1) My understanding is to attach the router to the table the sub-base first needs to be removed. In this case mine is missing (since the router is already attached). Should I get the original plastic one from Sears for $3 or something else? I believe this is needed to use the router manually. I see someone here recommended the $20 kit from Sears that includes 6 clear bases, but I don't know why 6 are needed.
You will need a base plate to use the router by hand but you should consider a different one the the original since the original will accept only these types of sears guide bushings
. Sears Parts Direct has a clear one (sears base plate
) that will accept porter cable type guide bushings but I'm not sure the hole pattern will match your router (I would think it should but you never know). There's no picture but I bought one and it fits my craftsman router. Shipping will add another $6 or so, so you, may want to order a few items (like extra brushes for your router).
Some people recommend the Milescraft plate
and guide bushing system. It comes with an adapter for PC style guide bushings too. This is a really good kit since it has the base plate, the bushinggs, PC bushing adapter and a centering cone (you'll need one of these). You may want to buy something else too since the $24.99 price on Amazon is just a penny under the $25 free shipping minimum.
I think this is the 6 base set you are refering to: six base set
. As far ar as I know, you don't really need it. You won't (shouldn't) be using really large bits on your small, handheld router. Just a single size opening should be good. For those times you need a zero clearance base plate, you can make one out of 1/4" hardboard, or clear plastic (acrylic - plexiglass).
2) The router is also missing the clear plastic window. Should I get this from Sears or is it not necessary? And although the router has two openings, I believe only 1 clear window gets installed correct?
If this is the window your writing about chip guard
, you don't really need it. It makes it harder to see the cut and you should be wearing safety goggles anyway. If you want it, add it to the order above.
3) The table is missing the plastic inserts that go around the bit. I believe Sears sells them in a set of 5 with different inside diameters. Should I get this kit?
I think these are the plastic inserts you are refering too: plastic inserts
. In my opinion, htese are more dangerous than than helpful. They snap into the table with plastic tangs that wear out and can be pushed into the bit if they catch on the workpiece. You don't need them and they're dangerous.
4) The table doesn't have an on/off switch. I'd like to install one - should I use any regular wall switch or is something else recommended?
You could mount a double box on the table with an on/off switch and an outlet (kind of like an extension cord with a switch at the end) but you don't really need it since it's not that difficult to press the switch on the router and use the locking button to keep it on. If you do, make sure you always unplug the router when changing bits (which you should do anyway).
5) According to the table manual I'm also missing the miter block (I think that's what it's called... the sliding protractor). However according to a "router basics" video on youtube the guy said it's not a good idea to use one since if the fence and miter are not perfectly parallel it will snag. He said it's just best to use push blocks. I'm pretty sure I need push blocks regardless, but should I also get the miter block?
You don't need it and it's really poorly made. Unfortumately, the groove in your table is only 3/16" deep, so you can't replace it either. I have this table and I'm in the process of modifying it. One of the things I'm doing is adding another top which will accept guide bushings and interchangeable inserts (like the plastic ones above but better). I'm using this small table to experiment with various features before building my big table. I'll post the whole thing eventually (probably in September).
6) The manual says the fence can also be used from the backside. Not sure why this is necessary but I know I'm missing the clear guard/dust hood on the back. Is this necessary? I don't think I can even use it because all I have is a 5 gallon shop vac with 1-1/4 hose. I do have the front clear guard as shown in the photo.
Using the fence flipped around (i.e. the backside) gives you more room to cut things like dadoes. My table came with a red bit guard for this (not clear) but I broke one of the pivot pins and tossed it. I've never used this fence flipped. It would reall easy to make a short fence with a guard so it's not a big deal for me.
I removed the plastic, spring loaded guard from the front of the fence. It just gets in the way of the workpiece. I still have it in a drawer though.
7) I saw in a video some guy using a router by hand to make a groove approx. 4 inches parallel from the edge of a sheet of plywood. He was using some kind of fixture attached to the router that had a straight edge that follows the wood edge and he can adjust how far from the edge he wants the cut. I think this would be really handy... what's this fixture called and can I use it on my router?
It's called and edge guide and I think this one will fit your router: edge guide
. They're really usefull. that said, I don't own one. I usually just clamp a board to my workpiece. This can be difficult for small workpieces but I have lots of scrap to use for spacers and supports and such. You can also make you're own with some metal rods from Home Depot and a block of wood 9and probably some other odds and ends). There are better quality guides availble but you'll have to find one that fits your router. There are also different length edge guides for making cuts farther from the edge.