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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post, I'm looking to get a router and want a table also. I don't have a workshop, so the tools will need to be stored out of the way. I'm not looking for anything fancy and wanted your input. There are a few router/table combinations that I'm looking at:

Benchtop Router Table With 1-3/4 HP Router ($120 - plus $20 for rheostat on Amazon)

Performax® 2 HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Router Kit with Table ($150): I like this one the best because of $ and variable speed, but I haven't found any reviews.

Kobalt 1/4-in and 1/2-in Fixed Corded Router with Table ($170) Probably not. Not variable speed and has a soft start.

I could also get a table plus a router, but then the price goes up a lot:

Universal Router Table by RYOBI ($130)


Bosch Router Table with folding legs - Bosch RA1141
($175-180):

Or

Supposedly, this is the same design SKIL Mdf Router Table
($140)

If I were to get a separate router, lots of people like the Performax® 1-1/4 HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Compact Router

Or

Performax® 2 HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Router

If there are other combinations, that I should consider, let me know. I don't have lots of woodworking skills, so I don't want to spend time building a table. I am trying to keep the total under $250.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I suggest you consider the Bosch 1617 EVSPK kit, which includes the 2.25hp router, with both a fixed and plunge base. It is more expensive, but it is a superb tool. You can check CPO for a refurbished unit. Their units are good as new and I think even include the service guarantee (check me on that).
This pix is of the EVSPK kit with both bases. For $199 on Amazon, and most places price match. This is a real favorite among USA woodworkers.

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Another option is to buy the 1617 motor only just for table use, plus their RA 1165 base that allows you to adjust the router height from above the table. You make coarse height adjustments by pushing up or pulling down the router, then use the key to get the height exactly right. I don't even think you need a mounting plate to use this, although a plate is better in the long run.
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As to a table, I suggest you make your own. It is quite easy to do, and requires a really flat piece of ply. There are many strings on this forum on how to do it, and when you check them out, you'll discover it's really easy to do. If you make it with two layers, 3/4 on the underside, half inch on top, you can very easily cut out an opening on top to fit a mounting plate, then cut a half inch smaller hole to leave a half inch lip the plate can rest on. Here's a picture of a fancy shop built table. Nice and big and simple to ma. Notice
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Notice the clamps used to hold it down. Hint: leave the fence attached on one end, but able to pivot. Then move the other end to set the amount of bit you're using. You don't make a full cut in one pass, you take of about an eighth per pass. If you're doing multiple pieces, put a mark on the table where the fence stops so you can make all pieces identical. Kreg makes some little plate levelers (pix) that allow you to level the plate even with the top surface.
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Kreg also makes plates pre-drilled for the Bosch 1617.

Make your table at least 36 inches long, 24 inches wide, and place the opening a little closer to the back, not dead center. Notice that the little red inserts in this example plate are twist lock. Older models have three tiny screws that hold them in place, and that usually go missing the first time you change the insert.
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There are all kinds of plans and instructions for making a table top on the Forum, just search for shop made router table. You will probably use this table for several years. To use it, you can mount it across a couple of saw horses, or find a used chest of drawers and replace the top with your shop made table, or find a table at a used furniture or goodwill store. The double layer, glued together, will help keep it flat. The top can be stored upright to save space.

For a fence, you can use a straight board clamped in place, or get fancy and make one that has sawdust collection. Here is a fence you can make with a table saw, or with a couple of very flat, straight boards that you choose very carefully at you big box store. Notice the sawdust collection port on the back side, behind the opening you leave for the bit to fit in.
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This is kind of fancy because it has a sliding front fence, but you don't have to do that for your first fence. To simplify it even more, you could just buy a commercial dust collection gadget like this one. You'll find them at a woodworking store online.
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Routers produce massive amounts of sawdust so something to collect it at the source is a really good idea. Home depot has 5 gallon buckets and a $20 top that you can use with a shop vac to collect the sawdust. If you use that combination, your shop vac won't have clogged filters nearly so fast. Here's a picture of the setup. AND WEAR A MASK!!! Superfine sawdust is really bad for your lungs.
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If you don't mind spending another sawbuck, you can use this Dust Deputy, which gets rave reviews. I have a larger version in my shop. The shop vac should be as large as you can manage because you will probably be using on future machines, like table saw and band saw. This setup will do you for years.
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I hope all this information doesn't put you off. Making your own table will teach you a lot of very basic techniques, and it's easier to do than describe. Ask for help on anything, we love to help others over the same early humps everyone encounters. As you improve and learn more and more, I hope you'll enjoy your new hobby as much as we all did.
 

