Author Topic: Router Table Advise  (Read 9261 times)

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Offline mntbighker

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Router Table Advise
« on: December 18, 2007, 12:45 AM »
I guess this might be a question better asked on a more general forum but here goes. I have been trying to collate data to build myself or buy a capable router table. I won't go into the process but I am interested in opinions on what I have in mind. First of all it seems like most of the "high end" gear standardizes on the big Porter Cable router. I am somewhat inclined to swim against the stream and use a Milwaukee because the PC has some glaringly primitive shortcomings by modern standards. This is the first topic for debate. The next is that I am currently looking to include a Jointech Cabinet makers system. I chose that over the Incra based on reviews and comments made elsewhere here... so debate point number two. Finally I am leaning toward the Benchdog Prolift Max because our shop at work swears by it and also the other selection I have made which the Benchdog Promax cast iron top. I would either buy a leg set or more likely build a base myself for all this. This setup is massive overkill for my needs at the moment but no more so than Festool is in general. Let the comments fly.

--Mark
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill

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Offline Greg B

  • Posts: 94
  • Lehi, UT
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2007, 01:20 AM »
I, too, am interested in any comments because I have tentatively settled on the PC router with an Incra system using Jointech's digital lift.  ;D Probably the same goals as Mark, but clearly a different path. Let 'em rip!

GB

Offline mntbighker

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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2007, 01:24 AM »
I, too, am interested in any comments because I have tentatively settled on the PC router with an Incra system using Jointech's digital lift.  ;D Probably the same goals as Mark, but clearly a different path. Let 'em rip!

GB
I looked at the JT lift and the hype sounds real good (no backlash and repeatability) but I read about some folks having issues with saw dust jamming the works. Our shop at work loves the Benchdog. What made you opt for Incra over JT?
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill

Offline Jim McFarland

  • Posts: 87
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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2007, 02:23 AM »
I recently replaced a standalone router table with the Bench Dog ProMax TS Cast Iron wing, Pro-Lift and PC7518.  I really liked the standalone table but wanted the floor space for homemade sysports (mmm...more Festools?).  Limited use, but so far very happy with the new setup -- especially like the lift versus the Router Raizer I used in the standalone table.   I did have some difficulty aligning the ProLift insert plate with the CI top. 

I've read good reviews on the Milwaukee 5625 as well so you'll likely be happy with that motor if you don't like the PC for whatever reason.  I haven't found any problems with the PC yet.  Can you elaborate re PC problems?  Too late for me, but maybe not others considering the PC. 

I built the shroud for below the table dust collection (4" DC port) and when combined with a vacuum on the fence, the dust collection is very good.  I also fit a PC121 portable OSS to a Lexan insert to get OSS at no additional floor space cost (I have a JET JBOS-5 but it can be a pain to dig out and set up). 

I'm not sure Amazon still has the offer, but I purchased a Dremel engraver (~$15) and bought the lift at 20% off.  Separately, purchased a B&D battery screwdriver (again, ~$15) and got the CI extension at 20% off.  Felt a bit guilty but Amazon makes these offers.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 02:56 AM by Jim McFarland »
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
- Bertrand Russell

Offline mntbighker

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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2007, 03:45 AM »
I'm not sure Amazon still has the offer, but I purchased a Dremel engraver (~$15) and bought the lift at 20% off.  Separately, purchased a B&D battery screwdriver (again, ~$15) and got the CI extension at 20% off.  Felt a bit guilty but Amazon makes these offers.
Looks like they still have the offer. I would have interpreted the offer assuming the discount was not cumulative. Can I ask the details on the order you placed? Were there other items? It's not clear how the items map together. If I buy the small cast iron extension will the discount apply to that instead? Did you just buy the 4 items alone? I'm prepared to pull the trigger if the deal is as sweet as it sounds. Thanks for chiming in, the first issue with the PC router I recall is no spindle lock. That's a sweet setup you have.
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill

Offline jonny round boy

  • Posts: 3227
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2007, 06:40 AM »
mntbighker,

Feel free to 'borrow' my signature anytime...  ;D

BTW, is the R22 yours?
Festoolian since February 2006

TS55R EBQ saw - CTL26 - CTL Mini - OF1400EBQ router - KS120 Kapex SCMS - ETS150/3 sander - RO90 sander - DF500 Domino - PDC18/4 drill - PSC420 jigsaw - OFK500 trimmer

Wish list (in no particular order!): Anything not listed above....

