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Cost of Building a Full Feature Router Table

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Forum topic by Jim2020 posted 04-17-2021 04:16 AM 753 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim2020

71 posts in 320 days


04-17-2021 04:16 AM

Let me start by saying that a few weeks ago I was put off at the high cost of deluxe router table set ups. Six hundred, $800, $1000, and more. Why should something a simple as a router table and cabinet cost so much?

A couple of months back my son-in-law complained that the cheap commercial router table he had didn’t work very well, and he was sure happy that I had given him my Sears contractor saw with Vega fence to work on his kitchen cabinet project. When he said that I resolved to build him a nice router table and cabinet. Well I just finished it.

Believe me when I tell you I’m a value shopper. I look for value and good deals on whatever I buy. I started by buying a 24” wide solid core door, 1 7/8” thick, for the top. It was damaged, and I got it for $15. I followed that up by buying 2 4×8 sheets of 5/8” veneer plywood for the cabinet. Paid $41 each which I thought was plenty. From laying on a pallet, it wasn’t exactly flat. I had bought an old 3600 series Makita router sometime back, and I decided to us it as the power. I bought a Router-Razr kit from Peachtree for $100 delivered, so he could change bits from the top. It along with a set of JessEm Clear Cut guards that I paid $100 for were the only extravagant items I bought.

Built a nice fence around an old Craftsman shaper fence assembly I bought off e-bay. Designed and built a retractable wheel assembly for the table.

Well, not counting the Makita, I spent $609 for the materials, and that doesn’t include the materials like Formica, aluminum extrusion for fence, and the trimming hardwood, and Lexan I already had on hand. I can’t believe how much all the bits and pieces cost. I spent $42 on paint!

The table has turned out great. Pretty and it works fine but…. So I guess when you’re window shopping and see something you think is expensive, and think you can build yourself so much cheaper: Beware! Jim


17 replies so far

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

757 posts in 48 days


#1 posted 04-17-2021 04:47 AM

Congrats! It sounds like a really nice setup. How about some pictures?

-- Devin, SF, CA

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2651 posts in 1669 days


#2 posted 04-17-2021 05:39 AM

$270 for the incra rIght saw wing, another $100 on the mount plate and the big Milwaukee was … I forget. I share the Incra TS-LS fence with the saw so no extra there.


Incra!

The total I’ve spent on bits is at least what the table and router cost.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6986 posts in 3575 days


#3 posted 04-17-2021 10:45 AM

Many folks justify a shaper on the cost of building a RT. That’s not the case for me, and router tables can run a lot of money, even for “value” shoppers. But for me it’s my favorite tool to work with in the shop.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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DevinT

757 posts in 48 days


#4 posted 04-17-2021 11:29 AM

A router table does not need to be expensive though. I built one for less than $30 and it works fine. It certainly doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the table listed here but it has a split fence so I can use it as a jointer, a miter gauge slot, dust port for vacuum, and it is big (2’ x 4’).

-- Devin, SF, CA

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

2107 posts in 683 days


#5 posted 04-17-2021 11:50 AM

I bought some plans for a killer table about two year ago after watching a “how to” video. It is mostly MDF but the OP has a point, I guess I should get a total on the materials put together. On the plus side I have the router and plate already.

View Jim2020's profile

Jim2020

71 posts in 320 days


#6 posted 04-17-2021 12:00 PM

I forgot to thank everyone who has posted about their router table build. I especially appreciate the photos provided. These posts inspired and informed me. I had the opportunity to look at what you all had done, glean ideas, and compare results. Unfortunately I don’t own a camera, and wouldn’t know how to post photos even if I did, so I can’t show the results. Sorry.

Thanks again. Jim

View darthford's profile

darthford

703 posts in 3005 days


#7 posted 04-17-2021 01:36 PM

Then there’s time which is the most costly part of a project for me. At my age I figure I only have so much time left, I’d rather spend it using a router table than building one so I went this route

View ohtimberwolf's profile

ohtimberwolf

1082 posts in 3433 days


#8 posted 04-17-2021 02:50 PM

Worthwhile review. Would like to have seen your build though. thanks larry

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

757 posts in 48 days


#9 posted 04-17-2021 02:53 PM

I had a really hard time finding a router table that was big enough for my needs so I was forced to build one. Not a whole lot of 2’ x 4’ or larger router tables available. Let me know if you find one or know of anyone that makes one that large. Building my own, I am on my second table now. My next one will definitely be beefier than my current one which is made out of plywood and melamine.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

1550 posts in 2041 days


#10 posted 04-17-2021 04:38 PM

My money was in the routers…


View SMP's profile (online now)

SMP

3975 posts in 987 days


#11 posted 04-17-2021 05:23 PM

Well sounds like you built a full featured cabinet full with an actual router. For $800 at rockler you basically get a piece of mdf screwed to some steel bars and a lift. No router included. Apples to oranges. I could screw a piece of mdf to some scrap steel for about $60, and add the $100 lift and $30 plate.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7678 posts in 1655 days


#12 posted 04-17-2021 05:24 PM

Some of us started with router tables that were a hole in a sheet of plywood, and the router screwed on underneath, with a jointed 2×4 as the fence, with a pair of C Clamps to hold it still.

So yeah I think a router table at 1K is really crazy.

You need not have all of that “stuff” to make it work. Most of that is either for guys like Darthford, and pros who either pay rather than build, but with the pros they also need to get it done, so buying could be an option. For most hobby people with nothing but time, it’s not a necessity. If you really want the frills, do them yourself. The link below offers a lot of choices for rolling your own.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=build+a+router+lift

-- Think safe, be safe

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

1550 posts in 2041 days


#13 posted 04-17-2021 08:06 PM

Spending money on a router table is personal. It depends on what you expect out of it. There are members of woodworking forums across the country spending silly amounts on there shops. For either show or usage.

You hae to be your own judge of how much you spend on each tool and it’s usage.

Everyone starts with the basics and moves forward.

View darthford's profile

darthford

703 posts in 3005 days


#14 posted 04-17-2021 08:47 PM


My money was in the routers…


- JackDuren

I love that design and wish I needed a 3 router station, nicely done!

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2651 posts in 1669 days


#15 posted 04-17-2021 09:29 PM

Rail, stile and panel cutters all preset and ready to go. Take about 3 minutes to make a raised panel door. Great if you have the volume. (Sigh. Back in the day …)

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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