The use of combination machines has over the last few years been adopted by most woodworkers. These machines take various forms, usually being two or even five machines being combined in a single unit. The Router table and Saw Table combination is one of the popular examples of how the woodworker can use both the table saw and the router on one table. Combining the two proves to be of more benefit to workshops where space is a limiting factor. And even if space is not an issue for in your workshop, combining the two can give you features, quality, and capacity that are usually found on stand-alone machines.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Combination Machines
One of the main advantages with a combination machine is the fact that you can enjoy the benefits of more than one machine on one platform. Combining the workbench for your router with that for the table saw will enable you save plenty of space.
However, one of the major concerns that woodworkers have about combination machines is the issue of switching from one machine to the other. Some see this as inconveniencing since one has to deal with various things: fences, mortising tables, shifting from one cutter to the other, and many others. Nonetheless, having more than one power tool on one workbench is quite a time saver to some other woodworkers.
To the pro woodworker, the time taken to shift from one function to the other is insignificant. It normally takes a minute or two to shift to the other function and once everything is setup, you simply select the function you want to power and there you go. Overall, the advantages that come with a combined router table and saw table far outweighs the disadvantages.
Types of Combination Machines
The European-style combination machines that are available in the US market basically come in three types;
- Combined saw and shaper.
- Combined planer and a jointer with a horizontal mortiser if you like.
- Combined machine that has all the tools: planer, table saw, jointer, shaper, and the optional horizontal mortiser.
A sliding table is standard to all combos. You will find some smaller bench saws that come with standard sliding tables and are mostly efficient and do not vibrate during an operation.
When you compare the capability of stand-alone table saws, shapers, jointers and planers with those that are found in combination machines, they are generally the same. The only difference with combo machines may be the fact that the tools share some components. For instance, where there is combination of the jointer and planer, the two will share the cutterhead and therefore when you want to use the planer you have to swing the jointer table away. As for the router and the table saw, they will share some components and you can simply tuck away the table saw whenever you want to use the router. This can be a great space saver in a workshop where there is a small space.
How to Combine a Router Table with a Table Saw
You can combine your router table with the table saw and save a lot of space in your workshop. Here are some steps that will help you in doing this;
Step 1: Tools and Materials
To begin with, it is obvious that you already own a table saw otherwise there could be no need to do this. You must own a full size table saw that has an extension. You can get an affordable one in the market since there are so many types that are quite affordable. You must also have a router table. A mini router table will do. This is the one we intend to mount on the workbench. If you have a table that has a fixed base with all the fittings then it even becomes much easier to do this.
You will also need other tools such as a handsaw, square, sandpaper, cordless drill, clamps, a jigsaw, wood glue, measuring tape, and screws.
Step 2: Measuring and Cutting the Frame
Measure the size of the table and the size of the hole within the table extension. If your measurements are for example, 687 by 370 mm and 605 by 363, then you have to extend the table by approximately 41 mm at each of its end. As for the sides, you only have to provide support.
You can make a frame by simply cutting two long skinny pieces that measure 22*38*687mm and some other two short fat pieces of 38*41*370mm. You can then cut a rebate at each of the end pieces but make sure the skinny pieces measure exactly 18 mm lower than the fat pieces and the frame 44mm high. This will be equivalent to the thickness of the table top.
Step 3: Assemble
Glue and screw the frame together. If required, use a jigsaw to cut a rebate for the switch and use the table saw to cut slots on each of the sliding meter gauge’s end. You can use flat-head screws in fitting the frame into place.
Step 4: Final Step
Drill some holes on the frame and use screws to fix it into the lower side of the table (you can use 5 or 6 screws). Once done, mount your router. With this kind of arrangement, you can use the fence that came with your wood router or use the fence you have combined with the table saw’s workbench.
The combined router table with saw table setup above will work nicely for all your projects, especially when you need to “rout out” huge work pieces. This way you can enjoy the benefits of the table saw and still use the wood router when you want.
Expand the versatility of your workshop tools by using a combination router and saw table. You can buy a combination machine that has everything in place or design one by following the simple steps above. With a combination machine you can enjoy the benefits of each of the power tools on one workbench. The benefit of using two or more workshop tools on one workbench far outweighs the inconvenience of switching from one tool to the other.