Router Lifts: the basics - Part 3

Don't fear or fret though my fellow woodworking friend! The solution to this seemingly inescapable problem is to incorporate a fancy little feature into your table called a router lift. ROUTER LIFTS are basically mounting points for your wood router that attach to the router table itself. They provide some additional features such as: table-top adjust ability, the ability to overcome the table thickness, and, in many cases, quick-disconnects to allow easy access to the router for hand held work or other adjustments as needed. Most commercially available router lifts are made from aluminum or cast iron and are specially designed to resist flex and allow for quick mounting and removal of routers.

Before you begin building a home made router lift, consider the exacting work needed.

Router lifts are typically of very sturdy construction, with well machined tolerances and detailed calibrations to ensure the settings you need are exactly what you get. Some models include height gauges that actually measure the bit height itself, allowing for very accurate settings. Normally available with table-top controls, a few models support or provide alternative options for table front access. Whichever adjusting method you chose, you will prefer any of them as more reliable methods for setting the router height as compared to muscling the router up and down with your arm while holding a tape measure on the top of the table!

As you might expect with such a simple concept, it is possible to buy or create a homemade router lift yourself. In fact, some wood routers have built-in 'bottom access' controls that can be pressed into service when building your own. But, as with all things, the devil is in the details. You might find it difficult to be certain that you create a lift with enough strength and integrity to prevent the router from shifting or warping under load. Think about accomplishing that, while still coming up with an easy to use adjustment system that is accurate, lockable, and easy to check. All things considered, buying a wood router lift of the many off the shelf models might suddenly seem like a much better option!

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