Welcome to the Router Forums Jimmy.
I have been trying to figure out what kind of router table I want to buy or if need be build myself. Three or four months into this 'quest' has brought me closer to the 'answers' I seek in most ways, yet oddly enough, I'm a little farther from making up my mind on a few of the choices that need to be made.
In my opinion the most important thing to account for first is a 'good match' between the 'motor' and the 'table'. The simplest way to account for this is to get them at the same time, from the same place, built by the same manufacturer. The reason I think this is the most important angle is safety. Avoiding accidents that hurt me is more important than the details of any 'style' of work I might want to do with the machine.
Secondly, I am considering both the kinds of 'cuts' I want to be able to do with the machine and trying to rank them in priority. This is important because 'specific' purposes that a 'multi purpose machine' may be able to accomplish have a way of conflicting with each other.
The 3 cut styles that interest me the most are:
- Dado Slots/Grooves (making shelves & simple slide mechanisms)
- Edge Contouring (making drawer faces & Cabinet Doors Look Better)
- Dovetailing (making drawer boxes stronger)
All of these cuts are well within the capabilities of a router table. They would use different bits to get the job done, and different 'Table Top Toys' to help guide moving material across a the 'stationary cutter'. Most stand alone tables are sold with some sort of fence. Everything else tends to be in the list of 'accessories'.
Table Top Toys as I call them include things like:
- Templates (not part of the table itself, but must work well with it)
The Dado and Edge work is the simplest to account for. The Dovetailing can get so complex it's mind boggling to me. Odds are that I am going to settle for the simpler 'box jointing' technique and prolong the fancy dovetailing until I really need 'the superior result' that dovetailing gives.
These are just some of my thoughts when trying to pick out a table. Please don't assume they represent everything that should be considered before taking the plunge. There are a lot of crafting gurus hanging out around here that can channel their experience into expanding on this simple list that's only meant to be a start.