Buy or build? I've seen a number of router tables out there that could very easily be built. Is there any table out there that is worth buying or is a homemade model just as good? Also, would a boughten fence be worth it if I did make the table?
but there's some *REALLY* nice tops and fences out on the market. I *think*, although I'm not your best source, that the BenchDog is one of the better brands (just remember seeing it come up quite a bit). Search around a bit, and I think you'll find plenty of info.
I'm building one now. By the time I total up everything it will probably be close to the cost of a Bench Dog, but I think it will be better---is the Norm/Am. WW version, with lots of storage, so I can keep all my router stuff in one place. Buying the fence might be good, but I haven't seen a top more than 3/4". All the plans I've looked at call for at least 1" thick top--there must be some reason.
Have heard a lot of people are happy with the Bench Dog and others with Rockler. Just settle on what you want and then price it out---just watch Bench Dog, because it seems they have a lot of add ons, which get expensive. Personally, I'm getting a kick out of building my own. Have purchased all the parts/wood and roughly up to about $270, but if you don't want a cabinet, you could go much lower.
I don't have one but I like the design of the Veritas router top sold by Lee Valley. Their fence looks good too unless you want to go with an incra or something. Another good place to look for router stuff is WoodHaven.
Go to LeeValley.com and get the Veritas router table kit. This will cost you $335 and spend another $68 for the bit jack. I just bought one for my shop at home and have three more of them where I work. They're worth every penny. Then go out and put a power feeder on it and watch what happens. You'll be amazed!!!
Basic router operations only require a flat, stable mount and a straight board for the fence. From this humble start you can get as elaborate as you want. By and large any of these will work.
One of the simplest ideas I've heard was mounting the router to a 2'x2' piece of ply and sitting it on top of a garbage can with some sand in the bottom. A couple of clamps and a piece of HDPE make the fence.
You can got away with this because of the radial nature of how a router cuts, There is no 'blade plane' to align to like with a saw. As long as the fence doesn't shift during use you'll cut like a pro.
Having said the above I'm an advocate of the router table as the R. wing of the TS. Most for space efficiency than anything else. In a small shop like mine I simply don't have the floor space of a dedicated router table (actually I have two table mounted routers, one in the saw and another freestanding)
One advantage to the saw mounted router is that if you buy a fancy fence you can then use it for both the TS and the router, effectively doubling the utility.
Timing is everything. Just got a sample issue of Workbench, where they reviewed router tables. Veritas and Bench Dog got high marks. The one from Hartville wasn't reviewed. Whether you buy or build, the article has some good ideas on desireable features.
and the Benchdog at the Woodcraft store. Both look like they'll do the trick. What Workbench issue are you looking at that has the router table specs? and what specs does it say would be nice to have?
I'm kind of skeptical about the 90 degree sled on the Veritas.
Also wondering if there is any other store that would carry the Veritas for less $$ instead of ordering from them.
Thanks for all the help people, now it's time to go put a coat of poly on the cabinets, I hate finishing!!!!
The Workbench issue is Sept/Oct, 2001. On the Veritas, they list as "Vices"---blade guard and dust chute not included---fence requires tools to adjust, but they go on to list it as "best in test." The mounting system is a series of clamps. It looks like it could work, but am leary of that type vibrating loose.
They also reviewed the Bench Dog table top model---it's main problem was room for the router, as it was a small profile.
Overall, they liked fences which clamped to the edges of the top. They liked ones which were easy to adjust---guess it depends on your perspective---if I had to go looking for a special tool to adjust the fence, like on the Veritas, I'd go crazy---I loose the collette wrench often enough. They liked phenolic baseplates with concentric, removable circles for good support around the bit. There's one like this on amazon for $32.
They may have the piece on their web site, but not sure. Take care.
Just yesterday, we used clamps after glue simply to take the bow out of the wood we were using, and it straightened everything out for us. Usually though, any time you lay up a project the clamps are...