router table

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Fairly newbie has Craftsman router, and I was wondering what kind of router table to get. I went to Sears, and they have them for up to $250. I was surprised that there were so many, and that they went that high in price.
To do basic starter work, and to buy a table that I won't outgrow in a year, what are some suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Someplace I still have that die cast Craftsman router table made by a former customer, Lester Industries, Solon, Ohio.
Screwed around with it for years before I got smart and built the New Yankee Workshop unit.
Great project, modest skill level required, modest cost involved.
The only change I would make is to use 13 ply Appleply rather than A/C plywood.
If you decide to build it, have fun.
Lew
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Build your own. (warning - this gets long- sorry) I didn't get nearly as fancy as Norm's NYW kit - I started with a chunk of used countertop, plenty of gorilla glue, MDF and hardboard leftovers for the fence, and 2x4s for the legs. The only things I actually bought were aluminum miter track, cam levers, a dust port, and a few screws and bolts. Total cost maybe $20? And it's solid - definitely not the professional quality you'd get if you paid $250 or more, but it's square and doesn't vibrate at all. Far better than the little $50 cast aluminum things from Sears or whatever. My attempt at ASCII art is below (not to scale), as well as an attempt at written instructions. Hard to explain in words, but not very complicated - google homemade router table and you'll get plenty of pictures. I started by cutting a roughly 20x30" piece of countertop, flipped it over and routed a round 6" diameter, .25-.5" deep hole for the router base to sit in, and drilled a 1.5" hole in the middle for the bit to protrude through. If you want to save some work and have a stiffer surface, you can get a thick rectangular aluminum or phenolic plate to set into your own tabletop. Flipped it back over, and drilled countersunk holes for the screws to attach the router base to the table top. (In effect, the chunk of counter became a huge sub-base). Then I routed a "horizontal" groove for a miter slot in front of the hole. For the fence, I used leftover hardboard and MDF, with triangle supports, being carefully to glue and clamp them square. I routed parallel "vertical" slots behind the hole so bolts could go through the fence base through the countertop, and got cam levers from Rockler so fence adjustments are easier. Cut a hole in the fence and attached the dust port behind it - works like a charm with my shop vac. For the legs, I used 2x4s with diagonal supports, and more 2x4 chunks such that it clamps into my Workmate. I waxed the top of the table and front of the fence. I also added removable face pieces to the fence, with the left-hand piece about 1/32" thicker than the right, so I can use it as a jointer for thin stock with a straight bit. Hope this helps, and have fun routing, Andy
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Andy wrote:

Lots of us have even built our tables in stages.
First comes a top and fence, usually in response to a specific need. This can be used on top of a Workmate, or hung between tablesaw rails.
Later on, as time permits and you get sick of sweeping up chips, a better base, shelves, drawers, etc... can be built.
Barry
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The fanciest router tables you will ever see are in home shops. The norm in commercial shops is a board with a router screwed to it. Two clamps and a 2x4 for a fence.

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CW said:

Yeahbut, Home Shops are usually crammed into some wretched corner of the house - where mobility, storage and dust collection factors rear their ugly heads.
But by the same token, I used a 1" thick piece of particle board set across an opened bench-end vise for quite a while. It worked well enough to allow me to determine my own personal needs. I don't regret the decision to build a better table. See my earlier post of DIY pictures in this thread. I would NOT, however, spend a bunch of money of a commercial router table - they are usually compromised.
FWIW,
Greg G.
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If you are going to buy a table either buy a really good one (I have not seen a good one at Sears...) or buy a really cheap one. With the cheap one you can build your own next year and not feel too bad about it.
I bought a Sears table for $80 and sold it a year later (keeping the router bits that came with it) for $75. That is probably unusual; plan on tossing it.
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Save yourself some time and money. I was all ready to build Norm's table when I saw an episode of The Router Workshop ( http://www.routerworkshop.com/epage.html ) I couldn't believe how simple yet productive this system is. You can buy a table insert from any supplier and built the table for under $50. I am very happy with my set up.

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I went to that site but found nothing about building a router table? Dick
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If you just want some ideas, you need to follow the oak park link at the bottom. http://ca.oak-park.com/catalogue.html?product=RW40002&ref n12.html
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I went there, but the cheapest kit was $134
Was this the kit that Tom H says:

So we are talking about $184 plus the wood and labor?
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I bought an old desk extension for $1, and the Lee Valley insert for $39.50. $40.50 (Canadian) plus labor. I spent maybe $20 building my fence.
djb
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It is probably in one of the plan packages. That is a very nifty table. Jim
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I've seen their demos at the WW show here. It is a very slick table and system.
Bit pricey for my wallet, though, so I bough the Lee Valley insert and built a table and fence.
djb
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Yes, works great. Just don't buy the table from them. $300.00 for a plywood box is a little steep.

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As everyone else has said, building your own is a better plan. It's cheaper, and gives you some practice using the router as you go.
Don't get too hung up on needing a fancy fence, by the way. I've been using a straight 8/4 board & C-clamps for years; one of these days I'll get around to building a proper fence.
Bill Hylton's book "Woodworking with the Router" has some good plans (and is a very good book, besides). Or you could post a request here to JOAT, asking for some plans.
John
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Wed, Nov 30, 2005, 9:00pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@ix.netcom.com (JohnMcCoy) doth muble: <snip> Or you could post a request here to JOAT, asking for some plans.
Plans? Don' need no steenkin' plans. I put my router table together in an hour or so, for probably less then $2. And, I've been using it for years. Make your own.
JOAT A rolling stone gathers no moss...unless it's a hobby he does on the weekends.
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Steve, J T is correct, You can build the table out of stuff around the shop.
The one from the Router Workshop is simply a plywood box with one side open and a 3/4" plywood top covered with formica.
Here is a link to pictures of the one I built into the extension on my table saw. http://www.woodworking.org/photo/thumbnails.php?album 309
The router plate insert is from Woodpeckers the rest was wood around the shop and a piece of white formica.

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Here's a bad shot of my $1 table with the LV insert.
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http://www.balderstone.ca/router_table.jpg
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Along the same line, a shop that I worked in some years ago had a rather large router table. It was made from a standard military type metal desk with a hole cut in it and a router screwed to it. No need to get fancier than that.
wrote:

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