Offline Lou Miller

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  • North Wales, PA
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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2007, 08:54 AM »
Apparently some knowledgeable router heads (like Pat Warner) have been saying negative things about the PC7518 in recent years. I won't argue with them because they've forgotten more about routers than I'll ever know. However, I'll tell ya though, I own 2 of them and could not be any happier with them both. I have one mounted in a home made table along with a Jointech Cabinet Maker's setup and a Jessem lift. How anyone could say a single negative thing about a setup like that is beyond me.

As to what fence you get, you can debate that all you want, but there isn't a whole lot that separates the Jointech from the Incra. Both are outstanding systems that will serve you very well for a very very long time. The Jointech seems to be built just a little bit more sturdy and it also has a very nice feature with the removable inserts. They may not seem like a big deal, but it ends up making things so much easier when you get accustomed to using the system. I have an insert that is precut for just about every bit that I run in my table. They not only work exceptionally well in preventing tearout, but they also serve as perfect setup blocks. The are easy to store and easy to swap out quickly. Maybe Incra has something like this now, but I know they didn't when I bought into the Jointech 6 or 7 years ago. I typically see the Incra selling for less money than the Jointech though. I know in terms of the operations they actually perform, there is no difference at all between systems. I don't know very much about any other system on the market, just those two.

When it comes to lifts, they are a luxury and not a necessity. Now that mine is bought and paid for, I'd never be without one again. However, I went without one for years and got along fine. It is a whole lot nicer having one, its just an expensive upgrade. The big Milwaukee, or similar router, can make adding a lift not necessary at all.

Since you've been looking at Jointech products, did you see their design for a router table? I personally didn't build it, but kind of wish I had. Its a very nice looking setup with a ton of space for storgae. I've seen several pictures on Woodnet over the years of people's versions of that table. ALL of them say they are very happy with it. Combined with a Jointech fence (or even an Incra), it almost seems like a no-brainer to me. If and when I need to redo my table, my new design will at least be very similar to theirs if not exact.

As to the router... The PC7518 is, by a huge margin, the most commonly used 3+ HP in production environments. There aren't many pro shops in the US that don't use several of them on a daily basis. Regardless of what anyone says about them, they are great routers and will handle anything you can possibly throw at them. They have an extremely proven track record, far more so than any of their competitors. I've spent countless days running things through my table for 8 hours a day non-stop over the years. The PC has never been anything but perfect the entire time. Now I don't know if anything is different about the 7518 since Porter cable was bought out by Black and Decker. If today's 7518 are exactly the same as the ones that were made just a  few years ago, I wouldn't hesitate at all to build my table around one. Just make sure you include decent dust collection and you'll be problem free for a very long time.




Offline mntbighker

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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2007, 10:18 AM »
mntbighker,

Feel free to 'borrow' my signature anytime...  ;D

BTW, is the R22 yours?
Thanks, the R22 was at the school where I trained. Too bad I never got to finish my commercial ticket.
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill

Offline Greg B

  • Posts: 94
  • Lehi, UT
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2007, 10:22 AM »
Quote
What made you opt for Incra over JT?

Initially, I didn't realize that the two systems were virtually identical in terms of what they offer. Jointech's offering seemed less inclusive. Now I'm taking a deeper look at Jointech's site. At first, it was more confusing to me than Incra's, in fact, it still is. I just need to study it a little more.

GB

Offline Jim McFarland

  • Posts: 87
  • MFTs provide excellent shade
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2007, 11:03 AM »
...
Looks like they still have the offer. I would have interpreted the offer assuming the discount was not cumulative. Can I ask the details on the order you placed? Were there other items? It's not clear how the items map together. If I buy the small cast iron extension will the discount apply to that instead? Did you just buy the 4 items alone? I'm prepared to pull the trigger if the deal is as sweet as it sounds. Thanks for chiming in, the first issue with the PC router I recall is no spindle lock. That's a sweet setup you have.

