True "above router table" bit changes

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Hi I will need to buy myself a new router soon and would like some advice on which way I should go. Ideally I would like to have ALL operations done from above the table but have not seen anything that can definately do it. The basic options as far as I can gather are that I can go two ways; router and lift or new geneation router but I have a couple of questions about the detail:- With a router and lift is it possible to get enough clearance to change the bits or would I need to modify the spanners to make then fit? and secondly If I go for one of the new generation routers (like the triton) can I change the bits above the table without having to reach under the table and switch it off and could this be overcome by adding a remote on/off switch to the router table
Any comments welcome
Thanks Darryl
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When I built my new table using a Woodpecker lift, I didn't even put a door in on the undertable enclosure. Changing bits is perfectly easy. (Changing router speed is not so easy, but you didn't ask about that...)
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Go on then! How do you change the speed?
Toller wrote:

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Snip

NO. You can change the bit above the table with no problem however because of the mechanical built in safety feature you cannot raise the bit beyond a certain point/into the bit changing position with out physically switching the power switch to the off position regardless if you use an external power switch or not.
There are other benefits to this feature, when the bit is raised to the bit change location the shaft self locks. In an out of table position however I feel a 2 wrench method of changing bits would be a superior solution. IMHO this is an area where many people feel that using a spindle lock and 1 wrench is the way to go. In reality 2 wrenches are much easier to use as you have much more leverage in your single hand over having to grasp the router in one hand and a wrench in another. In a router table where the router is in a fixed location this is less of an issue. Something to think about as far as convenience is concerned if you plan to use a router free hand.
I must ask however what prevents you from reaching under to turn the switch off? After a while it becomes second nature to simply feel and work the switch.
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I've been considering the Triton router as well. Leon, since you prefer the two wrench method, which router do you suggest? I also would like one that allows you to change bits and bit height above the table.
Thanks, --Michael

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There are several good ones out there. I have the larger Triton and have had it for about 3 years. It replaced a still working large Bosch plunge router that is about 18 years old. For under the router table I obviously like the Triton. I looked at the large Bosch and Milwaukee closely but because of certain physical limitations that I have, half of my left thumb is gone, I felt that the controls on the Triton would be easier for me to handle. Again, the Triton in the table works well for above the table bit changes.
For free hand use I use a smaller Bosch 1617 EVS router that I have had since 1998. This was the first of it's kind back then to have the coarse and very fine tune height adjustment. I wanted this feature for use on my Leigh DT jig. This router however does not allow above the table bit changes. The Bosch 11617 comes with 2 comfortable wrenches. Some wrenches are torture devices. I steered away from the Milwaukee because at that time there was nothing to prevent the motor from dropping out of the housing when changing bit height if you went too far in one direction. That may have been improved since then. When I bought the Triton it was an Ugly Duckling and still is however it has a lot of very nice features and it has apparently been gaining popularity since then and especially now that it sells for almost $100 less than what I paid, IIRC. The only improvement that I would suggest for the Triton would be to nix the locking shaft and add a 2 wrench collet.
If this is your first router, chances are it will not be you last. Most all wood workers have more than one, I currently have 4 including an old B&D from 1974. I would recommend the Large Triton for the table and any of the smaller ones for free hand use. The Bosch 1617 EVS kit would not be a bad choice.
PC at one time was the king of routers. Their routers have a lot of nice features however having been bought and sold a time or two in recent years many people believe that PC is not the guarantee of quality that it used to be. For light home use you may never know the difference.
Go do the touchy feely thing with as many routers as you can and let your gut be the judge for the feel and location of the controls. Remember that a router hung under a router table will have all the controls in the opposite sides of the unit. With that in mind, I placed my Triton upside down and with the on/off switch on the back left side. this affords me the ability to adjust height and apply the plunge lock lever with my right hand. Unfortunately this leaves the speed control on the back bottom side however a mirror helps set the speed when going to a slower speed for large bits.
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Leon wrote:
> Go do the touchy feely thing with as many routers as you can and let your > gut be the judge for the feel and location of the controls. Remember that a > router hung under a router table will have all the controls in the opposite > sides of the unit. > With that in mind, I placed my Triton upside down and with the on/off switch > on the back left side.
If you are going to the trouble of having a table, then why not add a switch and a duplex receptacle, along with say 10 ft of cord and a plug.
Mount the switch where it is readily accessible, then plug the router into the receptacle, turn on the router switch, plug the cord into a power source, and get a beer.
BTW, since it is a duplex receptacle, you can plug a dust collector into it so it operates with the router.
Lew
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I do have an external switch for turning the router on and off but as I previousely noted you have to use the Triton on/off switch when changing bits. It defeats a mechanical lock that prevents raising the bit too high and engaging the spindle lock when the router is on.

