choosing a base plate ...
On my original router, a Craftsman, I made a base plate out of clear acrylic. It works great on that router for its intended purpose. I make flutes. Musical ones... hehehe... not like fluted posts. Anyways... I know the router isn't perfectly centered on the hole, but that base was never intended for using guides. I'm getting into more than flutes. Cabinet doors, beds, a sideboard... ALL things on my list of things to be made, BUT (and it's a big but) it looks like I really have to make a commitment to a specific brand of router plate. Can't mix JessEm and Rousseau and Oak Park and Rockler ... sizing issues. They don't make them a consistant size between manufacturers.
I know RouterForums has an affinity for Oak Park, but I'm wondering what (if any) advantage there is to the square plate versus the rectangular plate. That probably sounds like a really dumb question, but I currently use a clear plate and I think it's 9x11 (I'm at work, can't quite remember).
My feeling here is that I have to commit to a size or I'll be making a router table top for each different one. While not a BAD idea... I just don't have the space. I can get Rousseau plates for usually under $40. They're crowned as you know. Is that a big deal? Or I can spend more like $70 for a machined flat aluminum plate. The 11" plate from Oak Park is also in the "under $40" group but it's fixed at 1-1/2" so you wouldn't be able to swing a raised panel bit in there.
Again this is a space issue and while I know that will involve making compromises at some point, I still want to keep as many options open as I can and make whatever equipment I have as versatile as possible. My Router table, for instance, is 24" x 48". I can remove the fence, put in a blank plate, and then put a 1/4" piece of MDF on it and use it for plain old flat top workspace if I don't need the router table.
So... any thoughts on making a choice for a router plate will be helpful. It should be able to take the PC guides. The router itself in this case is a Bosch 1617. I have both the fixed and plunge bases, but will probably buy either another fixed base and take the handles off or just get the RA1164 undertable base if I can find one at a nice price and it looks like I can.
Thanks in advance!