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Bench Dog, Router Table Reviews

Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax Router Table Review

Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax Router Table

Review: Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax Router Table

Design9.4
Features9.3
Performance9
Ease of Use8.6
Value for Money7.9
8.8 out of 10
What's Hot?
  • 'Indestructible' birch plywood cabinet
  • Bench Dog's excellent 32-Inch ProFence
  • 1-1/2" thick 32" by 24" cast-iron table top (weighs nearly 100 pounds)
  • Integrated 4-Inch dust port in the back of the cabinet as well as the 2-1/2-Inch diameter dust collection port in the ProFence
What's Not?
  • At $847, the ProPlate should be included
  • Lacks an external power switch
Bottom Line The Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax Router Table is Bench Dog's top of the range complete router table package including all of their top router table components - the ProMax RT Cast Iron Router Table Top, the 32-inch ProFence32 and the ProCabinet Baltic Birch Base. If you've got the space in your workshop, and you're looking for an enclosed, cabinet-style, floor standing router table, the Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax is one of the best router tables on the market for size, stability, and durability. buy-now-amazon-button4
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Introduction

The Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax Router Table is Bench Dog’s top of the range complete router table package including all of their top router table components – the ProMax RT Cast Iron Router Table Top, the 32-inch ProFence32 and the ProCabinet Baltic Birch Base.

There are many benefits to a floor standing router table, and if you’ve got the space in your workshop, and you’re looking for an enclosed, cabinet-style, floor standing router table, the Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax is one of the best router tables on the market for size, stability, and durability.

Specification

ProMax RT Cast Iron Router Table Top

The Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax claims to have the largest, flattest, most durable router table top on the market! Made from one solid piece of 1-1/2″ thick cast-iron this router table top measures 32″ x 24″  and weighs nearly 100 pounds, so it’s certainly got plenty of table top real estate and the cast iron means that as well as being very heavy and therefore stable, it absorbs vibration much better than other materials.

The surface of the table is machine-ground to within .008-Inch which makes it about as flat as you can get, ans with cast iron you know that if it starts out flat, it stays flat.

The downside is of course that you’re not going to be carrying it around with you anywhere, but if you’re looking for portability this isn’t the router table for you.

Mounting Plate

Or, to be more accurate, lack of one! This is the biggest downside of this router table – at a cost of $850 you shouldn’t have to buy a mounting plate in order to use the table.

The Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax has a plate opening measuring 8-1/4″ by 11-3/4″ to take the Bench Dog ProPlate. There are 4 different ProPlates to choose from (which is probably why they don’t supply a ProPlate with the table), pre-drilled to mount your specific router, and it fits over 20 of the most popular router models.  There is an integral 12-point plate-leveling system which levels the plate flush with the table surface as well as locking it in place.

Router lift compatability

With a top-of-the-range router table like the 40-300 ProMax, a lot of people will 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 40-300 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 ProCabinet

With the size and weight of the cast-iron ProMaxRT table top, a sturdy base is more important than ever, and the ProCabinet Baltic Birch Base is as solid as they come and easily supports the 100lbs table top making the whole unit extremely stable.

What Do We Like About The Base?

The cabinet is constructed from heavy-duty birch plywood and all panels are joined with a bolt and cross-dowel construction making it 100% stable. Should anything ever work loose you just tighten it back up again – you’re never going to strip threads.
There is an integrated 4″ dust port in the back of the cabinet. Added to the 2-1/2″ dust extraction port on the fence, this gives fantastic dust collection. With an enclosed cabinet it’s essential to have dust extraction in the cabinet itself to prevent a build up of dust and chippings in the cabinet.
The main section that houses the router has self-closing, European-style cabinet hinges on the door meaning it won’t swing open on you. On either side you’ve got a storage area for small items with very useful pullout router bit shelves and there are two large compartments underneath. You can get drawer and door packs for these compartments as an optional extra, or just use them open for storing larger items.

The cabinet comes as standard with 4 leveling feet to take account of uneven workshop floors. With the cast iron table top installed, the complete router table weighs over 230 lbs and that’s before you mount your router and put anything in the storage compartments so you don’t want to be dragging it around the shop – if you think you might want to move it, get a Bench Dog Tools 40-188 ProCaster Set and fix them at the outset. You’ll be glad you did.

What Don't We Like?

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 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.

What Are The Alternatives?

There’s not a lot of competition for the Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax, because there aren’t many floor-standing cabinet style router tables on the market.

What a lot of people do instead is buy an open style router table like the Kreg PRS1040 and build the cabinet themselves. With a stand made of pre-drilled steel legs, it’s just crying out to be customized. Kreg even produce plans and a cutting list to make it even easier or you can design it exactly how you like it.

If you want one straight out of the box, the Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax is the way to go.

Bottom Line

The Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax Router Table is Bench Dog’s top of the range complete router table package including all of their top router table components – the ProMax RT Cast Iron Router Table Top, the 32-inch ProFence32 and the ProCabinet Baltic Birch Base. If you’ve got the space in your workshop, and you’re looking for an enclosed, cabinet-style, floor standing router table, there isn’t a lot of choice on the market. That’s not a problem though, because the Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax is one of the best router tables on the market for size, stability, and durability. You’ll never need to buy another one, that’s for sure. buy-now-amazon-button4

Bench Dog 40-300 ProMax 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.