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Bench Dog, Router Table Reviews

Bench Dog 40-001 Router Table Review

Bench Dog 40-001 router table

Review: Bench Dog 40-001 Router Table

Design8.8
Features9.1
Performance8.1
Ease of Use8.2
Value for Money8.4
8.5 out of 10
What's Hot?
  • Bench Dog's excellent 22" ProFence
  • Indestructible solid birch plywood cabinet with 15" interior height
  • Two sets of fence slots to maximize available table space
  • Router mounting plate is set forward in the tabletop rather than in the middle
What's Not?
  • Lacks an external power switch
Bottom Line The Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Router Table is a cabinet base, benchtop router table made from top quality components, with a good sized tabletop, Bench Dog’s excellent ProFence and a solid birch plywood cabinet base that's designed for the rigors of the job site. It also features Bench Dog’s unique dual position fence slots that allow you to move the fence to accommodate larger panels, maximizing your usable tabletop space. buy-now-amazon-button4
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Introduction

The Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Router Table is a job-site/benchtop router table aimed squarely at the contractor/job-site market. It’s made from top quality components, with a good sized tabletop, Bench Dog’s excellent 22″ ProFence and a virtually indestructible solid birch plywood cabinet base. It also features Bench Dog’s unique dual position fence slots that allow you to move the fence to accommodate larger panels, maximizing your usable tabletop space whilst still being easy to carry on-site or move around the shop.

Specification

Router Table Top With A Difference

The Bench Dog 40-001 features a non-marring phenolic laminate table top measuring 22-inch long by 16-inch wide tabletop which is acceptable for a job-site/benchtop model (where portability is a competing factor). On paper this is directly comparable to other benchtop models such as the Bosch RA1181 or RA1171 but in practice the amount of usable work space on the Bench Dog 40-001 is maximized due to two unique features:

The router mounting plate is set forward in the tabletop, flush against the miter track rather than in the middle
There are two sets of fence slots which allow you to flip the fence around so that you are working from the back of the cabinet giving you even more space.

With the fence in the rear fence slots, the fence sits roughly in the middle of the table top giving you a usable area approx half the width of the table which is perfectly wide enough for putting edge profiles on thin stock.

But if you put the fence in the front slots and flip the table around, the fence sits near the back of the table top giving you over 11″ of width to use, allowing you to support wider panels.

Bench Dog Router Table Top showing two sets of fence slots

Adjustable Aluminum Miter Track

The second feature that makes the 40-001’s table top different to the competition is the adjustable miter/accessory slot allowing you to get a perfect no-slop fit. The 40-001 is billed as a contractor router table and so it’s going to get some heavy use – after prolonged use the aluminum track can wear and you’ll get some play in the miter gauge travel. High-end miter gauges such as the INCRA Miter1000/HD Miter Gauge have adjustable expansion disks to compensate, but the Bench Dog 40-001 lets you adjust for any play without having to invest in expensive gauges.

The 40-001 is able to do this because the miter track is positioned right at the front of the table rather than being inset into it as is the case with other router tables. A slight disadvantage of this setup is that the miter gauge isn’t supported on both sides but in use this isn’t an issue.

Phenolic Mounting Plate

The Bench Dog 40-001 comes with a phenolic removeable baseplate which is supported by twin steel rails which means that it won’t sag as a result of leaving the router hanging from it, which you’re likely to do if you do a fair amount of router table work. The steel rails have 8 levelling screws mounted in them to ensure a perfectly flush fit with the tabletop. The mounting plate is also pre-drilled to accept a large number of popular routers. A lot of people prefer to have pre-drilled holes rather than drilling your own as you know the router will be exactly centered, although you get something of a swiss cheese look to it with a lot of redundant holes.

As with other Bench Dog router tables you need to be aware that Bench Dog mounting plates measure 8-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch compared to a lot of tables that use 9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch. So if you’re going to upgrade to a router lift, make sure you buy the right size because the default for brands like JessEm, Incra and Kreg is the larger size.

