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Reasonably priced decent quality router table insert plates?

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Pedropete

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Building myself another knock-down router table to hold my DW625 (with plunge bar and musclechuck) and currently reviewing options for insert plates.

I've previously made do with a ply top and aperture of sufficient size for the work in hand but this does present challenges with limited cutter height (due to thickness of top being 18mm) and the risk of dipping in with smaller cutters and work. As such, I quite fancy a ready made plate with variable size insert-rings. A more secure lead-in pin would be nice too. I've come to terms with them all being offensively overpriced for what you get (some more than others) but am concerned that quality seems to vary wildly, even on the more expensive options.

Have looked at a range of options available in the UK and would be grateful for your thoughts/experiences with same, and suggestions for options I've missed:

Probably not
- Trend (Rousseau) phenolic - £38-40 at various retailers: quite a few reports of crowned plates and then sagging under load
- Incra alloy - £130 at Woodworker's Workshop: nice, but too expensive
- Ebay/Amazon generic alloy plates: =/- 1-3mm variance in size? No thanks.

Maybes
- Kreg - £65 +postage at various retailers (£85 with levelling kit): reports of sagging/warping?
- Jessem Rout R phenolic - £70 + postage at Rutlands: lack of reviews but looks solid. Wary about buying from Rutlands though.
- UJK phenolic - ~£80 at Axminster with additional two rings: bit of a lottery in terms of getting a flat one?
- Rockler phenolic - £43 at FFX (£59 with rings): no UK reviews but scores okay on Rockler's site, plus, FFX customer service back on form so additional confidence there
- Trend alloy - £51 at Toolstop: seems like a comprehensive kit with mounting and levelling bits included but 6mm seems a bit thin. Again, no verifiable reviews

Thanks,
Pete.

EDIT: added a couple more along with current best prices I've found
 

Eric The Viking

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My current one is "old" Axminster, pre-UJK. It's anodised gold/yellow, 6mm aluminium and I got it drilled for my T11. It has been very good, but I'm upgrading to Incra (I have already bought the plate, but it's a different shape, so I have to find time to do the whole tabletop).

The only real issue is that the insert discs are plastic, and have worn down a bit. It's a nuisance having any step, no matter how tiny, especially on the outfeed side. I have rings from a phenolic plate, and although they look like they came from the same mould, they don't quite fit, which is very annoying. I wish Axminster sold the rings separately, as they are really consumables.

It's good enough for now, but the new one is pre-drilled, and has steel insert "rings" which are adjustable height, and it's thicker, although I've experienced no sag with the present one.

Go aluminium if you can. I like having adjustable grub screws in the corners (the new one arguably has too many of them however!). The screws also hold the plate down, via rare earth magnets embedded in the corners of the tabletop hole. The plate is also very handy as a base extension when using the machine handheld (I am very careful to take out and not lose the grub screws though!).

Finally the new insert plate is squarer than the old one. I think this isn't as good, as quickly slipping it out of the tabletop won't be as easy, unless I want to remove the grab handles on the router, which I don't. Your DW 625 is essentially the same size/shape as the Trends, so you might find you agree with me!
 

Pedropete

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Eric The Viking":2glm030x said:
The only real issue is that the insert discs are plastic, and have worn down a bit. It's a nuisance having any step, no matter how tiny, especially on the outfeed side. I have rings from a phenolic plate, and although they look like they came from the same mould, they don't quite fit, which is very annoying. I wish Axminster sold the rings separately, as they are really consumables.

Go aluminium if you can. I like having adjustable grub screws in the corners (the new one arguably has too many of them however!).
The insert discs with Axminster's plates is one of the big turnoffs for me: you get one with the plate but then have to spend another £70 if you want the full set. In Kreg and Jessem's favour is that they come more included for the price.

Would like an alloy plate but they're generally quite a bit more than the plastic ones, which is an unfortunate factor I can't avoid. The only lower cost alloy plate I'd look at is the Trend but can't find a single user or press review for it.
 

