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I have read on many forums the different kinds of router tables that can be purchased or built. Unfortunately, I have been very frustrated as the price is usually so much more than I (in my neophyte stage) would want to invest. Building my own is not an option. What about the very inexpensive Wolfcraft router table that sells for $99. I have the DW router kit just waiting for me to use. There has to be better alternatives for those of us at the beginner level. No?
 

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If you are going the economy route your best bet is to look at flea markets and garage sales. Often there are used tool resale shops where deals can be found but they change daily. Good luck!
 

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I have the Wolfcraft table and find it to be adaquate for my my amatuer needs. I must warn you that it was a real pain in the arse to assemble though. I have the DW618pk and it mounted fairly easy without the generic plate they provided. Mounted it directly to the table with the screws that were in the base plate. I hope to build my own table after the holidays for the experience and have more flexibility of options.
 

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Cheap router table

WROB said:
I have read on many forums the different kinds of router tables that can be purchased or built. Unfortunately, I have been very frustrated as the price is usually so much more than I (in my neophyte stage) would want to invest. Building my own is not an option. What about the very inexpensive Wolfcraft router table that sells for $99. I have the DW router kit just waiting for me to use. There has to be better alternatives for those of us at the beginner level. No?

If I wanted to build another router table and cost for me is a factor, I would go to garage sales or second hand kitchen cabinet suppliers and use an old cabinet and put a top on it made from a counter top. If you have the knowledge you can buy a router plate. Carefully rout out the opening for the plate. What I did was rout out the underside of the top of my table just enough to screw the router in from the top,took the baseplate off the router and bored a hole in the center of the table for the bit to come through.

g-man
 

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I made my router table out of a garage sale wheeled microwave cart. This cart has one drawer, and cabinet space on the bottom. A perfect starter platform.

I cut off the elevated microwave portion, removed the fiberboard top, reinforced the inside with 1 X 2 furing strips and replaced the top with 3/4" MDF. The MDF top is also hinged on the back, for easier router access.

At first, I just mounted the router to the bottom of the MDF, and bought a well used delta fence. This worked, mmm, ok for a while, but whenever I had a little extra money, I would upgrade the top. It now has a Rockler router plate, and a used freud fence that I bought off of ebay. Lastly, I mounted a dial guage behind the fence, and now have what I feel is the perfect router table for me. None of the parts for this project, broke the bank, and with a little patience, I think anyone could assemble a similar very accurate yet low cost table. Matt
 

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Building your own is not an option. Sounds like you really don't need a router table.

Cheap - I bought counter top sink cut outs for $2 each. Route out an opening for the plate and cut one into strips for a fence, L-shaped one strip for the base glued and screwed to another for the face and a few gussets for strenght.
 

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My first table was a scrap of counter top attached to a three sided 2x8 base (also scraps) on scrap 2x4 legs and an MDF fence. I did buy a retail plate for it (big mistake $50!), I should have bought a phenolic sheet ($20 to make a plate) and that would have cut the cost of my table by 3/5!
 

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My first table was a sink cut out (lovely granite color, very nice) but the table was a little small. My next table was the extension wing of my table saw, but the top was even smaller. My next table was too big and too fancy, so I switched to just the router workshop table and plate dropped onto a steel cart that came from a department store. The cart is about twice as deep as the oak-park table so I mounted a piece of MDF on the extra space. This I use as a cutting surface for above the table work, and replace when necessary. I also am able to clamp my shop vac floor nozzle underneath the table at the joint (which was purposely left to allow clamping of my fence), and it collects a ton of sawdust as I cut.

In short, simple and cheap works very well. Plus having it on locking casters makes it easy to move around the shop to get out of the way.
 

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I saw a skil router and table combo at lowe's in December for just 89.00 check it out. I know what you are going through I'm in the market to up grade my router table and they are some pretty high price stuff. I am a little afraid to build my own not enough skill to build my own yet.
 

