Yes, you need a router table along with a wood router if you are a professional or an enthusiastic DIY-er which makes some advanced wood projects. It is not for those who use a wood router just for small purposes like trimming or cutting edges. So, you should know about the router table uses before buying it.
I said that it is for professionals but I know that they already know about the uses of the router table. I am writing this article for those who are very enthusiastic and want to do some advanced projects with ease. With the help of the router table, the job becomes easier, and most important your working area remains neat & clean if your table has a place for vacuum attachment.
Bytheway, if you are looking for some basic to advance woodworking plans (perfect for both beginners & professionals) then you can buy Ted’s 16,000 wood plans by clicking the image below. Well, when I personally checked the files, it was not exactly 16K plans but it is still more than enough (categorized properly & lifetime updates).
So, let’s talk about the uses of a router table:
Short Summary Table
- 1. Easy To Work On Small Material
- 2. Dust Collection
- 3. Profiling Edges
- 4. Easily Cut A Bunch Of Rabbits On 100s Of Boards
- 5. Easy Template Cutting
- 6. Jointing Jointer Bars Without Jointers
- 7. Jigs For Cutting Splines & Making Boxes
- 7. Making Doors
- 8. Place For Keeping Accessories
- 9. Very Easy & Simple To Do End-Grain Routing
- 10. Easy To Create Different Trims Or Patterns Using Different Router Bits.
1. Easy To Work On Small Material
According to me, a router is a tool but a router table is a machine because a tool is something that you take to your material to do work whereas a machine is something where you take your stock to the machine and do your work.
If you’re dealing with small pieces especially you will find that a router table to be a lot easier to do edge work and profiling that you might normally do with a hand router on a router table because, on small pieces, it might be really difficult to find a way to clamp it and then take a full-size router and work. It might just even be impossible depending on the size especially say you want to put a chamfer inside of a disc or something like that. It’s really easy to do with a router table and a bearing bit & really hard to do with the hand router.
2. Dust Collection
A real game-changer for every woodworker on a router table over a handheld router is the dust collection. If you’ve ever used a wood router then you know they just create obscene amounts of dust. It’s ridiculous especially if
you’re doing a lot of heavy work, but a good router table has some dust collection accessories, so there’s actually dust collection around the router because it’s built into a box and there’s also dust collection on the fence so if you are using the fence, you will have almost no dust, almost everything gets collected and it is very, very good for a real woodworker because a professional woodworker always try as much as possible to collect all dust at the tool to keep their work surface clean for accuracy in their work.
3. Profiling Edges
One of the most common tasks to use a wood router for that most people are familiar with is profiling on edges, so like you want to do a round-over or do a chamfer and the reason a lot of times will reach for a router instead of trying to do it with like a sander or hand plane is because you know we have a reference surface on the bottom of the wood router and we also have a handy bit or bearing on the bit, so we can create very consistent results with almost no effort.
You can do the same thing on your router table because of the same bearing bit, so you can put in your router table, so then it’s super easy to take a piece of stock & run it against that bearing and get consistent results every single time.
4. Easily Cut A Bunch Of Rabbits On 100s Of Boards
A router table can be even more versatile when edging and profiling because if you have a bit that doesn’t have a bearing instead that buying a new bit if you have a fence then you can just set your fence to where that bearing would be and now you can get away and that opens up the options of what you can do on the edge of a board quickly. Let’s say you want to cut a bunch of rabbits onto a bunch of boards but you could do it with a hand router but for that, you would have to set up a fence on every single piece.
On a router table, you set the fence on the router table once and then if you have 100 boards to run through, it doesn’t matter, you set up some one-and-done.
5. Easy Template Cutting
Something that’s really common to do with a handheld router and a bearing bit is to double side the tape or secure somehow a template to your piece and then you can copy whatever the template is using a template bit.
Well, with a router table that’s even quicker because you don’t have to secure your template to the stock because you’re not having to hold the tool anymore. So, now you can easily hold the template.
Some examples of the templates are:
- Corner Radius Template
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- Rockler Chair Template
6. Jointing Jointer Bars Without Jointers
There’s something else really nifty that a lot of newer router fences can do that is really hard to do with a hand router and that’s jointing. You can take 2 jointer bars and just lose the first face and then stick these bars and tighten it down.
What that does is with a straight cutting bit makes this router fence acts like a jointer, so if you have a router fence that you can put those type of jointer bars and then you can edge joint boards really easy so then you can get away without having a jointer if you have a planer because with your planer you can play in your first face on a sled then play your second face but then the trick comes in with edge jointing.
Well, this lets you edge joint your first edge, then you can go to your table saw or wherever and get your second edge. So, with a router table and a planer, it’s really easy to get away with not having a jointer.
7. Jigs For Cutting Splines & Making Boxes
Another nifty thing about the router table is all the cool jigs. So, I am going to talk about:
- Spline Jig, &
- Box Joint Jig.
Spline jig helps you to cut splines which are a way to reinforce miter joint and also provide accent to the boxes, and then use some walnut splines just to kind of spruce it up and it’s really simple. It easily sits in the spline jig and you can cut one side and if you flip it and reference off the same side then both of your splines will be the same distance
from the edge and if you want to do, say three or four, then you could use your other fence, just set a different dimension.
This is the best spline jig you can buy:
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Box Joint Jig Or Finger Joint Jig:
Another cool jig you can use with router table is a box joint jig or finger joint jig whatever prefer to call them which are the kind of finger joints because they interlock like fingers and box joints because you often use this on boxes and this jig makes it super simple to cut these, which are a really strong way to join boxes, especially smaller ones where you’re going to be using thinner material so you wouldn’t normally have a whole lot of glue surface. This adds a lot more glue surface and strength to your project.
This is the best box joint jig you can buy:
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7. Making Doors
So, one project is really hard to do on any machine other than a router table or a shaper which is kind of a souped-up router table is doors, especially frame and panel doors, when for cutting your rails and stiles.
A rail coping sled in a router table is meant to ride against the fence, not in the track. This lets you clamp down your stock, it has a sacrificial board behind it to prevent blowout, you can run this along your fence and then safely cut profiles into the end of stock which is something you would not want to try to do on narrow pieces of wood with a hand router without a whole lot of setup and really knowing what you’re doing.
8. Place For Keeping Accessories
The other nice thing about a router table is it gives you a place to store your routers and bits and everything on the front of it. You will get storage for your routers, jigs, bits and all other accessories and stuff.
9. Very Easy & Simple To Do End-Grain Routing
10. Easy To Create Different Trims Or Patterns Using Different Router Bits.
There are many other uses of a router table. I have just discussed some common & important ones so that I can clear your doubt easily.