For speed and accuracy, professional woodworkers use router lifts to make it a snap when changing bits or adjusting the cutting height of their bit.
Typically priced from $150 to $450, a good router lift gives you two major benefits. First, it allows you to raise and lower your router from above the table top. You simply mount your router in the lift carriage and install the whole lift unit in your router table. With this done, you can then adjust the cutting height of your bit by cranking on the lead screw that you'll find right on the top of the router lift insert plate. This simple, but ingenious mechanism eliminates the need to grope around under the table top while trying to adjust a plunge router so that it makes the cut right where you need it.
Stop fumbling around under the table top when adjusting your router bit cutting height.
I remember a story that illustrates the height adjustment benefit you gain with a router lift. I stood in my friend's garage after Thanksgiving dinner about a year back. He had mounted his DeWalt DW625 electronic plunge cut router in a basic router table and was showing me how he adjusted the height of the bit relative to the table surface. He got on his knees, put his chin on top of the table, rolled his head until his eye looked at the bit along the surface of the table, and grunted as he muscled the router up to the height he wanted. He said, "Putting my chin on the table gives me leverage so that I can compress the springs when I raise the router." We both laughed when I asked him if he had to "assume that position" when he was using the router. Needless to say, I began telling him about the SmartLift as we headed in for pumpkin pie when our wives called. (Please note that the SmartLift only works with fixed base routers. It cannot be adapted to plunge routers. For plunge routers, try the Router Raizer.)
Enjoy the quickest and safest way to change bits.
Second, a quality router lift (such as the SmartLift) allows you to change router bits from above the table top. This makes life much easier when working on a wood project. I remember changing bits many times from under the router table top. What a chore! Lack of lighting down there made it difficult to see. I would get a crick in my neck from having to look up as I worked two wrenches on the collet. I frequently experienced "knuckle busters" when a wrench would slip and the bit would take out chunk of skin. What a hassle. My wife would chide me saying, "You sure do love wood working!" (That's her way of commenting on the torrent of expletives emanating from the workshop after a knuckle buster event.)
Take advantage of SmartLift's excellent features.
My bit changing experiences are drastically different today now that I use a router lift in my router table. I chose the SmartLift over other lifts for several reasons:
Chose a merchant that gives outstanding service and satisfaction.
I buy my lifts from Rockler.com, an online merchant that specializes in all things related to wood working. Their web site provides excellent information. They use a state of the art, secure shopping cart system that makes it a breeze to buy online. But, what I like best is their satisfaction guarantee which they state on their FAQ page. They say, "We are proud of the quality of our products, and stand behind them 100%. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the merchandise you ordered, just return it within 90 days to receive a refund in the manner of original payment."
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