Two routers, or "router-saw-router" table? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Default Two routers, or "router-saw-router" table?

I'm starting some large projects, and it's time to upgrade to a dedicated table router, replacing an old Craftsman bench-top router table. (I'll continue using my existing hand router.)

For the new router, I'm leaning towards a Milwaukee 5625, but still considering a Porter-Cable 7518.

My biggest questions relate to the router table:

- I'll be doing lots of finger joints and dovetails, plus cabinets, and a couple raised panel doors (so very small to larger items).

- I want the Incra 25" LS Supersystem (haven't worked with it, but have read a lot, and it looks really good to me). I'll probably also get the Woodpecker's PRL-V2 lifter, and digital readout kit (I hear lots of good things about Woodpeckers, haven't bought from them yet). I like my cuts to be precise.

- I see many in this forum suggest making your own table, which makes sense, but "I have work to do" and I'm inclined to get a turn-key system like one from Woodpeckers:

<http://www.woodpeck.com/lsrspk3.html>

- I love to work, and even like making jigs, but don't enjoy "stupid setup" like changing bits. So, for things like dovetails, I think I'd prefer having two router heads that I set *once* with two bits, and then do my production.

SO, my question is, how many of you have a two-router-head setup? Does that make sense? For example, I see Woodpeckers has another Incra Jig Table Saw package with two router heads that span a table saw:

<http://www.woodpeck.com/tspk5.html>

... that has some appeal to me, although I'm not sure if I'd rather have router-saw-router as one unit, or have router-router as a unit, and a separate table saw. (For me, space isn't a problem.) Does anyone here have that "router-saw-router" setup? Do you like it?

I don't often see a two-router-head table setup, although I have seen it at a commercial equipment auction in the past. Would a two-router head setup make sense, or would you just do two separate router tables?

For this discussion, let's assume I don't have any equipment yet for my two router head setup, and if we consider the router-saw-router package, we can assume I need a new table saw (open to suggestions for something that will work nicely with the Incra fence).

I admit that the Incra setup is kind of expensive, so I'd really like to share that across my two table-mounted routers (if that's practical). I'm willing to bite-the-bullet on two $300 routers, but if I have to double the cost of everything else, then I guess I'll just have to make do with one router table setup (I don't think it's practical to buy two separate router tables with two separate Incra setups...)

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 01:48 AM
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Bumping. Just approved this post.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 03:16 AM
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The double router table makes complete sense, even 3 is very nice. Than you could run the stile, rail and panel bits all at once. Its exactly what I did when I made cabinets and it was not 3 times faster, but 10 times faster and allows for a simpler setup as you do not have to fiddle with any bit heights once initially adjusted.

If your thing is not a lot of cabinet doors you may not need it, but I know I have at least 5 or 6 routers always ready with a different bit at any given time and am back to 3 tables always ready to go.

So it depends on what you do. If time is valuable go for the double table.

I have the Incra and love it with a Woodpeckers table you really can't go wrong with that setup or several others that are ready to go. I never have time to make own tables, did it once, never again. I would rather make projects. A person can only make so many projects in their life, especially when they work. I am all for buying anything that saves time for the fun stuff. Making the table may be fun for some, but you did mention you were not interested in making it, so don't.

Last edited by dovetail_65; 05-25-2009 at 03:19 AM.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 03:21 AM
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Greetings Charlie and welcome to the router forum, good to have you on board.

Wisdom: Where experience and knowledge combine and become one.

"We are all one decision away from Stupid!!"

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"How often we sacrifice the permanent plans of God on the altar of immediate solutions"

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:19 AM
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Charlie,

If you choose the router - saw - router option, you may want to take a look at the the Incra TS-LS/Wonderfence combo sets before you decide. A pictures are attached and a link to it is here (combo 3 & 4), or the parts without the tables.

You give up your TS rip fence due to bar mounting but it will serve both functions.

I do not have this unit but have just received a LS/Wonderfence combo and it is ridgid; with dual supports the TS-LS appears even more so.

Jim
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 06:20 AM
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charleyb View Post
SO, my question is, how many of you have a two-router-head setup? Does that make sense?
You couldn't use the Incra on this, but I thought I would post one forum member's table with multiple routers (I think it's 3 routers in one cabinet, scroll down to bottom): Rebelwork Woodworking's pics LINK
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickao65 View Post
The double router table makes complete sense, even 3 is very nice. Than you could run the stile, rail and panel bits all at once. Its exactly what I did when I made cabinets and it was not 3 times faster, but 10 times faster and allows for a simpler setup as you do not have to fiddle with any bit heights once initially adjusted.

