Beginner router table

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Wilson joinery

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Hi everyone

I’m bamboozled by all of the different router tables out there and would appreciate some straightforward advice from you experts.

I’m wanting one so I can, amongst other things, start to make raised panel doors.

I’m a total beginner when it comes to router tables but have used my router a fair bit freehand, mainly bearing guided round over bits and for trying to flatten wonky slabs that are too big for my P/T.

Can anyone recommend a good starter table that does not cost an arm and a leg. Ideally it would be capable of housing my 1/2 makita router if possible. Also is it advisable to go for one with a powered lift? And stand alone on/off switch? I did look at many of the homemade router table videos on YouTube but I think for the time and effort it would take to make one I’d be better off buying a reasonable quality one, probably second hand on eBay or such like.

Thanks in advance.
Pete
 

TRITON

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I'd suggest you keep an eye on ebay, and also gumtree(as well as local snips) Chances are it will be pick up only

Or maybe something like this.
It's a basic system, but its all there. fence, Triton stuff are usually very adjustable with well thought out and unusual features.


Its probably better though to go for the full system inc the base unit - TRX7 base, as it has built in on/off, etc
 
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mr rusty

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Trend CraftPro CRTMK3. I've used mine a lot and it's great. Not sure about mounting the Makita - you would need to check - I have a Trend T11 in mine that allows above table height adjustment and fairly easy access to the collet nut.
 

Wilson joinery

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Hi guys, thanks very much to you both for your replies. I’d actually been looking at the triton so good that we are on the same wavelength! Mr rusty…how easy is it to dismount the router from the trend table? Just wondering if I’m going to need to buy a second router or is removal and fitting quite easy/straightforward?

Cheers
Pete
 

MikeK

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I was sucked into the hype of the Triton Workcentre from some YouTube presenters and bought the entire setup (table, contractor saw, router table, and router). This looked like the ideal garage setup since the table folded up for storage and the inserts could be stacked on shelves. I was sooooooo wrong.

The TWX7RT001 is designed to work with the Triton routers, but it might be able to work with other plunge routers. I bought the TRA001 router, and after fitting it to the table, I decided I was going to go in another direction and eventually abandoned the Triton setup completely. The ring inserts require three grub screws to set the alignment level with the router top. In it's effort to save money, Triton included only three grub screws, so changing the rings for different cutters required removing the screws from the soft plastic ring and going through the alignment process again with the next insert. I bought M4 grub screws for the other rings.

The T-tracks and saw fence rails are part of the main table, not the router table or saw insert. This meant each time I changed inserts, I had to calibrate the saw fence again. It was not possible to position the insert in exactly the same place each time it was moved. This would not be an issue for a carpenter cutting sheet goods for concrete form work, but I would not attempt to use the Triton for any precision work.

It gathered dust in my garage for two years and I couldn't even sell it for €100. Eventually, I needed the room, so I gave it away under the condition that the new owner never brings it back. If I was forced, under pain of death, to use the Triton router table insert and router as my only router table, I would have to give it some thought.
 

Lazurus

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I took the plunge with a Rutlands table complete with lift and router motor, a bit spendy but I is the business, I did have a look at the same as the OP but decided that the faffage, and loosing a router to the table made the initial investment worth while
 

Against_The_Grain

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Judging by the name you’re a professional concern?

Table routers are pretty terrible for heavy cuts such as panel raising, you have to take several passes as so not to overload the machine, they burn the panels almost always due to the requirement of a slow feed rate combined with a high RPM and cutter contact and router bits wear out very quickly. Overall they are just a miserable experience, fine for smaller work and hobby use but once you start pushing it you hit limitations very quickly, no matter how elaborate the table itself the weakest link is always the router with its universal motor not being capable of large amounts of torque like an induction motor.

A far better alternative would be a secondhand lightweight spindle moulder such as a Kity 623 or Elektra Beckum with a panel raising block, the machine can be picked up around the £300 mark and will be superior in almost every way to the table router.
 

Spectric

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The ring inserts require three grub screws to set the alignment level with the router top
I like the sound of those three grub screws, it screams of PITA loudly! If you were to refit it 120° to where you last set it then I guess it would need re-levelling and with different insert rings the problem must just get worse.

if I’m going to need to buy a second router or is removal and fitting quite easy/straightforward?
I would have a big router left in a table and then another for general use, there has been a lot of threads on this subject and all to easy to spend money on different approaches until you get to something you like, cheaper to get it right first time then itterate towards a final solution as many of us have done.

You need to set a budget, no good buying cheap and then not liking what you have because it gets expensive and frustrating. You also want to think of a table size and the space you have to put one because that can be another ball ache. If you have nothing and are starting from scratch then list all the options and the prices so you can clearly see what is what, at first glance it is easy to dismiss options as being too expensive but when looked at in detail you find spending say a few hundred more gets you into another league. The Jessem lifts with the AUK motors are really good, the package may not be cheap but it would be a one off hit and a really good setup, Router Table Combos

At the other end you could make your own or a combination of both but you must do the pricing, and look at other threads on this subject with some really good examples around. @MikeK has built an amazing setup but obviously was tempted by the Triton initially and then you have others like Denis from "HOW" which will get you thinking.



