Router Table Lift


I am building a router table which will use the Porter-Cable 690 1.75hp variable speed router, and I am pondering the wisdom of using a lift rather than attaching the fixed base to the table insert. While I have read all about the advantages of swapping bits from above the table, and changing depth settings easily and precisely from above, I still wonder if these are really issues for the occasional furniture builder that I am. If it matters, I'm considering the Rousseau lift because it seems to have all the features and capabilities that they all do, but at the lowest cost I've found on the web.
It would help me quite a lot to learn of your experiences with lifts in a non-production setting. Opinions and thoughts, both pro and con, are greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,
Rich
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I recently purchased the Rockler/JessEm Router Lift FX from my (kind of) local Rockler store. After using my old, let's climb under the router table and fumble with the wrenches and tweak the router's base adjustment (again, and again) and going through myriads of scrap to get the exact level, the new lift is just great. The best part was that my PC slipped right into the clamp (without any adjustment) and I was off and routing.
This is what I bought: http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product_details.cfm?offerings_id 777&filter=router%20lift
Today, I ordered a set of Tab-Loc inserts to supplement the one that came with the unit.
Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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Thanks, Bill. I intend to hang the router under an acrylic mount plate so I can either remove it to make the adjustments, or I can build a hinged top to make access easier. Looking at the manual for the PC 690LRVS I bought today (factory rebuilt and at a good price because Black & Decker is closing the local Porter-Cable/Delta repair center and merging it with the local DeWalt repair center), I see that I can zero the bit on the work surface then open the clip and rotate the body to adjust the bit depth in 1/128th-inch increments.
I appreciate your input.
Rich
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Dr. Richard B. Shepard, President
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I made my own using a 1 inch bolt and nut. I used a 2x4 with a hole drilled in it, and just screw the bolt into the nut when I need to adjust. Very simple and very cost effective.
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While any number of folks will tell you how much cheaper it is to not buy a lift, or build your own with a old chevy screw jack, I will say that I grew VERY weary during a session of building a set of doors and had to adjust the router height at LEAST ten thousand times to get the correct cut.
The Jessem lift is expensive but ONE session using it and one session of standing on your head with a pair of bi-focals, trying to make very small adjustments will bring you around to their way of thinking.
SPEND THE MONEY and save your sanity,back and eyes.
Rich Shepard wrote:

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There is another solution for the occasional user. I have not tested it. If anyone has experience, please speak up.
I can't remember where I saw it. It was just a circular plate. You mount the router on the plate, which rests in a cut-out on the table.
When you want to change the setting, you lift the router and plate as one, adjust it, and put the plate back.
There is no leveler, and nothing except the weight of the router to hold the plate in place.
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Bruce,
This is the approach used by Bill Hylton in his router books. The plate is rectangular, but the idea is the same. It's what I planned on using until I thought of investigating a lift.
Looking at the router I bought today for use in the table convinces me that the adjustments will be easy and I can use that money for other good stuff.
Many thanks,
Rich
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Pat, I feel I can build anything but I can't build everyting. A router lift is one of those things I choose not to build - like you.
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======================I think of myself as more then an ocassional furniture maker ..especially since I retired 6 years ago... and now report to my shop almost every day...(hiding out from the wife alot I admit)...but you get the idea...
I honestly see no real or imagined need for a router lift... I just do not... I use a Benchdop table...all I do is open the door bend over slightly remove router .place it on the tables surface..change bits bend over slightly again install router (...maybe 2 minutes time IF I am in no hurry) ... Adjustments take maybe 3 times as long without a router lift... yep 10 seconds vs 3 seconds...or if the adjustments are real critical it may take 12 seconds...
I may have wasted a full hour last year adjusting my routers... BUT I am retired...so I have the time...and I also have the money that I did not buy a router lift with....
Just my opinion... Router lifts are nice..but not really something you abssolutely need and are not the cheapest thing to buy...
Bob Griffiths PS: Now I do have a lift...its in the garage and I use it to work on my cars... just too old to crawl under the cars any more... Got one up there now replacing all 4 brake caliburs.!
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Bob, There is one use for a router lift: you can raise the bit with the wood on top so you can make mortises or stopped dados.
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True, but standard router table techniques allow you to do this without a lift. I could actually dial up my router very precisely to do that, but find I never do. GerryG
wrote:

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If you end up with the router mounted and left in the table you essentially have a shaper. For the $200 lift, $150 router, $100 top/fence, and what ever in the stand, you're pretty darn close to a 1-1/2 (real) hp shaper.
http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?ItemNumber=G1035

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Just one teeny little thing else, like shaper cutters, that are just a wee bit more than router bits.
Check out a full door set from Freud or any of the other majors.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)11508136/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-0864969-7467329?v=glance&s=hi
Weekend wood bog wrote:

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Rich Shepard wrote:

I have the Jessem lift with the 690. Works great (but I had some early quality problems with the lift and had to return it twice)
I actually find changing bits takes *MORE* time than before, when I could remove the insert from the table, remove the motor, change bit, re-insert. Cranking is kind of slow.
The real beauty is the accuracy and repeatability. The 690 adjustment mechanism (at least on my 10 year old one) isn't so good. For dovetailing drawers for instance, I know that I need 7 full turns + 1/128" for bit depth. I just wish the adjustment openin was NOT on the top surface of the table, but on the front.
I also agree with another poster that for the cost of router, table, lift you could buy a low cost shaper with more power, accuracy, stability, flexibility and an adapter collar for using your existing router bits. I'd probably consider that before buying another TS mounted router.
Rob
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news:pN60e.18697> I also agree with another poster that for the cost of router, table,

Some search results suggested the slower speed of the router bits in the shaper did not produce as good as cut as when on a router or shaper bits. Slower feed rate although I suppose you could swap out pulleys.
Looking at my magazine stack in the 'reading room' I completely forgot that this month's American Woodworker (#113 March 2005) includes a review of 12 router lifts. Some MORE than the grizzly shaper I pointed out.
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