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Discussion Starter #1
I'm about to buy a complete router table package (minus the lift, because I already have one). Because it's so expensive, I've been doing a lot of research.

I don't know if I'm allowed to get into specifics on this forum, but I hope I am, because it's necessary to get any meaningful advice for my conundrum. Every table setup seems to have a big flaw:


  • Jessem - no microadjust feature or add-on
  • Incra - fence guide is way too big for my workspace, and forces an awkward use of surface area on the tabletop
  • Woodpecker - no numerical measurements built into the table, fence, or add-on microadjuster
  • Kreg - all fence adjustments require the use of tools, and it doesn't feel durable

Currently, I'm leaning toward buying the Woodpecker router table system, because measuring is the most fixable problem. So please give me some advice - am I wrong? Is this going to cost me a ton of time and cause of lot of unforeseen headaches down the road?

Please help a new guy out. Thanks! :nerd:
 

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Creative, a router table is nothing more or less than a flat surface to work on. Micro adjust is rarely necessary, very few bits require that precision. When I do need to be fairly precise I make a pencil mark next to the fence for visual reference purposes then I move that side of the fence. Only moving one side cuts the adjustment if half at the bit. Every router bit is a different size so the table measurement woulkd be next to useless. Everytime you change bits you would have to zero it out and once zeroed out you would do all your cuts and changes bit which means starting all over again. Even on a table saw if you change from thin kerf to full kerf you have to zero the pointer again. You're making this way more complicated than it needs to be in my opinion.
 

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I think there are a number different ways to use router tables. For example, Charles doesn't have a need for micropositioning but I use it on my incra LS all the time and wouldn't want to be with out it. Is one of us wrong? Not at all, just different priorities. You need to decide what's important for you.

The LS does take up more space. Though, with the 17" model, it wouldn't be so bad. The advantage of the LS fence is that you get repeatibility. Since it locks into 1/32" increments, it's really easy to move the fence back to an exact previous location. This allows the use of templates to make some pretty nice joinery. It also allows you to make exactly positioned cuts - I use that a lot. And zeroing it is super easy - you move the fence face to the edge of the bit, lock it down and move the magnetic ruler's zero to the hairline cursor. For what it's worth, I've never felt awkward using the LS. Frankly, it's one of my "cold dead fingers" tools.
 

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Since you may be new to this, start with a simple, home made fence and once you have grown comfortable, upgrade to something that gives you more capabilities.

I like the micro adjustment of the Woodpecker Micro Adjuster, and that can easily be added to a fence later. Woodpecker, in general, makes great products.

If later, you decide that you want to explore the MANY joints the Incra system is capable of, it is easy enough to add it to whatever you buy.

Good luck. Remember, Rome was not built in a day.
 

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Speaking of numerical measurements or microadjusters - If you've ever seen any episode of The Router Workshop television show (This forum's roots), you've probably seen Bob Rosendahl use his "fine adjustment tool" many times - it was a hammer. Just sayin'.....
 

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You might want to look here for more ideas about router tables than you probably want: wanted-pictures-your-router-table.html There is over 1,000 replies to the original post and a wide variety of different tables and ideas.
 

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You might want to look here for more ideas about router tables than you probably want: wanted-pictures-your-router-table.html There is over 1,000 replies to the original post and a wide variety of different tables and ideas.
I still go back and review that link often. I love stealing ideas from everyone!!!! LOL :laugh2::laugh2::laugh2:

Seriously, its a great resource. I guess that is why it has so many posts.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
PhilBa - thanks for the insight man. I don't think I have space for the Incra LS in my shop. I've got room along one wall to try to fit as much of the larger eqipment as possible - 13in planer, double bevel sliding miter saw, portable table saw, and now router table. If I get the Incra LS, the long sliding fence support rail generates a lot of unusable surface area. There's technically room for it, but I know I'd want that square footage & table space back when need to make room for something else, like a bandsaw.

As far as microadjustments - I've been planning on doing some really intricate edge work, which requires horizontal and vertical microadjustments in my system (threaded movement). I really like the sliding Incra measuring strips, for peace of mind before making a pass. BUT, I don't have a jointer, so I'm thinking I've gotta give those up and go with the Woodpecker setup, which lets you offset half of the fence for edge jointing.

Was thinking about Wixy digital fence measure, but it I don't think I could attach it to the phenolic top without compromising it's structural rigidity. I was hoping someone would know of some magic solution along those lines... technique or equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
BrianS - thanks for the link man. Some really good stuff in there. Mostly, though, I just need to know if having a dedicated measuring system built into the router table is really important to people.

I think Rumsfeld once said "There are known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, and it's the unknown unknowns I'm worried about." That's basically the boat I'm in - wondering if this feature will really matter to me when I need to do something I currently don't know I'll need to do.

I've concluded I need equipment I can't easily or cheaply make. Just trying to make sure I don't spend big $ on something that won't do what I need it to in the future.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
vchiarelli - I appreciate the advice. One thing I've definitely been learning is not letting things get too complicated/theoretical. Stop myself from redrawing design plans and tell myself it's time to make some sawdust.

