Router table

I am in the market for router table and raised panel bit set. I am going to do a lot of raised panels so I want to buy quality table and bits but I have a budget. I never owned or used router table before. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I thought of buying a router table top with fence and building base myself from MDF. Another question: do I absolutely need a router lift or I can do without it? I have Makita RF1101 fix/plunge router combo.
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Alexander Galkin wrote:

A good starting point for routers: http://www.patwarner.com /
-- Mark
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 08:11:10 -0500, "Alexander Galkin"

I built the router table using Norm's plan. It works well but I made a few changes to the plan--nigher drawers for the bits, thicker front door, side dust collection port, etc. It has handcut dovetailed drawers and white ok trim. I cost me about $200 to make and I could not buy a quality table for that price. A router lift would be really nice to have, but I could not find one at a reasonable cost so I do without one and remove the router (a PC 3HP heavy router) after each use. Maybe someday I'll make a router lift from an old scissor auto jack.
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How big is your budget? A Benchdog table with cabinet, top, fence is about $400. Add wheels, drawers, featherboards, lifts, well, if you have the money, it can be spent on it.
Their fence and top are a good setup if you want to make your own cabinet or clamp it down on a couple of horses, etc.
While a lift is not essential at all, it does make bit changing faster and setups easier. Their Pro model is $300+, but is well made. They have a smaller lift, but for routers up to 2 1/4 HP. Swinging the big bits you'll be using a 3 hp and need the bigger lift.
I have the Benchdog, but their are other good brands also. Ed
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I am in the market for router table and raised panel bit set. I am going to do a lot of raised panels so I want to buy quality table and bits but I have a budget. I never owned or used router table before. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I thought of buying a router table top with fence and building base myself from MDF. Another question: do I absolutely need a router lift or I can do without it? I have Makita RF1101 fix/plunge router combo.
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All a router lift does is let you make fine adjustments easier and faster. They're a relatively new innovation too. People were making raised panels with routers long before router lifts came on the market. If you have a lot of panels to make and you're using the same bits for most of them, then you won't be making too many adjustments once you've found your optimum setting. A lift would mostly be useless in that scenario. Cut a few scraps and use them as a template when doing a new setup. That's all you really need.
Would I buy a router lift if I had the money. Definitely yes, because I'm a lazy bugger, but they're a convenience and certainly not absolutely necessary.

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