Most of my receptacles are on a 15 amp circuit. I am afraid that if I start the router and dust collector at the same time that I would trip a breaker. If I have the router running and turn on the dust collector the router slows down quite a bit for a few moments. If the compressor comes on during all of this I usually trip the breaker. soooo I turn on the router first and then the collector a couple of seconds later.
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Leon wrote:
> I do have an external switch for turning the router on and off but as I > previousely noted you have to use the Triton on/off switch when changing > bits. It defeats a mechanical lock that prevents raising the bit too high > and engaging the spindle lock when the router is on.
Ah So.
> Most of my receptacles are on a 15 amp circuit. I am afraid that if I > start the router and dust collector at the same time that I would trip a > breaker. If I have the router running and turn on the dust collector the > router slows down quite a bit for a few moments. If the compressor comes on > during all of this I usually trip the breaker. soooo I turn on the router > first and then the collector a couple of seconds later.
Talk about being electrically deprived<G>.
Ever think about putting the compressor on 240V and splitting the router and DC circuits?
Personally, can think of no good practical use for a 15A ckt these days, when the only difference between a 15A and a 20A ckt is the wire cost.
Lew
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My wife and I bought this house new, watched it being built late 1980 early 1981. It was going to be our starter home. Then I changed jobs and worked very close by and had no traffic, in Houston, so we stayed a little longer, then in 1997 we paid the house off and 10 years with no mortgage payment is really nice. After 26 years we have learned to live in a very modest sized home with all its limitations. That said, we have a rather large attic for storage and our utility bills do not give us a heart attack although those have doubled in the last 10 years/ 3 years.
Where was I, apparently in Houston 15 amp was the code and I cannot turn back time. ;~) Typically I do not trip a breaker. The compressor only comes on when I am using it and I don't use it when anything else is running. Oddly I can run my 22-44 drum sander and dust collector on the 15 amp circuit at the same time and both supposedly require a 20 amp circuit. I do have a 20 amp receptacle for the washing machine that I do plug into when the job is a bit more strenuous on the sander.
All in all I probably trip a breaker once a year.
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Leon wrote:
> Then I changed jobs and worked > very close by and had no traffic, in Houston, so we stayed a little longer, > then in 1997 we paid the house off and 10 years with no mortgage payment is > really nice.
Been there, done that.
Made some sales calls on the engineering houses in Houston when the Alaska pipeline was being engineered in the early 70s.
Not much traffic, one of the airport terminals had been built, then mothballed due to lack of need.
Still remember a family style, all you can eat, fish house, that was a local favorite, back then.
Never got past the oysters and the shrimp<G>.
10 years later, was back in Houston, what a difference.
The freeways were parking lots at 2:00AM, construction everywhere.
> After 26 years we have learned to live in a very modest sized > home with all its limitations.
Can relate to that one.
> That said, we have a rather large attic for > storage and our utility bills do not give us a heart attack although those > have doubled in the last 10 years/ 3 years.
A trend that will continue.
Plan on adding some insulation, it pays for itself.
> Oddly I can run > my 22-44 drum sander and dust collector on the 15 amp circuit at the same > time and both supposedly require a 20 amp circuit.
Might want to replace that c'bkr, they do have a useful life that is very much load dependent.
Lew
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Which airport? ;~) Bush or Hobby? Bush was Houston Intercontinental IIRC.
I moved here in the spring of 1974 with my parents. Traffic was pretty darn bad then.

That may have been Angelo's just off of the 610 Loop and Main St. That was a large restaraunt that served all you could eat and the food was great.

Yeah that must have been Angelo's however there was a place called the Boston Sea Party however it did not compare.

It's still that way. Although at 4:00 a.m. coming home from Swingmans house the traffic is pretty good on a Sunday morning. LOL.
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Leon wrote:
> > Which airport? ;~) Bush or Hobby? Bush was Houston Intercontinental IIRC.
Back then (1970-71), it was a brand new airport and the question of the day was, "Who the hell is Bush?"
Can't remember if the Astrodome was in existence or not.
> That may have been Angelo's just off of the 610 Loop and Main St. That was > a large restaraunt that served all you could eat and the food was great.
Separate food and liquor waiters.
Served one course at a time.
You could have all you wanted of a course, but once you finished, that was it, no going back.
> It's still that way. Although at 4:00 a.m. coming home from Swingmans house > the traffic is pretty good on a Sunday morning. LOL.
Same here in L/A.
There was a time there when metro Houston was in a heap of hurt, but sounds like things have recovered nicely.
Lew
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The dome was completed and opened in 1965.

