Router tables are a great addition to your garage or shop because they help you do some really precise cuts and complex operations such as creating edges, cutting patterns, and making grooves, to name a few. However, there are mistakes that many people make when shopping for a router table. Here, we will discuss these mistakes and suggest ways to avoid them to help you make an informed buying decision.
Don’t Mix Brands
The quality router table should be easy to choose: You only need a good flat insert, a good fence and a quality table top work surface. You can even DIY the table top so you only have to find the fence and the insert. And all popular brands offer a variety of accessories and attachments for a table router. So, can you choose a brand? Or can you mix different brands to balance the quality with the price?
The short answer is no, you cannot. Most manufacturers are proprietary. That’s why all router table inserts are different sizes. So when you buy one brand you have to stick to it because nothing else will fit. For example, if you build a table around a certain insert and you want to switch to something else, you will have to use the same brand to fit the size. The same is true for fences and other accessories.
Just because your friend uses this brand doesn’t mean it is the best for your needs. All brands have problems and issues. Newer brands often have lower prices while delivering the same quality. So choose the brand that works for you. Think about the operations you’re going to use your router table for and choose the model that can deliver.
Don’t Blindly Select A Brand
Many hobbyists come into the market knowing the brand they want to buy. They could hear the brand name somewhere but don’t know much about it. Some only want to buy tools made in America, others only consider the price. However, sometimes you have to take a chance instead of hunging up on a certain brand.
There are so many brands out there, and each and every brand has bestsellers and losers. Don’t shop for a brand, shop for a router table that can offer what you’re looking for. Focus on the feature of the model. Newer brands often equip their models with innovative features that you can’t find in established brands. Overlooking a brand means lost opportunity to get a better deal and enjoy new features.
Don’t Buy Small Router Tables
This is mostly for newcomers who are going to get their first router table. You will see that a router table will change the way you perform your projects. However, it’s tempting to get the cheapest model first to see if you like it. The price is an important consideration, of course, but you will quickly outgrow the small router table.
Smaller router tables also feature non standards parts which mean you can’t add accessories such as fence or miter gauges. Therefore, getting the cheapest table is often false economy. It’s better to start with an industry standard size that has t-track, miter track and insert. These three features are often scaled down on cheap tables.
Don’t Buy A Table With The Dust Collection Feature
Of course, it would be convenient if you could get any vacuum cleaner and clean the dust out of your router table. However, it doesn’t work like that. There are plenty of dust sizes on the market and you cannot get on size fits all simply because manufacturers don’t produce such vacuums. But you can buy a dust port adaptor and then cut it to fit your system.
If you think that you won’t need dust collection, you should keep in mind that router tables can make a huge mess. Dust collection is an easy way to cut down on your cleaning. Besides, dust collection only adds $10-$20 to the price of a table. Thus, this is one of the features that you will be happy in future that you got it one day.
Not following The Instructions And Directions
For some reason, beginners often just don’t read the instructions. Or they just quickly go through the directions for assembly and then do everything wrong. They have a problem that could be easily avoided. This can be especially frustrating if you call an operator who should help you but he/she doesn’t know that you simply didn’t follow the instructions and there is no problem at all. Thus, always read every paper that comes with your table router. Many manufacturers also have assembly videos available on their websites.
Don’t Buy All The Attachments And Accessories For Your Table
One last mistake that we’re going to discuss is buying everything at the shop that goes with their new router table. Even though it is good for a seller, you probably don’t need all these additional items.
If you’re new to woodworking, buy one and complete a couple of projects on it. Find online tutorials and watch videos to learn new ways of operating the table. This way, you will start understanding what accessories and attachments you really need. Maybe you don’t need a coping sled but you really need a box joint jig. It is tempting to get everything at once, but chances are, you won’t use most of it. And if you really want to buy something, you can never go wrong with an extra set of router bits. It is the accessory you will need for sure.
We hope these little tips will help you avoid problems with router tables, especially if you’re new to this. Once you get everything done, you will really love using your new tool.