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Recommend me a starter router table setup for less than £500

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TheVanguard

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Hi first post and I am new to woodworking in general!

I am looking to get a complete cheapish router table set up...pref for around £400 to £500

I am hoping for router, table (+lift?), dust extraction and maybe even a few bits to get me started for that price.

The set up will be in a garage, so as long as i get the worst of the dust, happy to blow the rest outside..

Was thinking of the...

Router = Bosch AE1400 = £90
Table + Lift = ??? = £200 ish
Dust extractor = ??? £100 ish
Bits = ??? £50

is this doable on my budget?

Thanks
 

MikeG.

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Welcome.

Buy a second hand router, and make your own table and lift. Hook up an old vacuum cleaner from Ebay to it, and you'll be able to put £400 + of your budget to the stuff that really counts in a workshop...........wood.

Think I'm joking? I've made furniture professionally, have been woodworking for 40 years, and I've just described my own set up. Don't fall into the trap that so many beginners do, that of thinking that it is all about kit. It isn't. Rather spend your budget on wood, and your time on practising.
 

mbartlett99

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Mike is spot on. This really is an easy little thing to do; buy a nice plate, some T-track, a mitre gauge and off you go. Some routers ie the Tritons don't need a separate lift anyway.

Unless you've a specific need I'd keep this as simple as possible and save your money until you've more experience - heaven knows there will be plenty of places to splash the cash.
 

Sideways

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Well, you did ask ...

A router is a very versatile woodworking tool. Worth putting £150 + into a good quality second hand one which will last you decades IMO. The quality of the accessories is a good indication of the quality of the router. Don't buy one without seeing and hearing a few of them in action first.

Each to their own, but the plunge router is a super useful tool used the right way up. Most routers aren't made to hang upside down under a table and aren't very easy to adjust in that position. I assume you're interested in moulding lots of small / narrow stuff if you want a table with it ? As others have said, a DIY table is much the best value.

Routers don't make THAT much dust. Take your time scouring ebay etc, pay £30-£50 for a used LOW NOISE (< 65dB) commercial rated vacuum cleaner like a Karcher T-201 or a Nilfisk GD-930 that will run non-stop for hours on end. At that price you'll need to spend some time cleaning it up but they are far quieter than most other vacuums and extractors and the low noise is priceless !
If you run out of patience , buy a Henry. If you make loads of dust, buy a £30 plastic cyclone separator to use with it. It adds to the noise but makes the dust bags last far longer.
 

LancsRick

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Variation on the above advice but fundamentally the same.

Get yourself a triton router, if you can find a tra001 secondhand then you're laughing as they're great table routers.

For extraction just use a hoover connected to the back of a fence.

If you want a pre-made fence and table solution then the triton twx7 is a good option. Or make your own, there are lots of designs out there from mdf and a few tee bolts. Definitely make your own table/cabinet, it's good practice and from retail they're silly money for what they are.

You'll find a lot of love on here for Wealden bits, and with good reason. If you're starting out then trend do a box of about 20 bits for 50quid which is a good selection without breaking the bank.
 

fezman

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When i started out, I made a rudimentary table / fence and made an insert from a piece of aluminium plate from ebay. Attached the Bosch 1400 and it was OK. But... I found anything that needed to be accurate was a PITA to achieve.

So i bought a Trend CRT and Trend TK11. I got these for about £500, they look a little more expensive than that now (about £550 on amazon). I got the box of trend bits (about £65 now) free with the router. Second hand - this setup should knock you back about £300-350.

The setup is great and has more than done what I have asked of it. The ability to use the TK11 with it's built in lift enables very fine adjustments to be made.

The trend bits are very basic and a few of them have snapped. So another vote for Wealden's cutters, they are very good and the customer service / dispatch times are excellent.

Another addition i use a lot is the trend digital depth stop gauge, saves a chunk of time and faff when setting up.
 

MikeG.