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Yes, I'm concerned about getting a used table. I don't know what I would be looking for to see if everything is there and is OK. I would feel comfortable buying a used router though.
Note my long response. But I forgot to mention why I am not a fan of cheaper models such as what you're considering. If you look around the forum, you'll see a lot of folks who have such routers seeking replacement parts, and many are requests for what used to be name brands. Such parts are just not available. The makers produce these machines in fairly limited quantities, and that goes for parts as well. I've suggested an alternative, but wanted to let you know so you can take that into consideration.
 

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Hi @jankdc welcome to the forum..

Your table can be as simple as this Oak Park table on a collapsible work mate...


399069
 

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Yes, I'm concerned about getting a used table. I don't know what I would be looking for to see if everything is there and is OK. I would feel comfortable buying a used router though.
Consider many tables have been bought and replaced with other tables. Some buy, then build. Some build, then buy.

I would make a good sweep of local craigslist, marketplace, etc...I rarely buy new when I can get a reasonable deal used..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Consider many tables have been bought and replaced with other tables. Some buy, then build. Some build, then buy.

I would make a good sweep of local craigslist, marketplace, etc...I rarely buy new when I can get a reasonable deal used..
Is there a particular brand or model of table that I should look for? Are there certain features? Again, I'm looking for a tabletop unit. I don't have much space to store it.

Note my long response. But I forgot to mention why I am not a fan of cheaper models such as what you're considering. If you look around the forum, you'll see a lot of folks who have such routers seeking replacement parts, and many are requests for what used to be name brands. Such parts are just not available. The makers produce these machines in fairly limited quantities, and that goes for parts as well. I've suggested an alternative, but wanted to let you know so you can take that into consideration.
I appreciate your response. It looks like there are units to be had refurbished for under $150 for the fixed base only. This could work with the constraints of my budget depending on what I do for the table. I'd spring for the 1165 base at a later date depending on how much I use the table. I'm not at a point to build a table. I'm currently wanting to put a nice edge on some shelving that I have. If I was skilled, I wouldn't even need a table. I just felt that I could do a better job at my skill level with a table than without. My goal is to have a unit that I can pull out of the garage (at most) a few times a year to work on different projects. I'm not trying to become a woodworker or pick up a hobby, just wanting a tool for a project that will then be available to use again at a later date.
 

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Is there a particular brand or model of table that I should look for? Are there certain features? Again, I'm looking for a tabletop unit. I don't have much space to store it.


I appreciate your response. It looks like there are units to be had refurbished for under $150 for the fixed base only. This could work with the constraints of my budget depending on what I do for the table. I'd spring for the 1165 base at a later date depending on how much I use the table. I'm not at a point to build a table. I'm currently wanting to put a nice edge on some shelving that I have. If I was skilled, I wouldn't even need a table. I just felt that I could do a better job at my skill level with a table than without. My goal is to have a unit that I can pull out of the garage (at most) a few times a year to work on different projects. I'm not trying to become a woodworker or pick up a hobby, just wanting a tool for a project that will then be available to use again at a later date.
Hi, Not sure what other tools you have, but it doesn't take very much to make a table top you can easily put away vertically, or even hang on a hook on the wall. I suggested getting a motor only and the under table base. I was unable to find a motor only, however. You want to make sure the router has a soft start, because without it, hand held, it jerks on startup, which is quite dangerous, You also want to make sure it has variable speed. I have not seen a cheap router with those features.

I'm emphasizing that kind of setup because routing freehand is much more dangerous than working on a table. To make a table, you really only need drill with a wide bit, and either a hole saw or a jig saw. Plug in models of both those tools are very inexplensive.

