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Combo Table Saw & Router Table - thoughts?

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 10-30-2020 02:28 PM 392 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HarveyDunn

393 posts in 2644 days


10-30-2020 02:28 PM

Designing a shop for just me, for small projects: boxes, small cabinets, occasional tables, etc. I never work with full sheets of sheet goods. What do you think about having the table saw and the router table combined into one unit in the center of the room, with a shared fence system like the Incra package? It looks appealing in the videos. But is it annoying in practice?


16 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1809 posts in 1501 days


#1 posted 10-30-2020 02:41 PM

Works fine. I have a big Milwaukee 3-1/2 hp router in the right wing of the saw and they share an Incra fence.


Yes, there is both a saw and router hiding under the mess.


The Incra’s 32” range allows ripping of 4’ wide sheet goods


The router and plate lift out and one button releases the motor for easy bit and speed changes.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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Steve

2232 posts in 1495 days


#2 posted 10-30-2020 02:41 PM

It’s definitely a good option for a lot of people. Depending on which side of the blade you have the router mounted on, one con would be having to lower the router bit in order to cut large panels. Usually only an issue if the router is on the left side of the blade.

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

412 posts in 4659 days


#3 posted 10-30-2020 03:40 PM

Back in the 90’s I had a set-up as you described. In my opinion is was a pain the the @$$. If I needed to make a cut on my table saw I would have to lower the bit and move the fence losing all the router settings. If I wanted to rout something I would have to lower the saw blade and move the fence and lose those settings. I thought that it took up much more space than an individual table saw and a router table when you weren’t using them. I could have removed the router plate from the table with the router in it and at least saved the depth settings but then I would have to fish the power cord through the dust collection box. And the dust collection was poor at best. It sure does look pretty in pictures though having a nice shiny set-up. I also thought that the Incra fence had too much deflection on the ends because of the center pivot point. It does have locking tabs on the ends but it makes it hard to make quick adjustments when you have three mechanisms to lock down. For me the Incra system was like a boat. The two best days were the day that I bought it and the day that I sold it. It’s like the old Shopsmith. Great in theory if you were only going to use one tool for a project, but if you needed to use multiple functions you would spend 75% of the day re-calibrating and dialing in settings.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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HarveyDunn

393 posts in 2644 days


#4 posted 10-30-2020 04:16 PM

Your experience is the scenario I had in the back of my mind.

Presumably you now have separate machines. Thoughts on fences?

View Loren's profile

Loren

10784 posts in 4560 days


#5 posted 10-30-2020 05:33 PM

With the Incra system you have to drop the router bit below the table to move the fence for a table saw cut. This is something that can come up in practice and then you have the hassle of returning the router to the same position. If you had a t-square fence it wouldn’t be as likely to be an issue frequently.

As in all things woodworking, tools are a matter of preference and the sort of work you want to do.

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Madmark2

1809 posts in 1501 days


#6 posted 10-30-2020 05:46 PM

If you plan your operations you’ll seldom find yourself in NWMs situation.

If the router is to the right you don’t have to drop the saw blade to rout so that isn’t a drawback.

NWM says router dust collection was poor at best with a dust box and that snaking the cord was hard. Don’t use a dust box and avoid these two self induced “issues”.

The incra locks tight as a rock even without tightening the front lock which only takes a quick twist. You don’t normally have to tighten the rear lock. The Incra locks perpendicular to the saw blade leading edge, not just at the front rail.

Recalibration? An Incra? If you’re “recalibrating” all the time you’re not doing it right. The major feature of the Incra is to move and repeat without “recalibration”. You can even flip sides with the incra, just drop it in place with zero fiddling.

I use a digital height gauge for both TS blade and router cutter height setting. This is fast, accurate, and repeatable for both tools.


Depth setting are a snap!

Ignore NWM, most of his issues were self induced.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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Robert

4134 posts in 2393 days


#7 posted 10-30-2020 07:42 PM

I wouldn’t do it unless you don’t have the room, but really you need an extended table like MadMark shows.

In my work, I much prefer a dedicated router table.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View AndyJ1s's profile

AndyJ1s

471 posts in 668 days


#8 posted 10-30-2020 08:39 PM

I have my router table in the left (short) extension wing on my Unisaw with 52” Unifence fence mostly to the right of the blade.

The unifence rail, with an add-on auxiliary two-piece router fence, could serve both router and saw, but I use separate fences for router table and table saw.

Since I generally rough cut stock to length before jointing/planing, and I cross cut with workpiece right of the blade (the Unifence works really well as a calibrated length stop, when the fence is pulled forward of the blade), I don’t often have to take down either fence to use the other tool.

If I screw up and waste a workpiece after my router fence is set up, I’ll rough cross-cut another workpiece with a circular saw (or even a hand saw if it is small enough), to avoid tearing down the router fence.

