As you’re building your collection of project-building tools, one of the best ways to invest wisely is to buy versatile tools that can do many different things. That’s why, as your projects increase in complexity, one of the top step-up tools on your list should be a router table. It’s a tool that can open up new worlds for preparing, shaping, and joining your project parts. Plus, a router table like our Precision Benchtop Router Table offers some great advantages for workpiece control and safety.
So, let’s talk about a few of the many reasons you should have a router table.
(By the way, we removed the bit guard in most of these photos and short videos to make things easier to see. Of course, we always advise having the guard in place.)
1. A router table provides workpiece control
Using a router handheld can be a challenge. You have to control a tool that can be heavy, that’s hanging partially off your workpiece, and that’s spinning an exposed bit at up to 24,000 rpm. Without a firm hand, the router or the workpiece can get away from you. Either one can ruin your work or do a lot worse. A router table changes the game by giving you better control. Remember, though, that you’ll still be working around an exposed cutting bit. So, keep your safety and your hand positions in mind.
When you mount a router in the table, it’s held securely in place, which means you have both hands available to control your workpiece. This instills a lot of confidence, and it allows you to concentrate on getting great results.
Extra holding power
You can get even better control with a couple router-table accessories. Featherboards keep your workpiece pressed firmly against the fence and/or the table so all you have to do is push the workpiece past the bit. Featherboards also help prevent kickback if your hands should accidently come off the piece as you rout.
Miter gauge routing
Our router table also lets you use a miter gauge. That makes it possible to rout across narrow workpieces at precise angles, which is very challenging if not impossible using a router handheld.
Control routing curves
Our benchtop router table also offers a starting pin, which is a must-have accessory for routing curved workpieces when you can’t use the fence. The starting pin lets you begin each routing pass with confidence
See it in action!
With a starting pin, you don’t have to worry about trying to push a workpiece into a spinning bit. Instead, rest your workpiece against the pin first. Then rotate your piece into the bit until it contacts the bit’s bearing to start your cut. This gives you a lot of leverage and increased workpiece control.
2. A router table lets you use more kinds of bits
Many people use a handheld router for creating edge profiles. That’s easy because the bits have bearings that follow the edge of the workpiece to guide the router. There are many more kinds of bits available, though, that don’t have guide bearings. A router table makes them easy to use—and to use in a variety of ways.
Use bits with and without bearings
With a router table, you can use the fence to control the position and depth of the bit’s cut. That means you don’t have to use bits with bearings or use some sort of router guide. Of course, you can use bearing-guided bits in the router table, too.
Rout rabbets of any size
You can easily create a rabbet on a workpiece using a router table and a straight bit. Just raise the bit above the table to set the depth of the rabbet, and then adjust the fence to expose only the amount of the bit’s diameter you need for your rabbet width. As you rout, the table and fence keep the workpiece in perfect position.
Rout grooves and dados
With the same bit you can easily rout a dado or groove. Just reposition the fence, and you’re ready to rout.
See it in action!
If you need to rout a rabbet, groove, or dado that’s wider than your bit, just make a few passes, moving the workpiece between each one.
Quick Tip: Setup bars make it simple
Measuring bit heights and fence settings precisely is one challenging part of router setup. One way to make it easier is with a set of our Setup Bars. They help you with seven commonly-used settings, and they provide certainty without measuring. Plus, these setup bars work great with other kinds of tools, too.
Rout chamfers and flutes
Instead of buying a bearing-guided chamfer bit that can only rout decorative chamfers on edges, with a router table you can use a V-groove bit that that’s capable of that and more.
To rout a chamfer, just position the fence to expose only a portion of the bit.
By repositioning the fence, you can use that same V-groove bit to create decorative flutes to dress up things like cabinet face frames.
See it in action!
If you’ve ever wanted to make your own moldings and trim, a router table is your go-to tool. A few passes and a couple fence-position changes are all it takes to create this fluted molding using only one V-groove bit.
3. A router table creates jointed edges—without a jointer
A lot of hardcore woodworkers have a tool called a jointer that’s used primarily to create smooth, straight edges on boards. That’s usually done so they’ll fit together seamlessly in solid-wood panels, or to remove prominent saw marks. A jointer is a wonderful tool, but also one that is expensive and designed for a very specialized use. Our benchtop and full-size router tables both have a built-in jointing function that lets you perform the same function—and all you need is a straight bit. This ability to do multiple things instead of one specialized thing means our router tables give you a lot more bang for your tool-buying buck.
Offset the outfeed fence face
To set your Kreg router table up as a jointer, just insert the two jointing rods into a groove in the aluminum fence. This pushes the outfeed face (on the left side of the fence) forward by one of two settings.
Rout perfect jointed edges
With the fence set up for jointing, it’s easy to create perfect edges on boards. As you pass your board along the fence, the bit takes off only the amount that the fence offset creates. And the outfeed side of the fence supports the board for a smooth, consistent jointing cut.
See it in action!
Jointing on a router table is incredibly fast and easy. And with our Precision Benchtop Router Table you can do it anywhere. Just make a pass—or several if needed—along the mating edge on each board, and you’ll end up with a tight-fitting joint.
4. A router table reduces the mess
If you’ve used a router at all, you know they throw wood chips everywhere and make a huge mess. But a router table makes a whole lot less mess thanks to built-in dust collection.
Collect chips at the source
A hose connection on our router-table fences allows you to connect a vacuum or dust collector easily. If you’re using a vacuum, you can make it even easier with our Dual-Outlet Power Switch. It mounts to the router-table leg—even on our benchtop model. Just plug your vacuum into one outlet and your router into the other, and you can turn both on and off with a single switch. Plus, there’s a removeable lockout key that disables the switch for extra safety.
Quick Tip: Add versatility with a dual-use router
For many years, having a router table meant you needed a router to dedicate to it. While having more tools is always good, having redundant tools isn’t. These days, router manufacturers make it easier by offering routers in combo kits that come with a fixed base and a plunge base. That way, you can mount the fixed base to your router table and still have a super-functional plunge router. All you have to do is swap the router motor from one base to the other, which only takes a few seconds.
5. The right portable router table can do it all
When choosing a router table, you’ll want to decide whether it should be a full-size model or a benchtop table. There’s often a tradeoff. If you want full features, you often have to choose a full-size table. If you want portability, then you’ll have to sacrifice features. We don’t think you should have to face those choices. That’s why we include full-size table features in our Precision Benchtop Router Table. You can learn more about them here.
Take precision routing anywhere
We don’t think space limitations or the need for portability should man you can’t do everything you want to with a router table. That’s why we performed every function you’ve seen here on our benchtop table.
We’ve shown you a few great reasons you need a router table but, to be honest, we’ve only scratched the surface. It’s a tool that can do so much. Once you add a router table to your stable of tools, it will become one of those go-to project partners that you’ll wonder how you ever did without. You can check out our benchtop model here, and all of our routing accessories here.