Best Router For Flattening Large Wood Slabs
What is the best router for flattening large wood slabs? When it comes to slab flattening, there are many variations to consider. Such as:
- Which router bit is best to flatten wood?
- How to make a slab flattening jig, or where to buy a router jig.
- Which router do I use?
- Is my table surface flat that I'm going to be flattening on?
- Finally, how the heck do I flatten this live edge slab?
I share with you the things I have personally used and what worked best for me after trial and sometimes an error. I will NOT try to sell you anything, and I will not recommend anything I don't personally use myself. When I began my journey of working with live edge slabs, I didn't want to invest a bunch of money into something I wasn't even sure I would like to do or even be good at. Working with wood, for many years here are my recommendations for routers.
Best Router Overall
My TOP PICK 100 times over for the best router to flatten large wood slabs is the Triton TRA001. The Triton TRA001 is by far the best router I’ve ever used. Have you ever heard the saying you get what you pay for? Well, in this case, that stands true. As I mentioned, I didn’t want to invest a bunch of money into something I wasn’t even sure would amount to anything. So, I started small and kept investing in myself and my business as it grew. This is the heart of my shop, not like traditional woodshops, where the table saw is the heart. It starts for me with a flat slab. The Triton router switches from a conventional plunge base to a rack and pinion-fixed base with the turn of a nob. My favorite feature of this router is an automatic spindle lock, that allows easy switch bit change-out with both hands. Powerful, accurate, and easy to handle, this is the Lexus of routers.
Best Router Under $100
You don’t have to spend a couple of hundred bucks on equipment or a router if you're only going to be doing this here and there. In the beginning, I started with the Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router. It served me well and still does. Though I only use it for rounding edges or cutting jigs. You can get away with flattening big and small live edge slabs. It will take a little longer due to the ¼” shank and 1 ¼ HP. It’s not a bad buy though and if you’re interested they also have the Makita router kit and THREE additional bases. Which takes it from a palm router to a plunge in minutes.
Best Router Under $200
The Dewalt DW618PKB was my upgrade, And upgrade it was! This provided me with a way better dust collection, which made it easy to make my work more visible. This router is more powerful, at 2 ¼ HP. But with 12 amps it was perfect for my Epoxy river tables, seeing that 90% of them are Black Walnut. Also, I 100% believe that keeping a sharp blade/bit reduces tear-out, and leaves you with a nice flat surface. The Dewalt has a micro-fine adjustment ring that allows for 1/64” increments which made things easy when doing your final pass, over your live edge slab.
By no means do you need three routers in your shop, this is just the process I took to end up where I did. The router is important, but your choice of a slab flattening bit is just as important as well. Live edge furniture and projects begin and end with flat slabs. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment, or message me on Instagram, I do my best to answer all comments.