First out of the box, I thought I would select my router and build my own design router table.
This is the most reasonable approach. However, this simple statement opens a whole can of worms. More below...
... In addition, by the time I add the accessories, the package deals seem to be no more expensive.
You'll have to start with philosophy. You don't just buy a router table. You don't just build a router table without subscribing to someone's method of working. i.e. go to this url: The Woodworking Channel
select "videos" and at the top of the video window, slide the titles across until you hit "the Router Workshop." Watch a few of their videos. Don't watch the jigs and other stuff they use, just watch how they handle the router and table and fence and generally, just work with the router. Notice, they clamp a fence anywhere on the table and "adjust" it to the "correct" location. To change a bit, they pull the fence, lift out the baseplate (and the router) and proceed to change the bit, using two wrenches. That's the philosophy part of the story.
Now, compare that to another philosophy where the router is fixed below the table and you raise the router and bit through the table and change the bit using a single wrench and a spindle lock.
Spindle locks are required for below the table bit changes but two wrenches are best when changing the bit with the router out of the table. Which ever philosophy you chose, that will dictate how you will use and equip your router from that time forward.
I plan to build my own cabinet to support the table as I want most of my work areas to be the same height allowing me to use them for other things like support for large material while working on my table saw or doing lay ups. It is my intention to have several on mobile carts so they can be moved about my small multi-purpose shop.
Ok, the carts idea is excellent, depending on your shop floor. My "modules" are all 2'x4' and 36" tall. That's fine except I poured my own shop floor and it's "off" by as much as 1/4" in various spots, which, in turn, means that my tables don't quite match any more. So much for planning ahead.
However, the concept is sound. I would be sure to add wheel locks of some form on the modules so they will remain stationary when required. I use my modules to replace the standard bench installation.
In total I have nine modules: tool box, router table, mechanics table (greasy stuff), radial arm saw (radio alarm saw), clamp rack (48" high), table sander, drill press, planer and scraps of wood bin. My band saw, table saw, jointer and mitre saw are all on their own bases and casters/wheels/?.
However, I currently have two router tables, the "standard" table that you saw on "the router workshop" although mine has room for two routers and a 4'x8' torsion table for larger projects. I'm working on the designs for three other tables, a ski table, a vertical/template table and a pivot frame table.
All of my modules are assembled from scraps. The only major expense being the casters. They are all heavy duty softer rubber casters so they "give" with movement and won't mark the floor.
It appears to me that the Rockler package #1 of the MDF 24 x 32 table, aluminum pre-drilled insert, and 32” fence might work out and is not expensive. I am thinking I would like to hang the fixed base of a Bosch 1617 combo pack on the table and it doesn’t work to my satisfaction to add the FX lift later. In your opinion will this likely offer me what I seek and will to hold up to the high humidity in my area. It appears to me Rockler has more accessories that would work with this combination that I can pay for. I have looked at several other MDF tables including Bench Dog, MLCS, Jessem, Keg, Woodpeckers and the likes, but they seem to offer nothing more than Rockler but a higher price. Am I taking the wrong path? Is there a better way to go? Where is the weakness in my plan? I truly would appreciate your opinions. Nothing has been bought yet, so feel free to lay it on me.
Thanks in advance---
Ok, the MDF stuff. If you're going to make your own table, size and square your MDF top. Put plastic laminate top, bottom and edges then cut in for the router baseplate and when that is done, seal the opening with some sort of sealer. YOur MDF shouldn't be affected by humidity. My problem is the exact opposite. I've got 2' of snow on the ground and the humidity is barely 50% in a warmed house.
It's going down to -18C tonight so by morning I expect that it could drop to 30-40% humidity tonight and rise a bit during the daytime. Things get too dry in those conditions so I have to keep a pot of warm water on the stove.
Speaking of which, I"ve got to go load the stove and get some more firewood. I burn what you guys die for, sugar maple.
Later -- Hope this helps.