Small power feed for router table

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Benjamin Miner:
My shop uses a 3hp PC router with a router lift in a Bench Dog table. It serves my needs perfectly well for pretty much everything I doe these days (mostly cabinetry, not so much furniture), but I would like to be able to hook up a power feeder. Has anybody tried this, and if so, can you recommend a decent one? Or are they worth it in the first place?

Thanks,

 - Benjamin

Notorious T.O.D.:
Power feeders are great tools and it is too bad more people don't use them.  I have used them for over 20 years on shapers, table saws and even jointers.  I now have a large Delta with 4 wheels and 8 speeds but started out with a smaller Delta with 3 wheels and two speeds that cost about $400-$500.  When I decided to buy a larger model my friend bought it and uses it with his router table and contractors saw.  He has a Hitachi MV12 router which is about 3 hp I think.

You can't beat the smooth cut and safety a feeder adds.  You can even do climb cutting where you are feeding the material with the rotation of the cutter for very smooth cuts in the most difficult wood grain.  You would not want to try climb cutting without a feeder though....too dangerous.  Of course the feeder is most efficient if you are cutting a large number of pieces of sticking for doors or pieces for molding or where you are using multiple cuts from different bits to form your profile and need to make sure that pieces are held in proper orientation and location to the various cutters.  With my large feeder I can still send pieces as small as 1/4 x 3/8 inches through for profiling.

Try it you will like it and consider the money spent as cheap insurance from potential injury and improvements in quality of your routed work.

Best,
Todd

quietguy:
Todd is 100% correct.  I have worked in a couple of shops where we had feeders, and they are worth their weight in gold.  I wish I was able to use one in my current setup.  When I complete my new shop, I may buy a combo machine, largely because they are setup to use a feeder so well.

If looking at for one now, I would probably go for the Steel City 3-wheel model.  It has 4 speeds and appears to be a pretty good bargain.

Tinker:
Altho I have never used a power feeder per-se, I do have on of sorts with my WoodRat.  A handcrank to cables that slides the frame which has the wood clamped to it.  The control is excellent and as mentioned above, you can climb cut with the wood clamped and fed to the bit with hand crank. In fact, I almost always set up to climb cut for much smoother finish cut with absolutely no tear out.  I would say to go for it.
Tinker

Benjamin Miner:
To clarify - I'm already sold on the general principle of using a power feeder. My more specific question has to do with using a small feeder vs. a bigger model. At present, my router table occupies the left hand side of the table saw, so being able to remove it fairly easily is on my mind. This setup will change in the (hopefully near) future, when I get set up with a combo machine and the router table becomes a free-standing unit.

I know Grizzly makes a small feeder, but I am cautious of it. My uses would mostly be limited to milling cabinet doors, beaded face frames, and small moldings.

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