8-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch (for Bench Dog)9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch (NOT for Bench Dog)
JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121 Router LiftJessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift
Incra Master Lift II-R Designed for Rockler TablesINCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift
Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router Adjustment SystemKreg PRS3000 Precision Router Table Lift
Woodpeckers Precision Router Lift V2 350 for Bench Dog (PRL-V2-350-BD)Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift
Woodpeckers Precision Router Lift V2 420 for Bench Dog (PRL-V2-420-BD)Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-350 Precision Router Lift

22-inch ProFence

The table comes with Bench Dog’s 22-Inch ProFence, a 3-1/2″ tall heavy duty one-piece aluminum frame that is fully machined on the front and bottom surfaces, ensuring that your ProFence is flat, true and square. It has universal T-Tracks on both the front and back of the aluminum spine, which are perfect for attaching featherboards, stops, hold-downs, and more, accept any accessory with 1/4″ T-bolts, 5/16″ hex-bolts, and 1/4″ hex bolts.

The MDF sub-fences adjust without tools, perfect for zero clearance setup, and the ProFence also comes with a heavy-duty bit guard and a 2-1/2-Inch diameter dust collection port.

The fence uses a traditional means of adjustment, sitting in twin slots cut into the table top. It’s not as fully featured or innovative as the Kreg PRS1010 T-square style fence or the JessEm 4010 Master Fence II, but it’s a good solid fence that performs well and dust extraction through the fence gap is particularly good.

Indestructible Heavy-duty Plywood Cabinet

The indestructible claim is ours, not Bench Dog’s, but since the 40-001 comes with a limited lifetime warranty, they’re pretty confident in it too. The cabinet is one of the best things about the Bench Dog 40-001. This router table is aimed at the job-site/contractor market and the base unit is built accordingly, able to stand up to the rigors of working on-site. It’s constructed from birch plywood held together with cross dowels and hex bolts for maximum rigidity.

The table top is also fixed to the base unit using cross dowels and bolts, not screwed, so there’s no chance of stripping the thread and the miter track also uses cross dowels and bolts to attach to the sides of the cabinet.  It all adds up to an incredibly solid construction.

The construction of the base is one of the main factors that makes this router table stand out from (and cost nearly twice as much as) the Bosch benchtop models.

For permanent mounting, the base can be bolted through the rubber feet to a workstation or bench. Unlike other benchtop models that are clamped directly to the bench, this means you get damping through the rubber feet which reduces vibration whilst not losing any rigidity.

The only criticism we have of the otherwise excellent base is that it lacks an external power switch. For both safety and convenience, you don’t want to have to open the cabinet every time you want to turn the router on and off. It would benefit from the addition of a dual outlet switch like the one on both the Bosch RA1181 and the RA1171 that allows you to plug in your router and your dust extraction to the same switch so they both switch on/off at the same time.

You could mount something like the Rockler Safety Power Tool Switch on the side but it means cutting a hole in your cabinet. You don’t even get it on their top of the range Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax RT Complete.

Bottom Line

The Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Router Table is the most expensive cabinet base, benchtop router table on the market, retailing at $297. The most similarly priced model is the Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table at $249. The market leading Bosch RA1181 is a little over half the price at $159. For the extra money you get the sturdiest, most robust job-site/benchtop router table on the market with a cabinet base that will last a lifetime. Equally important in a category where portability competes with table top real estate, you get Bench Dog’s unique dual position fence slots that allow you to move the fence to accommodate larger panels, maximizing your usable tabletop space.buy-now-amazon-button4

Bench Dog 40-001 router table




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Chester is older than he likes to admit, a lifelong woodworker with a special interest in everything related to routers, router tables and router lifts in particular. His aim in life is to own everything made by the Kreg Tool Company, and his doctor says he's most likely addicted to anodized aluminum.