I knew this moment would come. Going back to the earliest days of this project, I knew I would have to make a big decision regarding my new router table: determine what to do about a router lift.
If I had all the money in the world, the decision would be easy (or at least much easier). I would probably combine a Woodpeckers Sidewinder router lift with the burly Porter Cable 7518 3 1/4 hp motor. The price for this package? Over $600.00 and the PC7518 is currently on sale at Woodcraft.
But, I have very little money in my workshop savings account. And, we have a costly home improvement project coming up soon. It’s just difficult and even irresponsible to make a significant power tool purchase now.
As the week developed, this budget problem caused a lot of twists and turns along the path to finishing the router table. I have changed my mind many, many times. In addition to the Sidewinder/PC7518 combo, I considered these options…
- A Sidewinder and a smaller fixed base router
- A shop made lift and a smaller fixed base router
- The smaller fixed base router with no lift
- Continue using my DW621 plunge router with no lift; no new router
The Shop Made Lift Option
I gave serious consideration to all of these options. But I knew I would have to be sensible with my money (the reason for options 3 and 4 above). Option one was quickly marked off the list; I gave a lot of thought to the home-made router lift. I had seen the video Steve Ramsey made about his shop built router lift. There are other videos out there with very different lift methods – many of these shop made lifts are large things which would not work in my router table.
I purchased a router lift plan from 3D Woodworking Plans. This plan is high quality and well worth the price. While it isn’t stated in the plan, it seems to be the same process Steve Ramsey followed and the completed lift would be both affordable and sized to fit within the interior of my router table.
But my concern here is the nature of shop made fixtures that have moving parts: do they offer the precision needed; will the wooden parts change, even slightly, with seasonal wood movement; will it lead to frustration in use?
I did purchase something and I’ll reveal the solution in my next blog post.
Adding the Dust Port to my Router Table
In addition to the lift research, I finally added the dust port to the back of my router table…
To create the dust port, I needed to make a template which my router, equipped with a flush trim bit, can ride against.
With the template formed, I duct tape it to the inside of the router table (I was surprised how well duct tape worked). After drilling a starter hole, I ran the flush trim bit against the template – note the red arrow above; it points to the template. The result is a copy of the dust port’s hole is created.
I’ll begin basic work on the top today and my router lift solution will arrive the middle of next week. Hopefully, I’ll have the table top installed by next weekend.
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