I'm relatively new to woodworking - have built a few cabinets so far
and am finding new projects. I currently have a table saw and jointer.
I also have a Porter Cable 1 3/4 HP (693) router with interchangeable
plunge and fixed bases. I have the opportunity of getting a Milwaukee
3 1/2 HP fixed base (5625-20) router for a very good price and am
wondering if it offers enough of an advantage that having both would
Sure makes sense to me. Do you have a router table? That is where I'd put
the big router and use the smaller, lighter one for hand work. Many of us
have two routers, one hand and one table mounted, for versatility.
It depends on usage and the depth or size of work! But two is always better
then one! I grabbed the 5615-21 and it works great for me....What I've
learned though is the importance of the Router Table. I bought a rather
higher end Craftsman piece of crap AND it was good to learn "What I didn't
want in a Router Table." I used it twice and immediantly purchased the
Grizzly Sliding Table. You'll soon discover that the table will help you out
more, just keep the one you prefer in your hand and table the other.
I agree - right now I have a 2 1/4 HP Dewalt with plunge and fixed
bases. It's never bogged down on me, but if I had the opportunity to
pick up one for a good price that was the same or larger to leave in
the table, I definitely would.
If you don't have a table, I'd recommend making one - plenty of ideas
online. Mine is a 2x4 frame with a piece of formica countertop for the
table and a MDF fence. Dust collection is one advantage to the table,
in addition to control (and therefore safety), convenience, and
Bigger isn't always better. I think overall you also have to considers what
feels good. The Mil works like an extension of my arm. Some tools are
perfect to use and some are just bears. So regardless of power the quality
of use is utmost. Tools you enjoy using vs ones you need to get the job
done. The Router table is handy but a half gap measure. If I was going to do
it all over again on static pieces I would always use the hand held, but for
detailed pieces (from this point on) I think I'd go with a dedicated shaper
over a Router Table. It's more of a engineering and design aspect then cost
over performance. The problem is the Best table and the Best Router may not
equal the Best solution. Some routers are better designed to work with some
but not all tables and some tables are not designed to work with all
routers, at best your forced to make trade-offs.
Now we are discussing Best and not most cost effective.... Tables and even
buying (Ryobi) one would easily win in cost effectiveness.
As for making a table, I thought that might be the "best way", but not in a
lot of cases and really only under special needs. To make a "good" table
takes a lot of money, and you have to be rather good at design and it takes
a lot of time, and then your looking at a fence and design thereof only
complicates the situation. So in many cases, your best choices is using
aftermarket pieces like a fence or a lift and then miters and the like and
your making your design work around these goodies.I wanted a cast-iron top
and I couldn't pour it myself so I had to buy one.
So overall I would advise someone to buy a Router that works like an
exstension of his arm, it feels good and can work for longer periods of time
in comfort and with accuracy... Any thing else consider the shaper over a
Tables designed for routers? <G>
How about building a table to fit the router you have or want to use?
Router tables really aren't very hard to make. Build a top, including
fence(s) to fit the router, the rest is just a box (woodworkingese cabinet) with details to suit the builder.
The first fence can be as simple as a jointed board clamped to the
top. The first cabinet can be a MDF box. Both can be upgraded later,
if necessary, but will quickly make the tool usable.
Building stuff like a router table teaches important skills that can
be used in furniture and cabinetry construction. You can easily build
a really *nice* router table in two weekend days, if you plan ahead.
Your at the same issue as for building a table for your router.... If you've
never built anything before, I'd certainly recommend it. As long as your
aware beforehand that what you have may not be what you want or thought.
Building a table then using it for a period of time, if you built another
table it certainly would be different then the first. It kind of draws out
the learning curve. Freud has a nice small router/table system. As for my
Grizzly it's not all perfect either. I'm redoing the router clamps (more
Vertitas) Style and I did add pnuematic lifts for the top and I will also
add aluminum supports for the table top so I can run it past the ends and
still be right on!
You know it all depends on what you feel comfortable working with and to the
degree of accuracy. With a home built table your most likely going to live
with 16th's or 32nd's tolerances. Remember if you had Tom, Dick & Harry
making a table all three would easily be different. So as easy as it is to
say make one, but some people simply can't. The other issues is when you
start working with expensive or exotic woods, then the failures or
weaknesses of your home built table will become self evident.
Anyone can rub two sticks together to make fire, but in most cases a lighter
always works best.
That's a joke, right? Maybe you forgot the smiley? <G> Do you know
how many shop-made tools exist in a typical very fine furniture or
cabinet maker's possession? My local woodworking school has shop-made
and store bought tables side by side. Inaccurate, hammer and axe
woodworkers, such as Garrett Hack, Mario Rodriguez, and many others
you've probably heard of, use _student built_ router tables on a
regular basis. Some even have shop-made threaded rod lifts.
As should be expected.
But this same person can build fine furniture or cabinetry?
Or the lack of experience gained from buying everything pre-made. <G>
My first table was a sink cutout hung between the rails of a Jet
contractor saw, routed for a Rousseau plate.
Table #2, which was whacked together over a weekend because I needed a
bigger surface (32x24) in a hurry (22 cabinet doors by the end of the
week!), is (2) thicknesses of 3/4" MDF, laminated between Formica
sheets, edged with scrap white ash, and routed for the same Rousseau
plate. This table top sits on a simple MDF box with two overlay doors
for access to the router, and a 4" dust port on the back.
5 years later, I still use the "temporary" table almost daily, and
love it to death, obtaining measurable results to the 2-3 thousands
(invisible) range. I'll sand or scrape off more wood than my
"inaccuracy" during finishing! <G> This simple table has been used
to make 100's of parts, ranging from fluted bookcase trim to precise
large-scale model airplane parts to musical instrument replacement
I'm not trying to bust 'deem off on you or yank your chain, and I'm
totally for buying good tools, but I really think you've been watching
too many woodworking show demos if you can't believe that something
like this is that difficult to achieve. <G>
You've gotten confused. The original poster as best determined Never stated
he could build fine furniture or cabinetry? In fact "I'm relatively new to
woodworking" Making a table of good or better quality takes time and
money.There isn't a lot to a table so learning isn't really applicable. Now
listen to yourself... For every shop made super router table, there easily
more failures then successes. I can also show you more shops that use
"manufactured" equipment over shop/home made. If you think you can build a
table that rivals my grizz or a Veritas steel. then so be it.
How about slamming a new an decent and solid setup together for nearly
every job you need to do, and not taking all day to do it? That's what
happens in a real shop. Don't drool over every friggin toy you see, it
is the surest way to become a no-talent jerk.
Been trolling and lurking here for years and finally seen something that
made some damn sense, posted by BARRY. Thanks, brother, for not being
another tool snob (sissy) and scaring off another good man. BTW- I am a
professional in a HUGE shop with many large and old machines and we
cannot and do not buy every doggone gizmo out there. We trust our men to
originate and create, not imitate.
The first router I bought was a big plunger. Scared me silly, and ruined a
good piece of cabinet ply on that first project. The second project was a
I have, now, a 693 kit like you mention, the big plunger in the table, and
three trim routers. The big router never leaves the table. For anything.
What I'm saying is that, if you need a router in a table, then the big
Milwaukee might be worth what's being asked, for you. But if you need, or
want, a second router, then maybe smaller is better. It is for me, for my
Unless you're turning large bits, for doors, mouldings, rabbets, etc., you
may find that your 693 has plenty of power. Mine does. I wouldn't mind
having a second one.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.