One of the hallmarks of woodworking is the ability to turn what was just a black slate of wood into a work of art. Even if you aren’t trying to create something for a museum, transforming a block of wood into a functional item is a prized form of craftsmanship.
One of the more modern tools for the woodworking craftsman is a router and a router table, from benchtop to full size, can help turn an ordinary hunk of material , by adding stability and more to your tool, into an object of art or add style and grace to your woodworking.
Unique Table For A Unique Tool
Routers are by their very nature relatively unique. Drills can drill and saws can cut, but routers are about adding more to a project. Even something as simple as cutting grooves to a tongue and groove fit can transform a project into something to behold. While using a router in a handheld operation is certainly possible and it has its purposes, it doesn’t offer the same stability, control or ability to reduce vibrations as that of a router table.
Newer router tables often don’t even require a router lift to use, especially the benchtop versions and some router tables have combined features to produce all types of cuts that really add to the uniqueness of a project.
Getting A Good Router Table
As with any tool or tool accessory, it all boils down to getting the right one for your needs. Most current tables don’t require the router to be the same brand as your actual tool and most have universal mounts to make it even easier.
However, there is more to a table than just attaching a router. Well constructed feather boards, solid guides and the ability to easily change out the bits without having to dismantle the table are things to look for. If you use a router a good deal, having a router table that fits your needs will make all the difference.
Five Great Router Tables
Best Budget Router Table
A benchtop model, this table sits on a bench and can be used in the shop or on the job site. Router mounting is an easy task and no leveling is required to get the router to the right position. The SKIL Model #RAS900 Router Table has a bit height gauge for better bit adjustment and it comes with two feather boards. The table has two storage compartments and quick clamping system for better utilization.
This table breaks down easily so it can be easier stored and carry to and from locations. People who use this table enjoy the portability and the quick mount and dismount for both bit changes and storage.
Best Benchtop Router Table
Designed to fit most routers, this benchtop model – Bosch Model #RA1181 Router Table comes with mounting hardware to handle most mainstream routers on the market. It comes with MDF face plates and a solid, aluminum fence. It has a six-foot cord and it is light enough for both shop and job site work. It has a dual outlet system and a dust collection port to help you control dust and debris.
It has two feather boards and the unit is easy to adjust and bit changes can be accomplished with ease. People who have purchased and use this table top router table enjoy the convenience of fast bit changes and the solid construction of the table for long-term use.
Top Precision Router Table
The Kreg Model #PRS1045 Router Table is a full size, in the shop, router table that comes with all that you need to get started with the exception of the router itself. Designed to fit most mainstream routers this table comes with four casters for better shop mobility and dual feather boards. It also comes with a router table switch and set up bars in addition to the router stop.
It can be used with a Kreg router lift, sold separately, for better and faster blade changes without having to dismount the router. The solid steel construction means this table will be around for a long time. People who use this table love the convenience of a full routing table and the ability to add and remove parts as necessary.
Top Rated Router Table for the Price
This router table is designed to produce little vibrations while offering solid stability. The Bench Dog Model #40-302 Router Table comes with a fence and stand and table for easy assembly. It can be used with a Bench Dog router lift, sold separately. The table is precision machined with dual grooves for multiple angles mitering and for smooth gliding of both the material and fence.
The solid construction means this table will last and last while providing good service and it can be expanded with multiple Bench Dog accessories. People who use this table love how well crafted the table itself is and how versatile it is with different accessories.
Best Complete Router Table System
The JESSEM Mast-R-Lift Series Excel II Router Tables is a complete table system that includes various elements including an integrated lift. This table can also be expanded with other accessories among which are various digital elements to help get the most out of the table. Precision crafting means this table is machined to perfection and includes a solid fence and T-track and miter system.
It is engineered to reduce vibrations and it has a good dust collection methodology that can be adjusted to your tastes. Used in many professional shops, people who have this table love how well it works for them and the fact it can fit most routers.
As with any power tool system, be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear at all times while working.