One thing to keep in mind is that the router table plates are either imperial like Jessem, Kreg, Woodpecker and Incra or metric like UJK and keep this in mind, I have gone imperial with Jessem because there are more options.
 

harryc

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Make your own - lots of videos on Tube if you need any ideas.
 

Spectric

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I had not noticed you are a pro, so some of the comments by @Against_The_Grain are worth thinking about, the router is not that bad for most home / hobby woodworkers but the spindle moulder is another ball game, heavy cuts in one pass and flexability in cutters and depending on your line of work should be given consideration, could even be a cheaper option especially if you have three phase power in your workshop. If I was setting up a new workshop I think a spindle moulder and power feed would be high on the list, but also a router table as they also have their place.
 

MikeJhn

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I have one of these as my second string router table: Router Table with Lift & Motor | Next Day Delivery first off I threw the fence away and fitted an Axminster UJK fence, it does all I want in most instance's, added benefit is remote speed adjustment and built in lift, can't complain at the price, mine is not the Rutlands model, but a clone.

Agree with MikeK about the Triton it is truly awful, on the Triton table to adjust the height of the built in lift you have to move the fence, very badly thought out.
 

Fitzroy

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I have a Triton set up that I picked up on Gumtree for a keen price. It is not the greatest as the top is not very flat and the router plate in poor alignment with the table. It's been great as a learning experience as it was cheap and has helped me understand what is important. I've made one set of window casements on it and the moulding has a few steps due to the workpiece moving as it crossed the table.

I see plenty of cheap ones on Gumtree so perhaps grab one, have a play decide it works for you, then sell it on and invest in one that meets your needs.
 

Wilson joinery

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Hi everyone

Thanks all so much for you advice. It’s massively appreciated. I really like the idea of making my own (not sure I’ll have time with two young kids!) but buying a cheap one and having a play is also a great idea, I hadn’t really thought of that. I’ve never used a router table, ever. So I think I’ll plan to look for a cheap one, maybe upgrade the fence and then once I’m a bit more confident and experienced I’ll sell and upgrade if I decide that the cheap one isn’t doing what I need it too. Also, I’m not actually a pro (although my site name maybe suggests that) just an extremely keen and enthusiastic hobbyist who is looking to start a small joinery business within the next year to run alongside my day job.

Thanks again
Pete
 

MikeJhn

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They don't come any cheaper than the one I posted earlier, try and find one with a built in router and lift at a lesser price, new with guarantee.
 

Wilson joinery

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Hi Mikejhn, you mentioned in your first post that yours is a clone and not actually a Rutlands, do you know what kind it is?

Cheers
Pete
 

Spectric

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I have this going, all you would need is a Triton router and a table top/fence which you could make.

 

mr rusty

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Mr rusty…how easy is it to dismount the router from the trend table? Just wondering if I’m going to need to buy a second router or is removal and fitting quite easy/straightforward?

I have a separate router permanently mounted, so can't really comment with any direct experience. I think if whatever project you are working on needs both table and hand held routers as you work through it, you are best getting an additional router. If table use is very occasional then perhaps not.
 

TRITON

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I was sucked into the hype of the Triton Workcentre from some YouTube presenters and bought the entire setup (table, contractor saw, router table, and router). This looked like the ideal garage setup since the table folded up for storage and the inserts could be stacked on shelves. I was sooooooo wrong.

The TWX7RT001 is designed to work with the Triton routers, but it might be able to work with other plunge routers. I bought the TRA001 router, and after fitting it to the table, I decided I was going to go in another direction and eventually abandoned the Triton setup completely. The ring inserts require three grub screws to set the alignment level with the router top. In it's effort to save money, Triton included only three grub screws, so changing the rings for different cutters required removing the screws from the soft plastic ring and going through the alignment process again with the next insert. I bought M4 grub screws for the other rings.

The T-tracks and saw fence rails are part of the main table, not the router table or saw insert. This meant each time I changed inserts, I had to calibrate the saw fence again. It was not possible to position the insert in exactly the same place each time it was moved. This would not be an issue for a carpenter cutting sheet goods for concrete form work, but I would not attempt to use the Triton for any precision work.

It gathered dust in my garage for two years and I couldn't even sell it for €100. Eventually, I needed the room, so I gave it away under the condition that the new owner never brings it back. If I was forced, under pain of death, to use the Triton router table insert and router as my only router table, I would have to give it some thought.
Thanks for the review Mark, I have the older triton router table(aha, no grub screws :D ) though i was thinking of changing to the more modern one as i liked the modern stand. But from your review, should I ever change, I'll look elsewhere.

As above, the OP is not looking for a cast iron, 400kg spindle moulder, but just a simple router table to run off bits and bobs from the sound of it.

Record power and Trend used to make a cast iron topped table, and it looked really good. But with everything they've discontinued it which is a shame.

Actually I see Charnwood has taken up the mantle.
 
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Jacob

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If you are doing traditional straight raised or not raised panels like these it's quite easy with a table saw and finishing off with hand planes. You need zero clearance insert to stop the thin edge dropping down the slot.
Probably quicker than a router and certainly a lot cheaper!
Screenshot 2022-06-09 at 18.49.01.png
 
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