It’s easy to make a mistake when choosing a router table. There are so many options on the market to the point that it can get really confusing. We didn’t list the following common mistakes by importance. We rather separated the 10 most common mistakes people make when buying router tables in two parts to make reading easier. Both parts are important because mistakes should be avoided. Every bit of information provided here and in Part II is given in an attempt to help you make a better choice in the future. When you know more about router tables and which traps to avoid, you buy better products. So, take a look and let’s hope that our solutions keep sawdust from covering you from head to toes.
The router tables for beginners have limited capacities and accessories. If you want to buy a router table, you are either a professional or handyman. In either case, you should be very careful when you choose a new router table. The most common mistake people do is to buy a router table, which is meant for limited tasks, to see how their work goes. Soon after they discover that the router table doesn’t have the features for more complex projects and find themselves in the position of having to buy a new router table. Some beginner’s router tables are great for those who just want to fix some things at home now and then. But when it comes to on-going projects and professional work, you shouldn’t invest in such simple machines because you will overgrow them quickly. Small router tables don’t usually have industry standard parts. So find tables at industry standard size and make sure they include the accessories for a variety of projects.
Every router table manufacturer produces models with specific features, components and accessories. They usually fit in certain models and most likely only to router tables made by the same brand. A common mistake among buyers is that they get a router table from Woodpecker and later on they buy lifts or inserts from Bench Dog. They won’t fit. Keep in mind that manufacturers make their components to fit only their products on purpose. This way, the customer keeps returning to get new accessories from the same brand. So, if you buy extra components from a different brand, you take the risk of wasting your money. You will either have to get a new router table or buy the extra components again.
As explained above, router tables must be produced with industry standard features. The truth is that well-respected brands follow the basic, unwritten rule and produce industry standard parts. The whole idea is for you to fit extra accessories bought from one brand to a router table bought from a different brand. But sometimes, the tools factories use are slightly different and so a miter gauge from one brand won’t fit into the miter track of another brand by just a hair thick difference. In this case, think out of the box. Use sanding paper or lubricants to make parts fit in instead of spending money to get new ones (again). You might have similar problems due to temperature fluctuations, which affect MDF tables. So use the same solution and let your table adjust to the new environment before getting more accessories.
People have a tendency of relying on brands without even knowing which ones are good and which ones cannot be trusted. They just hear a name, rely on ads or simply look for cheap products. This is a wrong approach. Your target should be quality. The fact is that there are renowned brands, which have made a reputed name due to their quality products. But there are also some brands, which are new or not widely known. We usually consider these ones inferior. Sometimes, they offer more innovative products simply because they are newer brands in a highly competitive market. So you should focus on what you need instead of finding a specific model or brand. Overlooking products made by a new brand takes away from you the chance to pay less and buy a high quality router table with new features.
If you found a router table you liked but it doesn’t have pre-drilled holes, don’t worry. It’s not difficult to drill the table to fit the router. You can follow directions online. Basically, you should use the base plate of the router as a guide.On the other hand, you can avoid this task altogether if you buy a predrilled router table. If you wondering whether the aluminum or phenolic inserts are better, think of your needs. Aluminum is often better, especially if you are using a 3hp router. It’s not wise to get a heavy router and hang it on an inexpensive table. It will eventually displace the flatness of the insert.