I'm trying to stay within the $200 (or so) range, but there's a lower limit beyond which you are buying third rate tools that you'll have to replace as your skill increases. Of course, it's your choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You want to make sure the router has a soft start, because without it, hand held, it jerks on startup, which is quite dangerous, You also want to make sure it has variable speed. I have not seen a cheap router with those features.
The second one that I linked had a variable speed and soft start. Plus it comes with a table. I get that I would want to upgrade if I start to do a lot of woodworking. The benefit of this one is that it's under $150, and readily available. I can just pick up from my local Menards.

The second choice is that I go with a refurbished Bosch model that you recommended, then the Skil MDF Router table. This is the same as the Bosch RA1141. This combination is just past my budget, but not a big deal. the real question is this combination worth 2x the price of the Performax from Menards.

I get that I "should" make my own table, but I feel more comfortable buying a premade table at this point. If I pursue using a router more than a couple of times a year, I'll take on that project.


I have not used these products,but hear good things about them. BOSCH AND Kreg...
I haven't been able to find either of these used in my area. Mostly I am finding old craftsman, a skil, and roybi table. There are a couple that look complete, but most are missing at least the miter guage.
 

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I understand. I bought all my gear during my highest earning years, so cost was not the main thing to me. From what you've said, your choice will do the trick to get you started. Share pictures if you will, we all love to see the stuff others are making.
 

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Best thing I ever put into my router table (besides the router) was a T slot that would accept the 3/4 X 3/8 bar on my tablesaw miter guide. It also enables me to use moving jigs, stops, featherboards and even a sled for jointing board edges.
 

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The second one that I linked had a variable speed and soft start. Plus it comes with a table. I get that I would want to upgrade if I start to do a lot of woodworking. The benefit of this one is that it's under $150, and readily available. I can just pick up from my local Menards.

The second choice is that I go with a refurbished Bosch model that you recommended, then the Skil MDF Router table. This is the same as the Bosch RA1141. This combination is just past my budget, but not a big deal. the real question is this combination worth 2x the price of the Performax from Menards.

I get that I "should" make my own table, but I feel more comfortable buying a premade table at this point. If I pursue using a router more than a couple of times a year, I'll take on that project.




I haven't been able to find either of these used in my area. Mostly I am finding old craftsman, a skil, and roybi table. There are a couple that look complete, but most are missing at least the miter guage.
I've had pretty good success with a Rockler table that I've upgraded over the years, and a DeWalt router kit that came with three bases (DW618B3) so I have flexibility when the router isn't used in the table. Bosch makes great tools, but they do come at a premium price. I see that Rockler tables have gotten pretty expensive these days, though. I started with the basic stand, basic aluminum plate, and the cheapest fence, and I later invested in a better fence, a manual screw drive lift plate, and lockable casters so I can roll the table out of the way when needed. As I am an amateur woodworker, it doesn't get used very often, but it's nice to have when I need it. You have to set your budget and remember that more money will generally get you better quality stuff. Good luck!
 

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I have 2 veins to my comment: 1) Tom, your reply is so darn good that it should be put in the “Sticky” section under “Beginners start here,” and then the sticky should also include the equally important “DIY Table For Beginners” reply by another gentleman, whose name I cannot see or remember at this moment — great stuff!

Here’s the 2nd vein:
I find these types of questions are very irritating, because A) The OP is fully aware that they are asking for layperson guidance specifically from experts, and not because they want advice on how to get good at the topic, but rather how to remain barely functional at it; B) they set ill-advised budgets for gear that the experts don’t bother with, because cheaping out (junk shopping is different from bargain shopping) becomes its own barrier to success; C) they create ridiculously Byzantine combinations and scenarios to which they become married, and then shun the learned advice which they asked for!

OP, are you kidding? When I was a kid, my grandfather told me not to bother asking questions that I didn’t want to hear the answers to. Way back then, I also learned to spend my money right the first time. As I got older, I learned that often, there is no right answer to the question, so I would need to go ahead and make my best stab at it…all on my own.

On this topic, OP you can take the learned advice and spend more than you planned (by being patient and saving up a bit longer) or you can go against the advice and probably spend more because the missing tool quality will give inferior results and likely waste more materials.

