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Hi all, I've always wanted a router, I think it was watching New Yankee Workshop that persuaded me that I could create all manner of good things if only I had all the kit.

Anyway, now I'm doing a building project at home and it's finally a good excuse to buy one. I need to sort some worktops, hang some doors, make some bullnose window boards, rebate some architrave etc.

But all I'm finding is a world of pain! This is for occasional use so I'm not going to be spending hundreds of pounds on kit but I want something that will last.

So I look at routers, yes I want a plunge router. Lots of options under £150.

But I also want a table. Here I'm stuffed. Hardly any options. A Clarke CRT1 for about £80 at the bottom level but above that it's £150 for the Triton module, which then needs to for in a, frankly overpriced, Triton general stand for £200. Suddenly it's £500. Ouch.

So I think perhaps I'll give the CRT1 a go. But although it says it accepts most routers, the reviews are full of people who found it wouldn't take theirs. It does say that it's limited to base plates of max 155mm. But you can't find the bloody base plate sizes of routers. And I suspect there won't be a router that has the 1/2 inch collet which is less than 155mm. Which seems the recommended collet size to get.

I could really do with some advice!!

Thanks in advance
 

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Theo
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You ever consider making your own router table. I'm on about my 4th one, and probably have less than $10 total on all of them. It ain't pretty, but it does just what I need and want.
 

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Do you have any kind of dust collection for a table mount router?

Building a nice router table can be expensive. Usually its best to buy a proven setup..

I understand how frustrating it can be to have a need and require a lot of materials to build it. Those of us who have been doing it awhile have materials stored like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter.. For the new woodworker it's a new bill to the first few shop projects...
storage_721_420_80_s_c1.jpg
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum.
 

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Gwynn
First, welcome. Second, this is a mostly USA site with only a couple of brits, and a handful of ozzies, so no point talking UK models and manufacturers because they wont be familiar to most of the folks.

I'n English ex -pat in Cyprus so kind of know both both worlds.

If youre only going to do household DIY for the near future, a piece of old kitchen work surface with a hole cut in it is a very good router table. A fence can be any straight piece of wood clamped down to the work surface.
Its handy to have a metal router plate inlet into the top, but not absolutely essential. Dont throw a wad of money at your first table because if you keep with routing you will want to modify and improve things almost monthly.
Like Theo, I'm on my fourth home made tabe, each one bigger and better than the last.
DO NOT cheapskate on the router! Buy a 1/2" router because you can use every size cutter in a half inch bit you can only use 1/4" bits in a quarter inch router.
Watch this guy. He's a genius with a router, but around 6 minutes in you can see the table he's using to make these works of art.
 

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As suggested build a table. Don't bother with plans just make sure it is long enough to support both the infeed and outfeed side. Also, be sure to add feather boards to keep the wood tight to the fence and feather boards on the fence to keep the wood tight to the table. As for the router, it would be nice to get one with a lift built in so you don't have to struggle to get the bit adjusted to the correct height.
 

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As suggested build a table. Don't bother with plans just make sure it is long enough to support both the infeed and outfeed side. Also, be sure to add feather boards to keep the wood tight to the fence and feather boards on the fence to keep the wood tight to the table. As for the router, it would be nice to get one with a lift built in so you don't have to struggle to get the bit adjusted to the correct height.
Might as well have a plan. Doing it once is better than throwing something together and regretting it later. Wonder how many unthought out router tables went in the trash because they built on the fly without a plan...
 

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I made the table I use all the time out of an old sink cutout and a folding workbench from Harbor Freight Work Bench. It works great for everything I do and I can take it to the job site.I used the Lee Valley tools router plate Router plate kit I use straight boards for fences and make what I need as I go . I basically use the set ups that Rick and Bob used on Router workshop But It really depends on what you plan on doing
 

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I'm sure many of the members of this site are using homemade router tables. As the video Sunnybob sent shows, you don't have to have a fancy table or fence to do excellent work. I made my table from two old sink cutouts glued back to back with the laminate sides facing out. I put a router plate in it and mounted the router to the plate. If you got a router kit with both a plunge base and a fixed base, you could attach the fixed base to the router plate and use it in the table and have the plunge base for other work. As you guessed, you will want a router that will take at least 1/2 inch shaft bits. If the router bit height is capable of being adjusted through the table, that's a plus, but I bet the majority of users don't have that feature. And if you make your own tabletop, you don't have to be too concerned about making a mistake and screwing it up because getting a new sink cut out from a cabinet or countertop shop is no big deal, and if you use plywood, that's a pretty inexpensive replacement too. The money spent on a store-bought table versus a homemade one might be better spent on a better router and a few more bits – especially if the store-bought table is an inexpensive one.
 

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Remember it's your shop. I've had cheap made router tables but eventually if your a serious craftsman as I, you might as well get a nice unit or build a nice one. Look around at other woodshops and see what interests you...
 

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Might as well have a plan. Doing it once is better than throwing something together and regretting it later. Wonder how many unthought out router tables went in the trash because they built on the fly without a plan...
I'm not sure how could mess up a router table. You take a flat board and cut a hole in the middle of it and screw the router to it. You can certainly make it better by adding a plate and a fence but even that doesn't take much planning. You do have to decide where to place the hole but just ask and then decide. The one thing I would say about planning that it gives you a chance to see what others have done. I like to think ahead and look at pictures so maybe that's planning. What I don't like to do is have to stick to a plan.
 

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I'm not sure how could mess up a router table. You take a flat board and cut a hole in the middle of it and screw the router to it. You can certainly make it better by adding a plate and a fence but even that doesn't take much planning. You do have to decide where to place the hole but just ask and then decide. The one thing I would say about planning that it gives you a chance to see what others have done. I like to think ahead and look at pictures so maybe that's planning. What I don't like to do is have to stick to a plan.
That's why most do it more than once. You built it quickly with a flat board and a hole.

Your key words were "you can certainly make it better"

Enough to tell me I need a plan..

Most woodworkers are quick to git, and don't take the time to execute a well thought out plan...

A lot of woodworkers consider a router table there first major shop project..
 

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Rebel work I think we are talking about two different things. A router table and a router table base. The base could be a major project and you can experiment with a lot of techniques on putting parts together but in either case, give me a picture and I'll make it the size that works for me. It doesn't have to be pretty or fancy. One thing I would point out to any router table wannabe builder is to make it long enough to support longer boards, to add feather boards on the table and fence, and lastly don't worry about a super fancy fence. The other thing I would point out is that almost anything that you will want to do with a router is easier and safer doing it on a table.
 

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Welcome to the forum. All this advice is all good and well but you need to decide what if any use this table would be of use to you after you finish your list of work to do. Are you even interested in doing more router work or is this the main extent of you needs. From what you describe your needs don't require anything fancy so building an elaborate table might just be a waste of time and money. See this workshop video series for a very basic idea of what simple can do. If you decide you need more then you have minimal invested and can build/buy what you feel comfortable with.
 

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Actually they go hand in hand. A great sturdy, flat top is not so great without a good solid and sturdy support base.
 
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