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Hello All,
Newby in Mid-Michigan here ! I am now looking for a Table / Router / Lifter combo for my shop. I don't mind spending money for a nice unit, and def want a nicer set-up that the common table-top units found in the big box stores. Any advice would be welcome as would info on units for sale (if that is allowed here.)
 

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Welcome to the fun!

I'd start with the lift and go from there. I really like the jessem/incra lift as it does a number of things really well:
  • Smooth and reliable operation
  • Above table locking and height control
  • integral dust extraction (via cleansweep plates)
  • Super solid construction
The dust extraction part is unique and makes routing a much more pleasurable experience.

Then, think about your fence. This will drive your table/cabinet. I use the Incra LS Positioner which is one of those "pry it out of my cold dead fingers" tools.

You might consider building your own router table. It's not hard, very satisfying and is a bit of a rite of passage around here. Here's a link to my router table design and build. While it looks a bit strange at first, it's sized to fit the LS25 Positioner and that tool has allowed me to take my skill and quality to a much higher level. If I had bought the LS17 (8" shorter) the cabinet would have been a bit smaller. Lots of good storage space. I built it about 6 years ago and still don't see how I would have done it differently. I use it all the time.

[edit] And by the way, I'd encourage you to avoid a router that uses a shaft lock button because reaching under the table to push it while changing a bit gets WAY OLD FAST. In fact avoid any router that requires reaching under the table at all - some of them are adjustable from the bottom but have a locking lever that requires under table access. One of the reasons I love my PC7518
 

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John
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Hello and welcome to the router forum,Keith
 

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Hello and welcome Keith to the forums...

JessEm has an outstanding collection of everything router table...
This company is outstanding and I have dealt w/ them for years
Their products are better than 1st rate and their CS/TS is next level 10 star+...
you need or want it... they have...
North American made too...

https://jessem.com/collections

on a side note...
take some time and head over to this link...
you just may find some useful information there to your benefit...
 

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Welcome to the fun!

I'd start with the lift and go from there. I really like the jessem/incra lift as it does a number of things really well:
  • Smooth and reliable operation
  • Above table locking and height control
  • integral dust extraction (via cleansweep plates)
  • Super solid construction
The dust extraction part is unique and makes routing a much more pleasurable experience.

Then, think about your fence. This will drive your table/cabinet. I use the Incra LS Positioner which is one of those "pry it out of my cold dead fingers" tools.

You might consider building your own router table. It's not hard, very satisfying and is a bit of a rite of passage around here. Here's a link to my router table design and build. While it looks a bit strange at first, it's sized to fit the LS25 Positioner and that tool has allowed me to take my skill and quality to a much higher level. If I had bought the LS17 (8" shorter) the cabinet would have been a bit smaller. Lots of good storage space. I built it about 6 years ago and still don't see how I would have done it differently. I use it all the time.

[edit] And by the way, I'd encourage you to avoid a router that uses a shaft lock button because reaching under the table to push it while changing a bit gets WAY OLD FAST. In fact avoid any router that requires reaching under the table at all - some of them are adjustable from the bottom but have a locking lever that requires under table access. One of the reasons I love my PC7518


agreed!!!
 
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Rick
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Welcome to the forum Keith . I’m a fan of Incra . But if I could do it all over again, I’d buy a lift but build the table and fence myself
 

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I concur with the others here. I originally had a separate table I made with the Incra LS25 with the wonderfence as well, and a delta table saw with a Beisemeyer fence, but just before Christmas I bit the bullet and ordered the incra TS tails and adapter plate, so I’m without a router table at the moment, as the wing I made previously fits between the stock delta rails, not the Incra ones, and I have not had the chance to redesign it.

As for the lift, well, I went the cheap route there and purchased the woodpecker plate that attaches to the stock PC router mount that I got with my router lot almost 15 years ago. It has served me well, and while accurate, it’s a pain in the rear to setup and change bits.. don’t fall into that trap. If I could hide $400+ from my wife, I would get the Incra/woodpecker PRL v2 router lift.. sadly I can’t heh. I’ll probably get the basic jessem or Incra lifts (in the $150 price range). Do t cheap out on the router either, 3.5 HP min, you’ll regret it if you don’t for some of the larger bits.

Long time lurker, rate poster here.. might change in the future, changing work projects from a crap tone of travel to a little travel so I should have time to make crap.
 

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G'day Kieth, welcome to the forum....
 

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I went with the Triton 3.25hp TRA001, which has a lift built in. I splurged on the plate and got a Woodpecker brand plate, which is thicker than most others. The Triton has a built in above the table lift, is very high powered, and will work with any table, fence or other device you want. The first picture is of a Triton in an Infinity plate. I like getting a first class table router and lift for a reasonable price.

Building your own table is nice because you can make it a little larger in one dimension which is very nice. I'm still using a Rockler top and table I bought maybe 10 years ago. My shop is a little crowded so the longer table can wait.

I don't have anything against the tools recommended here, but budgeting for a router and what is one of the most expensive lifts, is a little tough these days. The Triton is about $280, but you don't need the lift, you just remove a spring. I think the Triton is too heavy to use freehand. But I would definitely go with an aluminum plate for it.

Much of the time I use a small trim router instead of a larger one. I do have two 1617 Bosch routers for freehand use, but really don't use them much anymore.

One thing Stick suggested some time ago was using a "snorkle" or pipe attached to the bottom of the router while it's in the table. Let it draw in cool, clean air through your router so it doesn't get gummed up by sawdust and sap. Some routers come with pretty good sawdust extraction attachments, but you will definitely want a split fence with a small dust extraction hood in the center so you can use a shop vac to extract excess sawdust. The second picture is of a Jessem fence with dust extraction on the back. If you let sawdust build up, it will raise your workpiece slightly so the cut won't match previous profiles. You'll want to clear off sawdust between passes.

Take some time to read Stick's pdfs on routing, they are really good.

Sawdust is a big deal to me. That sawdust is nasty if it gets into your lungs. At minimum you should consider getting another three items: 1: a fairly powerful shop vac with 2.5 inch hose. 2: a Dust Deputy that separates sawdust and chips out so it doesn't get to and clog your shop vac filter (filters are $$$$$$), and 3: a small bucket or barrel with lid to which you mount the dust deputy. You'll find a bucket fills fairly fast, so empty it fairly often or it loses efficiency. Below is a picture of the DD setup. Not very expensive, and sometimes you can find a used shop vac in a thrift store.

One other minor thing, when you buy the plate for the router, make shure it has a twist lock on the inserts. The old ones used 3 tiny screws, which were magic because they always disappear. The Twist Lock on my Woodpecker plate allows me to put in a variety of inserts that fit fairly close to the bit, up to about 3 inches. The inserts also support smaller workpieces so they don't fall into the opening. The inserts in the picture are the red circular things.

If you are interested in checking out the Triton, go to YouTube and look up videos by Marc Sommerfeld, who sells router stuff, but is an old cabinet maker. I learned many great methods watching him work. You'll also notice the quick action of the twist lock inserts.
 

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I agree with Tom about the plate inserts. That's why I really like the Incra/JeessM magna lock ones. No screws to lose, they just snap in place. But no special tool needed either. Added benefit to the cleansweep ones - the slots pull the dust from around the bit, right where it's generated.
 

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