Mark, I initially added the Dremel tool with lift, CI table and 1/4" collet -- I only got the 20% discount on the cheapest item (collet).  I'm not sure the exact rules of the offer but after that experience I did separate transactions:
  1) "Black & Decker AS600 6-Volt Alkaline Battery Cordless Screwdriver" and lift
  2) "Dremel 290-01 1.15 Amp 7,200 Stroke Per Minute Engraver includes Letter and Number Template" and CI extension
Tools Plus actually had a better price on the PC7518 at the time I purchased.

Lack of spindle lock is really not a problem when using the lift to pull the motor up for above the table bit changes (I do have to remove the plate insert ring).  With my DC shroud in place a router spindle lock would probably be a pain.  I did add a shroud access door to tighten the lift column lock when using raised panel or cope/stick bits (lift instructions suggest using when long routing sessions).  I don't bother with the column lock when doing roundovers and the like (where a downward slip wouldn't ruin the workpiece) and, so far, no problem with slipping.

Edit:  Shroud access door also allows easier speed selection although I could reach the speed selector through the dust collection adapter -- access door/plate was an afterthought that serves both purposes.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 11:13 AM by Jim McFarland »
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
- Bertrand Russell

Offline Brice Burrell

  • Posts: 7393
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2007, 11:50 AM »
  I have the Milwaukee 5625. This is a good router, the 3 1/2 HP motor can handle almost anything, the fine adjuster allowed me to forgo a lift, and with the included T-wrench you can make adjustments above the table. It is very easy to set bit height plus the router runs smooth and is built like a tank. Now for the bad, if the designers at Milwaukee would have talked to the end users a little more, the 5625 could have been a great router. However, the lock button for the course adjustment must face your access door in the table, but the power switch, variable speed control and a RPM legend are on the other side of the router, facing away from the door. This makes it harder to get to the controls and make adjustments. This could be a deal breaker for some of you, bits can not be changed from above the table, The routers motor housing must be removed to install/change bits, this isn't hard to do, but, you shouldn't have too. For me these things are a fair trade off for not having to buy a lift and the tank-like build quality of the Milwaukee, this is based on my somewhat limited needs.

Offline mntbighker

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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2007, 01:06 PM »
Jim,

Thanks for confirming my suspicions about the Amazon transaction. I had assumed all that and planned to do exactly as you had done. That retail game at least has pretty predictable rules and behaviors ;-) Has anyone figured out how to get the extra 20% off on the router? That is obviously not an "accessory" so does not meet the requirement.

Brice,

Thanks for the info on the Milwaukee. The evidence is mounting against it and I will likely opt for the PC. Owners seem darn happy with it no matter how many years it has gone without any feature enhancements. The inability to change bits above the table annoys me with the Milwaukee and the feedback from Benchdog about installing it sounds too much like a kludge. So PC it shall be.

I may end up doing this in stages. I'll get the top and lift while the deal is available and I'll get the end cap. I can get my cabinet built (or bought) or whatever that shakes out as and pick up the Jointech setup after it's all working and the dust collection stuff is worked out. Somewhere in there I'll buy the router. It's actually a shame I can't use it with the Festool router I bought on Ebay (OF-2000) but obviously it's the wrong style unit for a lift. Many would argue that would be a waste anyway ;-) The obvious ideal situation would be to use a router that allows for a remote power AND speed control but that appears problematic. I read that someone has repackaged the Milwaukee with remote power and maybe speed too but that does not solve the bit change issue.

--Mark
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill

Offline Brice Burrell

  • Posts: 7393
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2007, 01:47 PM »
  Mark, a few more thoughts on the Milwaukee 5625. Not being able to change bits above the table bothered me at first. But the motor comes out so easily it's a non-issue for me now. Plus while the motor is out I set the speed. I have also installed on the router table a switched receptacle and wired to it an extension cord to control the routers power. Of course you can buy these types of switches too, but I decided to make my own.

  I opted for the Milwaukee 5625 and the Bench Dog portable table because I wanted, well a portable table. The 5625's "tank" construction and without a lift I knew the setup would be able to take the punishment of transportation and on-site use. So far so good.

  If you can find a place that has both routers (and other too) so you can look at them side by side, that would be best.

