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The Woodpeckers RT2743 router table package is very complete, solidly built and thoughtfully engineered.
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Woodpeckers Router Table Package #RT2743

Well built, feature laden budget saver

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   Router tables are often compromises between what is needed and what can be afforded. Woodpeckers is bridging that gap with their line of high quality, cleverly engineered and very complete router table packages that are sold direct to woodworkers at very good prices.

Initial Impressions

   The #RT2743 package is heavy-duty throughout, including the sturdy leg set and wheel package. All of the components are exceptionally well designed and fabricated to insure easy assembly, stability and long-term use. Unlike many other table packages, the #RT2743 is very complete, providing everything needed down to a 20-amp wiring harness, plug set, switch and a power cord that actually reaches outlets in real-world shops.

   The #RT2743 package reviewed here is sized for use with several INCRA fence systems but the large table surface will be equally valuable for many custom applications. Woodpeckers has several table variations available to fit virtually any need.

Instructions & Assembly

The leg assembly is heavy duty and the hardware very good quality. The staggered bolt pattern allows "finger room," making building it easier.
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   The instructions do a good job of guiding the assembly process. Clearly written text is supplemented by helpful illustrations that make identifying parts and their locations easy.

   The #RT2743 is actually a combination of smaller packages which means multiple instruction sheets. Despite this, I encountered no conflict between those sheets and the procedures they prescribe.

   After unpacking and laying the parts out, the leg set was assembled exactly as the instructions mandate. All of the parts fit well, as did the high quality SAE-sized fasteners.

   It took just over an hour to finish assembling the #RT2743 with no surprises or problems encountered along the way. The result was a rock-solid router table ready for installation of the lift plate and router.

Leg Assembly

   All of the leg components are made from 14-gauge steel, finished

(Top) The rear wheels are stationary and roll easily.
(Bottom) The single caster and it's foot jack assembly is easy to build and very functional.
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with a baked-on textured powder coat process that provides an exceptionally durable, scratch-resistant surface. The components are formed using a press brake that, while more costly and time consuming, creates extremely straight, dimensionally correct parts with an accuracy that cannot be matched with faster and cheaper folding break processes.

   A nice engineering touch is the staggered bolt pattern used at all of the joints. Staggering the bolts not only makes for a very rigid joint, it makes assembly easier by creating finger space between fasteners.

   The finished dimensions of 37 ½"-long by 20 ¼"-wide and 35"-tall provide a very stable base for the large table surface.

Wheel Package

   A pair of fixed wheels at one end and a cleverly designed foot-operated jack that deploys a single swivel caster on the other end makes the #RT2743 a truly mobile unit.

   When the caster is retracted a pair of adjustable feet with non-slip pads prevent the unit from moving during use.

   Installing the wheels, including building the jack mechanism, is clearly described in the instruction sheet. Once installed, a light oiling of the wheels is all that is needed to keep the #RT2743 rolling smoothly around the shop.

Electrical Package 

The 20-amp electrical package gives you the right components to do the job right.
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  A very nice feature of the #RT2743 package is a pre-wired electrical harness, plug set and switch, all rated to handle a 20-amp load. All of the electrical components fit into factory cut openings in the side rail and electrical channel built into the leg set framework.

   An oddity these days is the inclusion of a heavy-duty 13-foot long (outside the leg set) 14AWG/3 cord that actually reaches outlets and eliminates the need for another extension cord running across the shop. The instructions are easy to follow and make attaching the color-coded wiring to the switch and plug set a simple task even for the electrically challenged – like me.

Downdraft Dust Collection

   To help control dust, the #RT2743 package includes a downdraft box that attaches below the table, surrounding the lift plate opening. The dust box is sized to provide ample room for all modern routers and the full line of Woodpeckers lifts with the exception of the Rout-R-Lift.

The downdraft dust box was even more effective than I expected.
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   Assembled from pre-formed panels, the box includes a 4" hose port, blast gate and a large, swing-open door that provides access to the router. The parts are factory-drilled to make assembly with the included self-tapping screws fast. Like the leg assembly, the dust box parts are powder coated.

