Kreg precision router table system
This is not a comprehensive review because I have not had this item long enough to know every detail about it. But I have used it enough to have discovered a few things about it that I felt might help someone else who is considering this router table for themselves. Knowing what I know now, I might not have made the purchase, but now that I have it I have learned a few workarounds to make using it smoother. Adjusting my technique, infeed pressure, and so on. This review will undoubtedly sound worse than it is. But I do find these issues annoying, especially for the money I paid. I am into this system for about $600+ counting all the accessories I bought. I can see a better (next time shop made) table in my future, but after I put some miles on this one first. But I want to tell others about my experience so far so they know what I know while they still have their money in their pocket.
I bought the Kreg precision router table, model prs1040. It comes with the universal bench frame that has adjustable feet, the 24x32 table top, and the fence. I also purchased the featherboards, on/off safety switch, and lockable wheel casters, and a set of different sized inserts for the plate. There is a version of this table available that comes with most of these items also, model prs1045.
Ok, first, the metal bench frame is rock solid. Very well built, and I added the wheel casters for easy mobility, and when I lock them down to prevent movement it feels very stable. I elevated mine to a 40" height for easy use while providing easy reach below the table to adjust or remove the router motor with minimal bending. A+ on the stand.
The table top is made of MDF with a microdot laminate surface. This is very slick, making for easy passage of wood across it. It also has built in aluminum miter slot and T-track. I had to install this out of the package, it is not already installed. This I had some trouble with. The mount screws did not seat totally flush inside the track, and even though the table top was predrilled, the bottom laminate was not and the screws supplied went all the way through and chipped the bottom laminate below the table. Not a big deal, but if this bothers you then you might want to predrill all the way through before installing the supplied track. Also, my track does not sit flush with the surface 100% either. It is about 1mm below surface, and when I rout small irregular parts I have experienced that the side of the wood away from the bit will catch on the edge of the dado behind it in the table. The edge of this dado has not been eased from the factory and the laminate is sharp, so you may even want to run a bearing guided chamfer bit through it first before installing the track to help this.
My plate insert would not fit into the routed opening out of the box. I sanded the edge of it rather than rout the opening to avoid the possibility of ruining the top. Once I got it to fit the opening all was good. I like the leveling system quite well. It is easy to get the plate dead flush with the top and you can secure the plate so it doesn't move. But, the MDF top will expand and contract and make the plate stand proud of the surface or even recessed at times, so readjustment is needed frequently. Even a double sided laminate table top does not stop this. Moisture absorbsion can occur right at the insert plate cutout where the MDF edge is exposed.
The insert plate it comes with is phenolic. It is blank and must be drilled to match your router. There are some available separately that are predrilled for popular routers if you don't trust your ability to get it centered. The supplied plate with the table has a set of concentric circles printed on the bottom to help with centering. The insert rings lock into the plate using a 1/4 turn and this system works well. They are dead flush with the plate surface. Previously they made a version that used screws to hold the rings in but this improvement allows for faster changes for different bit sizes. There is also a supplied brass starter pin for irregular shaped workpieces to make easing them into the bit safer. This threads into the plate and works well. Make sure to avoid lining your router up with the predrilled hole for this. I forgot that when I drilled my plate and nearly drilled into it. It is the only predrilled hole in the plate besides the mount holes for attaching to the table.
The fence system is easy to adjust forward and backward and lock down. It stays locked in place once it is locked also. No surprise movements during use. I bought the micro adjuster too. This works nicely also and provides another locking point to prevent movement. Very solid. The fence glides on the table on small sliders that keep the fence slighly elevated so sawdust buildup does not affect wood movement. The fence does have some design flaws though. Because the fence is made from extruded aluminum tubing, the fence faces are adjusted by loosening phillips screws through their faces, and with them being only about an inch long through a 3/4 thick face it is easy to accidentally loosen one too far so it comes away from the nut inside the T-track that holds it on. At that point it is necessary to remove the face, take the nut from the track and put it back together again, then start over making the adjustment to the face. I would have preferred a through bolt with a knob on the back and slots in the faces so they can slide, not come apart, and tighten down again. That would have been quick and simple. Also, the vac port for some strange reason is offset from the center where the bit is. Why? This DOES NOT work as well as it would being centered directly. I believe the hollow fence also allows for too much suction loss and prevents good collection action and allows sawdust to build up inside the fence. I plan to modify mine by filling in this cavity to improve vacuum suction. It is not needed. The fence also allows for jointing by inserting supplied shims behind the outfeed side. This action works well, however I experienced wood catching on the edge of the outfeed fence as it passed the bit, both in jointing setup and simply edge forming with both fence faces set inline with each other. This does not always happen and may be due to my technique, or even bowed wood. A chamfer on the edge of the face would help this, but the supplied fence faces are laminated and edge banded so adding a chamfer will expose an MDF edge. I can simply make new faces, and in doing so I can add zero clearance insert holding ability to the fence which it does not have now.
Aside from the difficulties I described, I have actually been able to use the table easily anyway. I simply take my time, don't get frustrated, and I get good results. The featherboards work very well and make the use feel safe. They are made for standard 3/4 slots and I have even used one on my table saw with good results. The safety guard above the bit works ok, but I wish it was clear instead of see thru blue. The pic below shows it clear but mine is blue. I removed it for better visibility. I use safety glasses, and keep the fence faces in close to the bit so there is not much chance of stray wood chips flying out at me. For jointing, it has to either be elevated all the way above the fence faces, which reduces its effectiveness, or moved further towards the infeed side (nearly away from the bit), or completely removed. The outfeed fence contacts it otherwise.
Sorry if this review sounds like a bunch of complaints. I just want these details known before someone spends huge money thinking this system will be all they need, like I did.
Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 07-26-2015 at 10:05 AM.