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Seeking advice on router table setup

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Forum topic by timberhead posted 01-25-2020 11:34 PM 383 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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timberhead

7 posts in 32 days


01-25-2020 11:34 PM

Hi, new guy here but working with wood for 36 years just never needed a RT with dedicated router. Now the time has come. I will set this table up for making lock miters in 3/4 Pine. What horsepower router should I get? Does it need to have variable speed? And does the bit do “all” the work, or do I make a 45 degree cut first with the saw? Thanks


13 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

5259 posts in 1230 days


#1 posted 01-26-2020 12:25 AM

You’ll get dozens of suggestions regarding the router motor. I use a Bosch 1617 in my JessEm Mast-R-Lift II and it works fine. I’ve never encountered a situation where it didn’t do the job.

Regarding the lock miter joints. No, you do not need to miter the board first. That would screw up the joint anyway. If you’re new to cutting them, take a look at my blog post on setting up the bit height and fence depth. It’ll save you a great deal of the frustration common with those bits. Plus it’ll guide you on how to calculate the bit and fence settings for any thickness of wood, once you’ve got the numbers down.

https://www.lumberjocks.com/RichTaylor/blog/111009

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View mel52's profile

mel52

1255 posts in 905 days


#2 posted 01-26-2020 03:42 AM

I, like Rich also use the Bosch 1617 and haven’t found anything so far that it couldn’t do. Welcome to LJs. Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

4681 posts in 2028 days


#3 posted 01-26-2020 04:37 AM

Just about any router will do but I would would shoot for at least 2HP. I have both Dewalt and Porter Cable routers and they work fine.

BTW, if this is going to be your only use for the router table, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. I made my first router table 30 years ago from a Woodsmith magazine plan that was made from plywood. I used it until just recently. It was basically 3/4” plywood with a hole for the bit and and a fence, also made from plywood, that tightened down with wingnuts riding in slots in the top. It is simply clamped to a benchtop or my workmate when I use it. I still whip it out every now and then when I don’t want to continually switch between bits or settings on my other benchtop router table. The router is either screwed or clamped to the bottom with toggle clamps. I used to just leave the router attached when I leaned the router table top against the wall and it was always ready to go.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2509 posts in 1244 days


#4 posted 01-26-2020 05:34 AM

I have tried both the Rich’s technique and the spacer that comes with the bit for lining up the lock miters. See what works best for you. My post is here.

Variable speed is nice to have although I have a Porter Cable in the table and a Bosch 1617 for hand held stuff mainly because I have the Bosch edge guide and like the feel in my hands better and I never really needed to change the speed in the table. Plenty of horsepower in either for soft and hardwoods. Use 1/2” shank bits. You can usually find deals on them on CList. They are both usually bullet proof.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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LittleBlackDuck

3679 posts in 1461 days


#5 posted 01-26-2020 08:07 AM

The most powerful the budget will allow (within reason), after considering a decent lifter and fence/extraction system.

Being mounted in a RT, it doesn’t need super features other than variable speed (a must) and consider options for ease of bit changes. Some routers object to above table colette access when combined with the wrong lifter.

I say the most powerful, as you said you never had one for 36 years and suddenly all those pent up lost opportunities will come flooding in once you start to use one… your one show pony for making lock miters will morph into a circus...

But then again, I like to spend other peoples money.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View timberhead's profile

timberhead

7 posts in 32 days


#6 posted 01-26-2020 01:56 PM

I have read the blogs about set up, thank you. It will help, patience is a virtue I dont have. It so happens I am buying the Infinity bit mentioned and at this time it comes with their set-up block free…fwiw.

It does sound like maybe ripping the 45’s first would be not only “duplication of labor”, which I have done my share of already, but the bit instructions say specifically not to.

The router spec, of course I expected many opinions. It sounds somewhat safe to say that yes the variable speed my be helpful- to slow the bit down? And I had heard that MUST have at least 3 1/4 hp, I am seeing now maybe 2+ would be acceptable. Thanks

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5655 posts in 2992 days


#7 posted 01-26-2020 02:03 PM

I have found that a 2.25 HP router will do most anything. I have a 3 HP router and rarely use it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Davevand's profile

Davevand

157 posts in 1477 days


#8 posted 01-26-2020 05:35 PM

I would recommend you use a variable speed router, most 2+hp routers are. I also use a 2.25hp router and used the extra money I save to buy a router lift.

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

625 posts in 295 days


#9 posted 01-26-2020 06:42 PM

A lower cost alternative is something like the Milwaukee 5616-20 and the Rockler phenolic router plate. The Milwaukee is a variable speed 2-1/4 hp router that can be raised and lowered with a socket wrench from above. The only thing you have to do under the table is release a lock lever on the side of the router to raise or lower it. You would also need an offset collet wrench if you want to do above table bit changes.

The solution isn’t quite as nice as an actual lift but for the budget minded hobbyist the 5616-24 kit comes with fixed base + plunge base in a big case for ~$250 at Home Depot. The Rockler Phenolic router plate type A comes in around $50 and the Woodriver Offset Collet wrench at about $20. Brings your total to about $320 for the whole setup which is about the price of a good lift by itself.

If you have the budget to spend on a Master Lift, Master Fence, router, and table then by all means just do that. You wont be sorry you did. I went with the Milwaukee setup mentioned above so I could splurge on the Master Lift II fence.

View HuckleberryWoodWrks's profile

HuckleberryWoodWrks

45 posts in 43 days


#10 posted 01-26-2020 10:16 PM

If the budget allows, +1 for the Bosch 1617 with a Jessem lift. The variable speed seems to make a big difference with tear out.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5259 posts in 1230 days


#11 posted 01-26-2020 10:30 PM


If the budget allows, +1 for the Bosch 1617 with a Jessem lift. The variable speed seems to make a big difference with tear out.

- HuckleberryWoodWrks

Agreed. Variable speed is mandatory for a router table motor, since it’s often used for large bits. My interior door panel raising bits are over 3” in diameter. They have to be run at a low rpm for safety.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2509 posts in 1244 days


#12 posted 01-26-2020 10:43 PM


If the budget allows, +1 for the Bosch 1617 with a Jessem lift. The variable speed seems to make a big difference with tear out.

- HuckleberryWoodWrks

Agreed. Variable speed is mandatory for a router table motor, since it s often used for large bits. My interior door panel raising bits are over 3” in diameter. They have to be run at a low rpm for safety.

- Rich

Yes. It’s a pain but I do switch out the PC for the 1617 if I need slower speed for big bits etc. maybe once or twice a year. If I stumble upon a 1617 on CL I’ll probably grab it. I do prefer the 1617. It has never had an issue with anything I throw at it.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View HuckleberryWoodWrks's profile

HuckleberryWoodWrks

45 posts in 43 days


#13 posted 01-26-2020 11:54 PM


If the budget allows, +1 for the Bosch 1617 with a Jessem lift. The variable speed seems to make a big difference with tear out.

- HuckleberryWoodWrks

Agreed. Variable speed is mandatory for a router table motor, since it s often used for large bits. My interior door panel raising bits are over 3” in diameter. They have to be run at a low rpm for safety.

- Rich

Yes. It’s a pain but I do switch out the PC for the 1617 if I need slower speed for big bits etc. maybe once or twice a year. If I stumble upon a 1617 on CL I’ll probably grab it. I do prefer the 1617. It has never had an issue with anything I throw at it.

- Andybb

Check eBay too. I found a good price there a couple years ago on one.

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