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Glenmore, router tables are not a demanding project. You can do it! We all make mistakes from time to time. This is a good skill bulding project. Go for it!
 

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My router table consists of the following...

Table: Sink cutout from kitchen cabinets
Insert: Square of scrap melamine. Router screwed to it, then plunge bit through.
Base: Black and Decker Workmate.
Fence: Anything straight that I can clamp to it.

I screwed two 2X4 scraps to the bottom of the Sink Cutout so that It would clamp into the workmate. I then routed the melamine insert and the sink cuttout so the insert would sit flush in the table.
 

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Yes I know I intend to just not confident enough yet. Still bad excuse. It is coming up this summer though. Thanks for the incuragement.
 

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I went to a cabinet shop and they "gave" me a sink cutout for the top. I cut it 16"x30". I had just purchased a new PC895 router and along with it came a CD with the plans to "The Router Workshop" table. I used Baltic Birch 9 Ply plywood for the cabinet structure. Purchase the Oak Park 11'x11' base plate and mount your router. Make up the top first, clamp it to a work bench and use it to make your cuts. It is a well built table and with the base plate cost less than $50.
 

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Rockler has about the best table for the best price. I have one and it is great and for $75.99 you cant go wrong.After I had it for about a month I built a cabinet for it just like the one in there book. It sells for $69.99.I think I built mine for about $20.00 bucks.If you want to look at it here is the site, www.rockler.com. It is a very nice table.
Learning Herb
 

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heres another question about router tables............i am a real BEGINNER to wood working and i bought the 1 1/2 hp craftsman router to get me started. when i bought it, it came with the router table and router for 100 bucks. i have found out the first disadvantage of it!!!! when it comes to changing out the bit, i have to take off the three mounting screws that attach it to the table just to do it, one of these times the screw driver is gonna slip and strip the head of one of the screws, then im in real trouble,,,it's a pain in the rear. now, i took a trip up to the columbus wood working show yesterday and saw a lot of router table where the top plate comes off and on without haveing to take any screws out. i thought it was pretty slick but for the table with the plate it was anywhere from 150-300 dollars. now heres my question. is there anything that i can do to the craftsman router table to have a place for a plate? the table top isn't very big so im limited to size. if possible i'd like to use the table i have with the fence and mitre gauge etc.... any suggestions? i am noting how you guys keep mentioning building our own BUT if possible, i'd like to use what i have if possible.

any help would be appreciated!!

reds_21
shawn
 

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Shawn, This is what got me a negative feedback from one of my first responses. The Craftsman tables are a pain. I own one of the early ones, identical to the Black & Decker version. It has cast ribs on the surface which make it difficult to work with small pieces, the fence fastened down with regular wing nuts that were at best difficult to get tight enough to make a difference. No dust collection or bit guard on mine either. I made my own fence which I clamped on the table, added a dust collection port for a shop vac. It is useable but rarely gets any action. Now that I have finished my rant, here are some suggestions for you. First, replace your mounting screws with flat head hex screws. They are hardened, no more worries about stripping the sloted soft screws. Just take one of your screws to your hardware store and match it up. As far as converting your table to use a mounting plate, I'm afraid that is a losing cause. By the time you got done paying somebody to machine the cast top to accept a plate, you would of spent more money than the cost of building a new table, and weakened the table considerably. Most of these tables are 7/16" thick. Mounting plates are as a rule at least 1/4". You would end up with a 3/16" lip to support the router plate, and removed most of the rigidity. If your table is one with a sheet metal top you would end up having to screw the mounting plate to the table to keep it rigid enough so the table wouldn't flex. That defeats the purpose of using the mounting plate. All of that said, lets look at ways to make good use of your table as it is.
When you are ready to change your bit, the first step is to lower the router all the way. Lock the shaft, you should have enough room to loosen the collet and remove the bit. When you try pushing small pieces across one of the cast tables they dont always move smoothly. To get around this do what so many people have done for their table saw, build a sled. Use a piece of baltic birch 1/4" plywood for the base. Cut a piece of wood to fit in your miter slot and glue it to the bottom of the plywood. Glue a piece of 1"x2" to the right side of your plywood to act as a push block/fence. Now you can easily move small pieces with good support. If you need more details on how to do this let me know.
 

