So after spending a week here reading and researching elsewhere on the net, I took the plunge and decided to upgrade my $30 garage sale router setup with the best pieces I could find that wouldn't break my $500 budget. For a table, I settled upon the Kreg bench top table($220), which is perfect for my garage, outside of the fact that I now need to build a sub base to get it up off the floor, but I have a bench plan in mind already.
I have paired this with a Hitachi M12V2 3.5 HP router ($183), and a Router Raizer add-on ($89) I found on Amazon which gives me above the table height adjustment for less than half of what some of the big name router lifts would have cost me, in fact if I buy a collet extension, I would be able to change bits above the table as well so that is on my list of items I would like to have.
I spent the night making some oggee miniature door fronts, and wow is this thing slick. I can't describe how quiet it is, even under load, I would say my table saw is as loud as the router is while under no load, and the cutting is smooth as silk. Another thing I love about it is the dust extraction plate that is mounted to the tob of the router sub base. Because I have one of the smaller shop vacs, I can hook that sucker up to the extraction port with the hose I already (1.5 inch) have and it pulls the dust right out the bottom. Now if I could just find a way to cut down the noise of the shop vac I would be in heaven!
Picked up a couple of feather boards this evening so I could work safely with some six inch pieces of 1 x 4 testing out the new bits and tweaking the setup, and those made a huge difference in eliminating the snipe from the cuts that I experienced with the old router and table. It is amazing what going from a router built in 1972 (yes I looked it up, the router is older than I am) to one built in the last decade can do. I also took the advice of a few others on here and decided to order a full set of 1/2 inch bits from Super Carbide Tools from ebay and they happend to arrive just as I got the router mounted in the table. I have no idea how well the bits will hold up but the ones I have tested have made very clean cuts.
So for anyone looking for a setup that won't put a huge dent in your wallet, and is a pleasure to use, I would have to say this setup ain't bad at all. Total cost was right at $500 plus the bits which put me about $40 over my budget, but thats ok because I like bologna! If I didn't have so much crap going on I would take the day off tomorrow and stay home playing with it