Stand for bench top router table

rhanvey

Richard
Senior User
My first "woodworking" tool purchase about 18 months ago was a Bosch RA1181 bench top router table and a Bosch 1617 router. While I enjoy the bench top router table, at times I find myself not using it as often as I like because it is stored under a workbench. So far I have three options I'm considering and I would like feedback on.

  1. Build a stand with drawers that would make it functionally a free standing router table, but with the bench top table permanently mounted to a stand.
  2. Scavenge pieces of the bench top table to make a full size table (mounting plate, fence & accessories, maybe the top)
  3. Start fresh and build a full size table.
Right now I'm leery of option 3 fearing high investment of both time and money, but maybe it's a buy once cry once type scenario and I'm better off getting it over with. Please let me know your thoughts, whether about comparing router tables, building your own, or some other options I might have missed.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Rome wasn't built in a day. Build basic case, and add a top. Later as funds and time appears, add other accessories (drawers, bit trays, DC.)
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
Several years ago I had an older model Craftsman shaper and a router table that was mounted in an extension of the table saw. The problems I found were:
  • Shaper bits are expensive (much more than router bits).
  • Shaper bits can only be used on a shaper, whereas most router bits (except for larger ones) can be used on a handheld as well as table-mounted router.
  • Having the router mounted in the tablesaw extension often got in the way of using the saw.
  • A table router without a lift can be a pain to fine tune the height.
My solution was not cheap. It was basically your option 3. I purchased a cast iron router table top, a crank lift system, fence and a 1.5 hp router. I also purchased both 1/4" and 1/2" collets so I can use small or large shank bits. Then, I built a custom base. I don't remember how much I spent (it was over $500 but under $1000). I am completely satisfied with the result. It has all the stability and fine adjustment of a shaper and all the ease and bit combinations of a router.

Like all things your mileage may vary. I was able to sell the shaper and offset some of the cost. There are plenty of plans around for router tables that include making the top. That is a significant savings over purchasing a separate one as I did. IMHO, the main items where you want to spend your money are on the router and a quality lift. Everything else you can make, including a top and fence.
 

Leviblue

Kevin
Corporate Member
I started out with a craftsman table top router stand. Used it for several years. I was watching the New Yankee Workshop and Norm was building a router/shaper station. It was pretty fancy with dust collection, adjustable fences, a switch to control everything and drawers on each side to store bits and wrenches. So I ordered the plans and bought the Baltic Burch plywood and built the stand. Put a Porter Cable 3.5 hp rputer that accepts 1/4 and 1/2" shank bits under the table mount. Didnt have the crank adjustment when i built the cabinet, but i can access everything from the front.
30 years later I'm still using it and it's serving the purpose.
Decide what you need and make a plan from there. Your needs will determine what you should do about the type of router stand as well as the space you have for it.

May your cuts be true and your joints stay tight!
 

RichardH

New User
Richard
If you are happy with the current table and fence I wouldn’t think option three is needed. If you really feel the current router table isn’t working for you dont be to turned off by the idea of building a new one as you can make it as fancy or simple as you like. router tables have a lot of small parts associated with them so storage is a nice to have for sure to keep everything together and close at hand. If you are happy with the current I would probably suggest building a stand to put the unit on with storage. If space is a issue and you don’t mind having the accessories apart from the table you could also consider a flip cart which would let you put something else in the same footprint.

I have had my router table in my table saw for a few years now and while not ideal I don’t use it enough too dedicate floor space for.
 

Martin Roper

Martin
Senior User
In my space-limited shop, a router extension on my table saw would've been a space-saving alternative. I decided against it because you're limited to a table top only 27" wide. My saw also has the short rails so the extension would've been only 18" deep.

I went with a free-standing commercial table I bought used. It's one of my few times in my 1-bay shop where I went with the bigger footprint option.

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I added the storage area to recapture some of the space the table takes up.

The space between my saw rails isn't wasted. A standard 27 x 18 tool cabinet fits perfectly in the opening.
 

golfdad

Co-director of Outreach
Dirk
Corporate Member
I have one in the tablesaw and a free standing cabinet I built. I rarely use the the one in the tablesaw extension
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
I have one in the tablesaw and a free standing cabinet I built. I rarely use the the one in the tablesaw extension
The major problem with table saw mounted routers is they are on the right side of the blade. To use router, you have to walk around to backside of saw. In many shops, right side of saw is against the wall, further compounding the problem. Mount router in left wing, and these problems disappear. Now routing is in the same direction as sawing. Seldom do you route more than a couple inches from the edge of your stock, so make a separate "drop in fence." When you don't need it, remove it. Or you could fabricate a second fence for your rails that is quickly removed. When building a Biese type fence, remember the guide tube doesn't have to be centered on the clamping angle, and it doesn't have to be perpendicular to front of saw either. It can be off set to one side of center. Think out side of the box. If I were building a "free standing" router table, I would hinge the top, so it could be raised to access router. Add a couple of hold open arms to keep it up. Later when budget allows, invest in a lift.
 

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