Pedropete

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For anyone interested, I went with the Trend alloy plate. Came in at just shy of £50 from Toolstop with their 3% off voucher. Plate is flat, insert rings sit flush enough (and are available as spares) and the kit is actually very comprehensive, including: plate, insert-rings, M5 threaded table-inserts, M5 screws, lead-in pin, levelling grub screws, magnetic inserts (glue into the table for levelling screws to drive against) three screws for mounting the router and even an allen key for the levelling screws.

Added to that, it's pre-drilled for Trend T10 and T11, so the DW625 goes straight on. It's also pre-drilled for above table height adjustment on the T11, or, T10/DW625 with a Router Raizer fitted.

Only time will tell if stays flat but so far I'm very happy with it.

EDIT: Less happy now - see post below
 

sunnybob

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Cheap is not a good criteria for a router plate (trust me on this :roll: ), unless you are doing construction work which is not to critical measurements.

My first router table had a Kreg plate. I had problems with it from the start. i bought the Kreg corner levelling plates. A good idea but a complete pain to adjust accurately.
I finally gave up with the Kreg, emailed them in america, and they sent a new plate under warranty without any problems at all.
Shame that was as warped as the first one. :roll:

After 3 years farting around with phenolic, I finally bit the bullet 2 months ago and bought the incra undrilled plate for a 100 quid. It wasnt difficult to fit my makita router, and I am kicking myself I didnt just buy the right tool for the job years ago.

The incra plate is superb, the steel inserts are held down by powerful rare earth magnets and are even adjustable for height to get a perfectly smooth surface.
I've just bought the extra insert discs with ventilation slots to remove more dust.
 

Steve Maskery

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I hear what you say about the price of the Incra, and it's a very valid concern. But having used a basic ali plate, a Rousseau phenolic, a can'trememberthename ali plate with inserts and now the Incra, my only regret is that I didn't shell out for the Incra in the first place. Well, it probably didn't exist then, but you get my drift. It is excellent.

In fact, it's now even more excellenter now that it was when I bought mine, just a few years ago. The router is mounted at 45 degrees, but it used to be mounted in such a way that you could not use the top height adjuster. I complained about it. No action. ETV complained about it. No action. Probably everybody with a T10 or a Router Raizer complained about it. No action. Then Peter Sefton complained about and finally they did something about it, so now you can mount your plate in the conventional orientation and still adjust the height from above.

I recently found that my RT is sagging slightly, so I might have to remake it anyway. Whether or not I replace the plate too depends on how much of my ISA I can salvage from Neil bleep-bleeping Woodford.
 

Pedropete

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Turns out the Trend alloy plate has some of the same issues as their phenolic version, in that with less than a week's working on it the plastic insert-rings have bedded in to the point where work is now hanging up on them, particularly on shorter and thinner pieces =D> .

To their credit, Toolstop sorted it without any quibbling (<30 days since purchase) but I am now back to hunting for another. Thankfully I hadn't done much work on the top it was installed in (no tracks or edging fitted) as wanted to use the plate for a while in case it sagged/buckled/started speaking french, etc. Shame, as I was feeling quite smug about how accurately I'd cut the aperture and rebate.

Currently deciding which of the kids to trade for the Incra plate.
 

sunnybob

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Girls cost more when they grow up, just sayin' :shock: :roll:

But truly, the incra is the way to go. After 4 years trying to make phenolic work, I've realised it was 4 years wasted. (hammer) (hammer) (hammer)
The undrilled plate was at £65, but even at a ton, I doubt they can be beaten.
 

Eric The Viking

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I bought from Peter Sefton - Plate (Incra plate, drilled for DW 625 and/or Trend T10 T11) + various inserts and an MDF template for routing out the aperture.

Haven't had time to do it yet, but it is superb build quality and Peter's service was excellent.

Just sayin'

E.
 

Steve Maskery

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Pedropete":3w24kd8t said:
Turns out the Trend alloy plate has some of the same issues as their phenolic version, ...
...currently deciding which of the kids to trade for the Incra plate.
Sounds to me like you are travelling down the same path that all the rest of us have travelled :)
 
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