PLUNGE OR FIXED FOR THE ROUTER TABLE?
A plunge router is designed for hand held use. Its wide handled grip, motor lock, spring loaded head, up and turret stops are all components that work with gravity and in harmony with the operator's hand and eye. The tool is especially valuable for multidepth inside hand cuttings where the cutter can safely stab an excavation in the eye and handily waste it away; something a fixed base router can only do at risk. To put this tool upside down in a router table not only ignores its designers intent, its presence there compromises the integrity of the work surface, frustrates the smooth travel of the work and complicates the construction of the whole router-table.
A 9X12" window cut from a top for a plastic insert (essential for a plunge router) will often be the cause for cup or other deformity if the top is left unsupported and unstressed. The discontinuities at the plastic and substrate interfaces are frequently the causes for slight or marked interruptions of the work piece travel. Moreover, as the hand-feed forces on the work approach the cutter the plastic bends and can render subtle errors in the cutter profile. While this may be insignificant for an Ogee or a Roundover it can easily confound the fit of a tongue and groove or rail/stile connection.
A simple naked square of quality MDF dunked in Watco with a PC 7518 fixed-base bolted directly to it is probably the best compromise for a router and table top. A double laminated, rabbeted-window-excavated, Formica clad, Tee-molded piece of ply or MDF with a precision cut and drilled 3/8" thick Lexan rectangle and DeWalt-625 plunger is right up there with the most complicated. The avenue to excellence in woodworking is simplicity. (Largely taken from "The Router Book".)
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Last modified: Tue Oct 17 06:44:50 PDT 2006