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Discussion Starter #1
hello all, new to the forum and to woodworking. my wife wants to get me a router table for xmas....
here is what im looking for i really want to do the funky dovetail templates from mcls (heart shapes etc) according to the website and when i spoke to the gentleman certain tables wont work (ryobi for example)
as i have been looking at other tables im getting more and more confused lol
i want a decent sturdy table that i can do the mcls templates on but will also be a good all around table.
i do need to keep it in the $150-200 dollar range.
i have a skil router now but can upgrade that if needed!
help please and if you have pictures that would be helpful as well....would rather not build my own at this point!
thanks
 

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Hi hlander and welcome. All a table is is a flat surface with a router mounted under it. A fence can be as simple as a board with a cut out where the bit has to go that is clamped to the table and you can take my word for it when I tell you that more than one of us has gone that route at some point. Quite a few of us have built our own tables and there are volumes written about doing that stored in our archives.

I'm not familiar witrh he requirements of the MCLS system so I'm not sure why it wasn't compatible with the Ryobi table. Bosch and Kreg both offer tables that are in that price range. I think Grizzly offers one too.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. That's why I'm confused I thought they are all basically a table with a hole lol. I spoke to them and they said it had to do with the faceplate not being able to accommodate a template bushing guide?
 

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I have a Rockler table and want to switch the mounting plate out with a larger one that has a twist lock insert. That makes it easier to switch out matched pair bits. The Rockler table's opening is smaller than the Woodpecker plate, and it is shallower. So I suggest you check for the type of mounting plate that will work best for you, then make sure the table is pre fitted. Because I want the convenience of the twist lock insert, I have to rout out the opening and then reinforce the thinner edges of the opening and reset the leveling screws. Without the reinforcement, there is just a bit more than 1/4 inch lip supporting the plate, and no reason to expect it to hold well.

This is why I suggest you make a choice about mounting plate first, then choose a top that's the right size to begin with. It sounds like you're fairly ambitious about your woodworking hobby, so you might as well avoid as many costly mistakes as you can.

One other thing, put your money into the top, fence and mounting plate. You can make a simple cabinet to mount the top on for very little money, using a circular saw and straight edge and fairly cheap plywood. Later you can add door, drawers and dust collection. Great to have your wife encouraging you. Mine has really enjoyed and encouraged my woodworking hobby (addiction).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Gahhh now I'm even more confused about faceplates etc lol. I need it dumbed down a lot for me right now haha. Why would I need to change faceplates ?
 

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I believe all those other tables have insert plates. The Ryobi may not, it may be like the old Sears tables. All the insert plates I'm familiar with have removable sets of center rings. Usually the smallest one is to fit guide bushings to and the others are for larger bits. Most of us like to keep the opening close to the size of the bit we are using if possible and that is what the extra rings are for.

Most routers are also made to accept guide bushings but I can't say for sure about the Skil. It is one of the cheapest routers and subsequently has some of the fewest features as a rule. Large routers often use a bolt on guide bushing adapter plate that holds the bushings which allows a large base opening to be able to use larger bits. Whenever you use bushings you need to ceneter them with the router base so you'll need a line up tool. The basic one is cheap, around $7 last time I looked at one. One of my routers came with one. it is just a shaft that is 1/4" on one end and 1/2" on the other and you put it in the router's collet and slip the appropriate size bushing on the other end then tighten everything in place.
 

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This comes down to what type of reducer inserts the table (or insert plate) are available that accepts a Porter Cable style bushing guide. I know both Incra and Woodpecker both offer plates that have these types of reducer rings for purchase, on the higher end, but there are probably other less expensive plates that also can accept the bushings. With your budget range, you may want to consider getting one of those insert plates, and then build your own table.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
this is the table they sell it $170 plus shipping...it also accepts the power lifts etc (170 with the aluminum insert plate)? good starter table?



Router Table Features
A 9-1/32" x 12-3/32" Phenolic or Aluminum Router Insert Plate with removable rings that allow different size openings
Two Aluminum T-Track Slots and One Aluminum Miter Slot
The T-Track Slots allow attachment of featherboards or jigs to the fence
Split Fence has a dust port and adapter for standard Shop Vac hoses
Hex head adjusting screws to level magnetic insert to top
Sturdy 1" thick table top has a durable 24" x 16" MDF and Melamine surface with banded edges
Router Fence Features
High Split Fence with a MDF core and melamine surface, allows edge routing for safer vertical routing
Router Fence features 24" long anodized aluminum angle to keep the fence at 90° (within 0.010") for accuracy
Measuring tape on top of fence reads both right to left and left to right, allowing easy measurements
Durable plastic safety guard
Works with our Miter Gauge (#9458)
 

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Both tables will be similar and should do what you need them to do. I wouldn't bother with the optional miter gauge. Using a push block is easier but let's save that discussion for later when you are finished with deciding which table. The aluminum plates are stronger and more sag resistant but some of the plastic ones are fairly sag resistant too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just purchased the grizzly table it seemed like the exact same table as the mcls table but was cheaper and has a stand
 

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I have the Kreg benchtop router table. I like it. Looked at Bosch at Lowe's and, to me, it was flimsy compared to the Kreg. Kreg also offers it in a free standing table but a bit more $$$$. Kreg table is on sale at Woodcraft, if I recall. Check their website for info. My memory isn't as good as it used to be. Can't remember who told me, though.
 

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would rather not build my own at this point!
thanks
Can't help you a bit. The only thing I would recommend would be, make your own table. That way you get what you want, not what someone else thinks you want. I'm on at least the fifth version of my table, including router plates, and figure I've got something less than $10 in the entire batch, and yes, that is ten $. There's a long thread somewhere on here on homebuilt router tables, mine's in there somewhere too. I'd advise looking thru that before making any final decision. I don't have the link off the top of my head, and too busy, and lazy, to look it up.
 

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H when you get the table you'll have to mount the router to the insert plate. We can help with that when you're ready.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes I did order the grizzly table and I will be asking for advice about mounting the router as soon as I get it. Thanks
I didn't want to spend the time building my own table until I determine if I will be using it a lot. I run 2 businesses so shop time is a bit limited right now and I would rather spend the time on projects then on building a router table to build projects! But I am very thankful for all the advice!
 

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I'm with you on building projects in limited time. I've purchased most of my stuff, but I have made the stands for many of my tools. It was good practice and a learning experience on doing case work on cabinets, bookshelves and such. I also put doors on my tool stands to keep the sawdust out. Good practice.
 

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Most of us consider a table a must have item. There are some jobs that can't be done easily with a handheld router and bits about 2" and larger in diameter should only be used on a router table and most manufacturers will say so on the package the bit comes in. But there are also some jobs that should only be done handheld too, usually with a plunge router.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Now I'm trying to decide if I should upgrade my router before I mount it to the table...porter cable maybe?
 
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