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LancsRick":17be26y2 said:
......If you want a pre-made fence and table solution then the triton twx7 is a good option. Or make your own, there are lots of designs out there from mdf and a few tee bolts........
Just a quick comment on this. For some reason people think that a router table fence needs to move in a parallel motion (ie stay parallel to the front edge of the table). It doesn't. Mine pivots at one end, so all you have to do is control the moving end. T tracks and so on are unnecessary......just stick a bolt through the fence and table at the far end.

Also, "lifts" are a simple homemade project, easily done in wood (plus a couple of hinges, a bolt, and a captive nut), and they give the precise control that Fezman talks about for pennies. You don't need a specific router, nor a table insert, either. An entire micro-controllable super accurate router table from scrapwood is a Sunday afternoon project, and I urge people to make one themselves, working it out from first principles........because yet again you're being sold expensive and unnecessary kit. Unfortunately, woodworkers who might have been expected to know better have been sucked into this scam, and so newcomers are bombarded with falsehoods about lifts, plates, fences, extraction, and so on, and don't realise that it really, really doesn't have to be this way.
 

fezman

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I hear all your saying Mike, and agree with it in the main. I used my home built table and fence (with a bolt pivot!), with a home made lift for about a year. However, the things I like about this hobby are a) making things, b) making jigs & homebuilt tools and c) treating myself to the best tools I can afford when I want.

So whilst the purchase of new tools does eat into the wood fund, it also gives me much pleasure to buy a new tool, learn the techniques to use it etc. , as it does to make a jig or make a new piece. That's the balance for me - it is what keeps me sane from the day job!!

Right I'm off to cut a few M&T's with my £5 mallet and £8 Aldi chisels ;-)
 

Lonsdale73

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It was a query similar to yours that first brought me here some years ago but by that time I'd already wasted a good 30% of your budget on a tabe that wasn't really up to the task. And I'd bought a Triton router because it had a fancy handle that allowed adjustment from above the table; can't tell you when I last used the handle as I find it just as easy/quick to position it roughly after fitting the bit and fine tuning with the microadjuster - you have to go underneath anyway to lock it off and release the microswitch that prevents the router from starting up when changing bits!

What Mike says re: fretting over parallel fence, I can't tell you how much time I wasted agonising over afore coin dropped that you're effectively drawing a tangent against something spinning in a circular orbit. I can picture Chalkie, my old math teacher, rolling his eyes in dismay.

I bought a HUGE set of bits, 66 of them in total and then supplemented them with yet more. I find the bits I use most are bearing guided flush trim and a selection of straight cutters. Most of the original set of 66 I've not yet found a use for.

And remember to check out the sales section on here, was a chap selling a Triton router and table on here recently, don't think he's had a buyer yet.

Where in Lincs are you?
 

TheVanguard

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Thanks for the input, plenty to think about...decisions decisions, oh and i’m in Louth for the person who asked where about in Lincs!
 

Lonsdale73

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TheVanguard":ct8zsaxp said:
Thanks for the input, plenty to think about...decisions decisions, oh and i’m in Louth for the person who asked where about in Lincs!
I'm in Lincoln. I don't have the knowledge, skills or ability of others on here however I do have a small garage workshop if you wanted some ideas and a plethora of "what not to do" tales to help you avoid some of the costly and/or stupid mistakes I've made!
 

sunnybob

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I made my own router table / cabinet from 9 mm ply, following plans from Stumpy Nubs on utube. Cost about 40 quid for 1 metre cube unit. I changed the design to incorporate two large drawers that were rescued from a double bed base unit. I made my own top from a square metre of melamine offcut from a woodyard and edged it with cherry offcuts.
I made my own lift from scrap wood and a bit of threaded stud, with a large crank handle on the front of the cabinet for infinite adjustments.

It aint pretty, and no, I aint posting pics here for all the cabinet makers to have a fit over :roll: :D (its more a plain brown package type of picture show) but its a 100% fit for task. 8)

I did spend on a large makita router on the advice of my son, who is a 20 year shop fitter / joiner.
Because I make lots of small items I have spent out on the top of the table though.
I now have an incra insert plate (because i got fed up with the resin plates warping) I have a UJK pro fence with split fences and hold down tracks, all running in UJK T track ( red, its all red, mmmmmmm, red)

It all depends on you. If you feel the need to make a masterpiece, thats fine. Take a look at the one that Andy ( Farmer Giles) made a while back, it wouldnt be out of place in a stately home's front parlour.
 

