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What are Router Tables?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Router tables are special tables used with a router. A router is a woodworking tool that helps to put grooves in wood so the pieces of a project can fit together. Router tables allow the woodworker to perform operations that would be virtually impossible without a table. This is because there is a great deal of maneuvering involved when using a router in order to keep the wood held in place. Router tables hold the project in place.

Ready-built router tables are usually relatively expensive and can be too narrow for many projects. Some router tables, however, provide a workable area of 15 inches (38.1 centimeters), which allows for far more flexibility than a regular shop-bought model. When purchasing router tables, it is important to consider back support. The best router tables include back support that can be removed from the table in order to allow for free form routing if necessary.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

The average router table is supported on vertical screws that extend from a mounting base. Router tables are designed in this way in order to provide easy access to the base. A manually operated chain and sprocket system threads the screws up and down in unison in order to raise and lower the table. This design makes it possible for one person to operate the table while simultaneously handling the project or the router.

The router is carried on a mounting plate, which is hinged to the base frame. This allows it to tilt at an angle that is adjustable relative to the horizontal table surface. In this way, the project can be placed at any angle necessary. This is especially important if the project has odd angles.

The ability of the router mounting plate to tilt makes special cuts, such as dovetails, more accurate because they are mitered at various angles. Versatility in router tables is a must. Otherwise, the creativity of the project is limited, as is the selection of bits that can be used with a project. Good router tables make it possible to expand the woodshop's capabilities and allow for more flexibility in the types of projects completed.

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