Can You Use a Plunge Router on a Router Table?
Usually, Routers are designed to be used in two ways- handheld and table-mounted router. Using a power tool like a router always requires expertise as well comfort to operate it properly. Slight discomfort can create a hazard in your workshop. Thinking about comfort many craftsmen prefer table-mounted routers and try to set the router on a router table. Now the question is a router table a good match for a plunge router? The answer requires little explanation to be understood.
From different sources, you might hear that it is difficult and dangerous to mount a plunge router on a router table. Well! From my own experience, I can say you might face some difficulties depending on the router model, although I never heard of any major accident regarding this matter. However, the problem or difficulties that you might face is, it is a little bit difficult to adjust the plunge router above the table and it can end up at an awkward height. If the base plate isn’t screwed down to the table properly, you just can’t unlock the plunge lock, as a result, it won’t be possible to plunge the bit manually to desired height because the springs will push the base plate out of the table.
Now there are some plunge available in the market which are suitable to be used on the router table. These types of routers models are designed with the “above table height adjustment” feature. If you want to set the plunge router on the table then you can check whether it has this built-in feature or not. Bosch RA1161 is a good example of this type of routers. This model is available with above-the-table adjustment via a long hex key.
Some plunge routers can be easily modified to be mounted on router lifts. For this, you have to drill an extra hole in the base and replace the depth adjustment rod. If your router is not very much amendable for modification then you can make a customized router table to work with the plunge router.
Customized Router Table
If you find that the setting plunge router on the router table feels really awkward and can’t work properly, then the smart solution is making a customized router table. Making a customized router table isn’t that difficult. With few elements and by following some steps you will be able to make one for yourself.
- Plunge router
- V-Groove router bit
- Carriage bolts
- A quarter-inch ply
- 5-inch hole saw
- 5 inch straight bit
- Zip tie
- Circular saw
- For safety: Goggles, Gloves, Dust mask, Vacuum cleaner
Step 1: First set up everything and wear all protective gear like safety goggles, gloves, dust masks, and clean the area with a vacuum cleaner. Arrange all the necessary equipment in order so that you feel comfortable during the work.
Step 2: Cut the Wood Piece (ply)
At first mark the area with a pencil for accurate cutting. The standard size of the piece will be 14 to 16 inches. Now cut the piece patiently. Do not hurry or else you might ruin the workpiece. For clamp cut some moderate length ply as well. It will be used later.
Step 3: Adjust the Position of the Router:
If you are done with sizing the workpiece, then it’s time to positioning the plunge router. It would be better if you left some extra area which can be used later for installing other things.
Step 4: now create a hole on the board according to the adjustment of the router, where you will mount it. It won’t be difficult as the ply size is moderate.
Now fit the router on the board, check whether the created hole fits perfectly or not. If not, then you have to do it again.
Step 5: Fit the V-Groove
Now take a pair of V-grooves, and set it facing upwards on the board. After that take a setup bar, fix it on the top of the v-groove and adjust in such a way that it fixes it position.
Step 6: Fix the Clamps
Make narrow cuts and set the clamps at a distance from the footplate of the plunge router. Fix each clamp with bolts that will provide additional grip. Make sure you have made inlays before attaching bolts.
Step 7: The Final Step
If you have done everything already, it’s time to check whether everything is working properly or not. If everything is alright then, congratulation! You have made your own customized router table.
some people argue that the plunge router is not suitable for the router table as it has too many mechanisms to play. But I don’t think so. Modern plunge routers are available with advanced mechanisms and you won’t notice any degrade in performance. If you can afford both fixed and plunge routers then I would suggest using the fixed router on the table, while the plunge router will do the dadoing, mortising, cutting pattern, etc. Or else you can also go for combination kits, which include one medium-duty router with two bases and install it on the router table.