Plunge router on a router table (novice question)

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OK I know this it VERY basic stuff but here goes. I have a plunge router and a router table. Both were fairly cheap but I am on a limited budget, I put the table together yesterday and everything fits. But here is the problem... what is the best way to adjust the bit height?
I have to reach underneath, push the router up (which isnt easy as there appears to be quite a stiff action), flip the lock leaver and then hope it is the correct height because any way of fine adjusting appears to be non existant.
Am I missing something basic, or should I give up and run away shouting and screaming. You will tell from this that I am at the stage of aspiring to novice status!
Oh and another thing the power on the router is a squeeze to activate power and release to stop. What do most people use to keep the power switch in.
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(now with correct user name - sorry) OK I know this it VERY basic stuff but here goes. I have a plunge router and a router table. Both were fairly cheap but I am on a limited budget, I put the table together yesterday and everything fits. But here is the problem... what is the best way to adjust the bit height?
I have to reach underneath, push the router up (which isnt easy as there appears to be quite a stiff action), flip the lock leaver and then hope it is the correct height because any way of fine adjusting appears to be non existant.
Am I missing something basic, or should I give up and run away shouting and screaming. You will tell from this that I am at the stage of aspiring to novice status!
Oh and another thing the power on the router is a squeeze to activate power and release to stop. What do most people use to keep the power switch in.
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John Picton wrote:

I saw a slightly-used Bosch fixed-base router on Craigslist last week for $75, I was tempted to buy it and just leave it in my table because the one I already have works great there and is easy to adjust. I suspect that a router not designed for adjustment while mounted in a table is always going to be a pain to set depth on accurately.
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The more I read the other replies the more I think you migh tbe right - as I said on another reply I am on a limited budget but perhaps I would be better served saving my pennies and getting a fixed base router.
Thanks for the reply.
Cheers
John

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John Picton wrote:

Just make sure it can be adjusted easily when mounted in a table. The Bosch 1617 has an adjustment knob (and locking clamp) I find easy to reach under my table or it can be adjusted with a hex-key from above. Their plunge base is really nice too, if you can find the kit with both bases used that is a great way to go. The only thing about the Bosch I don't care for is you have to pull it out of the table to change bits so I'm looking for an double right-angled wrench to make it possible to change bits from above as I can't justify the cost of a lift at the moment.
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If you are considering that route consider the Triton. It operates like a fixed base and a plunge router without ever champing out bases. You can change bits from above the table.
This one is relatively inexpensive, has as much power as you will ever need in a router and has dropped in price over $100 over the last several years, DAMHIKT.
http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyidE19
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Leon wrote:

The Triton got top marks in Fine Woodworking's comparative review, being able to change bits with the router still in the table would be useful I must say.
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It is BUTT ugly and has a rather sickly looking orange plastic pieces but I have had mine for about 3-4 years and have no complaints. Being able to change bits above the table is wonderful, so is being able to make coarse and fine adjustments with minimal effort.
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Leon wrote:

I've actually stopped bothering with the above-table hex key on my Bosch, it's just as easy to reach underneath to pop the clamp and use the knob on the fixed base at the same time. Changing bits is my only complaint with the Bosch, if they incorporated a spindle lock to make it possible to swap bits in the table it would be ideal IMO.
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With 'my" Triton I have to reach under the table to make an adjustment

With "my" Triton I have to reach under the table to make height adjustments, no big deal. IIRC the newer Tritons allow above table height adjustment.
The problem with many routers even those with spindle locks is that the collet does not extend far enough through it's base to allow you to put a wrench on the collet from the top side of the table. The Triton allows wrench engagement from the top side.
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On Tue, 21 Apr 2009 00:44:19 -0500, "Leon"

That was the problem with mine until I replaced the collet with an "Eliminator" chuck. No need for a wrench (does need a hex key, 'though) or spindle lock.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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wrote:

I always half wondered what the "big deal" was with those hex key collets. Thanks for pointing out the apparent obvious. BUT does that Eliminator chuck also extend far enough above the top for above the top bit changes? If it does it could open up a lot of potential to other wise not suitable for above the table bit change routers.
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On Tue, 21 Apr 2009 09:14:56 -0500, "Leon"

I suppose it depends on the specific router/mounting technique combination, but with my PC7518/Jessem Rout-R-Lift it does.
Before the Eliminator, it was possible to do above the table bit changes by raising the router to the upper limit of the lift and removing the table insert. There was just enough room to maneuver the wrenches (2 required for that router) into position through the insert opening to loosen the collet if you held your tongue just right, and the moon was in the proper phase.
With the Eliminator, raising the router brings the hex recess locking screw on the chuck above the table insert. So the increase in the elevation of the chuck is enough to let the chuck can be loosened completely from above the plane of the table. Whether that increase is sufficient in every case, obviously I can't say.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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wrote:

Thanks, I was wondering if its secondary function was to enable top mounting regardless of router.
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On Tue, 21 Apr 2009 09:14:56 -0500, "Leon"

Just ran across something else that addresses that problem:
http://www.routertechnologies.com /
Don't know how the Xtreme Xtension compares with the eliminator WRT price, amount of extension, runout, etc., but it looks like the bit retention method is similar. The big difference seems to be that the Eliminator replaces the existing collet and the Xtreme Xtension, like a router bit, is clamped within the existing 1/2" collet.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Tom Veatch wrote:

Hmmmm, that has possibilities. I could pick up another router like the used Bosch 1617 I saw recently for $75 and just leave it in the table full-time. SWMBO would be unlikely to see both routers at the same time and therefore not catch on....
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On Tue, 21 Apr 2009 13:02:35 -0700, "DGDevin"

Hey, sounds like a plan to me!! ;)
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Leon wrote:

I picked up one at the Woodworking Show, Peachtree is clearing them out for $39.00 (regular $69.00). With a $4.00 bushing for 1/4" bits it's certainly worth a try. It adds enough height that I should easily be able to change bits above the table. The Peachtree guy said the only thing to look out for is not cranking the hex screw too far in either direction, apparently it works some kind of cam that clamps onto the router shaft.
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I shove the router up to an approximate position, run the depth stop up till it touches, note how far it has to adjust, drop the router, move the stop and push it back up. No big deal.
My router has a button on the trigger to lock it into place.
--
Geoff
The Sea Hawk at Wow Way d0t Com
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Depends on your wallet:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Ultra-cheap-router-lift /
or
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Router_Table_and_Lift.html
or
http://www.jessem.com/rout_r_lift_fx.htm (The Porsche of lifts)
or a slightly cheaper deal:
http://www.ptreeusa.com/routerAcc.htm#1046
Note that the router raiser is the store bought version of option # 1.
John Picton wrote:

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