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Hello everyone

I’m new here and hoping to get some help.

for years I have struggled with cheap benchtop and mediocre router tables. I’m finally ready to make a serious purchase and want to put my money into a professional grade router table.

I’d like to keep the budget to around $2000 or below and I’d prefer the table top to be cast iron. I have a sawstop so I’m familiar with caring for them and don’t want to deal with sagging in the future.

I make lots or arcade cabinets, furniture, business signs with frames and a lot more smaller items.
I’m in the US if that makes a difference. I have looked into Rockler and a few other companies but I really wanna make a solid purchase.

So concidering my budget, wants and needs what would you suggest? I prefer to purchase over build as I’m way to busy to build something right now.
So what are the top brands?

Other features I want:
Cast iron
Dust collection
Fence
Feather boards
Quality miter gauge with fence
Speed control
Router lift
Stops
Power switch
Insert plates
Stand (metal)
Caster wheels

I’d also love to upgrade my router too so any recommendations for great router would also be welcome.
Thanks everyone.
 

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That kind of table is above my pay grade, but for a router, check out the Triton Tra001. 3.25 hp, lots of power, built in lift, easy to get top quality mounting plate (Woodpecker, thicker than most, twist lock insert) Good dust collection options.

The Triton pulls air through the motor from below, and someone suggested that you use some tubing to make a snorkle that fits up from under the table to the bottom of the router where the air intake is. Keeps the sawdust out a little better. If others are helping, it has a good safety lock built in so when you raise it to change bits, it locks the spindle and prevents it from accidentally starting.

There are many sources of cast iron tables, but be careful which you choose, some do not have standard openings for common sized mounting plates. So know what router you're buying first, then select the table. Make sure it fits the mounting plate for the router!

With the kind of work you're doing, I'd go for the largest table you can get. And since budget is pretty open, see if you can find one with a cabinet set up pre built. Although it sounds like you could knock one together PDQ.

Find a good fence, there are many out there, and it will help faciltate dust collection. Routers are second only to miter saws for producing fine sawdust. The more air flow you can get above and ariound the bit, the cleaner it will be.

Last, check out YouTube videos of Mark Sommerfeld, whose company sells router gear. He uses a setup much like what you're describing. He's an old time cabinet maker and I think they may still have a cabinet plan. His technique is fast and simple and worth watching.

Hope this helps a little.
 

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Many forum members over the years have wanted a set up like you described. While this is not how I work as a service to forum members I researched all the cast iron tables available and then called the president of General International and borrowed their top of the line Excalibur table and lift to review. That review is somewhere on the forums. I used a Portamate router motor for that review. The features of the table are identical with either a cast iron or laminate top.

I use The Router Workshop methods for routing. My setups are faster with unlimited possibilities. Since you can no longer buy a new Router Workshop table I put plans on the forums to build your own. Go with what YOU are most comfortable
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One word does it all for me - "Incra", although admittedly that doesn't include a cast iron table.

I bought my Incra Phenolic top a few years ago and it's never given me any issues. It's too thick to warp, although of course it is well supported.

I originally had the Sidewinder lift, but due to my home-made stand arrangement, I had issues with my dust extraction, so decided to buy the Incra stand along with the Clean Sweep dust extractor box. Also, being in the UK on 240V power, I decided to use a UK router motor (which was probably made in China) which eventually burned out, so I now use a Porter Cable 3/4HP motor with a step-down transformer, donated by a friend.

I now have the equivalent of combination #3 in the following link: Incra Router Table/Fence Combos

I also have the castor wheels and the only non-standard part I've fitted is a NVR switch on the primary side of the transformer.

Given the obscene taxes and shipping charges into the UK, it's still been worth the money and the Wonder Fence is something that really lives up to its name. If you never tried one, you should seek out a hands-on demo, or at the very least watch a promotional video.
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum.
 

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From what you describe as the typical work you do I would stay away from a cast iron top. The reason being is that I haven't seen any that are long enough. A good router table should be long enough to give solid support on both the infeed and outfeed sides. In addition unlike a table saw a router table doesn't suffer from vibration so cast iron is not necessary. A good thick laminate top (something in the range of 1 1/4") is more than enough. As for the other items on the wish list. An ordinary wall switch works fine and if wired to a receptacle can also turn the dust collection (shop vac) on at the same time that the router goes on. Dust collection is easily built into the back of the fence. And while on the subject of fences as the old saying goes a fool and his money are soon parted. NO I'M NOT SAYING YOU ARE A FOOL!!! I'm simply using that phrase for those reading about tables I would say don't get sucked into all the hype about a special $100 dollar plus fence. You won't do anything with those fences that you can't do with a $2 dollar board. Next up is a miter gauge. Besides using one to help keep a board steady while coping the ends what else is a miter gauge needed for so I just use an extra one from my table saw whenever I need one? You do need a miter slot for the gauge and also for the feather boards. Feather boards should also be used on the fence to hold the work tight to the table. Speed control is built into the router so that can be checked off the list. For a lift I use the Router Raiser It's inexpensive, from what I've seen the cheapest around, and does an excellent job without a lot of bells and whistles, but they only fit certain routers. For the plate, with inserts, I use a Rousseau along with their feather boards. For the stand as long as the metal stand has drawers that would be fine but a stand without drawers to house all the bits and other items would be a waste of floor space. Caster are a must. just like on a table saw, unless there is plenty of room on both side to run a longboard through.
 

