Router Tables: basics on the accessory for mounting wood routers - Part 4

Basically there are two 'types' of router tables. First, you have the table top or bench top model which is great if you want your router table to become part of a working bench environment. Second, you have the stand alone model, which can easily be put away or stored as well as relocated when needed. Whichever type you choose, make certain that your router fits solidly and is easily accessible to change bits and to clean as needed.

Great router table plans are the KEY to building a table that meets YOUR needs.

Whether you table top model or a bench top router table, you must still examine the available models and features. This will help you to determine which of the many great selling points on the various models out there you would find beneficial. Some models such as the slick machined surfaces of the Porter Cable router table bench top model, for instance, have built in support extension lips, or slots. This allows for easy expandability and for the attachment of various options. Other models feature large bit plate openings to make changing router bits easier (a minimum of 3.5" is recommended) and safety features such as vacuum collection of debris or shields.

Some models, such as the one Rockler markets, feature quick-release systems to allow use of your router both on and off the table with a minimum of hassle. The features you need will help you decide which unit to buy or build. Just be aware that IF you build your own router table, it is vital that you are precise and careful. You must ensure precision because all of your work from this point forward will rely on how true your work surface is!

On the topic of build vs. buy, I can think of a few build scenarios worth mentioning. Of course, there are as many scenarios as there are wood workers, but all of them require a good set of router table plans.

  • Maybe you own a machine shop and a lathe. In this case, odds are you don't really need a router table. You can possibly adjust or adapt your existing equipment to meet your needs. Or, you probably have access to the equipment necessary for building a router table.
  • In another scenario, perhaps you have an older less capable router table that you can press into service to create the table of your dreams. One of my friends did this, creating a beautiful version of Norm Abrams deluxe router station as shown on Norm's TV show, "The New Yankee Workshop.
  • In a third scenario, you might be just starting out in wood working. You might have a chicken an egg situation: you see the benefits of having a router table, want to build one, but need a router table to help build the table. In this case, you could grin and bear it, simply doing your best without a table until you get one built. Or you could find a local wood working shop that has a table mounted router, and "rent" time on it so that you can make the cuts you need.
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