Unfortunately, I really do need threaded movement for horizontal and vertical microadjustments. More for visual appearance than basic function/joinery.

Plus, these new age aluminum fences don't weather hammers very well :)

Cheers
 

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I still go back and review that link often. I love stealing ideas from everyone!!!! LOL :laugh2::laugh2::laugh2:

Seriously, its a great resource. I guess that is why it has so many posts.
Your way to humble Brad , as I'm pretty sure your the master router table builder here ;)
 

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Creative--what router lift do you have, and having that lift are you committed to a specific opening in the table top? Rockler/Bench Dog have a standard (8 3/4" x 11 1/4" I think??) while Kreg, Incra, and several others use a 1/2" or so wider. Cut-outs in table tops can be made larger, not smaller. Just to throw something else into the decision matrix!!

I'm in a tight space as well, but made room for a 17" Incra. For me and how I work--it's overkill, but has provided confidence to do some things I might not have tried without that system. That's my story anyway!!

earl
 

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Your way to humble Brad , as I'm pretty sure your the master router table builder here ;)
Well Rick, you made my day!

Thanks for saying so.

I can not wait to finish it in my new shop!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Earl - I've got the Incra Mast-R-Lift II (which is technically, manufactured in Canada by Jessem). According to Woodpecker's specs, their phenolic top has the right dimensions to fit my plate. Plus, the Mast-R-Lift II has slide adjustments under the plate, to limit any slop, and leveling screws to ensure a flush surface. Does everything I need - precise vertical movement, above table bit changes, spindle lock to ensure there's no movement during operation, and magnetic insert rings that can be swapped without tools.

Even though Woodpecker's microadjust doesn't have a numerical reference on the dial, each rotation is supposed to move the fence 1/32in. So the movement is quantifiable. But it looks like there's not ANY marking on the dial, so it'd be pretty easy to lose track of how much you're moving the fence.

I think I'm going to give the Woodpecker system a try, just for the economy of space on my work surface. It's too crowded already to give up a 17inx36in section of tabletop to the Incra LS. I just wish Woodpecker had some kind of sliding scale measurement that could be added on to their system, or at least some professionally etched marking on the dial so I can be certain about the amount of rotation.

Will probably end up using a Wixey digital height guage laying flat on it's side to double check fence microadjustments - which is an extra step, and an extra thing to keep laying around. Not ideal in the long run.

Thanks for the tip though Earl. And I'll keep the 17in LS in the back of my head if things don't work out.
 

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Creative--what router lift do you have, and having that lift are you committed to a specific opening in the table top? Rockler/Bench Dog have a standard (8 3/4" x 11 1/4" I think??) while Kreg, Incra, and several others use a 1/2" or so wider. Cut-outs in table tops can be made larger, not smaller. Just to throw something else into the decision matrix!!

I'm in a tight space as well, but made room for a 17" Incra. For me and how I work--it's overkill, but has provided confidence to do some things I might not have tried without that system. That's my story anyway!!

earl
Actually, the other standard is a full inch wider - 9 3/4 x 11 1/4. Pretty much everyone else uses it. There is a Rockler version of the Incra/JessEm Mast-R-Lift II that I almost bought but wound up getting 9 3/4" wide one for $300 all in. The upshot of going with the Rockler standard is it "locks" you into them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I agree you could later widen the opening but I kind of doubt that happens much. Glad I went with the wider one because it makes it easier to pull and reinstall the lift assembly with the Wixey height gauge installed. I don't do it that often but when I do, it's nice to have the wider opening.

As whether to get an LS or not. It's a personal choice that the OP has to make based on his needs, situation and general sensibilities. For me, I'd never go back but others have a different perspective.
 

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Router Table Choices

Before you buy any type of RT, you owe it to yourself to look at the VERITAS RT System from LEE VALLEY TOOLS.
http://www.leevalley.com/en/images/item/woodworking/routertablesystem/05j2001s5.jpg Also get the DVD that shows you all the advantages of the system.

This system is more user friendly than you can imagine; micro-measurements are simple. Router bit changing is above table. NO need for router bit extensions. You can use nearly any router you wish, with this table system. I have used mine for more than 10 years now; NO complaints.
YOU might also look at an option for your Router, called MUSCLECHUCK. Makes it even easier to hold bits securely as well as making it easier to change out your bits.
All the best to you, Creative. Enjoy!
 

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Before you buy any type of RT, you owe it to yourself to look at the VERITAS RT System from LEE VALLEY TOOLS.
http://www.leevalley.com/en/images/item/woodworking/routertablesystem/05j2001s5.jpg Also get the DVD that shows you all the advantages of the system.

This system is more user friendly than you can imagine; micro-measurements are simple. Router bit changing is above table. NO need for router bit extensions. You can use nearly any router you wish, with this table system. I have used mine for more than 10 years now; NO complaints.
YOU might also look at an option for your Router, called MUSCLECHUCK. Makes it even easier to hold bits securely as well as making it easier to change out your bits.
All the best to you, Creative. Enjoy!
Lee Valley no longer has the table top available, but everything else is there.
 
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