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For an inexpensive, all purpose, do almost anything router table.
Check out The design of Bob & Rick Rosenthal's table.
You can get the dimensions and build your own or see www.oakpark.com
for a ready made top.
 

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reds_21 said:
heres another question about router tables............i am a real BEGINNER to wood working and i bought the 1 1/2 hp craftsman router to get me started. when i bought it, it came with the router table and router for 100 bucks. i have found out the first disadvantage of it!!!! when it comes to changing out the bit, i have to take off the three mounting screws that attach it to the table just to do it, one of these times the screw driver is gonna slip and strip the head of one of the screws, then im in real trouble,,,it's a pain in the rear.

You should beable to replace bits without taking the router off the table. You might have to do as was said lower the router as far as it goes and if you have a plastic chip guard on the router that can come off, take it off it give you a lot more room to work in. I too have a small table from mid to late 70's and it was my only table for a lot of years and trust me it will work for you, maybe not as nice as another table but it will work.

now, i took a trip up to the columbus wood working show yesterday and saw a lot of router table where the top plate comes off and on without haveing to take any screws out. i thought it was pretty slick but for the table with the plate it was anywhere from 150-300 dollars. now heres my question. is there anything that i can do to the craftsman router table to have a place for a plate? the table top isn't very big so im limited to size. if possible i'd like to use the table i have with the fence and mitre gauge etc....

The mitre gauge is not the way to go as far as I'm concerned, well at least on these cheap tables..... I have never used one on the big $$ tables and most like wouldn't anyway as there are better ways using things like sleds.

The small table I have has a two piece fence which was impossable to work with. I made it into a one piece using some wood with a cut out for the cutter and attached a hose to collect the dust. To do a jointing operation where the outfeed fence has to be proud of the infeed I just used double sided tape and a piece of scrap laminate.

I got the cheap sheet metal "wings" to make the top a little bigger and used a floor paste wax to make things slide and away you go......

any suggestions? i am noting how you guys keep mentioning building our own BUT if possible, i'd like to use what i have if possible.

any help would be appreciated!!

reds_21
shawn
After using the table for a while you can find all the things you don't like then look for a table that is more to your liking or make your own....

I still have the old table and it has a lot of memories..... working around the limitations of the tools you own is one of the things I like about woodworking. After all what fun would it be if you just sat the wood on a converyer belt and pushed a botton and it popped out finished on the other end..... you might as well have gone to the store and bought it.

Ed
 

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I got mine from Rockler For $75.99 and it is great. I all so built a cabinet for under it ,Rockler sell them for $69.99 bucks but it just as easy to build one..
Learning Herb
 

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I have to agree with the other post. Don't understand why you are hesitant to build your own router table. Your 1st table doesn't need to be a Norm special. Besides you need a router table to build that one. I started with the junkie sears one talked about above, then got their better table, still wasn't happy. Build one into my 6 ft table saw ext. Just finished the Ex-ex ultimate router table this week. 26" x48" all the bells and lights. Double fences. Maple and Cherry, with storage for 200 router bits.
The little plastic and tin ones will work, but once you have used a solid table, you will understand why there are so many of those on ebay!
Do a Google search for "router table" you will find photos of home built tables of all levels. The sink cut-outs work well but may be a little small, unless you can get a double type. They are usually free! The Corian ones are great and can be had for $5.00. I pick those up all the time, I find a lot uses for them. I saw one made from pallet wood, looked useful. So give it a try, What's the worst that can happen, you made some firewood, and start over. No one will know. Just be safe!!!
Chipper
 
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