Router and Router Table Guidance

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Forum topic by Ceick posted 06-16-2019 05:20 PM 206 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ceick's profile


11 posts in 489 days

06-16-2019 05:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router and router table

Good afternoon to you all and Happy Father’s Day to all of the Fathers. As I have mentioned in previous posts i am relatively new to the woodworking community. In the past I have received helpful advise regarding the purchase of bandsaw and jointer.

While my of “wants” is long i think one of the next items up is a router and router table. I have a small hand held Bosch colt that i enjoy and have the plunge attachment with it. I would like to purchase a 1/2” router and outer table. After doing some research i am leaning towards the 3-1/4 up Porte Cable 15 amp router. However I am open to other suggestion.

Regarding the router table I have no idea. One option i to build one myself which i may do; however, i would also like to look into potentially purchasing a unit. There seem to several options, woodpecker, Kreg, Incra, JesEm, saw stop etc.

Thank you all in advance for continuing to take time to educate a new woodworker.


6 replies so far

View Davevand's profile


123 posts in 1255 days

#1 posted 06-16-2019 06:01 PM

The first question is what kind of work will you be using your router table for? I went through this a while back and while researching the PC 3-1/4hp routers they were getting very mixed reviews. I found a great deal on a Dewalt 2-1/4hp router and decided to use that, I figured if it didn’t work out I would pull the Dewalt out and use it hand held and buy a bigger router for my table. So far it has worked fine, but I rarely spin big bits and I would not say it is a work horse.
As far as the router table, if you have the means it is definitely cheaper to build your own and you can build to what ever size and spec you want. I think the router tables on the market are way over priced for what they are.
I would recommend a router lift, they make your life a lot easier. I have the Jessem and it works great, but other also get good reviews.

View SMP's profile


1177 posts in 324 days

#2 posted 06-16-2019 07:09 PM

Well first step is figure out your budget, as the prices for the combo is a huge range. And if you are open to used can often find decent deals on CL if willing to wait.

View Ceick's profile


11 posts in 489 days

#3 posted 06-16-2019 07:09 PM

Thank you for the quick response. I knew that question would come up. Honestly I am still trying to figure that out. I just finished my daughters king size bed frame and I probably lean towards furniture type of project. I am about to begin my miter station. However I would also love to learn how to “turn”. I made a Thor hammer for my daughter and turned the handle for that on a friends lathe and had a great time. All that being said I want to get better at dove tails and mortise & tenon joinery. Like i said I am still trying to figure it out.

Thank you for the reminder about the lift. I completely forgot to ask about that.

Any thoughts on Triton router. I have heard mixed things.

Thanks again.


View AndyJ1s's profile


43 posts in 174 days

#4 posted 06-16-2019 07:12 PM

For a router table, if you are short on space, there are several makes of cast iron extension wings for table saws that double as a router table. The down-side is you may have to move your router/fence (destroying the settings) for some kinds of cuts on the table saw if needed (like cutting a new blank because you screwed up one on the router table).

Unlike a cabinet style router table, TS extension wings also afford unencumbered access to the router, below the table, from three sides. However, that can make under-table dust collection more difficult.

After some research, I purchased the Bench Dog model from Rockler, but have not had a chance to install it yet. I liked that its (included) fence can be mounted inboard or outboard of the router, depending on the need for work piece support, that its miter gauge slot (out board of router) is cast iron, not an aluminum insert. It also has a T-track slot adjacent to the miter slot.


View CaptainKlutz's profile


1494 posts in 1913 days

#5 posted 06-17-2019 08:15 AM

IMHO – project requirements always force a couple key decisions when it comes to routers and router tables.
This is my recommended decision matrix:

1) If you don’t plan to make frame & panel (kitchen/bath) cabinet doors or large (2.5”+ tall) base/crown sized moldings; then ANY router and table will work. Only time you have worry about choice of router is when you start using large OD bits or tall/deep profiles (2.5”-4”). Hence, Don’t worry and just pick any router you can afford. Yes, even the smaller 1.5HP 1/2” collet crapsmen brand routers will machine profiles up to ~2”.

2) If you plan to machine frame/panel doors, or large moldings, then you have to decide which is more important, time or money?
If money is tight and little extra time isn’t problem; then you can machine large/deep profile using multi-pass methods with a mid-range 2-2.5HP router.
If time is most important, need to buy/build a full blown high end router table with a beefy 3HP+ motor so you can machine large profiles in one pass (although with some woods, you use double pass to avoid tear out).
Additionally, If you want to make large interior/exterior doors then you will want the larger 3+HP router, unless only make one every five years.

3) Choice of router lift has many opinions, and for some folksl lift .vs. no lift is like religious decision (believe or not believe). For me it is answered by: how often you will be machining profiles, or How often will you use the router table?
Once a year or month, no lift needed.
Once a week, might want to lift to save setup time.
Once a day or more, you regret not having a router lift.

Note: There are a couple routers (Triton Plunge base, Milwaukee Plunge, Bosch fixed base) that provide height adjust-ability from top of router table, without need for router lift. These intermediate solutions are very common way to say money if you don’t know how often you will use router table.

4) If you plan to often make interior/exterior doors, and/or thousands of bdft of large crown molding; then might want to reconsider buying a router table, and buy a more powerful industrial shaper. Running door pieces over router table 3 times each, is very time consuming and frustrating; not mention the pucker factor with a 4” OD door panel bit in a 1/2 shank router.

There are a ton of existing posts on this topic, as well as numerous reviews of equipment to help you decide what to buy – after you decide the above.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Ceick's profile


11 posts in 489 days

#6 posted 06-17-2019 01:36 PM

Good morning. Thank you for your response. A lot of good information to think about and consider. Thanks again for taking time to educate someone new to the industry.


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