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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been watching the router guys and I'm really starting to like the Oak-Park table set up they use. Last year I built the big Norm style table with the Rockler top and I'm finding it a little on the large side and getting it in and out of the shop is a fairly hefty task. I am considering selling off the Norm table and opting for the Oak-Park as it sure appears very versatile and requires less storage space.

I would like to hear from those who own the Oak-Park as to the pros and cons of this set up. How is the dust collection? How does the clamp down fence compare to the trac lock fences? How much does this set up weigh? What type stand is recommended? Is bit and tool storage space adequate? How is the overall quality of the unit? Would you buy this style again or go another route?

You can either post here or send me a PM or email with any relpies. Not looking to run a good sponser down, just looking for honest opinions from users.

I have attached a picture of my current set up so you can see what I'm talking about.
 

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Hi Bob
1st let me say ,nice router table you have and a good job of making it.
The grass is not always greener on the other side when it comes to router work stations.
I have had both types and I like the oversize one the best if it's setup right.
The Oak-Park system is about 25lbs. with out the router and bits but then you need a base to put it on,it can be just about anything from a box to a cabinet base ,
you do have a place to put the bits and some push sticks,the nice thing about the Oak-Park system you can put the router and base plate in a cabinet or under the work bench until you need to use it and stand the router table on it's end to save space in the shop.
But because it's a major tool in my shop I like to have it setup and ready to go all the time like the table saw...I don't keep my router bits with any of my router tables I try and keep them all in one spot in a cabinet for router bits so I keep track of them.
As you know you can put out many dollars for router bits and it's the big cost of using a router ..
You may want to just rework your router table so it's a bit easyer to move it around like 6" air type tires,you just need a base frame to hold the tires that you can get from Harbor Freight for about 5.oo bucks ea.they don't need to turn side to side just roll over anything and a stop block under the wheels to lock it up from moving when you use it.
I just made a new router cabinet and it's about 1/8" off the floor with 4 casters under the base and I just use a small wedge that I kick under the side panel that holds it in place when I use it.
You also asked about the "How is the dust collection? system on the Oak-Park, if you get the new router plate with the chip ports it's great for most jobs you do on the table.
You also asked about the "clamp down fence compare" as you know Bob and Rick say all the time make it simple and the Oak-Park fence is that and it works.
"How is the overall quality of the unit?" I would give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5

Hope this helps a bit
Bj :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Bob,

Thanks so much for the speedy and informative reply. You have been very helpful and I know this is going to be a tough decision on my part. Your compliments on my exisiting router center are appreciated also.

My delima is in the fact that I do much of work outside the shop to help keep the mess outdoors instead of inside. My shop is small (12 1/2 X 17 1/2) with heat and AC which sucks the dust into the units if I forget and have them running while I work even with my small DC unit in use. Moving tools thru my standard 3.0 doorway to the outside, is not an easy task if I don't build the mobility just right. What gets really fun is the doorway thresh hold which is nearly 2 inches high. The router cabinet I have clears this door way by only a couple of inches and you should witness the gymnastics of trying to get the wheels over the thresh hold. I was thinking the Oak-Park unit would take up a little less foot print in my small shop and be much more portable in and out of the shop, but then again I would have to give up all that wonderful cabinet storage which houses all my bits, tools, accessories and other 3 routers and multiple bases. I could make room for all of that elsewhere, I'm sure if I go the Oak-Park table route.

The line of questions I had were all related to the above reasons and you have been very helpful in pointing out a lot of good pros and cons for me to consider. I don't mind going thru a few extra set up steps to use a unit if I can derive space, safety and clean up benefits from those steps and at the same time receive equal or better results in the long run. One example of my simple minded thinking was in selling off my table saw and going with a guided saw system (Eureka Zone EZ system) in it's place. It does just as good of job with less storage space required and is much safer to use although set up and take down time does require a few extra minutes. I am looking at the same trade off for the router table if there is one.

Hope to hear form others on this as well.

Thanks much bobj3
 

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Long time no see Bob, welcome back. There is a simple solution to your problem. Build Bob and Rick's table and drop your Rockler plate in it. This will let you have a nice light weight table to move outside and take advantage or their style of router fence and jigs. You will still have your large table inside for storage and at times nothing works better than being able to use it's features. Hands on use is the only way to tell which you prefer. You will be able to sell either table once you decide or make the best of both worlds and enjoy the use of both. Let me know when you are finished and I will send you the plans for the vertically tilting router table!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hiya Mike and thanks for the advice and that is certainly a good consideration. Yes, been a while since my lost post, but I have been visiting off and on watching to make sure you stay out of trouble ;)

What is this vertical tilting table you speak of? Sounds and looks interesting :cool:
 

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Bob, have you considered making a home-made ramp system for the door way? If all you have to clear is 2" and not a full step, a simple ramp would help roll out the tools sorta say.
 

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The table is a specialty design by Patrick Spielman, a talented instructor and author of several books about woodworking. It was featured in an article sent out by Woodcraft and has an active link allowing you to purchase the book from them so I am sure they wont mind me reposting it here. I would say the book is a very worthwhile purchase and belongs on your shelf along side of The Router Workshop books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mike..... Thanks for the pdf file. That is an interesting concept and I have saved the file for future reference. It would almost compete with my mini lathe in some areas.

Hamlin.... thanks for the ramp idea and I have given it some thought several times. It would be easy enough to construct a small one that would be movable when not in use.

Even with the great ideas and suggestions, I am still faced with a few uncorrectible errors that I did not give enough thought to in constructing the orginal unit. These are not things that cannot be compensated for in other ways, it's just that the Oak-Park unit seems to have it all together when it comes to functionality when watching Bob and Rick put it to use. I know this pair of pros can make anything look easy with their vast experience, but it sure make me drool to have the same set up in hopes to follow the ways of their teachings. I am going to continue to study and listen to more from y'all in hopes of arriving at an informed decision.

Thanks for your input and advice.
 

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i have the router work shop table With the vac plate and of course the vac system I built a base for mine And the slide out's for the bit's and brass guides And the set up brass bars are handy also Of course you can use drill bit's of the size you want also For setting up depth of router cut I have put a pic of the top of the table the base is done but i cant find the picture It is made out of malameane also (spelling??) del schisler from florida
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
del.

Thanks for the info and you did a beautiful job on your router table. I see some ideas I may can use if I go this route.

Are you happy with the dust collection? Would you do anything different if you had it to do over again?
 

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Hi Bob N, I built the router table from Oak Park 3 0r 4 years ago and have not been sorry I went with it. The Oak Park table and jigs are by far the easiest, simplest and most versitile router system there is. period. I would never use a router much except for edging before about 10 years ago. After watching Bob & Rick I realized just how much I could have done with a router, if I just knew how. I can't give enough praise for what I have learned using their table and systems. I have several systems to go with it too. If you go with it, you won't be sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pop_pop1 said:
Hi Bob N, I built the router table from Oak Park 3 0r 4 years ago and have not been sorry I went with it. The Oak Park table and jigs are by far the easiest, simplest and most versitile router system there is. period. I would never use a router much except for edging before about 10 years ago. After watching Bob & Rick I realized just how much I could have done with a router, if I just knew how. I can't give enough praise for what I have learned using their table and systems. I have several systems to go with it too. If you go with it, you won't be sorry.
Thanks so much for the recommendation. All the good things you and others have said about this system makes me feel like I made the right choice for sure. I am looking forward to it arriving at my door step and getting it put into action. Now I just need to decide how to incorporate it into my shop set up. :D
 
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