I realize this is a harsh response; I get it, I haven’t forgotten that we all start at the beginning. The problem is there have just been too many of these same sort of noob questions lately that just wouldn’t be asked if the noobs did their homework, had more backbone, and weren’t so lazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have 2 veins to my comment: 1) Tom, your reply is so darn good that it should be put in the “Sticky” section under “Beginners start here,” and then the sticky should also include the equally important “DIY Table For Beginners” reply by another gentleman, whose name I cannot see or remember at this moment — great stuff!

Here’s the 2nd vein:
I find these types of questions are very irritating, because A) The OP is fully aware that they are asking for layperson guidance specifically from experts, and not because they want advice on how to get good at the topic, but rather how to remain barely functional at it; B) they set ill-advised budgets for gear that the experts don’t bother with, because cheaping out (junk shopping is different from bargain shopping) becomes its own barrier to success; C) they create ridiculously Byzantine combinations and scenarios to which they become married, and then shun the learned advice which they asked for!

OP, are you kidding? When I was a kid, my grandfather told me not to bother asking questions that I didn’t want to hear the answers to. Way back then, I also learned to spend my money right the first time. As I got older, I learned that often, there is no right answer to the question, so I would need to go ahead and make my best stab at it…all on my own.

On this topic, OP you can take the learned advice and spend more than you planned (by being patient and saving up a bit longer) or you can go against the advice and probably spend more because the missing tool quality will give inferior results and likely waste more materials.

I realize this is a harsh response; I get it, I haven’t forgotten that we all start at the beginning. The problem is there have just been too many of these same sort of noob questions lately that just wouldn’t be asked if the noobs did their homework, had more backbone, and weren’t so lazy.
OP here. I'm sorry that you found my questions irritating. If I knew what I don't know, I wouldn't be asking these questions. I looked into building a table before posting here, and I didn't think that it made sense for my skill level. After Tom's (really in depth) reply, I spent hours looking at youtube videos on building a table that fell into two categories: 1. Ones that were beyond my skill or my current tools (many needed a plunge router and one a biscuit joiner). 2. Looked so simple that I feared that they would be dangerous for someone without any skills to learn on.

After you posted, I spent an hour on this site looking for “DIY Table For Beginners” and I still haven't found it. If you have a link, please let me know.

This pinned post on Basic Table Routing links to an article that isn't active anymore.

I posted here because there were several posts on the Menards Performax Trim router, that several here like. This is a cheap, budget router, that some say is the same as a Makita (the Makita accessories fit it). I was hoping someone had some experience with the larger variable speed router and table combination.

I am looking to do a couple of projects that technically could be done without a table. I was thinking that with my skill level, I would get better results and stay safer with a table. As I said before, I am not looking to become a woodworker, I'm just looking for a tool to take off the shelf maybe a few times a year. There is also a real possibility that I will be buying a router and table for these couple of projects and then it will sit on the shelf for 5 years.

I entertained spending more on a nicer setup, but when I asked Tom if it was worth double the price for what I was looking to do, my impression from his response was that the lower-priced combination might be fine for my needs.

One reason that you find my question annoying is that maybe you don't understand or can't relate to my wants and needs. You probably have a workshop, and you've probably spent thousands on tools. I didn't know where else to post, so here is where I landed. If you have a recommendation on another forum to post this question, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've had pretty good success with a Rockler table that I've upgraded over the years, and a DeWalt router kit that came with three bases (DW618B3) so I have flexibility when the router isn't used in the table. Bosch makes great tools, but they do come at a premium price. I see that Rockler tables have gotten pretty expensive these days, though. I started with the basic stand, basic aluminum plate, and the cheapest fence, and I later invested in a better fence, a manual screw drive lift plate, and lockable casters so I can roll the table out of the way when needed. As I am an amateur woodworker, it doesn't get used very often, but it's nice to have when I need it. You have to set your budget and remember that more money will generally get you better quality stuff. Good luck!
Thanks, I was in Pittsburgh today and was able visit the Rockler store. I agree, that is really nice stuff. I can see myself wanting the larger table with folding base if I pursue woodworking. I spent a bunch of time checking out the benchtop table. It seems very nice, but sparse. With adding plates and extras, it could easily be more than twice the Performax combination before I even purchase a router. One concern that I have is it seems very tall. Too tall to put on a bench and too short to put on the floor.

Honestly, at the price, if the Performax doesn't seem usable, I'll probably go with a skil/bosch table.
 
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