I am searching for a router for my router table I am making. Currently, I
have a nice Hitachi plunge/fix base system and love it but I want to keep it
for freehand use without having to mount and dismount on the table. Plus, I
was thinking a more powerful router would be better for use with a table or
perhaps I'm wrong. My main question is could a plunge router be used with a
table and if so, how is it adjusted without having to reach under and use
the plunge lever or having to purchase an expensive adjusting device? I
would think the requirements of micro adjusting is needed thus, all the
reason more not to use a plunge router. I'm asking because I can find good
deals on plunge routers but not so much with fix routers. Therefore, I want
to find out what's best before I purchase.
I bought the PC 895 kit because it came with both bases. Also, the fixed
base can be adjusted from above the table.
So far, the 895 has remained attached to the table with the fixed base.
Perhaps somebody else could say how you would use a plunge base and whether
a plunge base is preferable or not.
I should note that I have not made a raised panel with the 895. Others will
have to discuss if this router is powerful enough for this type of cut.
I have a plunge router under my router table, and I personally have little
difficulty with it. Don't all routers have micrometer fine adjustment of
some sort? It only recently became an issue, when the wife took an interest
in making stuff for herself. She doesn't have the upper body strength that
we might take for granted. You have to fight both the weight of the router
and the plunge springs to raise the router. We're looking at table lifts
now. I can go along with it, as it will free up the plunge router for other
I shopped the various options extensively, very recently. Dedicated lifts
cost about $200 for models that take 3.5" (PC 690/890, Bosch 1617/1618), or
$300 for 4.2" motors (PC 7815). Pricing is surprisingly uniform across
manufacturers. The best choice for us is a dedicated lift that takes the
smaller motor, for about $400 with the router. There isn't much advantage to
buying just the motor alone, as it's only a few dollars less than the base
From there, you can look in 2 directions. The larger lifts take the PC 7815
4.2" motor directly, or the smaller motors with adapter sleeve for $20 to
$50 more. The motor with collet adds another $300, for a total of $600. This
is a 3+ hp motor, making it possible to swing the big panel raising bits. I
don't have this need, so it isn't $200 worth of important for me. It's
likely false economy to buy the smaller motor and sleeve it to fit the
larger lift. You're not saving all that much, and giving up quite a bit of
power to do so. It would be different if you already had a suitable motor.
Slightly less expensive is to just bolt the fixed or dedicated base to a
suitable plate, as is normal. A good, flat, Blandchard ground plate plus
router totals to $250 if you shop carefully. Porter Cable has the advantage
over Bosch by allowing above the table micro-adjustment with a $20
accessory. You'll still have to reach under the table, though, to push it up
for bit changes or gross depth changes.
I'm curious why you don't just bolt in the Hitachi's fixed base. Just swap
the motor into the plunge base when you want to use it out of the table.
That would be the cheapest option of all. I actually thought that was the
major use of the fixed/plunge packages.
Anyway, I can tell you that I'm beyond sweating the small stuff this moment,
the cost in this case being the insignificant detail, or at least no more
significant than any other detail. It goads me that just the lift plus
router can cost as much as a good bandsaw, but I note with mixed delight and
disgust that I recently spent $200 on just a new backsaw, marking gauge,
some waterstones, a saw set, and a couple of books and videos. The whole
idea started as a $20 saw to cut some dovetails. ;)
I considered that briefly. It wasn't a problem until very recently, as I
mentioned. Still evaluating the options. I use it out of the table
sometimes, still attached to the insert plate. Frankly, I don't know how
well it will work with just gravity and the heavy plate substituting for the
missing springs. We have room in the shop for a second router if it frees up
the first one. I have to admit the above table options are very appealing.
I had a similar problem until someone mentioned the same thing as Rick
here in the Wreck. After I removed the springs, life got a whole lot
easier at the router table.
If I were removing and re-attaching the router to the table on a regular
basis, and having to reinstall the springs, I'd be some pissed. But I
acquired another router which never goes into the table, and that makes
it a lot easier. In my case the 2nd router was free, but I'd have bought
one anyway. I do find, tho, that I don't often have a need to use the
unmounted router. I dick around with the table until I get the setup I
Take a close look at this one:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)23226420&sr=1-2
(if that doesn't wrap, try:
It has a "T" handle for adjusting height from above the table. Plenty
I had the Hitachi M12V and was satisfied with the performance but this
Milwaukee is in another league.
For what you want to do I recommend you purchase a table insert device.
I have one made by Jessem Tool Co. It takes a router motor insert from a
hand held router and clamps it in a vertical adjuster. The adjustments
are made by the simple action of turning a removable crank. The
adjustments are solid and continuous. In fact I use my electric
screwdriver to raise and lower the bit. To make changing the bits simple
I installed a new chuck that uses a hex screw in a slotted head to clamp
the bit. Just raise the chuck above the table and insert an allen key.
Change the bit in seconds.
Yes it costs a few bucks but you will never go back to anything else.
Also if you need the router motor assy just release the holding clamp
and withdraw the motor and replace it in the handhold assy.
I think that you would be well served by using a router lift. Sign on for
the e-mail sale notices from woodpeckers
Several times a year they have a scratch, dent and re-built sale on theirs.
I bought one for my DeWalt 618 and have no complaints. To me it was worth
the price but many are just as well satisfied by their plunge bases.
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