What is a router table?

What is a router table?

In woodworking, a wood router is an indispensable tool that is perfectly designed for decorating and hollowing out sections of wood – they are widely used in cabinetry but sometimes with other materials.

A router can be used as a handheld tool, but some people prefer to use a router table, and in this article, we will be looking at what these pieces of equipment are and what can be done with a router table. We will also give you some tips on buying your first router table to ensure you get the best product for your money.

What Is A Router Table Good For?

A router table is a piece of equipment found in a wood workshop that features a wood router that is built into a table.

Rather than a handheld tool that can prevent you from being able to make specific cuts, a router table gives you the ability to use the router at all angles and in all directions.

These tables are excellent for tackling cuts that might be otherwise impossible, and many woodworking professionals find that they would be lost without their router table.

In days gone by, DIY enthusiasts would find a way to attach their router to a table or other flat surface, but this niche in the market soon meant that manufacturers added this piece of equipment to their range.

How does a router table work?

The router is located underneath the table, and the bit, which makes the cut protrudes through the tabletop.

The router table goes beyond the small needs of trimming or edging and provides woodworkers with the chance to do much more detailed and precise work.

Do You Need A Router Table?

Many people will ask whether they need a router table and in truth, you don’t need one but it certainly will make your life a lot easier. This is especially true if you want to achieve precise results.

Furthermore, being able to bring the wood to the table rather than the other way around gives you a far more stable process. The router is still so that you can guide the wood across it and this often yields far better results than a handheld tool.

Can I use a router without a table?”

If you only intend to do beginner projects, then you may get away with using a handheld wood router, but if you want to move towards more advanced work, then a router table is a must. That being said, it is entirely possible to use a wood router without a table, and there are several excellent handheld tools on the market.

Can You Make A Router Table?

If you don’t fancy forking out for a ready-made router table, then there are many options for creating a DIY version of this popular workshop equipment. You will find many tutorials online for creating your very own router table, but some of the main features that you might consider are;

  • Add in a dust vacuum to remove excess sawdust and keep your visibility high.
  • Install a draw or storage cupboard underneath the router table for keeping all your woodworking essentials.
  • An exterior switch is a great way to be able to stop the power in a handsfree manner, perhaps using the knee so you can keep holding the wood.
  • Add a laminate top for improved durability and a longer-lasting surface.
  • Be sure to consider elements that would be found in a purchased router table like how the router will fit to the router lift.

There are some great tutorials on YouTube, including the following:

How Do You Mount A Router To A Table?

Suppose you are keen to go down the DIY route then one of the main problems that people face is how to mount the router to the table so that it is safe, secure and will work correctly.

In this case, you will need to create a hole through which the router will protrude as well as fit a secure base for your router to slot into. Making a DIY router table is a great way to get creative and find innovative solutions to this problem.

If you are purchasing a router table, the process might be slightly different. Before you attempt to insert the router to the router table, you need to make sure that your router is compatible with the table; of course, this only applies if you have purchased a router table.

You will get an insert plate with your router table, and these can usually be ordered to suit your router, so this is worth looking in to.

Depending on the router table you have purchased, you may need slightly different equipment, but on the whole, you will need a range of bolts and particular types of locknut.

When you insert the insert plate, you must ensure that it is completely flush with the tabletop and that the lead on pin is at the front of the table.

Once the insert plate is in position, you should turn the table onto its side, ready to install the router. You will secure the router to the plate using a series of bolts, and these fit through the base of the router.

How Do I Choose A Router Table?

There are many router tables out there, and a lot of these are of a very high-quality; this is great, but it can make choosing the right router table a little more challenging. When buying any piece of woodworking equipment, you should be prepared to take your time to look at certain features to be sure it meets your needs.

When shopping for a router table, you may wish to consider the following points;

  • Be sure that the router table is compatible with your router. As we have already discovered, some tables may not work with certain routers so it is vital to take the time to check this to avoid wasting money and time on a table that will be of no use to use.
  • Take some time to look at the top of the table since some may be substandard and will not provide you with the smooth and level surface that is vital in this kind of work.
  • You must also check that the base of the router table is sturdy and solid. A flimsy base and legs that cannot support the weight of the router and the material you are cutting could end in disaster.
  • Check the quality of the base plate; you want to make sure that it is solid and reliable and able to hold the router without faltering. This is important to ensure that your work is not ruined but also for safety reasons.
  • The router table will feature a fence, and it is important that you check that this is easy to adjust and is accurate.

What Is The Best Router Table?

There are many great router tables, and different people may prefer different ones. However, it is widely accepted that the Bosch RA1181 is one of the best out there.

This is a benchtop router table which will attach to any workbench, making it versatile no matter how you have your workshop set up. Furthermore, it boasts a long power cable and a dual outlet switch which makes this an even more convenient tool to use.

It has a decent-sized work area at 27 x 18 inches, so you have plenty of space to get your project finished as well as a sturdy aluminium fence.

But perhaps one of the most impressive things about this piece of equipment is that it works with a huge range of routers including ones from Bosch as well as routers made by Makita, Craftsman, Hitachi and Ryobi to name a few.


A wood router is a very important tool in workshops all over the world, and whilst they can be used as a handheld device, they are far more accurate when installed into a router table.

These tables can be brought from reputable suppliers, or you might decide to make one for yourself.

There are many advantages to using a router table, and getting started is not as difficult as you might first imagine.

However, it is important to think about a few things before choosing your router table as this will allow you to source the best product for your needs.

What is a router table?

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