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Hello everyone

I’m new here and hoping to get some help.

for years I have struggled with cheap benchtop and mediocre router tables. I’m finally ready to make a serious purchase and want to put my money into a professional grade router table.

I’d like to keep the budget to around $2000 or below and I’d prefer the table top to be cast iron. I have a sawstop so I’m familiar with caring for them and don’t want to deal with sagging in the future.

I make lots or arcade cabinets, furniture, business signs with frames and a lot more smaller items.
I’m in the US if that makes a difference. I have looked into Rockler and a few other companies but I really wanna make a solid purchase.

So concidering my budget, wants and needs what would you suggest? I prefer to purchase over build as I’m way to busy to build something right now.
So what are the top brands?

Other features I want:
Cast iron
Dust collection
Fence
Feather boards
Quality miter gauge with fence
Speed control
Router lift
Stops
Power switch
Insert plates
Stand (metal)
Caster wheels

I’d also love to upgrade my router too so any recommendations for great router would also be welcome.
Thanks everyone.

Buy a shaper and skip a router table. You just wasting money on a toy...

What are you using for a tablesaw?
 

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Good day.

What you described is more semi commercial / production therefore what you need is a shaper and not a router most Shapers are designed for production and have most of all the characteristics that you have outlined.
you may still want the router table for small work. Once and awhile. or for using specialty bits that are cheaper to buy then the shaper knives.

Routers and shapers are very different tool.

With a shaper you can use a power feeder. The wood feeds at a very consistent speed and the cut should not have any burn marks or chatter like marks that you can get with router bits. you should have very little sanding to do with the shaper profiles versus a lot more with the router cut.

Shapers tend to be much quieter than a router. Additionally, they are much sturdier and have much less vibrations than a router. This is because a shaper has slower speeds.

they are in the price range you initially stated $2000. they are free standing can be on Wheels to be mobile. this is a ready to run solution As specified in your earlier request. note most are 220 - 240 volts ac

take the time to look at the different types and brands of shapers that are on the market they are meant to run production. where a common routers they are not designed to be production tool. I believe that's part of your problem you're trying to take a hand tool and turn into a production tool.

please note some of the new tools on the market have long lead times. Also the used Market has some very good machines available with very little runtime.
happy hunting.
 

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I have an Incra positioner with wonder fence. I made an offset table for the 27 inch positioner. I think the 16 inch one would be better. As a router fence it is great. You can make a lot of joints with the templates. The incra lifts are great with magnetic bit covers of different openings. The incra lifts fit a lot of routers. I have several 2.25 hp routers. Bigger routers are not needed but that is dependent on what you cut.

Overall Incra products are great. Porter cable is not making routers any more and the Bosch, Makita and Dewalt routers are good.

Cast iron is maintenance intensive and for me unnecessary.

Take a good look at incra and I think you would be happy with thier stuff.
 

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One word does it all for me - "Incra", although admittedly that doesn't include a cast iron table.

I bought my Incra Phenolic top a few years ago and it's never given me any issues. It's too thick to warp, although of course it is well supported.

I originally had the Sidewinder lift, but due to my home-made stand arrangement, I had issues with my dust extraction, so decided to buy the Incra stand along with the Clean Sweep dust extractor box. Also, being in the UK on 240V power, I decided to use a UK router motor (which was probably made in China) which eventually burned out, so I now use a Porter Cable 3/4HP motor with a step-down transformer, donated by a friend.

I now have the equivalent of combination #3 in the following link: Incra Router Table/Fence Combos

I also have the castor wheels and the only non-standard part I've fitted is a NVR switch on the primary side of the transformer.

Given the obscene taxes and shipping charges into the UK, it's still been worth the money and the Wonder Fence is something that really lives up to its name. If you never tried one, you should seek out a hands-on demo, or at the very least watch a promotional video.
I agree with everything you said about Incra as this is the setup I have in my shop. The only "nit picking" is "It"s too thick to warp". My primary Incra system is 4+ years old and I recently had to readjust the plate position. I also have a 2nd Incra system that I purchased at a "widows tool sale" (age unknown) and the table had sagged about 0.020" in the middle of the span. This may not sound like much but a 0.020" lip will bring your stock to a sudden halt. I consumed hours trying to bend it back in place but it would always spring back to its original position. Finally, I got it to bend back close to its original position. The only thing I can figure out is my summer cooling is an evaporative cooler so my humidity is high. If purchasing a new router table, I would not hesitate to purchase another Incra system. Whatever you buy, make sure your have under-the-table dust collection.
 
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