The Bosch Benchtop Router Table, AKA Bosch Router Table, is the best-selling router table out there, according to Amazon. And boy does it justify this claim? Bosch might not be the best brand out there for router tables, but it surely does deliver the best bang for your buck and the Bosch RA1181 is not a bad example at all.
Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table (Bosch Router Table) Review
The table is suitable for do-it-yourself enthusiasts and casual carpenters. If you’re going for bigger, specialized projects, you might want to go for higher-performing machines.
At first, this Bosch router table seems strong and user friendly. It comes with all the important functions that one might require from a router table, despite being cheap. With an aluminum router plate, effective debris-gathering mechanism, and a large work surface, it lives up to all your expectations.
Structure and Design
This Bosch router table consists of 3 main parts: a fence, table, and router plate. The process of assembling these parts is simple enough. The upper surface of the Bosch RA1181 is engineered to lessen friction while working. Another good thing about this aluminum router table is that it’s 27-inch long and 18-inch wide, which is almost as good as the full-size models.
It contains an average ¾” broad and 3/8” deep opening that covers the whole table and works fine with any common jig.
The list of routers compatible with the Bosch RA1181 is given directly from the owner’s manual, including of course the Bosch Router.
Aluminum Router Plate
The amazing thing about the Bosch RA1181 is the strong, pre-drilled aluminum router plate, which makes it well-suited for different routers. If you had a router before buying this machine, there’s a good possibility that it will fit in just fine and you won’t need to buy a new one. The plate of the router is strong enough to deal with powerful vibrations and torque created by the routers.
This is beneficial for small wood shops as there isn’t any concern of bending of the plate due to the weight of the bigger router. Three snap-in inserts come with it and by using them, you can cut the diameter to 1, 2 or 2.75 inches according to your needs.
A 6-foot power cord and two-outlet safety switch come pre-wired with the Bosch RA1181. An interlock key for safety is also present on the switch, and removing it disables both switches. It is intended to stop people from accidentally switching it on when you are not around.
A rocker switch is also present protected by a cover. You need to open the cover to turn the machine on, whereas turning it off only requires a bump on the top of the cover. This is a useful safety measure should anything go wrong near the Bosch router table.
The adaptable fence is sustained by an extrusion made of aluminum that is 25″ in length and 4 7/8” in height. The extrusion also includes a tube that is wedge-shaped and placed in the inner corner, functioning as a support. This makes the fence firm with ideally zero flex.
A 2.5-inch dust port is also present, and its effect is improved with the help of a vertical bit guard plate. This plate closes some of the fence opening and guides airflow from the bit. A pair of 12.5” long and 3.75” tall medium-density feather-boards can be attached to make the gap in the middle as wide as 3.75”.
This range enables the faces to be set up close to the size of any bit. All the fences in the Bosch RA1181 are adjusted using hand-operated knobs on the rearmost face of the fence.
Another convenient feature of the Bosch RA1181 fence system is the capability to join work-pieces from the edges. While the length of pieces that can be joined is limited to around 24” to 36”, that range covers a large majority of the work-pieces that are required for common tasks. Also, the included faces makes it easy to copy any bolt pattern to make longer faces if necessary.
The Accessory Spot and Dust Collection Point
The Bosch RA1181 contains a dust collection mechanism that can be fixed to any standard 2.5” hose.
Aside from the router table, a set of 3 mounting plate rings, dual-outlet of 15-ampere switches with overload safety, router fixing tools, 2 feather-boards that can be adjusted, 2 1/16” out-feed fence shims, and an adjustable clear guard come along with the Bosch RA1181.
This covers almost all the things you would need to get started with the most basic projects in woodworking.
The Bosch RA1181 is a well-built, proficient and nicely dimension-ed router table that brings all the things most woodworkers would need for completing basic tasks. For the price that it comes at , it is probably the best way to meet your needs without burdening your pockets.
The resilience of the materials in this router table means that it will work just fine for a very long time. Even in small projects, the glued-up panels are used in such high numbers that the joining capability of the Bosch RA1181 becomes an important feature.
Although it is made as a benchtop unit, you can make it a completely working router table by building a base and mounting it on a mobile base that would be easier to use in the work-spaces available in your shop. The Bosch RA1181 will make a great router table for your shop. And it can surely be considered as the Best Router Table of 2016.
If all the included parts are summed up, you’ll find it cheaper to buy the Bosch RA1181 than to build one with the same specifications.