Advice on router table - build or buy? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Default Advice on router table - build or buy?

I still haven't done anything in regards to getting a router up and working again since my HF return, hence my dilemma....

My purchase for next month is going to be one of 2 things:

A Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table


Build a table using Steve Ramseys build as a guide with a Kreg PRS3038 TL-Blank Insert Plate plus the spacers for it.

My dilemma stems from the price:

The cost of the Bosch is $170 (approx. tax included) - however I would still need to build a base for it (I'd do another rolling cart for it with drawers). I'm thinking tops add in another $50 in plywood for the build. The Bosch also comes with the fence, T slots, and feather boards.

If I build the Ramsey table from scratch the price is around $160 - $200 (approx no tax depending which wood I go with) for wood, the Kreg plate and spacers. However, I would still have to build a fence, T slots and buy or make feather boards - this would add an additional $100 - $150 to the cost of the build, which would put this project at a 2 month budget instead of one month.

I'm kinda torn between the 2 - I don't mind making the Ramsey table which would take 2-3 days and an additional day for the routing top.

The cart with drawers I do them in 1 day and I'm ready to go as soon as the router table shows up.

Any thoughts one way or the other?

Thanks as always in advance

Last edited by newbie2wood; 05-15-2016 at 07:32 PM.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 07:30 PM
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Sounds nearly like paralytic analysis.
Got time? Build one.
You'll learn a lot more from that than you ever will from a purchase.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 07:38 PM
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I'd say build, that way you get what you want, not what someone else thinks you want. I'm on table four or five now, I didn't follow any plans. My tables do just what I want them for. If my want changes, new table. And I don't think I've got $10 cash in them all combined.

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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 07:50 PM
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$13 Grizzly PT10432047 plate and some BB plywood. Dust collection fence out of 2 x 8 pine. 2 modified C clamps. Instructions for the top, plate installation and C clamp conversion in sticky threads at the top of different sections of the forums.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 07:52 PM
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Although the Kreg version might cost twice as much, you'll end up with a much better table and fence than the Bosch. Is worth twice as much? Probably more than that. I had the Bosch and it's OK, but has a lot of faults. The Ramsey looks pretty nice.

Note that I generally like Bosch tools, just not that router table. The only good side is that I sold it for what I paid for it, but that included a base that I had made for it.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 07:58 PM
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I would say build. If you buy one you will probably end up building later on. Even if you build you may end up building another one later as you see what you like and dislike. Many of us have been through several I am sure.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 08:21 PM
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I've built tables as cheap as $5. Fences for another $5 that are as good as anything you can buy. All a router table is is a flat surface with a hole for the bit to stick through. All a fence is is a strait edge with a cutout where the bit will be and believe me when I tell you that many of our members have gone that way when they needed a table in a hurry. And in a lot of those cases we used those tables a lot longer than we originally intended because they were getting the job done.

Quillman is correct when he said "analysis paralysis". We see it often. Someone who is so so afraid of making a mistake and not getting the perfect table on the first try that they can't make a decision. The truth is I'm not sure if there is a perfect table or what it looks like. Some designs will do some things better than others. It all depends on what you need it to do. Like Theo (Joat) I'm at least on my 5th table and I might not be finished. My most expensive one is a Lee Valley steel table my wife gave me for a Christmas present that was about $200 and to be honest I use my home made ones more often and I've never spent more that $10 on one of them until now. My latest one will cost closer to $75-100 because I needed a cabinet to store routers and bits this time.

I don't agree with Mike that it needs to be made from Baltic birch. That stuff is expensive and it isn't necessary. I made one table from 5/8" melamine coated particle board. I used it for 3 years and my son in law has had it for 2 years and it's still dead flat. No panel material is meant to span a distance between supports. It should have a framework under it to support it and keep it flat exactly the same as as floor joists support a floor. Do that and any panel material will work. There is a ton of info in old posts about making your own and the members will help with any advice you need if you ask.
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 10:35 PM
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Build one. Use inexpensive wood for the case, use melamine for the top and check it for flat with a straight edge before you buy it. Go to HD and borrow a good straight edge and walk it over to the melamine area. I like Baltic Birch for the top, but you can get a piece large enough for a bottom layer for the top for maybe $25$. That second flat layer just helps keep the top flat, and gives you a little extra depth for the rabbit to hold the mounting plate without sagging.

Just buy the Bosch router with the fixed base, or in the EVSPK kit. You will need that and a pattern bit with the bearing on the shaft end, not the tip. You can use a piece of wood clamped to the top as a guide for the rabbit that will be slightly deeper than the thickness of the mounting plate.

The paralysis thing will really mess a guy up. Know what happens if you screw it up? Nothing much. At worst you learn a lesson and start over. More likely, if you watch a lot of videos first, it will turn out OK. As the musician said, "don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy."

I'm making my first frame for my wife's painting and doing my very first fine finishing project. I've followed my own advice, and read a lot and watched many videos, so it was time to start. Oddly enough, many of my not-quite-clear questions were answered by reading the labels on the cans. Oh rats, read the instructions (although the subminiature type on the can is really hard to read except in bright sunshine).

You will find that just jumping in will get you far along pretty fast.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 11:37 PM
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Build it.
Mine has gone through 4 changes in 2 years. I dont even make it "pretty", because I'm sure it will be changed again soon. I also made it big (almost a yard square) so I can use it as a laying out table because I'm desperately short on space.

STAY AWAY from resin router plates. They warp! Spend your cash on a metal plate and make everything else yourself. I'm a complete newbie on woodwork, but have just made my own lift literally out of scrap sticks and it works for me.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-16-2016, 05:24 AM
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Does anyone know where I can find the Steve Ramsey router table plans? Thanks
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