That said, if I had space for a free-standing router table, I’d have one.

I also have a combo jointer/planer to save space. But it was actually cheaper than equivalent separate jointer and planer.

-- Andy - Arlington TX

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northwoodsman

412 posts in 4659 days


#9 posted 10-30-2020 09:48 PM

You can see by the photo’s posted how convenient it is to use. I just posted my opinion since that’s what the OP asked for. I’m not saying either way is better than the other. I personally like the flexibility to have two dedicated machines & surfaces because that fits my woodworking style. I’m always going back and forth between projects and tasks. As far as fences go I feel that the accuracy of the stock fence on my SawStop is fine for ripping. I use a custom built sled when accuracy is required for cross cuts. For my router table set-up I have a Woodpeckers phenolic router table and their Super Fence with the Micro-adjust attachment. My shop is a 2.5 stall garage that I share with a car and a truck so everything is on wheels. It was too hard to move the table saw around with the router table wing attached. Like someone else posted a few weeks back my garage has a 3’ wide x 3.5” tall lip all the way around it to meet code; it was very difficult to maneuver the saw up and down over that being almost 7’ wide. Since I got bit by the Festool bug, I rarely use my table saw because I can get very accurate cuts with my MFT and track saw. If the combo set-up works for you then great, that’s the best system for you. If it’s convenient and safe for you, you will use it more and get more enjoyment out of it. I found the system that worked best for me.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

393 posts in 2644 days


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


Since I got bit by the Festool bug, I rarely use my table saw because I can get very accurate cuts with my MFT and track saw.

Tell me more!

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

412 posts in 4659 days


#11 posted 10-30-2020 11:05 PM

The Festool Multi Function Table 3 is an MDF table with precise 20mm holes spaced 96mm on center. If you purchase the all inclusive version it comes with a Festool track, a giant protractor, a fence and a stop block. The track saw is an additional expense, but I already had that. This has become my go-to workstation. I clamp boards on it for ripping, for cross-cutting and for miter cuts. I use it to sand, to rout, to drill or for cutting loose tenons with my Domino. You can find many on-line videos and reviews for it. I was dead-set against Festool for many years because of the price. Since mid august I have purchased the Domino, the MFT, a Rotex sander, an ROS sander, a 1400 router, and a bunch of clamps and misc. accessories. My Dewalt track saw works with the Festool track, and I find my Bosch VAC90 dust collector compares to that of the Festool line. If nothing else the dust control of the Festool system is worth the cost.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6204 posts in 3222 days


#12 posted 10-31-2020 12:45 AM

If you have too you have too. I if you don’t…...don’t. I tried that at one time and didn’t like that setup. You mileage may vary.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

6592 posts in 3321 days


#13 posted 10-31-2020 02:27 AM

Alot of good discussion on this. And it can be a pain to remember to drop the router bit before moving to the next saw cut. Like Madmark2 showed he has a set up and it has worked well for him. Limited space makes sense for him. I follow similar idea. And yes the fence is set for BOTH saws and did take some time to set up properly.

Like others mentioned though a dedicated machine allows you to leave a bit set and not have to retract it to make another run. I agree, and in cases like round overs it is easier to have a dedicated machine for that work. Especially if it is smaller work. So I added the second machine but utilized space in a cabinet. Now this machine is tucked away, but easy to use and mostly I use for round overs. Pull out drawer, make your cut and move on. Size is a limitation to be sure but this means I have to use the main router less and for longer cuts. Saves some time and energy.

Now here is the rub. To pull this off you have to find a spot, make the mechanism and the details that go into making your own machine. It is not for everyone. But with limited space sometimes you have to be creative.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2136 posts in 3706 days


#14 posted 10-31-2020 11:35 PM

I am not a production shop, and I have limited space. Still, I would never want a combination machine. I see too much time wasted changing back and forth. Just my thoughts.

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

393 posts in 2644 days


#15 posted 11-01-2020 12:08 AM



The Festool Multi Function Table 3 is an MDF table with precise 20mm holes spaced 96mm on center. If you purchase the all inclusive version it comes with a Festool track, a giant protractor, a fence and a stop block. The track saw is an additional expense, but I already had that. This has become my go-to workstation. I clamp boards on it for ripping, for cross-cutting and for miter cuts. I use it to sand, to rout, to drill or for cutting loose tenons with my Domino. You can find many on-line videos and reviews for it. I was dead-set against Festool for many years because of the price. Since mid august I have purchased the Domino, the MFT, a Rotex sander, an ROS sander, a 1400 router, and a bunch of clamps and misc. accessories. My Dewalt track saw works with the Festool track, and I find my Bosch VAC90 dust collector compares to that of the Festool line. If nothing else the dust control of the Festool system is worth the cost.

- northwoodsman

Dust collection is a major issue for me. Thanks for the info.

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