Router Table Top

I'm looking for recommendations for a router table top for which I can make my own base.
This will have to be a benchtop unit as I don't have room in my shop for a router table with a floor standing base.
If I'm going to be making the rail and stile cabinet doors for my kitchen, I've got to upgrade from my old stamped steel benchtop router table to something with a decent fence and dust collection.
I've googled around a bit and found some at MLCS and Kreg, but I'd like to hear about some other options or reviews of those if they are recommended.
Any ideas for a portable benchtop router table would be appreciated.
Thanks and Happy Holidays!
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Can be hung from the rafters, weighs squat yet flat and precise: http://patwarner.com/router_table_cd.html
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On Wednesday, December 19, 2012 1:31:07 PM UTC-8, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Well, I think any table top unit is going to be only slighty better than the one you describe you have now. I have a wonderful top from Woodpeckers snd love their super fence or wonder fence or whatever they call it. I bought the biggest top they had and the steel frame legs kit and their sidewinder router lift and never looked back.
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I built my own using double 3/4 MDF with melamine top. Went to double depth for the added stability. Bought the HF router split fence and used miter track for my TS miter gauge. Works great. About $50 total.
Larry
On Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:31:07 PM UTC-6, DerbyDad03 wrote:

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On Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:31:07 PM UTC-6, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I built a pretty nice top from MDF with a tempered hardboard top that mounts between the rails on my Grizzly cabinet saw. I also built a fence with adjustable faces, rail and upper dust collection that mounts to the saw fence with a couple of Irwin hand clamps. Doesn't take up any floorspace and works great. Took an afternoon to build the table and a day or so to build the fence.
RonB
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On 12/19/2012 4:31 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Here's what I would do I would consider building my own. if you don't check out mlcs, peachtree or others.
What you don't need. I can't remember using my miter gauge ... you don't need a track. Wish I didn't have one. Others may disagree, I just reference the fence.
You do need a fence. I bought a fence angle extrusion, then built the rest of it. I would recommend making the fence ends mitered or chamfered. Mine are 45degrees. I can close the fence on to a zero clearance insert.. it has a 45 too, so the fence wings lock the insert in. Very important to have zero clearance when doing rail /stile coping cuts. A fence from MDF is a good dead level fence. its heavy but you can take it off to move your benchtop unit.
Next your table can be used in two different directions. Mine is rectangular, when doing long stuff I go length wise. When doing panels, I will usually turn 90 so my table now supports the panels better. I just mount my fence using clamps now to support it as it wasn't made for that direction.
Your table can be as simple as a hole in a mdf or Formica panel, with your router bolted to it.
Or you can go full speed ahead, and get a removable insert. I have a Rousseau insert. It's not a standard size. Get a standard size because if you ever want to change to a different insert, you'll be able to. I didn't know that when I bought the insert.
As with a table saw... #1 importance (aside from TS alignment) is the fence. The same for your router table.
One more thing, DO NOT BUY a two piece fence like the FREUD.. you want the fence in the same plane. The ones that adjust each side independently are useless. You can shim a side if you need for certain operations but having them out of planar is a disaster.
At times my router table is used heavily, other times not so much, but its great having it ready any time. Make sure you build it so you can use it later on. You want weight to keep it from moving and vibrating. But weight in a bench top unit means you'll not move it around or you'll avoid using it if you have to lift it. So consider lighter, but with a base that can easily be clamped to the bench to make it part of the bench. maybe put a bottom on it that extends past the vertical supports, so that would be your clamping area. If you are going to keep it light, Baltic birch.. would be a good option in thickness less than 3/4 ..
Lastly, I built a coping sled for the ends of the rail/stile. It's not necessary, as I used to use a sacrificial board cut to 90. But I had made it easier to hold an register to the fence. simple and effective.. don't waste your money on one.. 20 minutes to make.
so now that I spent all this time writing and not proofing. I hope the info comes across clearly.
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tiredofspam wrote:

I agree with most of what you wrote but disagree with the above. My split fence isn't a Freud or anything else, made it some 20 years ago.
I use it a lot for joining, preferring it to my joiner for some things. For example, I cut melamine panels oversize then clean up the chipping on the router table. Much easier to do a panel flat on the table than vertical on a joiner. And yes, I know there are blades that say they'll cut mel board without chipping but I don't do enough to warrant the cost.
I do agree that one needs to be able to get the fence sections into the same plane but that is a trivial task.
BTW, if your fence isn't two pieces, how do you close the "wings" onto a zero clearance insert?
--

dadiOH
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On 12/20/2012 7:55 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Ah thats a good question, I'll take a picture, it'll be worth a thousand words
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On 12/20/2012 7:55 AM, dadiOH wrote:

See the binaries for pics."router fence"
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tiredofspam wrote:

I'd love to. *Which* binary group?
--

dadiOH
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He's talking about the binaries sister group to the rec. alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking
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tiredofspam wrote:

Your setup looks almost identical to mine. My fence looks a little cruder.
--
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'Bother,' said Pooh, as he saw the
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tiredofspam wrote:

Ah, OK. So it *IS* a split fence, just not one that adjusts back and forthas well as laterally. Looks nice.
--

dadiOH
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On Dec 19, 11:03pm, tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote:

...snip...
I'm not sure what I have, or where it came from, but in my box of bits and other router parts and pieces, I have what I believe to be a zero clearance insert for a 1/4" straight bit. It's a round metal disk with a collar the extends below the disk about a 1/4" inch. It fits perfectly into the hole in the top of the router table.
The issue is that the collar also extends above the bit about 1/32". In order to cut a slot, you have to lift the end of the wood slightly to get it over the lip
...snip...

My current (cheapo) table has a split fence and I don't like it.

My current table is mounted on a piece of plywood which I clamp to the workbench. The only problem is that the legs are too short to remove the router without unclamping it. Since the router requires 2 wrenches to change the bit, it (the motor) basically needs to be unmounted, so the table needs to be unclamped. PITA
The base I plan to build will be tall enough allow me to remove the router without unclamping the table.

ahh...but using a sled is in direct opposition to dpb suggested method of coping wider stock, sticking both edges and then ripping it on the table saw.
I have not yet tried either method as I don't have a rail and stilr bit yet (SWMBO has told me what profile we want yet.)

Clear enough! Thanks.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Sort of like a, uhhh...template guide like this? (Amazon.com product link shortened) _______________

Easy to make an unsplit one, any board (with a straight edge) will do. ________________

So make a bigger hole and base plate. ________________

Not necessarily, depends on how wide the stock is and how long. Doing something 3' long and even a foot wide could use a sled. The whole idea of a sled is to get the push up close to the fence.
--

dadiOH
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I bought this one (when it was on sale):
<http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages / router_table_3.html>
And mounted it on the end of a rolling tool stand with these:
<http://www.woodcraft.com/product/2001690/3177/folding-shelf-bracket-12 - pair.aspx>
Since the motor on my Dewalt router is easily removed from its base, I can remove it and keep the table folded almost flat when not in use. I say "almost" because the base holds the angle to about 75 degrees instead of 90.
--
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carrying a cross.
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On 12/19/2012 10:03 PM, tiredofspam wrote: ...

...
I don't know what the Freud design is, but it definitely is a benefit to have a split fence that is adjustable w/o having to fiddle w/ shims. If they don't have that and aren't designed to do so while maintaining the two halves parallel, then they're just not up to the job.
I use the small 1/2-hp Delta shaper fence for the router as well when do use it in table (which isn't a lot since have both the 1/2" and 3/4-1" spindle shapers, why would one fool around w/ the router??? :)
<http://vintagemachinery.org/photoindex/detail.aspx?id 835>
Best view of fence casting at bottom...I don't think this casting is available as new part any longer altho it is identical (down to casting numbers) to the one on the larger shaper that is a hybrid Walker-Turner/Rockwell machine dating from the late 40s/early 50s. These do come up on auctions/estate sales from time to time, however, and I recommend them highly...
--
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On 12/19/2012 3:31 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

After building my first two and using them for several years I bought this one 12 years ago and have not given it a second thought.
http://benchdog.com/ProTop-Phenolic.cfm
They have the smaller style yo ulare asking about too.
http://benchdog.com/protopcontractor.cfm
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Yes, I'm sure that type of router bench would work fine for 99% of the routing that most of us would do. The really tough part of building/buying yourself a router bench is not going overboard with all the available options and top of the line router benches.
They certainly look great and probably function very well, but in my opinion, after a certain point it's just for show and the pride of owning one.
And no, in case anyone is thinking of saying it, you can't apply the same thought to Festool. :)
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RE: Subject
There are two extremes.
1) a 35" x 36" x 3/4" piece of MDF with a hole in the center and a fixed router base mounted underneath, supported by a pair of saw horses.
Add a couple of C-Clamps and a 2ba4 for a fence.
Set up in the drive way to use, knock down for storage.
Sweep drive to clean up.
Has been used lot of times.
2) Norm's router station from the NYW with a suitable router lift.
Great piece of equipment and FUN to build.
Keeps ALL your router accessories in one place.
Has built in dust collection.
Downside: It occupies floor space.
Lew
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