Yep that sounds like Angelo's and that location I mentioned was real clost to where the Astrodome is.

Sounds correct. Tony Angelo died about 10 years ago and the restaraunt dissapeared immediately. He was in debt IIRC.

Economic wise? There was a slow period in the mid 80's but the economy has been booming between 74 and now except for that period of time. If you are talking about MTA, Metro transit authority, It still waists money like there is not limit to funds. A few years ago a train transit system was opened up. IIRC it has been operating since Jan of 05. I think our past mayor got paid off big time by some one for that pink elephant. Planning was so poor that for the first year there were weekly news reports about the trains colliding with automobiles. Always the automobiles fault, of course. BS. I think finally the local news coverage got tired of reporting the accidents after 50 or 60 incidents in the first year. A non official study was conducted and put the cost into terms the average person could understand. The rail system cost so much that it would have been cheaper to buy each and every rider a Ferrari instead. Now we are learning that faulty wiring is causing electricity leakage that is damaging over passes.
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Leon wrote

I just think that if I'm starting from scratch (re: equipment) I might as well make it as convenient as possible from the start and also If I can keep most (if not all) operations above the table I might be able to enclose the lower section for dust collection.
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Well, I am glad you answered my question and ask you to consider this. Have you ever heard that the best way to determine where to place side walks is to not put in side walks until you see the paths that people actually take and then add the sidewalks over those beaten paths?
While most people cite that the reason for having above table height adjustments is so that they do not have to stoop over and reach under the table, I have to counter with the fact that you have to stoop over to sight and zero the bit with the top of the table to determine a starting point for the above table adjustment anyway. Additionally, I always make adjustment and test the results rather than rely on a measured adjustment so I really do not want for a measuring adjustment mechanism.
With the Triton it is true you have to use the switch to be able to raise the bit high enough to change it. You do not have to use the switch to turn the router on and off during normal operation.
If you want to enclose the bottom for dust collection, put a door in rather than a fixed enclosure. Keep in mind that depending on which router operation you are performing that dust collection is not always possible. Very often you simply cannot catch all the dust. This is especially true if you are using a pattern bit or style bit on curved surfaces.
Most better routers these days come with electronic speed control built in. It is recommended however that you not use an external speed control with these routers. With that in mind, you still have to reach under and adjust the speed if you buy a router with built in speed control. You can however still use an external switch for turning the router on and off.
Keep in mind also that if you did already have a router and were considering a new router or adding a router lift that the typical router lift will cost as much if not more that a new router with the built in under table router lift capabilities. I would rather have the extra router than the expensive lift.
Considering all that I have mentioned, of the time you spend working with your router you will probably only spend 1 to 2 percent of that time, changing bits and adjusting the bit height. Whether you adjust the bit height from above or below the time spend doing so is very minimal in many cases compared to actually time spent routing.
Just a few things for you to consider which may or may not fall into line with the way you are thinking.
Or you may be like me and simply want the absolute best "in some cases" regardless of the expense to improvement ratio. :~) We all have our priorities, I just thought I would add some observations for you to consider in case you have not gotten that far yet.
Good luck with what ever you decide on.
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Um, no? I never do this, I have a dial indicator for zeroing. Even for rough zeroing, I use a steel ruler and just lower the bit until the ruler doesn't hit it any more.
I've never stooped at my router table. I can even reach the switch on the router without stooping.
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writes:

Well there you go. You learn something every day.
Actually, when I was making that comment I was picturing zeroing/having a starting reference point on a bit that resembles a raised panel bit, round over bit, Ogee bit, etc. Basically a bit that you may want to zero in at a particular portion on the profile as a stopping point that is not at the top or bottom of the cutting area.
Thanks for pointing out the other instance. I actually use that method also.
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I have a Woodpecker PRL lift and a PC7518 motor, and it's no problem to change the bits from the top.
http://www.delorie.com/wood/projects/router /
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I have a Benchdog lift and it is changed from above, all adjustments are from above too. I'd do it again.
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