Router tables.

With the amount of woodwork I have been doing recently, a good purchase for me would be a router. Presumably when hand held, these are not particularly easy to use (say for putting a door rebate in a piece of 4x2"). So, looking at both Screwfix, and MachineMart catalogues, they have a few 'budget' router tables. Some look better than others. These have got to be the way to go when using a router? Or a complete waste of time and money? Ta Alan.
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WHAT! "Presumably when hand held, these are not particularly easy to use"
only in the wrong hands
The 4x2 in a wormate is all thats needed. A router table is for more intricate mouldings that require large bits and an half inch router. Putting a rebate in wood does not necessary need a table to do it.
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Router tables come into their own when using large routers with large diameter bits on long timbers - i.e. running off mouldings.
They're also good if you make up a crosscut sled to cut end mouldings.
Some people make every possible wood joint on them - and very neatly - but that does require the patience of Job. I see router tables more as small and lightweight spindle moulders.
I bought the CMT table from Axminster - which is very nice - but with hindsight I'd probably make my own.
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On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 19:56:06 +0100, A.Lee wrote:

=================================For the example you give (rebate in 4" x 2") a circular saw - either bench or hand-held - would be quicker. Two passes through the saw will leave you with a perfect rebate and a cleanly cut out strip of spare timber. Doing the same job with a router would leave you with a pile of wood chips blowing in the breeze.
It would be a good idea to buy a cheap basic router and experiment to see what you can do with various bits before you consider a table. Some jobs are best done with a hand-held, some are better done on a table. Some of the cheap tables have rather crude fastenings for the router which could work loose with dangerous consequences.
One of the Machine Mart tables which appears to be a new version of an earlier one that was on sale briefly has an integral router so it should be more secure:
http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/bs52-230v-benchtop-router
If you've got a pillar drill you can use it as a bench router with a simple table attached to the drill table.
Cic.
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On 2007-09-25 19:56:06 +0100, alan@darkroom.+.com (A.Lee) said:

If your main intended use is to be able to do operations such as a rebates in long lengths of 100x50mm timber, you would be better off with supporting the timber on a flat bench or equivalent and using the router hand held, possibly with a jig to support the base. Sometimes said jigs come with or are available for routers, but it's easy to make one if not.
I began with using a router table with a 12.7mm router some while ago. It is interesting for fairly small work involving cutting of mouldings etc. or for work like panel raising and cope and stick joints - e.g. on making cupboard doors. These can involve quite large cutters which would not be very safe or satisfactory to use in a handheld router. However, the size of the pieces is then generally fairly small and can be reasonably supported on the typical router table.
If you do a bit of searching around router tables and components, you'll find that there are quite a few home made and retrofit designs around. For example, it's quite popular in the U.S. to fit a router table plate in a special mount to a table saw or to a bench. This gives a much more stable support arrangement allowing safer use and better control than a small table.
Nowadays, I have a combination machine with spindle moulder built in that can take router cutters, so that I no longer really use the portable table. However, if I were doing the exercise over again, I wouldn't buy one of these portable jobs, but would go for one of the insert type of solutions and build a standalone table or fit something to a bench in some way. Results would be far more satisfactory.
If anything, I would suggest starting with a good quality 12.7mm router such as one based on the Elu design (DeWalt 625, Trend, CMT), Bosch, Makita or for something still good but less expensive Freud - certainly nothing in the sub 120 range.
After that, I'd suggest buying a good book on routing, routing techniques and jigs.
I think that you would get a lot more out of that.
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A.Lee wrote:

It would indeed. Don't buy a shed cheapie though, it will put you off routers.

Surprisingly easy to use free hand with a little practice. Do buy an instructional book or DVD though.

Tables are an 'add on' to a router, useful for edge mouldings & odd jobs. Buy the router first,
I have a 20 year old 850 watt Makita 3620. I've bought B&Q and Homebase 1200 watt routers since and they sit on the shelf, I use the Makita. No electronic speed control, no soft start just an excellent machine. http://www.lawson-his.co.uk/scripts/details.php?cat=%BC%22%20Routers&product 264
Router tables are dead easy to make for yourself. For many years I used one made from scrap plywood clamped into a workmate.
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in 668818 20070925 230743 "The Medway Handyman"

I've bought two and made two over the years. The home-made ones were definitely better!
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On Wed, 26 Sep 2007 07:42:24 GMT

I built one myself after years of using an old worktop with a hole in it balanced on two trestles. My present one looks amazingly like this one from a US TV show:
http://www.newyankee.com/getproduct3.cgi?0301
although not as pretty!
R.
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You don't happen to wear lumberjack shirts, have a beard and look as if you fell out of the ugly tree hitting every branch on the way down, as well do you? :-)
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On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 19:56:06 +0100, alan@darkroom.+.com (A.Lee) wrote:

Most of the interesting uses for a router _require_ a table, either because you need the fence, or because the cutter is big enough to need the rigidity of a fixed router.
Don't waste money on a router table. They're nearly all garbage and they're easy to make yourself. Good ones are expensive. http://codesmiths.com/shed/workshop/techniques/router_table /
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