Last week's Toolbox Tuesday post covered everything we looked for and our ultimate choice in the Porter Cable router that we purchased. While shopping for a router, I knew I wanted to use it for was to tackle the staircase wainscoting task. I also knew that the work couldn't easily be accomplished without a decent router table and fence setup to cut the rails, stiles, and panels.

If you're not already aware of my woodworking tool philosophy when it comes to tool or accessory selection, it's really a simple reliance on the question "WWND" (What Would Norm (Abram) Do)? If you've read previous posts, you know I lean on the answer to this question pretty heavily as it relates to many of my tool purchases, including the router. The choice in a router table was actually very similar and I relied on the internet advice of my woodworking idol to steer me in the right direction. While looking around the New Yankee Workshop website for the router that Norm Abram uses, I noticed the plans he had available to construct a fully functional router table and bench. The New Yankee router table is great! It has drawers for your bits and parts, a dust collection area with plexi-glass door, and a high quality custom fence. I decided to order a copy of the plans intent on building a really nice router table... Sure this was several years ago and it isn't really started...I'm getting to it, don't rush me :-)

Anyhow, one of the really nice things about the plans is that they rely on a Rockler package for the table top. This package includes the router table, fence, and high quality guides. It was really perfect for our needs and allowed me to quickly build a basic router table to begin construction on the wainscoting.

I ordered the table and it arrived a few days later, in typical Rockler.com dependable fashion. I took it out of the box and was able to assemble it fairly quickly. Until I built my hella awesome Norm Abram router table, I slapped together a basic stand with four 2x4s as legs and a shelf on the bottom. I think I had the whole thing up and running in about two hours from when I received the box.

The quality and durability of the table and its various components is excellent. The aluminum plates and guides for the fence are smooth and offer the necessary adjustments to make accurate cuts. The laminated surface is easy to keep clean and offers a great support for almost any material, the feather boards that came in the accessory package for the fence are easily adjusted and effectively keep the work tight against the fence, and the small dust collection option does a really good job at keeping the work area much cleaner than router tables I've worked with previously (don't get me wrong, there is still a ton of dust). 

Really, the only complaint I have about the table is the lack of a ruler on the fence to manage the distance the fence sits from the cutting bit. To get past this issue I keep a ruler on the table that I use to measure the right and left side, making small adjustments with each measurement, until I get it just right.

You can buy a table to match most router manufacture's bases. For our router we bought the package with the fixed base and plunge base. I attached the fixed base to our router table and just use the plunge base everywhere else. This table also has a hole for making small depth adjustments from above the table. I never really realized just how important above the table adjustments were until I was able to perform them a few times.

In addition to the table and accessories package, I also purchased a bench mount safety switch. This allows me to plug the router into the switch and operate it with an easy on/off button. You can also plug your Shop-Vac into the same switch so your vac turns on and off when your router. No need to keep reaching under the router table or over to the vac to switch the them on and off. It is much easier and much safer to have a switch like this.

If you've recently purchased a router and you are looking for a good table, be sure to check out the Rockler router table package for your needs. And don't forget to throw in the dust collection port on your purchase. Your shopping list should include:

Do you have a great router table solution? Perhaps you've built the one outlined in Norm's plans. If so please let us know. I'd love to know how it is working out for people and if I should put the time into building it.

Comments 2

Comments

9/24/2015 at 11:35 PM

I think almost everybody can fashion a perfectly adequate router table for very little money, and it will do almost everything they need. Thank you for posting this!

9/11/2017 at 7:33 AM

It looks like a Kreg product, isn't it?

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