MikeJhn

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Extracts from the Lumberjack RT1500 thread:
I have not linked to the thread, because there are a lot of irrelevant posts on it.

"I need to carry out a bit of timber moulding, not in my main workshop, so got hold of a Lumberjack RT1500, this was a shop soiled model on e-by for £100.00 delivered, have to say its a very solid all metal construction unit with a very smooth lifting mechanism, came with four different collets, so all eventualities taken care of, the fence is a bit off the wall and does not slide well on the metal table top, the mitre gauge is the normal loose affair, but not beyond the whit of man to sort out, as with all router tables and saw benches come to that, the bottom of the unit is open so chips off the router heading in that direction end up on the bench, again not beyond the whit of man, as I get to use the table I will update on here."

Link: http://www.lumberjacktools.co.uk/produc ... gJ4nvD_BwE

"After using the Lumberjack for over a year now, it has proved to be a very durable and useful addition to my UK workshop, I have upgraded the fence to the Axminster UJK compact Router table one as the plastic job with the Lumberjack was not to my liking, the motor has proved to be adequately powerful enough with a 1/2" bit to rout out 62mm high Oak with this cutter: https://www.wealdentool.com/acatalog/On ... a_702.html

Just goes to show, in use these cheap units can be very different than the opinion of someone who does not have one and guess's how good it is."

From Beardo: "I have used this table a lot. I have generally been very pleased with it. The instruction book is not great, it covers assembly pretty well but it's thin on usage. For instance I found that when I cut mortises the router bit had moved vertically as the wood passed. I rang them and they were very helpful, explaining that when you set the height with the wheel on the front of the table (which is very easy to use and allows precision setting) you need to reach underneath to tighten a locking knob. This is not mentioned in the manual! This knob needs to be tightened carefully and if not right can slip.
The speed is also easy to adjust and the table is sturdy. I found the clear plastic dust extractor cover got in the way and prevented the back plate being set close to the bit as it fouled on the feather board. I used the table with it hinged up out of the way and the extraction was fine. The dust extraction port has a couple of bars across it and this can cause it to block but it is easily cleared by sticking the vacuum nozzle into the front.
All together this is a very usable and well built product at a good price."
 

Marineboy

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MikeG.":17rxkxff said:
LancsRick":17rxkxff said:
......If you want a pre-made fence and table solution then the triton twx7 is a good option. Or make your own, there are lots of designs out there from mdf and a few tee bolts........
Just a quick comment on this. For some reason people think that a router table fence needs to move in a parallel motion (ie stay parallel to the front edge of the table). It doesn't. Mine pivots at one end, so all you have to do is control the moving end. T tracks and so on are unnecessary......just stick a bolt through the fence and table at the far end.

Also, "lifts" are a simple homemade project, easily done in wood (plus a couple of hinges, a bolt, and a captive nut), and they give the precise control that Fezman talks about for pennies. You don't need a specific router, nor a table insert, either. An entire micro-controllable super accurate router table from scrapwood is a Sunday afternoon project, and I urge people to make one themselves, working it out from first principles........because yet again you're being sold expensive and unnecessary kit. Unfortunately, woodworkers who might have been expected to know better have been sucked into this scam, and so newcomers are bombarded with falsehoods about lifts, plates, fences, extraction, and so on, and don't realise that it really, really doesn't have to be this way.
On my home made table the only money I’ve spent is on one length of T track for the fence to take featherboard hold downs. I secure the fence to the table with 2 cramps, and as Mike says there is no need for it to be parallel to the front of the table. I’ve not bothered with making a lift, I’ve just removed the column springs from the router (Bosch 1200) and nudge the thing up to the correct height before locking it. Simples.
 

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