with by leaving the table in place and using a separate router with the fence as a guide.
I'm extremely pleased with it's operation using a PC890 router which I selected primarily because of the ability to set the bit height from above the table. That's fairly handy, but most of the time I find that it's just as easy to reach under the table. I have a Rockler plate on the shelf thats's waiting for the next generation of the table. I'm not motivated to install it because the current setup is working fine.
Tom
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I appreciate all the replies. Your wilingness to share your experiences has been very helpful. Thanks, again.
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Hi Bob, I installed a Bosch router station on my delta contractor saw. It is mounted on the right, next to the delta extension. A 3 hp ryobi RE600 router is hanging from it. Makes for a very stable router table with a nice stable fence.
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I use a 3HP PC router under the plywood extension for my UniSaw. Just bolted the base under it (recessed the bolt heads of course.) Used a stiffback in close proximity to the router and did not double the ply which would have limited the bit projection through the table. Metal or plastic sub base insert might be better but I didn't have one. Have used this setup for years and have no complaints. Rabbit
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Afterthought: With a wood top you are able to screw jigs, featherboards, ect., directly to the top. This is a huge benefit and simplifier. Rabbit
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I have a separate router table. I purchased the router top from Woodpeckers, and also the Incra fence, Woodpeckers aluminium plate and precision lift. The weight of this seems fine with the 11/4in MDF table thickness. I would be concerned using 3/4in MDF since the plate requires a 1/4in groove, which would mean only 1/2in thick at the point of greatest stress.
I cannot imagine going back to the days before the Incra fence. I expect the Jointech would have given me the same feeling. I can get exact placement of the fence, and exactly repeatable placement without any problems. Changing fence distance is now a joy.
I would hate to put my arrangement in the wing extension of my table saw, if it meant I could only use the Bies. fence, which does fine on the tablesaw.
If your space is constrained, you may have no choice, but I have been very happy to have a dedicated router table. A side benefit is that I am able to leave the last bit in the table at the last height.
If my router was in the table extension, I would have to drop the router for some of my saw cuts. This is not a problem with the precision lift, but it is nice if I can avoid having to spend the time.
Dave Paine.

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