For years, the Rockler Standard Router Table Package has enjoyed consistent popularity and the reputation of being a solid, reliable table as well as an exceptional value. Over the years we’ve seen thousands go out the door, and if you read the product’s 24 customer reviews you won’t find a single serious quibble. In fact, the most consistent themes you’ll find in our customer comments are “great table” and “what a deal!” Why, then, does this successful woodshop classic find itself in a category titled “Discontinued Router Tables”?
Well, there’s always room for improvement. Apparently the tool designers at Rockler couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a few meaningful changes to the standard package while in the process, recently, of streamlining our entire line of router table offerings. A worthy endeavor, it turns out. The tweaks and upgrades they came up with for the new Rockler #1 Router Table Package, while seemingly modest, add up to a significant improvement in performance and durability.
For example, a newly designed Rockler table sandwiches a 1-1/8” slab of MDF between two sheets of high pressure laminate (HPL) instead of the former melamine surfacing. HPL, which we all know from its common use as a counter top surface, is made from layer upon layer of phenolic resin-impregnated paper and offers many times the impact and wear resistance of a single layer of melamine. Just as importantly, HPL is much more rigid and resistant to dimensional change than melamine. The balanced application of HPL to each side of the table both increases its rigidity and helps insure that its surface will stay flat through years of service.
The Rockler router table top/plate interface was also revamped during the process. Now, eight leveling screws on the underside of the table are balanced by two easy-access lockdown screws in the top surface of the plate. After a one-time plate leveling procedure, the router plate can be locked in place or easily removed whenever necessary without ever having to reach under the table.
The Rockler router table fence received a handy upgrade. The new Rockler fence features a T-slot that runs the length of the aluminum main fence component. This simple addition makes it possible to quickly attach common accessories such as flip stops and hold down clamps, and has the auxiliary benefit of greatly strengthening the fence.
While it retains the features most appreciated in the original Rockler table package – basic sturdiness, a large work surface, a reliable and easy-to-use fence system – the new #1 package is tougher, more dimensionally stable, easier to use and set up, and includes an improved fence. But that’s only part of the story. The ultimate purpose behind the recent makeover was to develop a system of universally interchangeable router table components. The result is an unrivaled selection of router table building blocks – from both the Rockler line and the highly respected Bench Dog brand – that all fit together seamlessly.
If we may say so ourselves, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Never before has there been so much freedom available to put together exactly the router table you need – piece by piece – and have it all work together perfectly, without having to tweak this or modify that. From stands to lifts to table-tops to fences to just about any router you might happen to own, any combination of router table features can be quickly put together in a package that’s virtually plug n’ play.
The fifteen interchangeable router table components are neatly laid out on our handy “Build Your Own Router Table” page. There you’ll find three table tops, including the improved Rockler table, as well as a hefty cast iron model and a solid phenolic top from Bench Dog. The selection offers three fences, including Rockler’s popular Deluxe Router Fence. There are five plates/lifts to choose from. And to hold it all up, three router table stand options are available, ranging from an affordable wooden leg set to a handsome Baltic birch cabinet from Bench Dog.
Even if you’re not currently in the market, the 180 possible table combinations are just fun to play around with. Or, if you’d like to see what we think goes together well, check out our money-saving component packages. On the other hand, if you’re ready to take the plunge, we don’t see how you could miss coming out with setup that fits both your budget and your router table requirements to a tee.