   At 9 ¼"-wide by 13"-long and 15"-deep, the dust box limits the area being evacuated, maximizing the effectiveness of the dust collector being used. The tapered, hopper-style bottom feeds dust to the port, preventing buildup around the edges as often happens with flat-bottomed enclosures.

Table

(Top) The table comes pre-drilled for the INCRA LS Positioner and Twin Linear systems.
(Bottom) A 3/4"-wide T-style miter slot affords many options.
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  The 43 ½"-long, 27"-wide and 1 ½"-thick table is as rigid as it is spacious. When installed on the leg set, the work surface is a comfortable 36 ½" above the floor. Centering the table on the legs leaves plenty of free space under the edges for clamping shop-built fixtures and jigs in place.

   The table is fully covered with a quality laminate and comes with the lift plate opening cleanly routed, including the supporting ledge. The ledge is pre-drilled to accept 8 included screws that serve as wear-proof bases for the lift plate leveling screws.

   Miter tracks are common on router tables but Woodpeckers takes this a step further by installing a ¾"-wide, T-shaped aluminum track that runs the full width of the table. This gives the user wide-ranging options from using one of the trick INCRA aftermarket miter gauges to building special sliding jigs or even re-purposing that factory miter gauge that came with your table saw.

   The table that comes with the #RT2743 package is factory drilled for the INCRA 17" LS Positioner Super System and the INCRA Twin Linear system. Woodpeckers even installs blind nuts to further simplify installing the fence systems.

In the Shop

(Top) A nicely routed recess makes installing the lift plate a snap.
(Bottom) With the INCRA LS Positioner SuperSystem is installed, the RT2743 table system really shines!
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   When fully assembled, the #RT2743 work surface looks almost too big but with the INCRA 17" LS Positioner Super System mounted, the reasoning behind the dimensions is clear.

   From the center of the bit, there is a 13"-deep by 27"-wide work surface in front of the fence. Remove the INCRA system fence and arm and a huge 27"-wide by 34"-deep work surface is available in front of the mount that makes larger routing jobs easier and safer.

   The leg set is very rigid and prevents movement of the table surface during use. Stability is enhanced by the skid resistant feet that support the front end of the table when the caster is retracted. Throughout testing I never felt the table wobble, slide or move unexpectedly.

   The wheel set is smooth rolling and very easy to "steer" thanks to the swivel caster. The foot-operated lever that lowers and retracts the swivel caster is easy to work but very positive in the up or down position.

   The downdraft dust box proved to be highly effective at removing all below-the-table dust. This closed system creates a substantial suction at the insert hole around the bit, reducing above-table dust more than I anticipated.

   The seams of the downdraft box components are not totally sealed but limit air infiltration more than enough to maintain the effectiveness of marginal dust collectors. With my 1200 CFM Delta 50-760 dust collector attached, those little air leaks appeared to introduce enough air to prevent stalling, keep the dust in suspension and make the system nearly 100% efficient.

   The combination of the #RT2743 table and INCRA's 17" LS Positioner Super System proved to be very stable and made a full range of routing tasks easy to do with a high level of accuracy and safety.

   Because the #RT2743 package is so complete, you can literally build the table, install the INCRA system and be routing with a new level of accuracy that same day.

Conclusions

   The #RT2743 is a very well built, thoughtfully designed table system that will make routing operations in your shop more accurate, easier and safer. While this model is designed for use with INCRA systems, Woodpeckers has other sizes and package combinations featuring the same materials and construction to suit a wide range of routing needs.

   The street price of $429.99 (2-20-2005) is not insignificant but considering the list of features that are included and the quality of the components, this package represents an exceptional value for the money. Factor in the time saved, capabilities gained and the #RT2743 (package 1) router table package from Woodpeckers could very well be the answer to your shop needs now and for a long time to come.

   Click Here to see the #RT2743 on the Woodpeckers web site.

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