Clicky

Bench Dog, Router Table Reviews

Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table Review

Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax router table

Review: Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table

Design8.9
Features8.6
Performance8.8
Ease of Use8.4
Value for Money8.9
8.7 out of 10
What's Hot?
  • Perfect if space is limited
  • 4 ProPlates available covering 20 of the most popular routers
  • 1-1/2" thick cast iron tabletop
  • Fits all contractor grade table saws
What's Not?
  • ProPlate not included
Bottom Line The Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table is the perfect solution for woodworkers who want the benefits of a freestanding router table but have limited workshop space. By attaching the Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax to your existing table saw, you get the benefits of increased table-top real estate, plus the stability that comes from not only the cast iron router table itself, but from the table saw it’s attached to, without taking up any more space in your workshop than your existing table saw. buy-now-amazon-button4
Router Table Reviews Recommended

Introduction

The Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table is the perfect solution for woodworkers who want the benefits of a freestanding router table but have limited workshop space. By attaching the Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax to your existing table saw, you get the benefits of increased table-top real estate, plus the stability that comes from not only the cast iron router table itself, but from the table saw it’s attached to, without taking up any more space in your workshop than your existing table saw.

The Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax router table takes the place of your table saw’s extension wing and fits all (not just Bench Dog) contractor-grade table saws and all right-tilt cabinet-grade table saws that have 27-inch wide by 1-1/2-inch thick cast iron table.

Specification

Designed to fit all (not just Bench Dog) contractor-grade table saws and all right-tilt cabinet-grade table saws that have 27-inch wide by 1-1/2-inch thick cast iron table, the Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax by definition features a medium-sized 27-inch wide by 16-inch deep tabletop, made from 1-1/2-inch thick cast iron. The substantial weight of the cast iron top (approx 60 lbs) results in very little vibration which makes for precise routing. In addition to the weight of the router table itself, the stability is helped by the substantial weight of the table saw that it’s attached to.

The advantages obviously work both way. Mounting the router table on your saw table gives you a number of side benefits when using your table saw:

Your table saw will also benefit from the fact that the whole saw table/router table combo is much heavier.
You get more table top real estate.
You get a third miter slot on the far left.

The Bench Dog 40-102 has a mounting plate opening measuring 8-1/4″ by 11-3/4″ to take the Bench Dog 40-140 Pro Plate (which is sold separately at a cost of $47.99 and is not supplied with the router table). There are 4 different ProPlates to choose from, pre-drilled to mount your specific router, and it fits over 20 of the most popular router models. There are 10 leveling screws in the router table to ensure it’s perfectly level – it’s a bit fiddly and time consuming but it’s essential you take the time to get it right.

Router lift compatability

When you buy the Bench Dog 40-102 you might decide to upgrade immediately to a router lift and not bother with one of the ProPlates to mount your router.

If so, you need to make sure you get the right one because router lift mounting plates come in two standard sizes – 8-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch and 9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch and the cut-out in the 40-102’s table top is the smaller size, 8-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch.

Obviously Bench Dog’s own model, the Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router Adjustment System is designed for their tables, but most other manufacturers such as JessEm, Kreg, Incra and Woodpeckers use the larger 9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch size on their tables and the default router lifts on sale from these manufacturers are the larger size.

Apart from Kreg they all produce a version to fit Bench Dog/Rockler tables, but you have to make sure you get the right one. We’ve put together a table showing the various lifts from the major manufacturers that fit the 40-102 and those that don’t.

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

Finally, if you’ve already got a router lift and you’re thinking about buying a Bench Dog router table, check the dimensions of the router lift first.

Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table without ProPlate mounting plate (must be purchased separately)

28-Inch ProFence

The table comes with Bench Dog’s 28-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.

It just seems something of a missed opportunity that, given the 40-102 router table is attached to your table saw, it couldn’t utilize the saw’s T-square fence mechanism.

Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table Fence features
Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table Fence rear view showing 2-1/2" dust extraction port and tool-free sub face adjustment knobs

Mounting

A number of points are worth noting regarding mounting the router table to your saw table:

The cast iron tabletop is very heavy at around 60 lbs, so if you want to make life easy, it’s a two man job
The 40-102 ProMAX replaces the left extension wing on your table saw. In most cases the fence rails on your table saw support the factory table extension wings, but when bolted directly to your table saw, the ProMAX requires no support from the fence rails. Therefore, fence rails do not need to be fastened to the ProMAX.
Bench Dog state the ProMAX cannot be installed as a left extension replacement on left tilt “cabinet” grade table saws because the table saw’s motor protrudes to the left. Nor can ProMAX be installed as a right extension replacement on right tilt “cabinet” grade table saws for the same reason. In practice, it can be done with a little modification – it will probably involve drilling additional mounting holes – but it’s not recommended.
The tabletop cut-out has 10 leveling screws to level the mounting plate/router lift. Adjusting them to get a perfectly flush finish is fiddly and time consuming, but it’s well worth the effort.

Space Saving Alternatives

If space is really tight, or you work in your garage and everything has to be packed away to make room for the car each night, you’re probably better served by a benchtop router table like  the Bench Dog 40-001 or the Bosch RA1181. Both of these models have similar sized tabletops to the Bench Dog 40-102 so you’re mot losing anything there, but they lack the stability that that comes with a heavy freestanding table.

But if you already have a table saw, a router table extension is a great idea for small workshops where you don’t have the space for a freestanding router table. However, there’s not a lot of choice in the market. MLCS make an MDF version, the MLCS 2394 Extension Router Table, and a cast iron version, the MLCS 2397 Extension Cast Iron Router Table Top, but the quality is not up to the standard of the Bench Dog 40-102.

An added plus with the 40-102 is that you’re not tied to Bench Dog’s own table saws.

Bottom Line

The Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table is the perfect solution for woodworkers who want the benefits of a freestanding router table but have limited workshop space. By attaching the Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax to your existing table saw, you get the benefits of increased table-top real estate, plus the stability that comes from not only the cast iron router table itself, but from the table saw it’s attached to, without taking up any more space in your workshop than your existing table saw. If this is the way you decide to go the Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax is the best on the market. buy-now-amazon-button4


Previous ArticleNext Article
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.