Split-fence benchtop router table with dust collection and lots of workspace
The Porter-Cable 698 benchtop router table is best for beginners. It offers a large tabletop with dust collection, a split-fence design, and compatibility with most routers. You get a lot of flexibility with this tabletop, so you can work on a variety of projects pretty easily, even if you are just starting out with wood-working.
Machined aluminum table top
The Porter Cable’s tabletop is made from machined aluminum, so it’s very strong and stable. It also has a cast-in lip so adding table extensions is easy and will be adequately supported. The table as a whole is very sturdy (it’s iron-casted), but is still light enough to move around.
Quick-adjust split-fence design
The unique design aspect of the Porter-Cable is its fence. It is a split-fence, which means the fence is made from independently-adjustable halves. This provides you with more versatility than fences made from one piece, so you can work effectively on different projects.
Multiple starting pin locations
Another feature that makes this router table great for beginners is that it has multiple starting pin locations. The main gauge slot works with any ¾-inch miter gauge, and there are also other pin locations where you can insert larger or smaller pins for all your different jobs.
Uses most routers
One of the Porter-Cable 698’s big strengths is that you can use just about any router. The table’s leg height allows for most routers between 1 ½-3 ¼ HP, so you can easily and smoothly change out your routers depending on your needs.
Lots of workspace
The Porter-Cable 698 benchtop provides you with a lot of space. The table is over 16 inches wide and 19 inches long, so you have room for tall pieces as well as smaller ones meant for more detailed work. You’ll have enough space to easily move your stock around without feeling cramped.
Wood-working is messy no matter what job you’re working on, so having a way to make cleanup easier is important. This router table has a dust collection hood that uses a 2-1/2 inch hose, which is the standard hose side for workshops. Simply vacuum up the dust once you’re finished with your project for the day.
The split-fence design has a lot of flaws. You have to align the two halves every time you use them and then tighten the wingnuts so the halves stay together. If you’re even slightly off, you won’t have the line you want. Another issue is that if you’re working with a tall piece and you need the two fence halves to be perfectly aligned with each other (like a one-piece fence would be), it’s hard to keep them perfectly straight. To work around this problem, just take the extra time to be sure the halves are where you want them to be before locking them in place.
While there are some problems with the split-fence on the Porter-Cable 698 router table, it does provide you with more versatility. The tabletop is strong and stable, so you can easily add extensions. If you are more of a beginner when it comes to wood-working, you’ll be happy with the large workspace and easy dust collection. You can also use just about any router out there, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time tracking down one that works.