As usual, no project ever goes the way I envision it. Even projects that I design 1st tend to take a left turn at some point. And so it is that I have hit that left turn in this project. With the top finished and ready to be cut for the miter track and the router opening I was left with trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do and whether or not I wanted an insert plate. Two things happened which are going to change the direction of this project a little bit.
The 1st was finally finding a long lost treasure. I have had a copy of American Woodworker that I purchased at Barnes & Noble (back when I still used to buy books in person) in March 2004 (Issue #106). Back then the only tools I owned were a Router and Jig saw. I knew that one day I wanted a router table and it would be great to even have a router lift. The cover of that issue touted a DIY router lift for under $100. I dreamt about building it someday and have somehow kept it through 2 moves. I think the design is good and the parts are all still about the same price.
The 2nd thing was seeing this video on YouTube:
Shop Made Router Lift and Table
I thought this was really clever and completes the picture for the direction I want to head. I am not going to use an insert plate large enough to support the router but I will use some inserts that I can tailor to my bits and easily cut using a circle cutter. I am going to make the entire top flip up so I can do bit changes (someone suggested that in a previous entry in this blog). And I am going to build some hybrid version of the lift in the video and the lift in American Woodworker. The American Woodworker lift uses steel shafts and bushings instead of drawer slides but they are essentially the same otherwise.
Both designs support the lift from a router cabinet instead of the router top or insert plate. I like that because it will help prevent the top from sagging and the router plate won’t sag over time even if I leave the router attached. Now I need to stop and think and figure out how I am going to attach a lift to the table saw. I am almost thinking it would be worth it to build a little mini-cabinet and add some legs to the ground and extend my mobile base to support the entire thing.
I almost wish I found all this before I made the top because I might have built a larger top that could sit on a dedicated cabinet (which I suppose I could do even with a smaller top) but I also don’t have that much space so it’s still probably better that I integrate it into the TS.
-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.