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My nane is Tom. I have a new in the box Craftsmen router 719497 and need a router table to go with it. I am afraid to just go buy any table. I am a newbie and need help to buy a correct table. Can anyone help?
 

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Welcome Tom. So what do you need it for and how much do you want to spend? A good entry level router table would be the Bosch 1171? it's a bench top and will get you going. Amazon and Lowe's have them for the same price. You can spend more for more bells and whistles just keep in mind that a router mounted to a bottom of a table with a hole in it for the bit to go through and a 2x4 clamped to the top of the table is also a router table.
 

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Hi Tom,

Routers have generally two different mounts ... three mount bolts, or four. Most router tables have a "universal mount" plate that will accept most routers.

Depending on your budget and what you expect to do with your router, you can get away with a cheap table top router table that screws down to a bench at the four short legs, OR you can get a dedicated router table. We just bought one for a friend, who likes to tinker in his garage. We bough the T10432 from Grizzly Industrial for $170.00. Here is the link


You will find router tables in all sizes, shapes and prices. Even Harbor Freight makes and sells one. Decvide FIRST, what you hope to do with the router mounted to a table, and then you will be able to ask more focused questions. Everyone here is a wealth of knowledge, and they won't steer you wrong.

Joe
 

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G'day Tom, welcome to the forum.
 

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My nane is Tom. I have a new in the box Craftsmen router 719497 and need a router table to go with it. I am afraid to just go buy any table. I am a newbie and need help to buy a correct table. Can anyone help?
Hi Tom. Welcome to the forum. Harbor Freight has a table for $119 that would probably serve you for basic purposes. Better quality tables that I would suggest are: SKIL at Lowe's for $139 or RYOBI Universal at Home Depot for $149. I've seen all of those tables and the last 2 look more durable. It's important to buy a table with a good fence, a miter slot and easy router mounting/dismounting, and what routers can be mounted in them. It's all about what's in your budget and what you intend on using it for. I'd start with a basic and go from there.

- Bob
 

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Hi Tom. A table top table is usually pretty small. My first setup was a similar brand and the Sears table made for it. I quickly realized it was not adequate. At the time I had more money than time, so I went to a Bosch 1617, which has similar mounting bolt patterns, and bought a Rockler table that came with a stand and fence.

The key thing is the router plate that you bolt the router to. I prefer aluminum, but they are made of plastic. The come pre drilled and the makers (Kreg is good), and they usually list the routers that will fit. Check that before you choose anything.
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When you mount the router to the plate, you remove the bolts that hold the plastic sub base onto the bottom of the router. It's pretty simple to do that. the plate will look something like this. and if you get one, get one with a twist lock insert. Inserts are the circular plastic piece in the middle so you can change to one that fits close to the size of the bit you are using,.
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The plate fits into whatever table you get, but make sure the plate is the right size for the opening in a table if you buy one. The next step is to level the plate with the top surface of the table. Any mismatch and your workpiece will catch on that edge.

Making your own table top is really easy. The key is to make sure the plywood you buy for the top is really flat. If I were making one, I would use a half inch thick piece of Baltic Birch plywood for the top, with a second layer of 3/4 inch MDF, which is usually very flat. Here's a side view of what you're going to make...
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I'd want to cut out an opening through the thinner ply just a playing card thickness wider and longer than the size of the plate. I'd do this in two steps. First, put down some green painter's tape where you want to put the plate. Lay the plate where you want it to go on, say, a 24 x 36 inch piece. The tape will help reduce tear-out when you cut it.

You then rough cut that with a jig saw, but cut maybe 1/8th inside the line you drew. Drill holes in the corners, using the size bit that matches the rounded corners of the plate.

Now remove the painter's tape. Next apply double sided (carpet) tape on the underside of four straight pieces and then set the plate where you marked it, then fit the four pieces around the plate as shown. Place playing cards around the plate as you fit the 4 boards so your plate will slip in and out easily.
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Now you have created a perfect fit pattern! Next step is to use a trim router bit (one of the must have basics), with a top mounted bearing, and use your router to cut the final opening in that top plate. This is a really common thing to do, so going for it will be a good practice run. The key is to keep the bearing against the four pieces of your "template". It will make a really clean edge. Here's what that bit looks like in several lengths. You'll use this often..
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Not bad so far, right, you lay out the opening, rough cut it a little undersized, then lay out the four pieces to make a perfect fit pattern, then take your time making a nice clean trim cut for a smooth opening. Not bad, the rest is pretty simple.

Lay the 1/2 inch top layer on top of the same size MDF. Pencil mark the opening from the top. Remove the top and draw a second line half an inch inside the top layer line. This will give you a shelf for the plate. Use a jig saw and cut the smaller opening through the MDF (or 3/4 ply if it's really really flat). That's it for the cutting. If you use MDF, cut this outside.

Next step is to either glue or use screws to attach the two layers. With MDF, you MUST pre drill the holes for screws or the screws will tear loose. If you use contact cement to glue them together, I'd use some chunks of 2x4 fitted round the bottom layer to guide placement of the top layer. Contact cement sticks forever on contact. Go slow, be careful.

You now have a basic table! If you wax and polish the heck out of it, it will probably last 20 years. You can clamp it to a couple of saw horses, or make, or buy a stand for it.

Later, if you want, and don't wax it, you can put a layer of laminate on top.

Oops, almost forgot , you need to level the plate, and the easiest way is to use Kreg's router plate levelers, about $30 for four. There are other ways to do it, but this is really simple and obvious.
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Now, about the fence. The best reason to make your own table is so you can afford a commercial fence. You can make your own, or just use a 2x4, but a serious split fence is very useful as you go along in your learning curve. I have a Rockler fence, but honestly, any brand will do. I think they're going for less than $140 or so,

Here's a plan for a nice shop made fence, not my idea of fun and some pretty advanced technique for someone new to routers.
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