If your thing is not a lot of cabinet doors you may not need it, but I know I have at least 5 or 6 routers always ready with a different bit at any given time and am back to 3 tables always ready to go.

<snip>,
Ok, that makes sense -- I just need to figure out how to get a multi-router turn-key system w/Incra in the most ergonomic (and economical!) manner.

For you Incra users -- I assume the Woodpecker router-saw-router package lets all three tools share the same rails, and you'd just drop the other two tools below the table if you needed the surface area over the others? If I had a lift on each router (and of course a crank on the saw), then I should be able to easily keep my setups (except for saw height), right? I'd only be interested in this if it also gave me the Incra fence for the table saw ... otherwise I think I'd rather have the saw separate from the routers (e.g., in the future buy the Incra saw package if I found I liked the Incra). Does anyone have the router-saw-router package (and what do you think of it)?

After nickao65's thoughts, I really like the three-router idea ... What would you think about assembling three routers in a line from the Woodpeckers packages (e.g., 24x32 center table, 32x53 offset left, 32x53 offset right)? Hmmm... the rails only go to 96", so maybe 53" on the offset tables are too much? I could do 32" in each of the three tables (I'd just prefer to err on the side of "more surface area" if you thought the 53" on each side would be used...).

Noob, wow! Rebelwork Woodworking's hexagon three-head table is cool!

xplorx4, thanks for the welcome! I've been lurking, and there is some real talent here!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 05:17 PM
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I know this is a few days old, but not sure if you have made your purchase yet?

Let me preface this by saying that I love the Incra systems...you can't go wrong no matter which setup you choose. I even have one of the Incra Originals that work terrific for most projects. The only time that I would run out of room with this little one (8" travel) is trying to do dovetails or box joints on something large like a blanket chest, but I digress.

That said I have been drooling over one of these setups for about 2 years and to me, it really comes down to what you want to do with it, because there are compromises with every system. While using the RT-TS-RT combo, while it's possible to return the fence to it's exact position within .001", I'm not sure you could move the fence all the way to the left table w/o having to lower the bit on the right side (In fact I'm almost certain you can't). While you may be using a router lift and returning it to the correct height will be fairly simple, it's a compromise all the same.

On the other hand, using the double router table you will be able to leave the bit height set, but you will have to turn around the fence system and re-zero etc, etc. Once again not a huge deal, but something to consider all the same.

For myself, personally I say if you have the room go with the TS system on the saw and use the independent double router table setup. If space and/or cost is THE determining factor go with the RT-TS-RT set-up but bite the bullet and go with one of the combo kits such as Incra Jig Table Saw Package #5

Just my .02
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremylinot View Post
I know this is a few days old, but not sure if you have made your purchase yet?

<snip, with RT-TS-RT must lower the bit to move shared fence, and keep resetting the fence as you move between each tool>,

For myself, personally I say if you have the room go with the TS system on the saw and use the independent double router table setup. If space and/or cost is THE determining factor go with the RT-TS-RT set-up but bite the bullet and go with one of the combo kits such as Incra Jig Table Saw Package #5

Just my .02
I spent some time on the phone with Woodpecker to understand the tradeoffs between the different packages, including shared setups with routers and table saws, and the lady (Karen) was very patient and helpful.

Summary: jeremylinot is right, and it *is* fundamentally a tradeoff to keep lowering the bit to share the fence with the saw and/or routers. The "good" is you only buy one fence, but the "bad" is that since the fence is shared, you need to keep moving it between the saw and/or routers. Of course, the Incra makes returning to a given distance easier, and a router lift makes raising/lowering easier, but you still have to do it.

(I suppose this should have been obvious to me, but I didn't know anyone with the RT-TS-RT setup, and wanted to hear how they liked it.)

No, with the Woodpecker packages you can't put "router-left", "router-center", "router-right" on the same table (sharing three routers), but you can put a router on each side of the table saw, or arrange up to two routers on their own table.

So, I decided to set up two separate (but identical) router tables. I have a lot of work to do, and wanted to be able to "keep" my settings when bouncing between routers. They arrived this week from Woodpeckers, and I'll put them together this weekend.

This is my first Incra, so I'm really interested in learning how to use it ... I'll let you know how it goes!

Thanks for the thoughts! Let me know if you have other suggestions.
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