Why are router insert plates so expensive?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 02-01-2011 05:00 AM 10308 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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669 posts in 3287 days

02-01-2011 05:00 AM

When I see an ad for a router insert plate, I see a slab of plastic or metal with some holes drilled into it. So why do they cost $60 and up?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

11 replies so far

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3740 days

#1 posted 02-01-2011 05:08 AM

Supply on demand…

That’s the name of the game…

-- Rick

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3454 days

#2 posted 02-01-2011 05:09 AM

I suppose because the market supports the current pricing. If you have a plastics supply house nearby, you could buy a blank and easily prep it and put it in a table.

I have made tables without an insert. I just relieved the bottom and screwed the fixed base to the top, countersinking the bolt heads a bit. Worked fine for years.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3575 days

#3 posted 02-01-2011 05:24 AM

I gotta ask my self, “why are all things router so blasted high” I mean, I got a nice table saw, about 300lbs of cast iron, precision machined top with tilting, raising and lowering trunnion, 1-3/4 hp induction motor, big square fence, and it cost me ~$500. Then I look at a router table; stamped steel legs with a sheet of particle board for a top with a little plastic laminate bonded to it, an extruded aluminum fence that doesn’t have to be square to anything, and then I have to put my own router in it, and the stupid thing is $500. Does that make any sense? Not to me.

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 3285 days

#4 posted 02-01-2011 05:26 AM

You could go to your glass supplier or HD and buy small piece of lexan or plexi-glass . Use a counter sink bit
and make your own for well under 20$.....get the 1/4 inch .

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 3285 days

#5 posted 02-01-2011 05:35 AM

You could go to your glass supplier or HD and buy small piece of lexan or plexi-glass . Use a counter sink bit
and make your own for well under 20$.....get the 1/4 inch . Your glass supplier may even do the cut-outs
and drilling for you for an extra charge .

View DylanC's profile


206 posts in 3278 days

#6 posted 02-01-2011 05:48 AM

I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’m considering seeing what a local shop would charge to fabricate an aluminum plate or just buying some plastic and doing it myself. The biggest advantage I’ve seen to the catalog kits is the swap-able inserts with varying diameters. Of course, you could accomplish the same thing with 2-3 homemade plates. It would be less convenient, but cheaper. And if you were smart, a correctly sized bit-opening would handle probably 80% of projects.

Just a quick search on McMaster-Carr for polycarbonate (Lexan) sheets shows that you can get a 12×12 x 0.25 sheet for under $15 (not including shipping)...and thicker if you think you need 3/8 or 1/2 inch.

I might’ve just talked myself out of having an aluminum plate made….

-Dylan C

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

View Brett's profile


669 posts in 3287 days

#7 posted 02-01-2011 11:46 PM

crank49, the whole modern approach to router tables is kind of puzzling.

Imagine if all table saws cost thousands of dollars (like shapers). Many of us would have to “make” a table saw by building a table and mounting a circular saw upside down in it. We’d be discussing the merits of circular saw insert plates vs. mounting the circular saw directly to the underside of the table, and whether it’s better to change the depth of cut by popping the circular saw and insert plate out of the table or by paying for a fancy “circular saw lift”. However, modern table saws are so affordable that we don’t have to do this, plus they’re more accurate and precise than a table-mounted circular saw ever could be.

Why doesn’t someone design and sell a simple shaper that use a universal motor instead of an induction motor and router bits instead of shaper bits? It would be a lot simpler, cheaper, and more effective than buying a router, table, insert plate, and lift from different manufacturers and figuring out how to make them all work together.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4369 days

#8 posted 02-02-2011 12:24 AM

This reminds me of a story my son told me many moons ago…. He was an auto mechanic, certified and all that stuff. A customer brought their vehicle in and asked him to look at it because the engine was running rough…. My son opened the hood, took the air cleaner off, reached for a screwdriver and turned a screw on the carb….. The guy said “how much do I owe you?”.... My son told him $25… Of course the guy went crazy and wanted to know why so much. Simple, he said…. $5 to turn the screw and $20 for knowing which screw to turn…...

Same for the OP. It’s not just a piece of plastic with holes drilled in it….. They knew how to make the plastic so you could use it and drilled the holes exactly where you need them. Kinda makes sense.
- SY
- aka JJ

View jmichaeldesign's profile


66 posts in 3387 days

#9 posted 02-02-2011 01:02 AM

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3678 days

#10 posted 02-02-2011 01:05 AM

Let me add a comment about the lack of standardization with router table inserts. There are at least 3 common sizes for the inserts. When buying an insert you are limited to the inserts that are the right size for your table. To some degree that limits competition and makes it easier for the manufacturers to charge more.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5242 posts in 4564 days

#11 posted 02-04-2011 01:22 AM

Look at the less expensive plate from Lee Valley. Has the full info as to drilling and mounting in your table. I have had this plate in my table for almost 12 years. Excellent price/value item. And if you screw it up drilling for your router…......THEY’LL GIVE YOU A NEW PLATE. Top that.

-- [email protected]

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