Offline Greg_R

  • Posts: 153
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2007, 02:46 PM »
What are you planning on doing with your router table?  Anytime that someone is considering a large router + expensive lift + switch they should consider a small shaper as an alternative (for the same cost).  I've had a Hitachi M12V + Router Raiser + Veritas top + Incra fence for years and it works quite well.  However, I've barely used that system since I got a Woodrat last year.  My complaints about the Incra fence are poor dust collection and the inability to work with large bits (the newer more expensive models have fixed the bit size issue).

My personal opinion is to get a good dovetail jig if you want to make dovetails with a router.  Build yourself a simple router table + wood fence with custom zero clearance inserts (I use UHMW plastics for the inserts).  Also have a miter slot in the table.  This will work for shaping panels, doing cope/stick routing, and basic edge routing.  Use a dovetail or box joint jig to crank out drawers, etc.

Offline mntbighker

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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2007, 04:22 PM »
What are you planning on doing with your router table?
Initially some cabinetry and then art pieces and abstract design furniture yet to be conceived.
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill

Offline mntbighker

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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2007, 04:38 PM »
Mark, I initially added the Dremel tool with lift, CI table and 1/4" collet -- I only got the 20% discount on the cheapest item (collet).  I'm not sure the exact rules of the offer but after that experience I did separate transactions:
  1) "Black & Decker AS600 6-Volt Alkaline Battery Cordless Screwdriver" and lift
  2) "Dremel 290-01 1.15 Amp 7,200 Stroke Per Minute Engraver includes Letter and Number Template" and CI extension
Tools Plus actually had a better price on the PC7518 at the time I purchased.
The initial ship confirmation lists everything at full price so either I missed a step or Amazon is going to find a way to screw me out of the discount. I hate these retail games. I have a query email pending.
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill

Offline Jerry Work

  • Posts: 307
    • The Dovetail Joint
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2007, 04:51 PM »
Hi all,

For those of you building router tables, know that I have two large table tops, one laminate over HDF with rubber edges and one solid phenolic (both Jointech).  Contact me off line if interested.

Jerry
The Dovetail Joint
Fine furniture designed and hand crafted by Jerry Work
in the 1907 former Masonic Temple building
in historic Kerby, OR. 
26 mi SW of Grants Pass on US 199, The Redwood Highway
Visitors always welcome!
http://jerrywork.com
glwork@mac.com

Offline Jim McFarland

  • Posts: 87
  • MFTs provide excellent shade
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2007, 06:00 PM »
...
The initial ship confirmation lists everything at full price so either I missed a step or Amazon is going to find a way to screw me out of the discount. I hate these retail games. I have a query email pending.

Yes, something has changed (offer or qualifying products) -- I saw the 20% discount before order confirmation.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
- Bertrand Russell

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 704
  • Arizona, USA
Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2007, 08:30 PM »
I'll second Lou Miller's mention of the Jointech router station design for a cabinet, if you are going to build.

http://www.jointech.com/routerstation.htm

With either Jointech or Incra as a fence system you will need a deep top to accomodate the fence.  The Jointech cabinet specifically addresses the design of the top, and orients the cabinet 90 degrees from most designs, such as the New Yankee table.

I built my own top for an Incra fence.  Initially it was mounted on a New Yankee sort of cabinet, which was not sufficient to adequately support the large top.  I took advantage of a closeout at Woodpeckers and bought a steel cabinet that is very similar to the Jointech design.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 09:32 AM by Daviddubya »
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline mntbighker

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Re: Router Table Advise
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2007, 04:13 AM »
...
The initial ship confirmation lists everything at full price so either I missed a step or Amazon is going to find a way to screw me out of the discount. I hate these retail games. I have a query email pending.

Yes, something has changed (offer or qualifying products) -- I saw the 20% discount before order confirmation.
After a long conversation with Amazon they honored the promo, but I'm betting something will be changing soon about the promo verbage to give them an out? Like I said, I hate these games retailers play. It's actually one of the nice things about Festool as bizarre as that sounds.
Festoolian since November 2007

TS55EQ saw - OF1400EQ router - OF2000 router - HL 850 planer - MFT 1080 - DF 500Q - RO 150 sander - RO 90 sander - CT 22 dust extractor - Kapex - CXS drill