|Project by EEngineer||posted 07-26-2008 06:54 AM||4186 views||4 times favorited||8 comments|
Seems like a lot of woodworkers build a router table as one of their projects. I am no exception. I had seen Norm’s router table on the NYW and had planned to build one pretty much like it. I even bought the plywood and started to lay out the plans for one.
In the summer of 2007, while making the Saturday morning grocery run, I saw a sign for an estate sale and stopped to see what there was. There was a half-finished Norm router table in the basement. It was fairly complete. He hadn’t even started the drawers in the bottom but he had the drawer slides for them. The top was cut out for a Jessem router plate, but the router and plate had already been sold to someone else. He wanted $50 for it – I didn’t even haggle.
After I got it home I realized there were a few problems. The plexiglas front door was hinged poorly, so I mortised the hinges, put a knob on it and added magnetic catches to keep it closed. The bit drawers fit poorly and interfered with each other so I cleaned them up a little with a block plane. If I get real ambitious I might remake those some day. I built the lower drawers and replaced a broken knob on one bit stoarge drawer. One thing I never liked about Norm’s design was the dust collection tube that stuck directly out from the back of the cabinet. I redid that to allow the table to sit close up against the wall for storage. The fence was nothing special but servicable. Someday I may make a taller one for better control.
When I was all done, I researched router lifts. I had pretty much decided on the Jessem Rout-R-Lift FX based purely on cost. When I went to the local Woodcraft they had both the Rout-R-Lift and the Woodpecker Quick-Lift in stock and were kind enough to let me open both and inspect them. There was no comparison; the Quick-Lift was better built and the quick lift feature looked useful. I paid about $100 more for the Quick-Lift and an adapter ring for smaller routers – it was worth every penny. After a year of using it, I really like this unit.
The router I had been living with for the last 20 years was a cheap Craftsman – totally unsuitable for mounting in a router table. The power switch was mounted in the handles of the base and it would have been difficult to impossible to rewire it so I could mount it in a lift. I picked up a DeWalt 616 based on the HUGE bearing they have on the bit-side of the unit and the convenience of the power cord that unplugs from the unit right at the router. It has been a real workhorse in the last year.
-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"