Shop-Made Router Lift Rutland VT
West Rutland, VT
Fair Haven, VT
Shop-Made Router Lift
Shop-Made Router Lift
Features you can't buy at a price you won't believe.
by Bruce Kieffer and Richard Tendick
Router lifts are hot items these days and for good reason. Veteran router table users love their ability to make super-fine micro adjustments or rapidly raise the bit right from the tabletop. No more fumbling under the table like a contortionist.
The only drawback is the price: $200 to $500. Ouch! That’s why we were so thrilled when Richard Tendick walked into our offices with his idea for a shop-made router lift. Not only does Richard’s lift offer above-the-table height adjustment (see “Benefits of the AW Router Lift,” page 40) but it costs less than $100. Plus, unlike the expensive commercial lifts, this lift allows you to change bits without cranking the router all the way up. It also features effective below-the-table dust collection. When combined with dust collection in the fence it results in near-perfect dust collection. This design also isolates the exhaust end of the router in the cavity. That leaves the router air intake sucking only clean, dust-free air. And, unlike all the other mechanical lifts on the market, Richard’s lift hangs off the back of the router table, not on the top where the excess weight can lead to sagging.
Our router lift consists of two components: the lift mechanism and the router carrier. The lift mechanism uses finely machined steel rods that slide through oil-impregnated bronze bushings set in upper and lower slide blocks. Upper and lower clamp blocks capture the ends of the steel rods and provide attachment points for securing the lift to the router table back. The router carrier attaches to the lift mechanism. A plywood router clamp holds the router motor in the carrier. Adjusting the height is as simple as turning the acorn nut on top of a threaded rod.
Super-Tune Your Drill Press
Before you start building, make sure your drill press will drill holes that are perfectly perpendicular. That’s the key to a smooth operating lift mechanism. We found that just checking the table with a square is not enough. Here’s how to super-tune your drill press:
Adjust your drill press table to 90 degrees as best you can with a square and a 1/2-in. steel rod chucked into the drill press. All drill press tables can be adjusted side-to-side but few can be adjusted front-to-back. Chances are your table is slightly off. Make adjustments by inserting paper shims between the drill press table and an auxiliary table.
Drill a 3/4-in.-diameter x 2-1/2 in.-deep hole in a test block. The test block is just a four-piece stack of 3/4-in. MDF glued together. Label the front of the test block for reference so you know where to shim your table if necessary.
Check the drilled hole for square using one of the 3/4-in.-diameter steel rods for the lift mechanism. Check all aroun...