So you have purchased the best wood router in the town and now you want to dirty your hands on it. And suddenly you remember that there is something called a router table which is required to work with a wood router. Well here we are, there are many ways to get a router table. You can buy one from the established brands or you can always make yourself one.
The router table top is the flat piece of metal or wood which will hold together the fort for you. I meant this is where you will be working. The flatness of the router table top is what determines whether your project will be a story of your experiences (not so good) on getting the damn thing right or a marvelous piece of wood work which makes the blood gushes in your veins or to simply say it, which make you proud.
Of the two ways to have a router table top, i will say you should go with a readymade router table top. Reason being that it is going to cost almost the same to you, if you decide to make one yourself. Though making a router table top can be fun and really a good exercise for you. I mean getting wet behind the ears.
These days the router table tops come with many options. The manufactured router table tops will come with premade opening for your wood router. If you have some plans for building of the router table yourself, this part is the most tricky part listed there. All other things are easy to do but cutting an opening is not that easy. I am in no way saying that its not possible, but its a bit tricky. You will save yourself a lot of trouble with a manufactured router table top. Also, the Miter track is already installed in most of th e router tables which you can buy from the market.
There are many components to a Router Table Top:
The Fence: There are tons of options out there for the fences. Manufacturers have made it very easy these days. You can get a decent router table fence in the range of 75 to 200 dollars. If you consider the cost of hard ware which is needed to build a basic fence, the hardware itself will set you back by about 100 dollars. The manufactured fence will come pre installed with a T-Track and all the other bells and whistles, like T-bolts, washers and other things. You can always make the router fence yourself. But you need to ensure that there is no warping and it is perfectly square otherwise you will lose a lot of time in perfecting even a small job. Also, you will have to cut the T- Track yourself. It can be easily done with the help of a wood router. The readymade wood router fence will come in aluminum which is always better to have.
Insert Plate: Another important component of the router table is the insert plate. Problem is not all plates will fit all the router tables. You can always get an undrilled plate and get it customized as per your requirements.
ROUTER TABLE TOP: This is the most important part of the whole thing. The router table top has to be absolutely flat. Any inconsistency and you will get inconsistent depth in your jobs and you wil be very very frustrated with the results. Now, people will spend tonnes of money on buying the best wood and best wood routers but when it comes to the router table top material, they cringe and go for the cheapest option normally. Any experienced wood worker will tell you the horror stories of an uneven router table top. Go for the absolute best while deciding on a router table top. You can get really good ones in the range of around 200 dollars. Thats not much considering the role they play. I have seen some people using kitchen counter tops as the router table top. Problem is that the smooth surface does not gives hint of the warp, if there is any and it is going to be warped over time. Also, it can not beat the quality testing done in a factory for an even thickness all around. So, my recommendation is go search the web and get the best deal but get a premade router table top.